Vinnie Paul's Latest Signees Played A Stripped Down Set At The Clubhouse On Tuesday. No, Really!

Categories: DFW Music News
20090421_Michels_SeventhVoidClubhouse_0129.jpg
Patrick Michels
Vinnie Paul was all smiles at The Clubhouse on Tuesday as Seventh Void, the latest act signed to his Big Vin Records, performed a CD release show on the stage at the area metal legend's strip club.
For more pictures from the event, check out our slideshow.

In a town renowned the world over for its high-class strip clubs, it's actually kinda surprising that more concerts aren't held in the always super-friendly confines of Manana Drive' finest business establishments. Because, really, oh how decadent such shows can be.

Tuesday night sure proved as much: When Brooklyn-based hard rock act Seventh Void stopped through town earlier this week, there was never a question about where the latest signees to area metal legend Vinnie Paul Abbott's Big Vin Records would hold it CD release show

The Abbott-owned strip club The Clubhouse just made sense, really.

Plus, y'know, how rock 'n' roll.

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Patrick Michels
Kenny Hickey of Seventh Void performed to an enthusiastic crowd at The Clubhouse.
Indeed, Tuesday night featured all the cliches you could want in a rock show--and then some, really. It was kind of like a walk down memory lane, or maybe a 1980s-era Sunset Strip. The band offered up is dirge-y, hard rock sound to a surprisingly well-aware audience (some crowd members were even singing along to the lyrics), as barely dressed strippers walked about the room and hopped onto the stages and poles scattered throughout it.

"This is just the way Vinnie does it," drummer Johnny Kelly said with an infectious laugh a few hours before the show, as he relaxed with his bandmates on the tour bus parked by the club's side entrance.

Featuring two members of the well-known heavy metal act Type O Negative (Kelly and singer/guitarist Kenny Hickey), Seventh Void is the first act signed to Abbott's label that has no ties to a one of Abbott's own projects.

But because Type O Negative and Pantera shared many a bill in each band's early-'90s heyday, when Kelly and Hickey (as well as guitar player Matt Brown and bassist Hank Hell) were looking for a home for their new project, they pretty much immediately reached out to Abbott to gauge his interest.

"We sent him one song," Hickey explained, "and he really liked it. So we never really took it anywhere else. We wanted someone who believed in it. And Vinnie does."

"And look at what he's doing for us!" bassist Hell added with a huge smile. The least experienced member of the band (Brown has toured in other projects and, in recent years, has worked as a guitar tech for Lou Reed), Hell first joined Seventh Void as a fan who happened to play the bass guitar and was looking for a free way into a performance from his Type O Negative idols.

"This is the most exciting thing that can happen," Hell continued with a laugh. "It's all downhill from here. I mean, I'm playing rock 'n' roll, and I get to look at titties. It doesn't get much better, you know?"

Maybe not for him--but for Hickey and Kelly, whose careers in Type O Negative have long since taken them out of the strip club and dingy rock bar realm, performing in Seventh Void is something like starting over from scratch.

"It's a reality check," Kelly said. "But it's definitely fun."

On stage, the band sure appeared to be enjoying itself. As Abbott, who also helped produce the band's debut Heaven Is Gone record, camped out by the DJ booth, taking in the crowd and sound from a slightly removed vantage point, the band ripped through a 45-minute set of its material. Hickey, who has only sung backing and high-end vocals with Type O Negative, particularly engaged the audience with his gravelly--but never guttural--lead vocals, even if, at one point in this, his band's first performance in a year and a half, he lost his place in his lyrics and needed to restart a song.

He laughed it off with a joke about drugs.

And Abbott didn't seem to mind. Granted, he's got a quite-obvious stake in the band's success, but, after the show, he raved about the band's potential: "From the moment I first heard them, I full-on loved it," he said. "It's a new band, but when other people hear it, they'll know too. It's just an old-school sound with a new attitude. Something different than all the Linkin Parks and Hollywood Undeads out there right now."

With Seventh Void scheduled to tour with Static-X later on this summer, Abbott expects the band to quickly develop a following--something he knows is vital in this day and age as the music industry continues existing as a shell of its former self.

"It's really different now," Abbott continued, "but I'm doing everything I can to provide this band with the best opportunity to be successful, and that's what any label should be able to do."

As for what's next for Big Vin Records? On that front, Abbott isn't sure. "I've got thousands of demo tapes sitting in my office right now that need to be listened to," he says with a laugh. What he does know, though, is that his super-group of sorts, Hellyeah--which also features Mudvayne's Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett, Nothingface's Tom Maxwell and Abbott's Damageplan bandmate (and fellow Dallasite) Bob Zilla--is set to hit the studio on May 15 to begin recording its second release.

As for where that record will end up--on Epic, the label that released the last disc, or on his own Big Vin Records--Abbott is again unsure.

"We don't know," Abbott says. "We're free agents right now. We had a one-disc deal with Epic, and they're practically begging us to come back. We sold nearly 500,000 records for them, which is practically unheard of these days. That's like going platinum 10 years ago."

He should know: His collection of platinum and gold records--ones earned from his own earlier projects and a few from bands he's helped out over the years--hangs on the wall at his club. On this night, though, with Seventh Void on stage and strippers everywhere else you looked, few seemed to pay much attention to those.
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