Synyster Gates was interviewed by Infectious Magazine at his Guitar Center Master Class and spoke about which guitar player he would choose to do a Master Class with, what he was looking for when choosing the winners, what he was hoping to accomplish with his Master Class, what he believes makes a great guitar player, if he ever feels like he stops learning guitar work, touring with Korn on Mayhem Festival, Avenged Sevenfold mixing up their set on the festival and headlining Download Festival. Photos by Infectious Mag be seen here. Video of Gates playing an original composition he wrote specially for the Master Class and his own improvised take on gypsy-jazz player Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing” can be seen here.
Avenged Sevenfold has been touring pretty extensively, how are you going to mix up your set for Mayhem?
Syn Gates: We’ll try and switch it up, as basic as that sounds. As far as the set, we’re definitely going to put out a bigger, better show so to speak. Hopefully a little bit longer because I know we get complaints about that. Longer, better, bigger.
What about Download Festival, A7X is headlining one of the days, what’s that going to be like?
Syn Gates: It’s going to be fucking awesome! From our standpoint? Fuck, it’s the coolest thing ever. We haven’t really headlined a big, overseas festival. It’s definitely the biggest festival, the biggest show that we have headlined. And to have it be such a legendary and historical sort of thing, I mean ACDC has headlined it, last time I was there and saw it, they had System of a Down, I mean – it’s legendary! Way too cool.
M Shadows called into Lafayette’s Planet 105.1 to JoBo talk to about what it’s like to tour with Vinnie Paul, taking Adrenaline Mob on the Shepherd Of Fire Tour, how their stage production on the Shepherd Of Fire Tour will be different than what they had last time they were in the area and where Avenged Sevenfold draw their lyrical content from. Have you gotten your tickets to the Shepherd Of Fire Tour yet?
Whats going to be different on this tour than the last time you guys came through Lafayette?
M Shadows: “We’re doing a bunch of headlining gigs in Europe, a bunch of festivals like Donington and Graspop over in Belgium and so we have a huge stage show that we need to test out [laughs] so this whole tour we’re basically going to be blowing everything up and all the video walls, everything we’re going to be doing at these festivals that hold 90-100,000 people we’re going to be packing into these arenas. So, without giving it all away, pretty much a ridiculous, over the top, show for arenas but I mean, it should be cool to watch. I mean, it’s going to be pretty out of control.”
Johnny Christ called into Regina’s 104.9 The Wolf to talk to about if he ever feels unsafe in cities Avenged Sevenfold stop in on tour, the live vibe of songs from ‘Hail To The King,’ how many basses he owns, what his first bass was, the number in his phone that 16 year-old Johnny Christ never thought he would have and one item he must have on tour with him.
M Shadows was interviewed by Loudwire while Avenged Sevenfold were on tour in South America and talked about the biggest challenge in putting together ‘Hail To The King’, the nicest pay off from it so far, the inspiration behind ‘Shepherd Of Fire’, people who inspire their song-writing, bringing HELLYEAH and Adrenaline Mob on the Shepherd Of Fire Tour, what reaction songs off ‘Hail To The King’ have been getting live, Avenged Sevenfold’s fourth single, how ‘This Means War’ came together, Hail To The King: Deathbat, playing the ‘Rise Above’ festival, his thoughts on Metallica’s ‘Lords of Summer’ and more.
Have to ask, ‘Shepherd of Fire’ has been out a while now. Any thoughts on what might be next?
MS: Definitely ‘This Means War’ — when we sent the record to people the song originally they wanted was that one first. We wanted ‘Hail to the King’ first then they wanted it second, then we wanted ‘Shepherd of Fire’ second, so, it’s going to be the third single. Now, as a band, do we want to go with a ballad fourth? We’re not sure between the two ballads on the record what we’re going to chose. ‘This Means War’ is definitely going to be the next single
The ‘Hail to the King: Deathbat’ game that you guys are working on — I know you’re a big fan of storytelling games. Tell me a little bit about how the game came together and your involvement in it.
MS:We were just looking for another medium on being able to be creative. Music videos, they just don’t cut it anymore. The way that bands were able to express themselves, they don’t really exist. There’s a lot of — either you’re on Facebook or Twitter just annoying everybody about what you’re eating or what country you’re in and I just hate all that stuff. So one day when we were on a bus to a show in Southeast Asia about two years ago, I saw everyone on their phones and they were all playing games.
I said, ‘Man we can make a game!’ And that’s what kind of kicked this off. Besides that I wanted to write a triple A game completely separate from the band. I was really into doing a game. So through all these meetings and things we had put together with GDD, which is a game document design, we decided to start building this game two years ago. Now we’re close on doing a very expansive mobile video game, which is big enough to where it should be on a console but we’re squeezing it into a mobile platform. Hopefully our fans dig it and mostly, I hope gamers dig it. It’s a good game, it’s not just for fans of the band.
I read in another interview about it, eight original songs, nine old tracks. Kind of a mix of things in there. Can you talk about coming up with some of the music?
MS:We’ve been trying to downplay the music part because with the way our band sounds we don’t expect even half of our fans to get it or to understand it. It’s purely throwback video game music. A lot of 8-bit sounds but a lot of instrumentals. We made songs that reminded us of our youth playing ‘Castlevania’ or ‘Mario Brothers,’ ‘Zelda.’ So we made nine songs, which are original songs that we put together. They’ll be in the game. I’m sure we’ll do some sort of packaging where you can buy those songs with ‘Hail to the King’ or whatever. Or you can just play the game and listen to them. There’s nine songs, but we’re trying to downplay it. I don’t want everyone to think nine new songs, then they hear it and it’s a bunch of digital music.
Full Metal Jackie interviewed M Shadows on Loudwire Reloaded and he spoke about what stands out most to him about ‘Hail To The King,’ how he would like to see Avenged Sevenfold/Rock/Metal as a whole evolve and develop, what he’s currently listening to, how he feels about the resurgence of older bands, Avenged Sevenfold standing the test of time, the music industry, Hail To The King: Deathbat, taking HELLYEAH and Adrenaline Mob out on the Shepherd Of Fire Tour (and what band was originally supposed to be on the bill), hanging out with other bands while on tour, golf and how he feels about where Avenged Sevenfold is today.
Do you feel that your hope for Avenged Sevenfold is to be one of those bands that stand the test of time and are still doing this 20 years from now, as well?
MS: That’s always a hope, but things have changed so much. We’re dealing with a completely different generation. Just the technology and the amount of music that’s getting thrown at everybody everyday. It’s very sporadic. With Spotify, you buy a record now and you don’t even really have to listen to it, you’re paying for a subscription a lot of the time.
Obviously, I’m a younger guy, but even when I was growing up, you went and bought a CD and you had to get into it. Those bands became massive because it was the CD to get. I remember when the first Korn record came out or when [Pantera's] ‘Far Beyond Driven’ came out, there was no way I wasn’t gonna listen to those things to death because I paid money for it. Now, with subscriptions, I see people downloading songs and they don’t even listen to it. They just listen to one song, they don’t really care about the band. It’s gonna be a lot harder for bands like us and a Five Finger Death Punch or a Bullet for My Valentine — bands that are coming up now — to become that big because people are kind of scattered with all the things that are being thrown at them.
Obviously, that would be a hope: that we could reach that point someday, but it’s gonna be tough.
MS: I’ve got to imagine too, it’s hard when you get compared to, nowadays, bands that have been around longer than Avenged has, it’s impossible to even touch the amount of album sales for the historic bands that have been around and were there when the music business was doing better.
Oh, totally. We were in right when the decline started happening. ‘City of Evil’ came out and people were like, ‘Oh, your record is only doing 30,000 a week. That’s pretty weak compared to what these records were doing.’ Now I look at 30,000 record a week and any band would die to do that, including us. It just doesn’t happen anymore. Now you’re Top 20 if you have 14,000 records a week. The whole CD-buying thing is gone. It’s a lot harder because you look at these bands who sold 200 million records and it’s like, that’s never gonna happen again. There’s not gonna be a band that does that. So we just have to make our own way. We’re not really worried about following those band’s footsteps, we’re just worried about playing to our fans and writing good songs.
Brazil’s Terra chatted with (Translated) M Shadows over email about the relationship Avenged Sevenfold have with Brazil, the importance of reaching a sixth album, the criticism Avenged Sevenfold receive from metal ‘purists’ and more.
Earth – Avenged Sevenfold gets some criticism from fans over the metal “purists”. It’s hard to be the “new generation”? Do you feel you need to prove they deserve success?
M. Shadows – We have many fans, the best from around the world for any type of music. We do not need to prove anything. If you look at the history of rock, you’ll see the best fucking bands also heard the previous generation of fans. There was a dispute between Beatles and Rolling Stones, Aerosmith was considered copies of the Rolling Stones, etc.. I watched the Pantera opening for Black Sabbath and saw older guys in the background complaining that Phil Anselmo’s screaming was not real metal. Every new generation gets it. We ignore it and keep doing our thing. Trying to impress people who hate you is just a big waste of time.
Arin Ilejay called into Winnipeg’s Power 97 and talked about the ‘Hail To The King’ album, pre-show rituals, weird fan requests he’s received, how it feels to be praised by bands like Metallica, places Avenged Sevenfold haven’t played live yet, heading to Winnipeg on the Shepherd Of Fire Tour and what fans can expect from the show.
In 2010, the Dirty Heads released a remixed version of their song “Check The Level” featuring Slash and M Shadows. Singer Jared Watson was recently interviewed (2:16-3:00) and spoke about how the collaboration was.
Carlita: So how was it working with Slash?
Jared: Really cool, he’s friends with our manager. Once again, we’ve had a lot of really cool what-the-fuck moments and to get him and our good friend M Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold on a song it was an honor. Really, they’re both.. how big they are and how successful they’ve been they’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life. Down to earth, really respectful, just really cool and it’s so nice to meet people like that. When you strive to be successful and as big as somebody like Slash or M Shadows, you know, some people get big and they become assholes but there’s a lot of really really nice people that have been really really successful.
Filed under: Interviews
You have this tour coming up with Avenged Sevenfold, and they’ve got a huge following …
VP: They’re probably the biggest metal band going today. They have an incredible following, we’ve been friends for a long time. I sent Matt [singer M. Shadows] three of the [Blood For Blood] tracks before we got the tour and I’m pretty positive that’s what nailed the tour for us. He loved them. He hit me up right away and said he was going to take us out with them, which was very awesome to be able to go and play 15, 16, 17 thousand seat arenas full of people that dig f—in’ heavy metal. It’ll be awesome. It’s hard to do this day in age. To be on the bill with them is really great.
Arin Ilejay called Brazil’s G1 (Translated) and talked about Avenged Sevenfold playing Rock in Rio, Brazilian fans, Avenged Sevenfold fans being supportive of him, how his jazz and funk rhythm studies influence his play, bringing metal back into the spotlight, not having a stage name and more.
G1 – This is the fifth time that Avenged Sevenfold is coming to Brazil. Do you think the Brazilians already occupy a special chapter in the history of the band?
Yes, definitely a special story. I mean, we do our best to build our history in all the places we go, but just the fact of playing at Rock in Rio and with Iron Maiden, for example, that’s really historic for us. And the Brazilian fans are certainly and by far the most crazy and committed. Can’t really explain how amazing they are. It’s just crazy to see [... ] You’re up there playing and you can only hear the screams in his return. And it happens to me, that I’m sitting there in the background. If I can hear it through my headphones, imagine the guys in front of the stage. And it’s also amazing how, once we got off the plane, they are already there waiting for us, with CDs and posters.
G1 – And how is your relationship specifically with the fans? After you joined the band in a very delicate and sad time. How they got you?
There was little resistance, of course, because the band already had a story without me. But some people were quicker to accept … (my arrival) was due to a a terrible situation, no one chose, had nothing to do with egos or someone being evicted, had to do with losing a loved one. But most of the fans were actually very understanding and supported the band in choosing someone who could help them move on. I think I had more support than even imagined.
Cooperative TV sat down with M Shadows ahead of Avenged Sevenfold’s concert in Chile to talk about what the band wanted to accomplish with the style of “Hail To The King,” every album being a ‘natural experiment,’ the criticism their albums have received for being different than the other and playing “Hail To The King” live. Shadows also spoke with DG Medios (Spanish/Translated):
“I love playing in Chile. [...]” says M Shadows. “The last time, I remember all those guys waiting outside the hotel. That does not happen everywhere in the world.” The group is promoting their sixth album, Hail To The King, which received rave reviews and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in its first week. “[...] Nightmare was a hit and people wanted to hear what was coming,” explains Shadows, referring to the good commercial performance of the album. With it, the group also sought to get out of their familiar sounds and explore new ones. Shadows defines the new sound as “more basic, more hymns of Rock/Metal. We took a simpler approach.” And work has brought its rewards. “There are people who approached us and told us, ‘I didn’t understand before, but I really liked the last album.’ We opened a whole new fan base,” says the singer. […] Shadows explain his pleasure of going through South America, “They live and die by Rock. It’s a great place for Avenged Sevenfold.”
Avenged Sevenfold has launched a Facebook page for Hail To The King: Deathbat. As of the launch, they’ve included an interview M Shadows did with Game Informer where he talks about his background as a gamer, what Call Of Duty clan he belongs to, what sparked the idea for Hail To The King: Deathbat, the inspiration behind the game, what areas of the game were focused on, what role he played in development, how Avenged Sevenfold is incorporated into the game and more.
Arin Ilejay was interviewed backstage at Soundwave 2014 in Brisbane by Browny and spoke about why he gets nervous before shows, what tattoo he shares with one of Bullet For My Valentine’s guitar techs, writing music for the future, adopting a classic metal style of his own, who is “too big” to play live with Avenged Sevenfold, working on Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 and more. Keep an eye out here for photo coverage from Soundwave 2014 and accompanying sideshows.
M Shadows was a guest on Chris Jericho’s Talk Is Jericho podcast (9:10) and spoke about reactions from fans upon hearing new music from Avenged Sevenfold, selling 160,000+ albums during this day and age, choosing set-lists and what their set-list plans are for upcoming tours, doing as much as they can with their stage production, having three major stage sets to rotate usage with, how much the “Bat Country” music video cost to make, the decline of physical album sales over the years, creating their stage-name as teenagers, how the band got involved with the Call Of Duty franchise, filming their Call Of Duty cameo, Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King: Deathbat game and how Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan is involved, recording new songs for Hail To The King: Deathbat and including new versions of older songs, how life is 4 years after Jimmy’ passing and what he misses the most about him, giving Arin Ilejay the opportunity to build his own legacy, what his favorite song to play live is (it’s also his favorite song that Avenged Sevenfold has written) and much more.
UPDATE 1/19: That Metal Show‘s Season 13 premiere episode featuring M Shadows can be streamed (geographical restrictions may apply) here. Matt (9:40) speaks about how Avenged Sevenfold celebrated their #1 albums, the criticism that comes along with success and how he handles it, Hail To The King: Deathbat, if he could be in any other band which would it be, the one song he wish he wrote, his one vice, the best concert he’s ever attended, the first album he bought with his own money, who he thinks is the better vocalist between Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant and more. Zakk Wylde also complimented the band’s success saying, “the success that Avenged Sevenfold has is just great for the whole hard-rock community and rock community in general.”
1/18: That Metal Show has posted bonus content from their season 13 premiere episode taping. In ‘Avenged Sevenfold carries the Metal Torch’ and ‘Zakk Wylde and M. Shadows Put (the Rest Of) It on the Table’ Matt touches on carrying the metal torch, the first song he learned how to play on guitar, the weirdest rumor he’s ever heard about himself and his favorite new band. In the ‘Backstage Interview: M Shadows’ he talks about his first concert, malfunctioning fog machines, his pre-show rituals, weirdest fan requests, what album he would take on a deserted island and gives advice to aspiring rockstars. He also chats with Jennifer in her ‘Miss Box of Junk’ segment about his diet plan and what he listens to when he works out.