If you were under a rock/at work this morning, you might have missed that Avenged Sevenfold are headlining the Friday of Download this year. To be fair, we should have seen this coming, cos M Shadows talked to us at length about the future of A7X in FRONT 185. Check out the full interview below.
Your new album Hail To The King is out this month – are you excited?
I’m very excited. I love the guys in my band, I love hanging out with them, so we feel like we might as well write some music. They’ve got good attitudes about things – we only care about what we think as a group because we’re all friends. Nobody gets stressed out, we just go “Yeah, we’ve put lots of time into this, let’s put it out”. If you’re a fan of an AC/DC, Sabbath vibe and want something to drive down the freeway to with your hand in the air giving the finger, it’s for you.
As it’s album number six, is there more freedom to just write songs you like?
We’ve always been like that. People have an interesting perspective of major labels. Our relationship with the label has always been, “Here’s the money to make it, let us know if you need anything, and hand the record over when you’re done.” We’ve never been told what to do.
Your sound’s changed a lot over six albums, do you get lots of shit from old fans?
Every record we get shit. We get shit if we stay the same and we get shit if we change. When we put out City Of Evil after Waking The Fallen there was a shitstorm. We thought it was really great but people were going “This fuckin’ sucks!” They were calling us sellouts – probably eight of the eleven songs on that record are over eight minutes long, that’s like the least sellout move ever. You can’t really win.
Ever ended up getting involved and telling people online to get fucked?
I’ve never made a comment on a messageboard in my life. Unless someone physically tries to attack me I don’t care what anyone does. I don’t want to be that douchebag on Xbox Live shouting “I’ve got your fuckin’ IP address, I’m coming to your fuckin’ house!” It’s not important to me.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve read about yourself?
There’s been a lot of stuff about my voice, that I can’t scream because I had surgery, and I can explain as many times as I like that we don’t want to scream anymore, but people won’t understand the words coming out of my mouth, so I stopped explaining it. And there’s random things, where people write stuff like “They were in my city and I met them and had sex with this guy, and…” Anyone can look at our line-up and see we weren’t there, but whatever I guess.
Have you had death rumours?
Not about me, although didn’t Bon Jovi have one recently? I think it would be kinda cool – if I saw a death rumour about myself I think I’d go hide somewhere to play it up. Pull some Makaveli shit, some Tupac stuff.
We’re in a very posh hotel talking to you – do you ever miss the lack of glamour in the early days when it was a buncha dudes in a van?
Obviously I wish The Rev was still here, because then we had the old crew and would be drinking 40s, fucking with each other, driving twelve hours to the next city, selling some shirts and doing it again. It was fun. You miss it sometimes, but at the same time, we’re getting older. I’m 32, I have a newborn son, and I’m not gonna be a dad who’s away on the road all the time, I’m gonna be a dad who brings his son with him, so he gets to live on the road. If you make money, what’s it worth if you can’t be with your family?
Your son’ll have a pretty exciting childhood…
Yeah, hopefully he won’t turn out like a dickhead. We’ve got to keep him grounded. I grew up in a van on $1 a day, my family had no money, and I started a punk rock band that turned into a hardcore band that turned into a metal band, and the reality now is that sometimes to get to shows we need to charter a jet. Sometimes we live on a bus that’s a million dollars. He needs to understand that that doesn’t just happen, it comes from years and years of hard work.
Would you like your kid to follow you into metal?
He’s very into music – he’s one and he’s banging on drums, making noises into a microphone. I want him to do whatever he wants to do, whether that’s being a golfer, a physicist… Usually people grow up and go “Whatever my Dad does, it’s not cool. Fuck you dad, I’m going to college!”
You guys are unashamedly aiming high, aiming to be the biggest band in the world.
Sometimes we get asked loaded questions, like “Maiden and Metallica can’t headline Download forever, so are you guys next?” I’d be a pussy to say no, because I’d like to do that, yet I’m an egotistical dick if I say yes. The honest answer is, the fans are going to decide if they want to see us take up that mantle. Somebody needs to do that, because you can’t have Maiden headline every festival, and you can’t have obscure metal bands headlining the second stage at a festival where the headliners are Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers. Metal needs to be exposed to more people, so it’s good for rock if there’s bigger bands. American radio rock bands aren’t gonna cut it, it’s got to be real, classically influenced metal that stays true to what metal is. If we’re that band, I’m up for it.
You’re doing your first arena tour in two years – is that the next step?
You’re going to have 80,000 to 100,000 people at Download, right? We just sold out 30,000 tickets in England five months before our shows. It’s about not overplaying, playing the right times, putting on a great show every time, making it a fucking event.
If money was no object, what would your production be like?
I’m an old purist in what I want my big rock shows to look like. KISS do a great one, Iron Maiden are the kings. We’re pretty much there in terms of shit we want to blow up, but there’ll always be new cool stuff we can do. We’re not gonna be swinging around on fucking ropes or anything. I just like a lot of fire. I’m just a dude. I want to see a band playing their shit, and shit blowing up.
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