M. Shadows talked with Digital Trends about the criteria for picking the songs Avenged Sevenfold covered, mixing them to fit with production on “The Stage,” how he makes sure his vocals come through in mixes, if he would go to Mars, the live bonus tracks on “The Stage” Deluxe Edition, the WorldWired Tour, his favorite Metallica song, how important songwriting is, and their upcoming headlining tour.
Digital Trends: Some fans might be surprised to hear Avenged Sevenfold has covered songs from Pink Floyd, Del Shannon, and The Beach Boys for the deluxe edition of The Stage, but not me. I can totally see that lineage and connection to what the band has done all along.
M. Shadows: Well, I’m certain my tastes have gotten more sophisticated as I got older. I would say the most influential band in my life at this point is Pink Floyd — but I also know when I was younger, I couldn’t stand putting on a Pink Floyd record. (both chuckle) I just didn’t get it. What they did was too long, and too, I guess … it was very abstract to me at the time.
And I’ve seen it with The Stage, where there’s definitely a part of our audience that doesn’t get it. I think that’s the audience I was at one point — the one that wanted more heavy-hitting, straight-to-the-point, in-and-out sorts of songs. But you gotta go where your heart takes you, and this is the kind of music we’re playing now. It’s a little more in-depth, and it takes more paying attention to.
The key there is, if you don’t have a good song at the core, you wouldn’t be able to play songs like these acoustically anyway, if the songwriting wasn’t there to begin with. They’d break down when you strip them down.
One of the things I always scream from the top of any mountain is that rock bands need to work on the songwriting. Songwriting is your key. You can add all the layers on you want and make it as heavy as you want and put a double-kick everywhere, but it doesn’t polish the turd, you know? (chuckles) That’s our number one focus, and that’s what should always be the main focus in music: the songwriting.