Drummer Vinnie Paul, co-founder of metal band Pantera, has died. Currently a member of Hellyeah, Paul was 54. His representative confirmed the legendary drummer’s death to Billboard, but added that no further details are available at this time. “Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away,” reads a statement on the Pantera Facebook page. “Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah. No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time.”
Along with his brother, Dimebag Darrell, Paul (born Vincent Paul Abbott) formed Pantera in 1981. The group found mainstream success with second lead singer Phil Anselmo. Throughout its career, Pantera earned four Grammy nominations and charted nine albums on the Billboard 200, including its 1994 album Far Beyond Driven, which debuted at No. 1 on the chart. Following Pantera’s demise, the Abbott brothers formed Damageplan in 2003. The band was performing on Dec. 8, 2004, when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed onstage during a concert in Columbus, Ohio.
Since 2006, Paul was the drummer for Hellyeah, a heavy metal supergroup that also includes Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray and Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell. Born in Texas, Paul credited his Lone Star roots for his powerful groove. “The Texas thing is part of it, growing up on a healthy dose of ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but I also was a metal-head from day one. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Van Halen, all my favorite bands had really great grooves to their music,” he told OnlineDrummer.com a few years ago. His parents are Jerry, a country music songwriter and producer, and Carolyn Abbott.