That Time Vinnie Paul Comped a Bunch of New York Idiots at His Strip Club in Dallas
In the days since Vinnie Paul’s death, tributes have been pouring in from around the metalsphere, with everyone from well-known metal musicians to kids in unsigned bands sharing their encounters with the man, all of which have a common theme: his affable, friendly nature and his determination to never let anything get in the way of good times. While I never met Vinnie Paul in person I did have an indirect encounter with him, and I can speak to those very same qualities. Here’s my story.
In March, 2010, I set off on a north-to-south tour bus journey with some friends in the metal industry bookended by the Scion Rock Fest in Columbus, OH one weekend and the SXSW in Austin, TX the next. A brand new tour bus company called Bandwagon which specialized in converting truck trailers into small tour buses — and which has since become a fixture of the touring circuit — wanted to showcase their new vehicle to managers, agents and the like at both festivals, so the bus was ours for a pittance (I think all we had to cover was fuel). We even had a driver. So we loaded into the bus seven deep after Scion Rock Fest and headed south, city by city, in what came to be dubbed the SlayeRV.
What followed were several days of buffoonery in whatever city was on that day’s itinerary: travel by morning, sight-see by day, party by night. Visiting the Louisville Slugger factory and Maker’s Mark bar (which inexplicably had run out of Maker’s Mark) in Louisville, Gus’s Fried Chicken and some rib joint whose name escapes me in Memphis, the, uhhhh Walmart parking lot in Little Rock… fill in the blanks. Seven drunken metal dudes. It was a fucking blast.
The day before Austin we rolled into Dallas like a pack of ravenous wolves, fueled by a mix of Red Bull and beer and propelled by that special kind of animal horniness men inevitably experience when surrounded by nothing but other men for days on end. A friend of MetalSucks who lived in the area and was the guitarist for a well-known metal band served as our tour guide for the night. Name redacted to protect the innocent.
One member of our traveling party — let’s call him Anton — had a good relationship with Vinnie Paul’s (or Hellyeah’s) manager, and had pre-arranged for us to be comped admission at Paul’s legendary adult entertainment venue, the Clubhouse, that night. Only one problem: when we arrived, the woman at the door had no fucking clue what we were talking about.
Words of confusion were exchanged. Names were dropped. Emails were pulled up from phones. The rest of us all stood around nervously.
“Let me just call him,” said the woman at the front desk. We stood by as Anton prepared to talk with his buddy, Vinnie’s manager, to get it all straightened out. She gets him on the line and hoists the phone over to Anton.
“Hey, how’s it going? This is Vinnie.”
Shock. Silence. More confusion. She called VINNIE FUCKING PAUL on the phone at 11pm on a Tuesday night because a pack of seven, very horny, mostly Jewish, music industry city slickers from New York had rolled into town demanding to get in for free. What a bunch of jackasses!
Did I mention we were all carrying plastic shopping bags full to the brim with cans of PBR? Because we were. Not even packaged cases of PBRs — plastic bags full of them. The Clubhouse was BYOB, and we intended to take advantage in the sleaziest and cheapest way possible.
After some time all was settled and we were allowed in. But here’s the kicker: when we were all getting stamped to enter we saw the price of admission for the night on a paper note posted on the wall: five dollars. FIVE DOLLARS! We had made a stink and wasted 15 minutes over a five dollar admission charge. While bringing in plastic bags (plastic bags!) full of cans (cans!) of beer. On a Tuesday night. And we had bothered Vinnie Fucking Paul, summoning him away from whatever he was doing that was more important (taking a shit would’ve qualified). Way to play into stereotypes! How embarrassing!
Needless to say we had a great night anyway. We tipped the dancers well and made sure to show our graciousness throughout. There may or may not have been some very late night rocking out in the back of a moving van with the seats pulled out, which possibly resulted in injury to several… cannot confirm or deny.
That’s Vinnie Paul for ya. Helped out a bunch of complete strangers — who were acting like total jackasses — on a moment’s notice, even though he didn’t have to, all in the name of good times.
R.I.P., Vinnie. Keep the party going.