It was one year ago today (June 22) that we lost drum legend Vinnie Paul at the age of 54. The musician was beloved by many, and on the first anniversary of his death, Hellyeah guitarist and co-founder Tom Maxwell has penned an open letter salute to his late friend and bandmate.

Hellyeah were in the midst of recording a new album at the time of Paul’s death. In the aftermath, they decided to finish the album, which was nearing completion, in honor of Paul. Read Maxwell’s words below:

In the blink of an eye everything changed. I’m writing you this letter to tell you how much I miss and love you. Never could I have imagined you not being here with us anymore. There’s so much all of us lost when you left us. Your smile, your infectious laugh, your always steadfast care of all those around you. Everything has changed now. Our family is just shards of what it used to be. It seemed like everyday was harder then the one before it. It’s hard just knowing that you’re not here to lift everyone up and make everything better with just the simplest things you always used to do. It’s hard waking up and trying to navigate thru such murky waters. We’re doing our best, some better then others, some not so much. Grief is just love with no place to go and that’s how I feel sometimes. Our record is coming out soon and I know you would be hella proud of it. We’ve committed to represent the record and honor your memory and what you would have wanted us to do. But it’s not easy. Passions have been diluted and almost lost to certain degrees but in the end I just think about how disappointed you would be if we didn’t move on. To what eventual extent I do not know. I go for days/weeks sometimes without even looking at a guitar. My desire and hunger for all of it suffers greatly but I know that it’s temporary. Or at least I hope so. Maybe going back on the road and surrounding myself with the HY family will help resurrect my love affair with music and playing. I know you would want that from me and everyone else. You were always so positive and not one to dwell in negativity. I’m trying, we’re all trying. We love you Vince and we miss you terribly. I’m going to put my hat back on, lace up my Chuck’s, put on my guitar and deliver/destroy and represent HY the best best way I can. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for encouraging me, letting me into your life and most of all, being my dear friend. I miss you and hope that we get to see each other again someday on the other side. Until then.
Your friend,

Vinnie Paul Abbott died at the age of 54 from dilated cardiomyopathy. He was buried on June 30, 2018 at Moore Memorial Gardens in Arlington, Texas next to his brother Dimebag Darrell Abbott and his mother Carolyn. In addition to Hellyeah, the drummer made his name in Pantera and also performed in the band Damageplan with his brother.

Hellyeah will release their Welcome Home album later this year. Stone Sour’s Roy Mayorga recently sat in behind the kit for a tribute performance by the band and will join them for upcoming shows in support of the album.

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