M. Shadows spoke to Full Metal Jackie about Hail To The King: Deathbat, the difference between writing music for a video game and album, if Hail To The King: Deathbat could become a franchise, new music, Gene Simmons’ recent statement that rock is dead, how it feels for Avenged Sevenfold to inspire kids the way classic bands did him, how he makes sure that their music never loses its mystique and more.
Gene Simmons’ recent statement that rock is dead really stirred up a lot of passionate reactions from other musicians. What’s your take on his statement? Especially since your band is at the forefront of keeping heavy music alive.
MS: Quotes like that are just click bait for people. People that are in bands that want to play music for the love of music are going to do it regardless of what his quote was. I read his quote, I think some of it is taken out of context. I understand what he’s saying, but rock music will never die. We all know that. It doesn’t mean it’s in the forefront of all entertainment and music right now, it’s obviously not. But I understand what he’s saying and I understand everybody and their responses to it. To me it’s just all drama online and I could care less.
When you first discover music, it’s such a powerful presence in your life. It’s pure passion. But, once it becomes a career there’s a real danger that your love of music can change. How do you make sure that music never loses the mystique that captured you in the first place?
MS: We do a lot of things that kind of annoy people and our fan base. We try not to get overloaded on it. For us, that means we don’t do social media stuff — we have an Avenged Sevenfold social media but none of the band members have Facebook’s or any sort of Twitter. It’s not because we don’t want to be around the fans, but it’s a constant hounding of this is your job, this is what you do, this is what you’re known for, talk to us all day about music. It gets away from the music and starts getting into other things like we were talking about earlier. It has no interest to me.
For what we do, we take time off, we re-calibrate. People go surfing, I like to golf. We like to do other things, just get away from it. We don’t completely immerse our life in it so much to where the things that aren’t important become important to us. We try to keep it – when we’re going to write a record, we get into the studio together, we have a great time and we try to write the best songs we possibly can without any other outside influence. Whether it be what fans want or what the label wants, this or that. That’s the way you keep it fresh because as soon as you get bored with what you’re doing or not proud of what you’re doing or you put out a record or go on tour when you didn’t want to, that’s when it becomes a job. Our mission since day one was to make sure this never felt like a job. We just keep ourselves sane before we try to please anybody else.
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