Reporting Jay Tilles
Avenged Sevenfold don’t crave Miley or Gaga’s popularity. When singer M. Shadows and bassist Johnny Christ sat down with Radio.com, they confessed they have no desire to be a household name. “It’s metal. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s dangerous,” Shadows said between swigs of a stiff drink. “Everyone’s not going to like it. That’s what’s cool about it.”
Although they’re not striving for world domination, Shadows does admit it’s time metal had a voice in pop culture. After all, their new album, Hail to the King, did debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and rose to the top of the U.K. Albums charts faster than Miley or Gaga shed clothing. “It’s exciting for us to take over for a little bit,” Shadows said of the No. 1s.
The Huntington Beach, Calif. band knows that the key to longevity means balancing the past with the present. “We’ve had such a great fan base from day one, and we have such a solid thing going on that you don’t want to mess that up,” Shadows said. “But at the same time, we’re human beings that want to create a progressive record and write what we feel in our hearts.”
Despite critics having accused the band of stealing riffs from Metallica for their latest album, A7X sees it another way. They prefer to draw comparisons between their similar circumstances. “We have so many eerie similarities to Metallica, it’s like ridiculous,” Shadows said. “We lost a member during one of our most important times,” referring to the 2009 death of drummer James “The Rev” Sullivan. “We have an album that’s being compared to the Black Album. For us, we kneel to the throne; we’re big fans of Metallica. But at the same time we’re doing our own thing, trying to make our own legacy.”
But that’s just the stuff on the outer edge. The band’s keeping their eye on what really matters to them.
“Our main focus is playing the festivals, playing the live shows, blowing up as much s*** up as possible, making the best songs possible and completely servicing our fans. And if that takes Johnny Christ going out and servicing the fans with a greasy hand then that’s what he’s gotta do.”
Whether you wager bets on that actually happen or not, Avenged Sevenfold will webcast a special “Fright Night” performance live from the Red Bull Sound Space this Friday night (November 1) at 8:45 p.m. PT/11:45 p.m. ET via Los Angeles’ KROQ (a Radio.com station). Following the performance, the band will chat over drinks with host Ted Stryker.