Vincent Paul Abbott, also known as "Vinnie Paul" (born on March 11, 1964) is an American professional drummer and producer who is currently a member of supergroup Hellyeah. He was best known for being a member, and co-founder, of the heavy metal band Pantera. He also co-founded the heavy metal band Damageplan in 2003 with his younger brother, Dimebag Darrell.
Vincent Paul Abbott was born in Abilene on March 11, 1964. His parents are Jerry, a country music songwriter and producer, and Carolyn Abbott. He recorded and performed in the groups Pantera (1981-2003) and Damageplan (2003-2004) alongside his brother, guitarist Dimebag Darrell.
In December 2008, he handpicked several of his most memorable drum parts to demonstrate in a promotional video for the drum company ddrum: "Use My Third Arm," "Primal Concrete Sledge," "13 Steps to Nowhere," "Domination" and "Becoming." In 2009, he started American Drummer Champions with the aide of friend and influence M.Ludowise, former Downset drummer.
In August 2013, Paul featured in a music video for Black Label Society's cover of Ain't No Sunshine, appearing alongside a horse-masked Zakk Wylde. Wylde and Paul are well known to be close friends, with Wylde also having been particularly close with Paul's brother Dimebag Darrell before his death in 2004.
Paul formed the heavy metal band Pantera in 1981 with his brother Dimebag Darrell (then known as Diamond Darrell) and Terry Glaze on guitars, bassist Tommy D. Bradford, and vocalist Donnie Hart. Upon Hart's departure, Glaze assumed vocal duties. In the summer of 1982, Bradford left the band and was replaced by Rex Brown and the band released three albums with that lineup.
Pantera recruited vocalist Phil Anselmo to replace Glaze in 1988. By 1990, the band had been signed to Atco Records and released Cowboys from Hell which proved to be the band's turning point. Over the course of four more studio records, a live album and a greatest hits compilation, Anselmo and Pantera were nominated for four best metal performance Grammys, for the songs "I'm Broken", "Suicide Note Pt. I", "Cemetery Gates" and "Revolution Is My Name".
In 2001, Anselmo decided to put Pantera on hold because of back pain while he toured and recorded with his side projects. Pantera's official disbandment took place in 2003 for several reasons, but mainly because of the ongoing dispute between Anselmo and the rest of the band, although Rex Brown remained neutral. In the years to follow bad blood would stir up between Abbott and Anselmo. However, Anselmo has publicly announced that he wishes for Paul to forgive him, and reform a friendship. However, Paul has stated that he is not interested, and also Paul will never talk to Anselmo again.
After the breakup of Pantera, the Abbott brothers formed the heavy metal band Damageplan with, a former tattoo artist Bob Zilla on bass, and former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman on lead vocals. Damageplan recorded one album, New Found Power, which was released on February 10, 2004. On December 8, 2004, while on tour to support Damageplan's album, his brother Dimebag Darrell was shot dead onstage by former US marine Nathan Gale at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. Damageplan disbanded shortly thereafter.
Latest projects and Hellyeah:
After burying his brother, Paul formed Big Vin Records in February 2006 and released Rebel Meets Rebel and a DVD, Dimevision, Volume 1. Paul writes a monthly question-and-answer column in Revolver. Paul maintains endorsement deals with ddrum, Sabian cymbals, and Vic Firth drumsticks. He previously endorsed Tama, Pearl drums, and Remo drumheads and hardware. Paul has also recently been on tour playing drums for Dethklok, playing a show in Philadelphia with Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small. Around this time in his career, he was a one time spokesperson for the Arby's fast food restaurant.
In June 2006, after the death of his brother and an 18 month hiatus, Paul was not sure if he would return to music, but eventually joined in with the heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah, which also features vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett from Mudvayne, guitarist Tom Maxwell from Nothingface, and bassist Bob Zilla from Damageplan, who was called on to replace original bassist Jerry Montano.
This is Vinnie Paul's current setup for Hellyeah, taken from the Modern Drummer September 2010 issue:
Drums: ddrum Vinnie Paul signature series (All drums in his custom dragon finish modeled after the design on his hat)
24x24 bass drum x2,
18x18 floor tom,
14x8 signature snare drum,
12" Ice bell,
14" AAX Metal Hi-Hats,
18" Hand Hammered Rock Crash,
20" AA Chinese,
19" AA Rock Crash,
19" AA Metal-X Crash,
22" Hand Hammered Power Bell Ride,
20" AA Chinese,
14" AA Rock Hi-Hats,
20" AA Metal-X Crash,
Sticks: Vic Firth Signature Series: Vinnie Paul (SVP)
Paul also uses Evans drum heads, ddrum hardware, ddrum and Roland electronics, Danmar red wood beaters and kick pads, and Shure microphones.
Paul has said that his biggest drum influences are Peter Criss of KISS and Tommy Aldridge. He has also listed Bill Ward, John Bonham, Mikkey Dee, Alex Van Halen, and Neil Peart as influences.