Can you imagine going to work day after day in the same setting where your own brother was randomly and brutally gunned down in front of you? Well, that's exactly what former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul has to deal with every night. It's amazing he finds the courage to go up there at all, as he'll do with his new band Hellyeah at House of Blues tonight. What's astounding is that he'll be playing high-energy, gloom-free hard-rock music, celebrating — rather than mourning — the lifestyle he and his brother, legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell, once enjoyed together. Darrell and Vinnie formed half of Pantera, perhaps the most influential recent metal band this side of Metallica. At a show by their post-breakup band Damageplan in 2004 a deranged fan shot and killed four people including Darrell. It took a long time after that for Vinnie to join Hellyeah, a metal supergroup featuring fellow party-loving members of Mudvayne and Nothingface. "One thing that stuck a chord was when Dave Grohl sent me an e-mail saying, 'I went through something similar with Kurt Cobain. I never thought I'd play music again, but music will heal you eventually,'" he recalls. It seems Grohl was right. Hellyeah is currently earning kudos for their sophomore album Stampede, which features new influences: "Our roots are metal," says Paul, "but we all have ties with Southern rock, like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band, and we're bringing that out more." Will this show rock? Hellyeah! —Matthew Wilkening
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