Seymour Duncan: Talking Tone With Dimebag Darrell’s Tech Grady Champion

Taken from http://www.seymourduncan.com

Grady Champion was Dimebag Darrell’s guitar tech for 13 years, and he was by Dime’s side as he found and continued to refine his tone, from Pantera through to Damageplan, across countless gigs on stages all over the world. Towards the end of his life Dime had been using his signature Seymour Duncan Dimebucker pickup, but Grady tells us that Dime was also a fan of the ’59 Model, using the bridge version of the ’59 in the neck position of his guitars. In between teching for bands like Incubus and Blondie, Grady took some time out to have a chat about how pickups fit into Dime’s tone and what it was like to work with one of the most unforgettable metal guitarists ever.

When did Seymour Duncan pickups first figure into Dime’s rig?

Dimebag SetI don’t know an exact time when Duncan entered the picture. We changed pickups SO frequently, tried new combinations almost weekly sometimes. We tried everything, as you know, the Bill Lawrence was mainstay in the bridge for most of the years. I do remember he wanted a neck pickup with a little more bite and gain, so we tried the bridge ’59. He was always trying to squeeze ‘a little more gain’ out of things. I remember when you guys sent the Dimebucker prototypes out. We had three, maybe four. If I left the last model in it, don’t remember. I still have them. What he asked me to do was, just put a different pickup in the ‘Cowboys’ guitar every night until we went through them. He would say which one he liked best after that. In my hindsight of an opinion, after a few drinks and an hour and a half of eight 4×12′s blowing your head off, his hearing wasn’t too good! I think that is why that pickup screams so much!
Seymour Duncan Dimebag Darrell Dimebucker prototypes

Original Dimebucker prototypes.
Photo: Grady Champion

How would you describe the relationship between the Dimebucker and the ’59 bridge model? What were the qualities that made them work together?

As far as the relationship between the two, for me it’s simple: he always enjoyed everything to be ‘hot.’ Nigel had nothing on Dime: if he wanted 11, Dime needed 15. The ’59 has an edge on it for the bluesy neck position, and the Dimebucker has such an attack with it that cuts through.

It seems there were lots of little customizations on Dime’s guitars – the grip on the volume knob, the tape on the neck pickup, stuff like that. It sounds like he took an extremely active approach to his personal gear…

I did a lot of little customizations for him. The knobs I did with a soldering iron tip, disconnected tone knob, put tape along the neck pickup so no strings would get caught underneath, put foam in between the back plate and springs, and a little piece of foam behind the nut as well. Also, I scratched his .88 Tortex picks with a dart for grip. We worked very close together for many years. He always told me what he wanted and I did my best to accommodate him.

There are a lot of myths, rumours and unconfirmed theories about guitar in general, especially when people get to sharing wrong information online. What’s something that would surprise people about Dime’s guitar playing or his approach to gear, or that you feel has been misreported over the years?
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Modified volume knobs on Dimebag’s original ‘Concrete Sledge’ Dean ML.

I get a lot of questions and requests from people wanting to know everything about Dime’s rig and settings and things. They can have all the info they want and NEVER sound like him because they can’t have his hands! HE was the magical formula, everything else were basically good ole tools for the job. His action on his guitars weren’t shredder low, he LIKED to be able to get his fingers under some notes. The gain was amazingly touchy, you simply could not stand in front of his rig with his guitar on and open the volume knob all the way without it feeding back.

We often hear stories of people like Steve Lukather, Nuno Bettencourt and Dweezil Zappa playing through EVH’s personal guitar rig and being disappointed to realise that it didn’t make them sound like Eddie. Was there ever a time when someone played through Dime’s rig and it got away from them?

I can remember Scott Ian grabbing and saying “Dude, there’s so much gain!” Can’t remember specifically anyone being disappointed. On the flip side of this, every guitar Dime played had to be sturdy and stable. He was a beast on them. Case in point, Pantera/Anthrax tour: Anthrax’s guitar player at the time, Paul Crook, gave Dime his guitar to play a song on. Paul is a great player, mucho finesse, total opposite setup from Dimes guitars. Dime grabbed it, immediately did a whammy dive and pulled the whole floyd off the body! Haha! He looked a Paul and said “Sorry I jacked your rig up dude!”

Any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

He was a master, best friend and big brother to me and I think of him a hundred times a day…

…check out this article (with photos) on seymourduncan.com by clicking here.

Check out Rex Brown on the cover of Bass Player Magazine! On newstands now.

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Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven 20th Anniversary Edition debuted at #3 on the Top Catalog Album charts & #63 on the Billboard Top 200 .

Thanks very much to the 6,048 fans who purchased it! Not too shabby for a record that is 20 years old & has already sold 1.5 million copies. If you haven’t picked it up yet, look to get a physical copy or download from this link: http://smarturl.it/panterafbd or here from iTunes: http://bit.ly/1dsc4nV

Hornsuprocks.com covers the 20th Anniversary from Duff’s Brooklyn and more…

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From Hornsuprocks.com: Over the weekend, in celebration of the re-release of ‘Far Beyond Driven’ (out now via Rhino Entertainment), our friends from the “Heavy Metal Mecca”, DUFF’s Brooklyn, hosted the OFFICIAL ‘Far Beyond Driven’ anniversary party! We were there documenting the entire event with our camera crew, and dressed our video recap with some exclusive interviews with all of the surviving members of the band: Philip H. Anselmo, Vinnie Paul and Rex Brown!

Vinnie will be on “That Metal Show”, streams of the new HELLYAH songs, and the new HELLYEAH webisode #3.

TUNE IN ALERT! Don’t miss VP on That Metal Show this Saturday night! Watch it on VH1 Classic at 11/10C! Sneak peek here: http://on.vh1.com/sneak1311

Stream the two new HELLYEAH songs:

HELLYEAH: “Blood for Blood” Webisode #3

Stream the new Down song “We Knew Him Well” and pre-order the upcoming Ep.

Down has unleashed the first song off of the upcoming Down IV Part 2. The song is called “We Knew Him Well” and the Ep comes out on on May 13.

Click here to download the new song and pre-order the Ep on iTunes.

Click here to download the new song and pre-order the Ep on amazon.com.

Contest! Upload your picture onto the FBD album cover using our app, and you could win a special Pantera guitar and autographed cd!

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Show the world your best “Drilled” mug using the Far Beyond Driven Photo App, and you could win a Dimebag Pantera Far Beyond Driven ML from Dean Guitars & a Far Beyond Driven 20th Anniversary 2CD set autographed by Philip H Anselmo!
Here’s how to enter:
1. Create your photo using the photo app.
2. Upload your photo onto Pantera’s Facebook page (click here).
3. We’ll randomly select ONE winner on April 11th to receive their prize combo.
Contest ends April 10th, 11:59PM EST!

What are you waiting for! Go to the app page here: http://pantera.com/drilledbypantera/

vanyaland: Vinnie on the legacy of ‘Far Beyond Driven’, Pantera dance remixes and moving forward with Hellyeah

by Michael Christopher in Spotlight for vanyaland.com:

We had no idea what they were going to do with it because they said “remix” and we were like, “Let’s see what happens.” I really thought that what they meant by “remix” was remix; I didn’t know they were going to rework the songs and almost turn them into dance grooves and stuff. I don’t think any of us were too thrilled with it and of course the record companies do what record companies do and put it out whether you like it or not, so that’s kind of how that happened.

Looking back, are you glad you decided not to go with the original artwork on Far Beyond Driven [depicting a drill bit entering an ass]?

Hmmm…um, not really. The original thought was “metal up your ass,” you know? And like you said, in 1994, heavy metal was uncool and we wanted to be as metal as we could. The label agreed with us and then came back three days later and said, “Uhhh…we can’t get this into Walmart, Target and retail and it’s gonna kill us.” So we got back with the guy who did the artwork, Dean Karr, and he did the one with the drill in the head which signifies the same thing.

Speaking of artwork, one of the things I’ve always wanted to ask you was about the Cowboys from Hell cover. There’s a notion by some that on the first pressings that you were holding a sandwich or a hamburger or something.

Honestly, it was money, but I have definitely heard, “Were you holding a sandwich?” or “What were you holding?” At the time, we didn’t have any money to speak of and the art director, Bob Defrin, handed me like six hundred dollar bills that he had in his pocket and that was like the most money I’d ever in my hands – ever!

In the Pantera catalog, from Cowboys on, where do place Far Beyond Driven in terms of importance?

Ahh man, it was huge, you know? It took us from being an opening act to being the headliner, and we were really all about playing live. The studio was something that we did and we were proud of, but the band built its reputation from playing live and that’s what we were all about.

One final thought on Pantera. Obviously the time has passed, but are you content with Reinventing the Steel being the swan song of the band?

Well…my brother envisioned Pantera as being the Rolling Stones of heavy metal and going on as long as we were going on, you know? It’s unfortunate that [his death] was the end of it, but I think it was a great record and probably the most anthemic record we ever made. We really felt that when it came out it was misunderstood and it took a while to grow on people. But it’s one of my favorite Pantera records.

Read the rest of the article on vanyaland.com by clicking here.

Revolt Magazine gets some inside stories and reflection from Terry Date on producing Far Beyond Driven 20 years ago.

By Bryce Segall for Revolt Magazine.

A longstanding argument around the REVOLT office maintains it takes 20 years to declare any album a true classic, taking into account – time necessary to infiltrate culture, proof of lasting worth, and ultimately, influence. There are certainly exceptions however, records that feel classic long before those two decades pass, and Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven is most definitely one of them. Entering the Billboard charts at #1, the heaviest record ever to do so, it set a new precedent for what metal could be in the early 90s – a time when it was far from “cool” to to fly the flag of heavy, and a period in dire need of central identity for the genre.

Pantera not only took the challenge upon themselves and succeeded, but managed to redirect the mainstream if only for a moment, leaving their lasting imprint on metal forever, and a classic LP in their wake. In celebration of such a monumental accomplishment and legacy, we sat down with the only person who was there to witness it all first hand, the band’s producer and longtime friend, Terry Date, who worked with the group on four of their five albums, including Far Beyond Driven, and has no doubt left a mark of his own.

Bryce: When did you find out you’d be working on the record? Was it an ongoing conversation or was it a nice surprise?

Terry: It was an ongoing conversation, and bear with me because 20 years has gone by and that’s a lot of brain cells that have disappeared. But you know, once we did the first record – those guys are incredibly loyal guys, once you’re in with them, you have to really hurt em to get out. So we were in really close contact, even after the records, they really were like family. So it wasn’t – I don’t remember exactly the conversation that went down as far as ‘you’re gonna do the next record or not’, it was just an assumption I guess. It never was talked about as far as I remember but obviously I was thrilled.

B: What was the next step? Did they send you some demos? Were you already in the studio when you heard the songs for the first time?

T: Most of the songs, except for the Cowboys From Hell record, were written in the studio. There were riffs that – you know, Dime had hundreds of riffs. He’d stay up all night, basically every night, and after studio was done, or work was done for the day, he’d always lock himself into a room someplace, usually with a bunch of people and a bottle of some kind… and he would just write stuff, everything from stupid country western songs to really heavy riffs. And I can’t remember… these songs all blend together, but “Suicide Note Pt. 1”… was that on this record? Whatever, there’s a few songs I remember which record they’re on but most of them I don’t. That song in particular he wrote in his little closet there, late night, and he brought it in and said he liked the song and wanted to re-record it. It was just on a little cassette, and I listened to it and said there’s no point in re-recording it, just do some overdubs to what you’ve already got. And that’s where a lot of his really great ideas came from.

Now, on Far Beyond Driven, again, they wrote in the studio, most of the stuff – ideas came in with them, but the songs were constructed in the studio. And usually it’d start out with somebody had a riff of some kind and it would just build off of that you know, either Vinnie had a Drum Beat or Dime had a riff, or Rex – somebody had something. And because the studio was owned by their dad, and it was sort of a home studio, definitely a home studio, it basically was their rehearsal space that we actually recorded in, or that’s pretty much what it felt like. And the song “Becoming” which was on Far Beyond Driven, I remember that one really well because Dime had just got a new digitech wami pedal, the red one, and he was playing with it, and that’s where that riff for “Becoming” came from, was him just messing around with that pedal. So the song just started with Dime’s riff and Vinnie was with him and started doing a beat to it and everybody filled in the gaps after that.

B: Coming off Vulgar Display of Power and heading into the studio, would you say the band was at their peak at this point or had the chaos already sort of set in?

T: Well the chaos was there from day one, before I even showed up for the first record, that’s the way they were, they never changed. The difference was the world tours, and all the attention and a bigger audience I guess, but I would say that I never saw a peak with them, let me put it that way. I think after Cowboys they found their stride and they kept that. There were obviously more distractions, and they’re well documented – certain things, but that was the only thing that would slow things down at all. They reached a level and they just stayed there, there was no decline with them. There were the normal personnel frictions that happen when you’re on the road together for ten years or whatever, but as far as the creative flow and the flow with the band as far as making the music and performing the music, once they hit their stride – until drugs took their toll on Phil it pretty much stayed the same.

B: Listening to a now classic record like this, it just sounds, for lack of a better word, “Easy”, were there hard days or periods in the studio?

It’s never easy. There are some that are easier than others but on those records – for me, those guys were so much fun to be around that it was always mayhem, which was the only hard things about it. You’re trying to get stuff done and everybody had a good work ethic but they also had a good party ethic too. So sometimes it was hard to get focus and concentration going to keep things moving along…. But none of the songs were… they were all equally hard, let me put it that way.

B: What do you remember about the performances as they happened some of these things on here, Dime’s solos and what not that are legendary, what was that process?

T: He was such a natural, I don’t know what he did to prepare himself, but Dime is the kinda guy where, when it was time to do a solo, you go in and ya do it. During that record, and I believe part of Vulgar, and definitely Great Southern Trendkill, but that record for sure, when it came time to do solos, Vinnie and Dime would work together a lot on those, because their communication level was so refined. Dime could play something and Vinnie would just look at him and go – do that Randy Rhodes thing there, and I have no idea which Randy Rhodes thing he’s talking about but – you know, they’re brothers. So it was very efficient for those two to do solos together. But what we would do is I would set it all up and we would get all the sounds together and back then we’re using tape so we have basically three channels to record solos onto, and he would record on those 3 tracks, and then go over one that he didn’t like, and once he got piece together, we’d bounce the best pieces of those three solos together onto one track. So it would all be combine sort like that, but mainly when it came time for those solos, I would just let Vinnie go with him and let those two communicate together and it was really effective and really comfortable to work that way.

B: And when you say bounce you’re talking solo and muting because this is pre-Protools right?

Yeah, you’ve got three solos running at the same time, and you listen and pick the best beginning lets say, and maybe that’s on track one, and then you record that onto another channel – you’re constructing a solo onto a fourth channel is what you’re doing. And so you take your favorite pieces out of the three solos he has, and creating a new one out of the best of those three and the fourth channel becomes the solo.

B: Phil said this was the first time the band kinda left him alone to do the lyrics how he wanted, what was his headspace like during that time? It’s obviously both sonically and thematically a fairly heavy record.

T: The difference with this record from the previous record, is – Vinnie and Dime’s dad had moved the studio from Arlington to Nashville. So we all traveled to Nashville and stayed in a hotel, Phil included. And on previous records, the band kinda worked on the music themselves and then Phil would come in and kinda give his opinion on how the riffs worked with the lyrics he had in mind, but on that record he was there from the very beginning, so he was sitting in on all the stuff that went on and the dynamic changed a little bit as far as opinions about riffs early on, but I don’t really remember a lot about doing vocals on that one. I believe most of the vocals were done when we moved the project back to Dallas and went into a corporate studio. But Phil at that point pretty much was like, I got this, I’m gonna do what I wanna do here.

B: Rex was quoted as saying he thought they drove you crazy with a bunch of takes and experimenting and it was that it was their most expensive album. How much truth is there to that and was there any interference from the label or did they just kind of let you do your thing?

The label always – I mean I personally never got any comments from the label about budget, I don’t even know what the budget was. But it did take a while to do that record, a lot of it was, the band tends to be very much perfectionists. I remember one instance, I believe we were in Dallas at the Dallas song labs. Once again, when you fade a song out, this isn’t Protools, you can’t just automate it or draw a fade in, this was all done by hand with a fader, you fade it as the song is going out. And I remember spending the good part of a day fading one of the songs, I cant remember which right now, but we ended up doing probably 200 different fades on that song to get it exactly right. And I had Vinnie and Dime over each shoulder every time I did it – they didn’t drive me crazy or anything, it started getting kind of funny after a while, but we probably got over 200 different versions of a fade, on one song.

B: Is there anything you were particularly proud to capture or wished you had captured from those sessions?


T: Nothing comes to my mind, because the process was always – they were so good, the guys were so good, that there was never anything – I mean things would stand out as far as performances, and the performance on ”Becoming”, both Vinnie and Dime – Vinnie’s drummer pattern just to this day, I talked to him about it and he goes ‘oh it’s easy, this is how I do it with my feet”, and it looks really simple, but it’s crazy what he does and it was just such a great combination of everybody on that song, form Dime’s crazy riff to what Rex was doing and… there were four great musicians in that band, and it just so rarely happens that you have four people that are at that level of ability. That’s really what I take away from that record and every record with those guys.

B: Was there ever any clue the album would go to number one? Was that even a possibility?

T: You know, I don’t remember anybody talking about that. There was no talk about it, nobody thought about it, I mean we knew the momentum was right for them to come out and enter high on the charts, but I don’t remember anybody talking about that kind of stuff you know?

As I recall it was like, ‘well that’s really great’ but I was in the studio and they were on the road, and there were other distractions, and everybody was excited but it was just excitement for a few minutes and then head down and move on to the next thing.

B: In retrospect has it sunk in what that meant for the genre?

T: I hear that comment, how much it meant [to metal], and it’s really hard to tell. I think more than being #1, I think what the band did, is they were so different and so good at what they did, that you know, just them being who they are, as the years go by, you realize what an influence that was on that style of music, and what a big mark they left.

B: Do you remember anything about the original cover art?

T: The original idea was more comedy and the newer idea was definitely more serious and more appropriate, I don’t really… [laughs] I think I know who’s idea it was, but I’m not sure. But yeah the original idea was shut down, and I think improved on.

B: When was the last time you listened to the record? How does it hold up in your opinion?

T: I don’t usually go back and listen to records, just because I’ve heard it a thousand times before it’s released and when I listen back to it sometimes, you know I’m hearing things I wish I’d done differently… so it usually takes about 10 years before I listen to something again. So it’s been a while, you know, I listen to bits and pieces of it, just to reference myself to things I might have done back then when I’m working on something currently but… It’s a classic record, just like all their records. I always look back on those and go, I wish I’d mixed them a little different, I wish this sound was a little different, and you know, what I would do if I could fix it again right now, and when I mention that to people they go…’well, why would you wanna do that? That’s the record that was made in that time period and it wouldn’t be the same record if it was mixed differently now’. Two years ago when Vulgar was re-released for it’s 20th anniversary, it was re-mastered and I happened to be in Los Angeles when it was being re-mastered, and I kinda sat around with them while they were doing it. And you know, you listen to the original, and then you listen to the re-master, and the re-mastered version, I dunno, might be better? But you’re constantly trying to match the original so it’s like why mess with it.

B: Is there anything we wouldn’t know to ask about that stands out from the original sessions, maybe a funny or cool story?

Well it’s not really a funny story, but it’s a good one. We were in Nashville staying in this big Holliday Inn high rise plaza or something, a big high rise hotel, and Dime liked to change rooms kinda often, and I remember one day, he came in the studio and said ‘Yeah, I gotta change my room so I just packed all my stuff up and someone from the hotel’s gonna move it into a new one for me’.

And the next day he comes in and he goes, ‘I lost a DAT tape”, which I don’t know if you remember DAT tapes, but he would record his – late at night he’d get a riff idea and he’d just record it onto this tape, and he had a tape with 250 riffs on it, that just ended up missing. Probably left it under a bed or something, whatever, never showed up.

So for that record, that was the early stages of the record too, when they were writing songs, so for that record he had over 250 riffs on there, that he was gonna draw from, to use for the record – and he just lost em. So there’s 250 Dimebag riffs out there someplace, and here’s Dime, you know, lost all of his riffs that he prepared, and he says, ‘eh I’ll just write some new ones’.

So he just wrote new ones for the record, just on the spot, that’s just how amazing that guy was. But yeah, so there’s a DAT tape out there someplace with 250 riffs from Far Beyond Driven that never got used.

B: And in the interest of not dwelling completely in the past tell us what you’ve been up to lately.

T: Well, Bring Me The Horizon was about a year ago. I just finished Miss May I’s record – heavy band out of Cincinnati, basically. And that record is coming out any day now, that was a great project, we did that up here in Seattle. Great guys, really great band, great live show, excited about that. I’ve been pretty focused on getting my studio built, so I’ve been dealing with that, and doing single song mixes around the edges. In December I have one project that’s not confirmed so I can’t say who it is up here in Seattle, and then there’s a number of mixing projects I’m gonna start on in late April, early May. There’s 3 or 4 projects lined up this year but they’re not confirmed yet, but a lot of it is about getting the studio together.

B: How do you take work these days? Through management? Your website?

T: I get a lot of emails from the website (http://www.terrydaterecording.com/), and I’m always looking for stuff, fun finds – good bands that are unsigned, or signed bands too, but usually those guys go through my management. But I’m always looking for, especially, stuff nobody’s heard before. I’m looking for bands that haven’t had the opportunity, or the ability to be heard yet.

By Bryce Segall for Revolt Magazine.

Click here to see the original interview.

Free download offer to get Hellyeah’s “Cross To Bear (Cradle Of Bones)”

From Hellyeah:
HELLIONS! Two new HELLYEAH tracks are coming your way THIS TUESDAY on iTunes! BUT, you can got your hands on one of them FOR FREE right now! Go to http://hellyeahband.com/ to sign up and get a free download of “Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)” now! (EDIT: You’ll get a confirmation email with the download link! Be sure it didn’t go to your SPAM folder!)

Live in New York area? Enter now for a chance to attend the HELLYEAH Eleven Seven Music Listening party NEXT TUESDAY! Here’s your chance to hear the new album AND we might just have a surprise in store…ENTER HERE: http://a.pgtb.me/KJg0mn

The download is a limited time offer so don’t wait. “Cross To Bear (Cradle Of Bones)” is a song off of the upcoming Hellyeah album “Blood For Blood” which will be released June 10th!

Hellyeah kicks off a tour on April 5. Click here for info.

Rolling Stone on Far Beyond Driven’s 20th anniversary and stream of “Strength Beyond Strength” from the FBD 20th Anniversary’s bonus cd

From Rolling Stone: Two decades ago this week, metal torchbearers Pantera released their heavy-hitting seventh album Far Beyond Driven, and, implausibly, it made it to Number One on the Billboard 200. Even when compared to other metal albums by Metallica and Slipknot that have achieved the same distinction, it remains notable for doing so at the height of grunge, a commercial nadir for metal. Pantera were proud to be alternatives to alternative. “We called ourselves heavy metal at a time when the term ‘heavy metal’ was extremely uncool,” drummer Vinnie Paul, who now plays with the metal group Hellyeah, tells Rolling Stone. “People would do anything to call their band something else – ‘alternative’ or whatever – just so it wouldn’t get forced into that heavy-metal category and we carried the flag. That record was very extreme at the time compared to anything else that was out there.”

Read the rest of the article and stream the live “Strength Beyond Strength” on rollingstone.com by clicking here.

New contest! Show the world you can slay like Pantera.

Slay Like Pantera!

Slay Like Pantera!

Show the world you can slay like Pantera. Grab your guitars and crank it up to 11 on any Pantera song of your choice (unique takes & instruments are also welcome!) Upload your covers to YouTube, tag them #panteracoversfromhell and invite your friends to like your video on youtube. 10 of the most popular videos will make it to our exclusive heavy metal showdown on Pantera.com beginning Friday, April 18.

Pantera is on the cover of the new Revolver Magazine!

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Have you picked up the Apr/May Issue of REVOLVER Magazine? Check out the cover & make sure you pick up a copy!

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New Hellyeah webisode, new Down song, new drummer for Kill Devil Hill

Vinnie’s band Hellyeah is releasing a set of webisodes to promote their upcoming album “Blood For Blood”. The first one can be seen by clicking here. The second one is right here:

Philip’s band Down has made a song from their upcoming Ep available for streaming. It’s called “We Knew Him Well” and the Ep comes out May 13!

Rex’s band Kill Devil Hill has announced that founding drummer Vinny Appice has departed from the band and they have welcomed Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative) to the band. Read more about it on Loudwire by clicking here.

Details from Vinnie’s 50th Birthday bash emerge!

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Vinnie had his 50th Birthday party in grand fashion in Las Vegas on Friday. As John Katsilometes reports in the “Kats Report” on lasvegassun.com:
The loudest birthday party possibly ever was Vinnie Paul’s 50th on Tuesday night at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel. How loud? “Raiding the Rock Vault” singer Paul Shortino, who has fronted two heavy metal bands (Quiet Riot and Rough Cutt) shouted, “This is loud!” Or I think that’s what he shouted. That’s what he mouthed, anyway, as house band Sin City Sinners — who are the city’s go-to band when you need a hard-rock outfit to host a party — cranked Dio and Led Zeppelin and I believe the Scorpions, among others.

Shortino’s fellow “Rock Vault” band and cast members Doug Aldrich, Andrew Freeman and Stephanie Calvert were glimpsed in the throng. “Rock Vault” is selling tickets through November, incidentally, and is in an open-ended agreement with LVH to continue its run indefinitely (pending a sale of the property, of course). Folks on property are exuding confidence about improving ticket sales, and the show is rocking harder than ever with new singers Calvert and Carol-Lyn Liddle (who alternate in the show) taking the place apart every night. And Aldrich is a great fit. He’s just a rock star, that one.

Back to VinnieFest: Frankie Moreno was in the house, as was Zowie Bowie’s Chris Phillips (the latter of whom sang the Van Halen version of “You Really Got Me” with Paul flailing away on the drums). Las Vegas Wranglers President Billy Johnson and his wife, Erica, turned up. Paris Las Vegas hypnotist Anthony Cools (voting is now closed, BTW) was toasting it up at the bar. Penny Wiggins, the longtime Psychic Tanya in The Amazing Johnathan’s stage show, was wheeling around taking photos. An eclectic group, to be sure.

The cake presented to Paul was something special, too, as created by Christy Horner and Amy Fitzgerald of NicoleMariePatisserie: A bass drum with Paul on the face, sticks raised under his favorite saying, “Hellyeah.” The great drummer plays that saying, and the age of 50, at the highest volume.

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