Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott says that the “fun side of rock and roll” seems to be missing from many of the tours nowadays, with most musicians preferring to relax on their buses and catch up with their loved ones instead of partaking in the kind of debauchery that was embraced in the ’80s and most of the ’90s.
“The bands that are out here these days are not like what they used to be, and it really does affect you being able to get tours and stuff,” Vinnie said during an appearance on HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta‘s official podcast, “The Jasta Show” (hear audio below). “I mean, you cannot go around being the GUNS N’ ROSES kind of party band that used to be out there.”
Vinnie, whose band HELLYEAH has just completed a U.S. tour as the support act for FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, continued: “I mean, I still drink every night and I love it, but it wouldn’t be good for me to go stumbling into FIVE FINGER‘s dressing room skunk drunk and blowing shots up for everybody, because it’s gonna possibly affect their performance. People have a lot on the line with these tours these days, and they really don’t want that fun side of rock and roll. I mean, it’s scary to me, man.”
He added: “I remember, in 1999, when we did the last Ozzfest that we were part of, and I think DISTURBED was on it, STATIC-X, obviously Ozzy, us, and we were the only band on the tour that had a rider that had any alcohol. Nobody else had it. And I’m, like, what is going on? I mean, this is ’99. And I’m trippin’, and I’m, like, ‘Man, this ain’t what it used to be.’ These guys finish their set, they go out to their bus and play Nintendo or call their girlfriends. What happened to rock and roll, man? I’m out going to titty bars every night, I’m out going to rock bars, I’ll sit in and jam with bands, I’m drinking my ass off. Once I’m done, I’m done. I’m ready to have a good time.
“The most important thing about drinking on the road is just you’ve gotta do it in moderation, first of all. You’ve gotta know your limits. Don’t wake up with a bottle of vodka in your hand. You wake up every day and rehydrate yourself and get ready for that concert, That’s the most important thing. You cannot give people your hundred percent when you’re wasted up there; it just doesn’t work, man.”
After Jasta told Vinnie that the drummer possessed a “superhuman”-like alcohol tolerance, Vinnie said: “Knock on wood, I haven’t had any liver problems or anything yet. But I drink a lot of water; I drink vodka and water. And I drink Pedialyte and I drink pickle juice and I do all these things that rehydrate me from the alcohol. Vodka is much easier on your system than dark whisky and stuff. So I think that enables me to be able to be ‘superhuman,’ but I think if other people did the same kind of regimen, it wouldn’t be so hard on them. But I see people all the time that don’t drink and they’ll go out and just blow their head off and it wipes them out for two or three days.”
Asked whom he would include in his “Hall Of Fame” of drinkers, Vinnie said: “He’s probably slowed down now, but Lemmy [MOTÖRHEAD], back in the day; he could put ’em away. The METALLICA guys, man, when they were ‘ALCOHOLLICA‘ back in the day, they could put some booze away. VAN HALEN, man — big time back in the day.”
Despite the fact that he still drinks every night, Vinnie insists that he “won’t cram” alcohol on the people he is partying with. He said: “I mean, I might demand you to have one or two shots, but I’m not gonna push it too much.”
He added: “Drinking used to be a popular theme [on the road], and a lot of people don’t really — like I said — partake in it too much anymore.”