Alice in Chains paid tribute to Vinnie Paul during their set at France's Hellfest yesterday, June 24th, dedicating their song "Nutshell" to the late Pantera and Damageplan drummer. "Almost every night, we like to play a song for our good friend [late Alice in Chains frontman] Layne Staley and [late Alice in Chains bassist] Mike Starr, and we're gonna do that," guitarist Jerry Cantrell explained to the crowd prior to charging into the Jar of Flies staple. "But I'd like to play this one for Vinnie Paul." The tribute follows a group photo posted to the band's Instagram after the drummer's death on June 22nd, captioned: "Remembering our friend Vinnie Paul today. A good man gone way too soon."
Alice in Chains' connection to Paul dates back to the mid-Eighties, when Cantrell was living in Pantera's home state of Texas. Speaking with Billboard years later, the grunge axeman recalled forging a friendship with the groove-metal icons after catching of their local shows. "I remember talking to Dime after the show, just about gear and about how much I enjoyed how he played," he remembered. "I thought he was an amazing guitarist, and he turned out to be an even better person. That started a long, long friendship… I remember talking to [Pantera bassist] Rex [Brown] and Vinnie that night, too."