Maxwell is a longtime Dean endorser.
“I like the Cadillac. It’s kinda like my guitar. I moved on to playing that style of guitar in the past couple of years. There’s a nostalgic kind of appeal to it for me. I remember seeing those guitars when I was younger. Growing up certain bands like The Cars and ZZ Top played them. Also it just has a class to it, a style that I really dig. It has that Les Paul-meets-Explorer thing that I really like a lot, and they turn out to be really well-balanced guitars. They just made me a custom one at the Dean factory with an unfinished neck.”
Maxwell uses DMT Nostalgia pickups made by Dean, although he’s pondering a return to Seymour Duncan JBs.
“I really love those pickups,” he says. “They’re my favourite of any pickup I’ve ever played on.”
Maxwell’s amplifier of choice consistent with a lot of guitarists at the moment:
“Man, I’m a proud papa of the new Kemper system,” he says. “I’m really diggin’ it. I was able to match my old Marshalls, my old 6534 Peaveys, everything! Every amp I came across in the studio with [producer] Kevin [Churko], I was able to map it. There is a little bit of a digital sound than the actual amp itself but when you A and B it back and forth you’d have to be such an anal type to pick it apart. It just sounds so close to the original. It’s easy, it’s cleaner, I can go anywhere in the world and not have to struggle and worry about rental gear, and everything’s right there. I’m using a half-stack live and it doesn’t even matter. I just go up there with one cabinet and have it crushing through the monitors up front. You have to hand it to them, it’s fucking great. I love it. I still like to plug into my amp and kill it, y’know what I mean? I still have a half-stack set up here in Dallas and in Vegas because there’s nothing like plugging in and having that push, but in a touring situation it’s really the way to go. It’s really that good and I’m sold on it. Other than a couple stomp boxes, that’s it!”
So what can we expect from the new tour?
“We’re playing almost every song off the new album,” Maxwell says. “Most of our set’s going to be the new album. We’ll have a couple songs off the first album, maybe one or two off Band of Brothers but we’re playing the new album. I think until this record some people didn’t take us seriously and it’s our own fault. The first record had a whole thing it was attached to, it was all these guys from all these bands [Pantera, Nothingface, Mudvayne] and it was a big ball of energy coming at ya. But that really missed the mark. I think a lot of people shied away from it because it felt like a novelty thing. That whole party-metal thing wasn’t honest and I fucking cringed at a lot of that stuff, but at the time I was just one dude, just one songwriter that was part of the whole mix of it all. But when it came time to do Blood For Blood, we parted ways with Greg who was pretty much the culprit for that kind of music in the band, so I looked at it as the opportunity to make the kind of music I always wanted to make with this band, and that Chad always wanted to make with this band. This is our baby. We had a set idea of what we wanted to do musically and it took four albums to do it. Y’know, no harm, no foul, we wish the best for those guys but everything happens for a reason. We moved in the best direction for us and I think this album speaks to that.”
“The song “Moth,” for example, really shows another side to us,” Maxwell continues. “Yeah, we can play the brutal heavy shit but at the same time we did a lot, man, with that album. We literally shook off the baggage that had been following us around. People didn’t take us seriously but then they heard that song and they said ‘Hey, wait a minute…’ And we needed that. We needed to toughen up.”
Hellyeah are touring nationally from August 25. For more information, visit www.hellyeahband.com.