Earlier on this evening M Shadows called in to 98 KUPD to speak with Fitz Madrid and I transcribed the entire interview for you guys. The two talked about taking a break, recording a new album, putting Arin through the ringer, if they plan on covering new songs, writing “Buried Alive” and releasing it as the fourth single, playing overseas and his experiences there, training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, being a “Call Of Duty” fanboy, and much more. The front-man even mentions that the band have taped interviews for a documentary on Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.
FM: Mr M Shadows how are you today? It’s Fitz.
M: Good to talk to ya!
FM: Good, it’s good to talk to you. So you just settled settling into Seattle right now?
M: Uh yep. We just got here from a 14 hour drive.
FM: Oh man, oh man. You guys must really smell like truck-stops right now.
M: We do, it was a pretty motley crew rolling into customs. All good though.
FM: You guys are going to be here for a week on the Uproar tour which should be a pretty damn good time man. A lot of people are real excited to see you and I got a couple of question I want to ask, I put it on my Facebook sayin’ hey you know what? M Shadows is calling in do you guys have any questions for him? And needless to say a lot of people have questions for you Mr Shadows. Do you feel like you’re up to fielding a few of them?
FM: Let’s see, Stephanie Dunham want’s to know: I just want to ask him if he will marry me. No really, I want to know if they plan on making more albums and will he marry me?
M: [laughs] Well since I’m standing here with my wife right now I have to say that I can only marry one woman. But if we meet up in Utah some time maybe I can have more than one wife. And, more albums? Yeah! After this tour, you know we always say we want to take a break after the tour and people take it as “Oh they’re gonna stop playing for a while” but I think it’s just healthy for every band to kind of decompress after a long touring cycle on the road. We’re going to decompress after this record and then we’re gonna be back at it as soon as we get some inspiration to write again.
FM: Nice, good times. That was actually one of the other questions, one woman asked: When are they going to take a break? – How long have you guys been on the road now? It’s been like what 18 months?
M: Yeah, it’s not that bad. We always tour on records that long. There’s different types of bands. There’s bands that can cross the European countries and Asian countries and for us that’s kind of what metal is. Metal’s kind of a world-wide thing so we have a lot of places we have to go to and we try to hit them up twice. People don’t know this but there’s like 26 different places to play in France. It’s like, you’ve got to go to those places because the kids are fiending for metal and they love it so we try to get to everywhere, we try to play as much as we can and we do 2 year cycles. So yeah, once this whole thing wraps up probably next summer we’re going to decompress for a while and we’ll get our time off.
FM: Much deserved. I don’t know much about France but I understand you can see the underpants there.
M: [laughs] Absolutely.
FM: Let me ask you a question about Arin. Is he just touring with you? Is he a member of the band? How’s that working out?
M: We’re being very cautious of just throwing somebody into the mix and calling them a band member but he is an amazing drummer. Right now he’s our touring drummer but I have a feeling there’s going to be a long relationship we’re going to have with him. I’d love to have him in the band, we just want to right a record with him before we solidify. He’s a young kid. We need to make sure that he can be on the road and he’s not getting homesick after two years. That he can write a record and be involved in the whole touring thing and the whole record process and not freak out. Before we call him a band member we kind of want to put him through the ringer and make sure, yeah this is what he want’s to do.
FM: It seems very reasonable. Cause of someone says “Hey, you wanna be in Avenged Sevenfold?” Well hell yeah! “Do you really know what it’s LIKE being in Avenged Sevenfold?” Hmm, let me think about that for a second.
M: Exactly. How long do you want to be away from your family? Can you handle it? There’s a lot of stuff that we deal with out here. It’s obviously not a bad life by any means but it’s different things that tug on people emotionally then just having a normal job and being able to go home everyday and see your family. We have to make sure he’s road-worthy, I guess.
FM: Take him out, hang him up wet and see how he dries out basically.
M: [laughs] Exactly.
FM: The video for “So Far Away” – Was that hard to shoot or easy to shoot?
M: It was harder to watch at the end because we didn’t know that Wayne was going to put all that footage of Jimmy in at the end. It was a lot harder to watch then it was to shoot and I think when you’re shooting something.. Jimmy’s family was there and we were doing interviews for a documentary we’re doing about Jimmy… We just saw the rough cut of it and I don’t know when it’s coming out because I know kid’s are going to be like “Hey, when’s it coming out?”… It was a lot easier to be there with our friends and his family and shoot the video. A lot of the stuff when it came to together it was a lot harder for all of us to watch.
FM: I can understand that. I only met him in a sort of way that a radio guy would meet a dude in the band but just kind of meeting you guys a couple times, as a human being I’m all “Oh man, that is so heavy” at the end.
M: Yeah, absolutely. That’s all footage that I had never even seen. So, it was like “Ok, yeah, that hurts a little bit.” But, I think it makes a point and people lose people they love everyday in this world and it resonates with people. Everyone is going to feel like that at some point in their life. I think it’s a universal video and it sucks that it’s us but I think we had to do it.
FM: Aubrey wants to know this: A7X have covered classic songs like “Walk” by Pantera and “Flash Of The Blade” by Iron Maiden. Are there any newer songs you’re considering covering in the set?
M: Right now, no. We’re really concerned playing deeper cuts off our albums and playing songs that our hardcore fans haven’t gotten to hear in a while like “Waking The Fallen” stuff and “City Of Evil” stuff. We’ve been learning all those songs over, especially Arin’s got so much stuff on his plate. First we throw him into, here’s 12 songs you have to learn and now here’s 25 songs you have to learn and they’re all long songs. Luckily, he grew up listening to Avenged Sevenfold which helps because he already knows the songs but now it’s all about putting it all together and playing it live. We don’t really have time right now to make more cover songs especially since a lot of the fans want to hear… You know we only have so much time on stage and our songs are already long enough. We always get complaints like “We wanna hear more! Play longer!” Well, we can’t. We’re playing an hour and a half and you get 11 songs. It kinda sucks but that’s just kinda the nature of the band.
FM: The new song “Buried Alive” is pretty good. I really dig the kind of shout-out to Metallica in the breakdown of that. It’s a really good song man. How did that sort of thing come about? Was it like the typical Avenged Sevenfold writing process or was there something unusual about it?
M: Towards the end of the writing process I sat down with Gates and I really wanted to put together a song that was a cross between “Stairway To Heaven” and “One” by Metallica. I took all the things that I thought were, just the ideas, like “Hey, I want a simple thrash riff. But, at the same time I want the first half of the song to be one vibe and the second half to seamlessly work it’s way into a completely different vibe. Can we do this?” I’m really proud of that song. I love it. I can’t believe it’s even getting played on the radio at all, it’s like 6 and a half minutes. To me it’s one of the best tracks on the record and I told the people at the label “Look, you can go with singles or short songs all day but at the end of the day people are reacting to this song.” It should be we should think about it and see what happens. We’ve been lucky that we’ve had so much success with the first three songs that we were able to get to a fourth single. Now it’s just exciting, now we’re kind of letting it go. We’re having great reactions so far but yeah, it’s one of my favorite songs on the record.
FM: I really like it as well. When you say 6 and a half minutes I’m sitting there looking and wow that song really is long. It doesn’t seem that long cause it’s pretty good you know?
M: [laughs] Yeah.
FM: Believe me, being on the radio for as long as I have I’ve played 2 and a half minute songs that feel like an hour.
M: Oh yeah yeah, absolutely. The funny thing is it’s a song but it has two choruses and it’s only got two choruses there’s not a third chorus and it’s basically two songs pasted together. It just works together. It’s fun to be able to put something out there that people aren’t used to hearing on the radio. When I was growing up those were the songs that really attracted to me to radio. When “Killing In The Name Of” came out with Rage and when “Chop Suey” came out with System Of A Down it was just different and exciting and fun. To me that’s what hopefully we can bring to radio with our band.
FM: I think so too. One of the things that’s very true about your band and I don’t wanna sound like I’m trying to give you a hand-job here but you’re bands not bullshit. You hear a lot of stuff and you think “Those guys are nice” but you guys go out there and tour, you make your albums, you do this kind of stuff and you bring it. What I’m saying is, I think Avenged Sevenfold’s not too bad!
M: [laughs] Thank you. I appreciate it.
FM: Avenged Sevenfold, they’re going places!
M: [laughs] Thank you.
FM: A lot of guys overseas, they’re fans of your music. Do you ever get pictures from guys in the Gulf where they like got the skull bat up and they’re saying “Hey, look here we are in Fauzia.”
M: We do, we get a lot of stuff, it’s really cool. Also, we went over and played in Iraq so we have a lot of stuff from over there. Just being over there and soldiers with the Avenged Sevenfold tattoos and they’re all amped so they’re promoting the show. It was unbelievable. The thing was, they don’t really bring many rock bands over there. Rock bands say they’re going over there but really they’re playing these big USO events, like one show in a stadium, we actually went into the shit. We went into the battlefield. We played 4 different bases where people were living in little cubicles. They were going out every night on to their missions and coming back. People were dying and there’s mortars being shot into their base. We got to play out there in that kind of environment and it was awesome because there were more people coming to our show than the country artists that go out there. It was really cool being one of the first rock bands to go out there. You know the soldiers love blasting heavy metal, that’s what they thrive on. It was really cool to be out there and do that kind of thing. We have great pictures from that.
FM: If there was a way to sort of boil down that whole experience in maybe one or two sentences what would you say? If that’s even possible.
M: It was the best experience of my life. Hands down. When I think about it it takes me back to that place. Going into Iraq and seeing all the gold and the palaces that Saddam was building and then the rest of the country just living in crap, it was unbelievable to see how that all went down and how bad some people have it. It was also crazy to see people that were, 18 year old girls walking around with M-16’s, they all have to hold onto their guns. Kids just walking around going to the rock show with their M-16’s on their shoulder. It’s pretty surreal.
FM: Just owning it like a boss, right?
M: Yeah! Exactly!
FM: So a guy named Nick says: I hear that a B.J.J. Master. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Are you a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Master?
M: Noo. I trained for a while just to get into it a little bit. I know some stuff but I’m definitely not a master. [laughs]
FM: A grasshopper on the scale of things, you would say.
M: Yeah. You learn plenty of things and I was getting pretty good at it. Actually, the guy I was training with wanted me to get into it and I’m like “Dude are you kidding me?” I’m not going to go jump into the UFC or jump into an octagon when I have my band, that’s just ridiculous.
FM: Plus no matter how good you are at that stuff, unless you’re born to be an unstoppable ass-kicker, you’ll just get your butt kicked non-stop.
M: Oh yeah. Even if you win your fight you’ll break your nose and look ridiculous.
FM: I was watching the other day like if a guy like Rampage Jackson gets his ass kicked what chance do I ever have?
M: I know, it’s crazy. Especially watching that John Jones fight with Rampage last week. It’s like “Dude, no one’s going to beat that guy” The guy’s like 6’5 and he’s a maniac. You get in there with him you’re just going to get knocked out. It doesn’t sound like fun.
FM: You guys’ song was in the “Black Ops” soundtrack. Do you guys play much “Black Ops?”
M: I play way too much.
FM: Oh sir, you’ve established your geek cred. What do you think, Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3?
M: I played Battlefield 3 yesterday, the beta for it, and I played Modern Warfare 3. I went to Activision, they let me play it. Battlefield to me is more drawn out strategic game. It’s going to be fun. They only let you play one level right now on the beta. Modern Warfare 3, it went back to.. snipers are way overpowered, too lethal. To me, I love Black Ops and I’ll see what happens. I can’t give an opinion on Battlefield until I play it more but I’m going to go with Call Of Duty cause I’m into that series and franchise.
FM: It turns out that being the singer of a cool band gets you a lot of stuff than being a disc-jockey does. I can’t believe you got to play both of those games. Whatever dude, whatever man!
M: [laughs] I know. I’m a little fanboy though when it comes to that stuff. They know that, so they call me all “Come play it.”
FM: “Do you wanna swing by and play our game?” Uh yeah let me check my calender.. Yes, yes I’ll be down there…
M: You know what it is, they know I’m going to talk to you guys and other radio stations and they’re like, “Oh so he’s out there promoting my game for free..”
FM: That would carry a little bit of weight.
FM: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day and calling us. We’ll see you, I guess, in a little over a week then man.
M: Absolutely, man. We’re looking forward to it.
FM: Shadows, thanks for calling dude have a good day.
M: You too, man.