Early life, family, educational background
American songwriter, musician and singer Chad Gray, was born on October 16, 1971 in Latham, Illinois, USA. He is the co-founder and vocalist of the heavy metal band Hellyeah, and is also known as Kud, Helvis and Chüd. He was born to Mitzi Gray and Dan Gray, but was raised by his grandmother, Betty Rau. In Hellyeah’s DVD ‘Below the Belt’, he told how his grandmother supported him by taking him to choir rehearsals and performances.
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He made $40,000 annually working at a Firestone tire factory – the company became infamous for fitting defective tires on Ford Explorers, which caused the vehicles to roll away.
He told the Peoria Journal Star: “I had a job that paid well, and I wasn’t really living my life…I wasn’t following the dream in my heart.” He quit his job and moved to Peoria, adding that he had no savings, having spent all his money on useless nonsense like pinwheels, chewing gum and beer.
After quitting his factory job, he founded Mudvayne in 1996. The band released five studio albums – “LD 50” in 2000, “The End of All Things to Come” in 2002, “Lost and Found” was released in 2005, “The New Game” in 2008 and 2009, “Mudvayne”. “Lost and Found” reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart and their single – “Happy?” – reached number one on the US Mainstream Rock chart.
He wrote “Death Blooms” in honor of his grandmother’s struggle with her illness, believing that his grandmother felt neglected towards the end of her life.
In 2004 their song “Silenced/Not Falling” was in the video game “Backyard Wrestling 2”, and “Determined” appeared in “Need for Speed: Underground 2”. In 2007, “Happy?” played in “MX vs. ATV Untamed.” In 2007 their compilation album “By the People, for the People” was released.
Their EPs include “Kill, and I Oughtta” in 1997, “The Beginning of All Things to End” in 2001 and “Live Bootleg” in 2003.
Chad Gray and Tom Maxwell, former Nothingface guitarist, worked together to create another band, Coldwhitechrist, but the project never quite got off the ground due to Chad’s commitments to Mudvayne.
After working with Tom, Mudvayne and Nothingface decided to tour together, and during the Tattoo the Earth tour in 2000, they discussed forming a supergroup. Though they couldn’t do anything right away due to their busy schedules, they came up with five possible band names and in 2006 Hellyeah was formed in Dallas, Texas. The American heavy metal group consisted of Chad Gray as vocalist, Tom Maxwell and Christian Brady as guitarists, Roy Mayorga as drummer and Kyle Sanders as bassist.
Mudvayne’s guitarist Greg Tribbett approached Tom and asked if he would like to join the band. Nothingface’s drummer, Tommy Sickles, was the original drummer, but it didn’t work out, so they started looking for a new drummer.
They tried to convince Vinnie Paul, the former drummer for Pantera and Damageplan. At the time, he was unsure about returning to music after the death of his brother, Dimebag Darrell, and took an 18-month hiatus – “It was one of those things I didn’t think I’d ever be a part of without him.” .’ He said Chad and Tom contacted him and asked if he was interested in joining the band. At first he said he didn’t think he was ready yet, but they were determined. “And one night I’d had some red wine and listened to some KISS on 12…and I said…let’s see what happens.” When he joined the band, he remarked, “Everyone had their heads in the right place, and let’s-the-world-a-new-ass attitude.”
During an interview on AOL Noisecreep’s “Creep Show,” Chad said their fans are finding a way out of Hellyeah’s music: “People need this… we’re giving people relief… a night they don’t worry about. the house payment or car payment.’
In 2007, they released their first self-titled album, which reached number nine on the Billboard 200 chart and number three on the US rock chart. In 2010, “Stampede” was released, which reached number eight on the Billboard 200, number three on the US Rock chart, and number two on the US Hard Rock chart. “Band of Brothers” was released in 2012 and reached number three on both the US Hard Rock and US Rock charts.
In 2014, “Blood for Blood” was released and reached number one on the US Hard Rock chart. “Unden!able” was released in 2016 and reached number two on the US Hard Rock chart.
In 2007, their song “You Wouldn’t Know” was featured in the video games “WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008” and “Madden NFL 08”.
Chad and Greg Tribbett often co-produce and write songs for other artists. Man Made Machine from Phoenix released their debut album “Become”, which features “Victim” on the track, a song written and produced by Chad and Greg.
They also produced Nonpoint’s sixth studio album, “Miracle” – Chad also lent his voice to the album’s title track. Other songs he played in include “Falling Backwards” by Bloodsimland and “Monsters” by V Shape Mind. He sang Suicide Silence’s “Fuck Everything” on Mitch Lucker’s Memorial Show. He has claimed that he enjoys helping other bands with their songs more than singing and performing.
In his 2015 interview with All Access, he said, “I purposely write open-ended songs so that listeners can draw a line between what I say lyrically and make it applicable to their lives.”
In 2005, Chad married Kelli Olson and they lived together in Redding, California. That same year, Rau, his grandmother, died after a long battle with cancer. He dedicated “Thank You” by Hellyeah and “Death Blooms” by Mudvayne to her and her struggles. He had said that he is grateful for his grandmother’s love and that she encouraged him to join the choir when he was a little boy, which led to his passion for singing.
He divorced Kelli Olson and is currently engaged to Shannon Gunz. She is the radio host for several Sirius XM channels including Octane, Ozzy’s Boneyard and Turbo. Together they have a dog, Milly.
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
Chad occasionally wears makeup during stage performances. He is known for his signature growls, screams, but clean vocals.
He enjoys painting, hiking, golfing, photography and does his best to eat healthy.
He has blue eyes and natural black hair, which he sometimes dyes. When performing, he usually wears his hair down and sometimes styles it in a mohawk.
Wealth and salary
Chad’s net worth is estimated to be over $5 million by mid-2020.