SCANS + READ: M Shadows Interview With RockZone Magazine. - Avenged Sevenfold

SCANS + READ: M Shadows Interview With RockZone Magazine.

Deathbat News reader Rena was kind enough to send in the scans from RockZone in which M Shadows is on the cover of as well as the entire interview which has been (roughly) translated. M Shadows talks being a lyricist, returning technique and musicality to the scene, evolution as a vocalist, having to get rid of older songs on set-lists, and more. Check out all of the scans as well as the entire interview by clicking the “more” link.

For M. Shadows, lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold, Jimmy Sullivan was much more than the drummer of the group. He was practically a brother. They had known since age 7, after match in second grade, and when the singer, in high school, decided to form a band in 1999, did not hesitate to contact his childhood friend.
 Sullivan had been playing drums since he was 10 years old where he also met a boy named Brian Elwin Haner Jr., real name of the guy now known as guitarist Synyster Gates, who called for him to join Avenged Sevenfold when they were about to record their first EP, Warmness On The Soul. Given these ties, it is understood a little better the great shock that the death of ‘The Rev’ on 28 December at the age of 28 years, represented in the ranks of the group.
The drummer was buried on January 6 in a private ceremony in which in addition to the band (completed by guitarist Zacky Vengeance and bassist Johnny Christ) was attended by Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Hellyeah now, who has described ‘The Rev ‘as “one of the most creative drummers of recent years,” Matt Tuck of Bullet For My Valentine, and members of Buckcherry and My Chemical Romance. If the entertainment world, especially in these times of realities of celebrities, sometimes a tragedy is used as a hook unscrupulous advertising, in the case of Avenged Sevenfold, they took the issue as discreetly as possible. We notice that the pain of his loss has been totally honest and above all, they want to honor the memory of his partner and avoid feeding the curiosity. Even the autopsy did not reach any conclusive results in his blood were found remains of several opioid analgesics, tranquilizers and alcohol. Let everyone think what they want. 
During the weeks following the event, the members of Avenged Sevenfold were devoted to comfort each other, recalling the moments they had lived with his friend, they seriously thought about dissolving the group. But little by little, at the request of the Sullivan family, they decided that the best way to honor him was to go ahead. Especially considering that the fifth disc, which took months to work, ‘The Rev’ had been very decisive in the composition and arrangements for most subjects. It was the one of Sullivan’s sisters who suggested to call several of the idols of her brother to record the drums in the final version of the album. But when Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, the number 1 on the list and a personal friend of ‘The Rev’, offered to help them in whatever they wanted, they were clear that they would not need to rely on anyone else. It is impossible to know how it would have sounded Nightmare (Roadrunner / Divucsa) Sullivan had not died or if it would have had the same impact, but the truth is that a band that started out as total underground is now the most popular of his generation in the metal. And still today, some think they are a manufactured band.
While the group was engaged in a United States tour with Disturbed, Stone Sour, Hellyeah, Airborne and other groups within the Rockstar Uproar Festival, and before making the jump to Europe, we contacted M. Shadows to tend to our questions, he explains how they have overcome such a traumatic experience and how to face the future.

When you started working on Nightmare, you had the idea of doing a concept album, very dark. What exactly did you have in mind and how did it evolve to the final result following the unexpected death of Jimmy?
M. SHADOWS “Yes, you’re right. We wanted to make a mixture of Operation: Mindcrimede Queensryche, Pink Floyd The Wall and Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory Dream Theater. It was a story about what it means to be young now and feel disconnected from world around you. He played many topics: wars, religion, family, the economy … We were working on it, but I did not want to start writing the lyrics until the music was all over. We were at that point, when Jimmy died, and then everything changed. The only thing that was clear was at the point were the lyrics of ‘Nightmare’ and that the album was going to be titled so as well. I decided to keep that, but writing the rest of the album as a tribute to Jimmy. All came from a dark place and was very sad, but it was real. Actually, the title of Nightmare fit very well because we were living a nightmare. We had never gone through anything like this, and I hope it takes a long, long time to live a similar situation. ”

It’s strange to think that the music you had written fit so well to express what you felt after the death of Jimmy..
“Yes, there are many strange coincidences in this album. The music was very dark itself, and I served as a perfect canvas for writing what I felt. It was a macabre coincidence.”

Is it true that Jimmy originally used the title ‘Death’ when he wrote ‘Fiction’?

“Yes, that’s how he called it. It is these things that concerned me. He finished that song three days before he died and if you read the lyrics, it almost seems that he knew what was going to happen.”

In it we find the phrase “I know you’ll find your own way, when I’m not with you tonight.” Almost like a message to the group to go ahead.
“Yes I think he wanted that we followed on. Moreover, this song showed how big Jimmy was as an artist, not only as a drummer. It is very moving. We were about to leave everything behind. The first week we all thought that the group was done, but his family strongly insisted that we had to follow, that’s what Jimmy would have wanted. ”

As a lyricist I guess it was a challenge to express what you and the group felt right at the same time when you were living not have been easy …
“Well, ironically, was the record easier to write for me, precisely because it was very real. I felt so many things that I was not hard to write about them. Sometimes, when you write a song, no idea would come or you can´t think of any story, but in this case, everything was there. ”

In groups of metal is very common to talk of death or pain, but doing so in the abstract has nothing to do with when you really do lived.
“Exactly. for example. ‘Seize The Day’ (from City Of Evil) was also a very emotional song, but now I was living it, so it was much easier to sit down and write about it. The only hard part was finding the appropriate words, because I didn´t want it to sound like a set of topics. It was hard to pull ahead and finish the album. because in such situations.The only thing you want to do is mourn the day, because you’re dying inside, but at the same time, to write what you feel also helps. ”
Sure, I guess that no matter how hard it was to make the record in these circumstances, having something to do and that you felt busy, was very helpful.
“Yes, there are two ways to deal with something like this. Do nothing, drown and get depressed, or try to overcome it by doing something positive. We felt that we had a mission: to make people could hear the music that Jimmy had written that our fans to listen to what we created with him in the last six months of his life. We felt it was very important. We got to work on it and ultimately be required to make a record, was the best thing that could have occurred in the circumstances. ”

How were the early days with Mike Portnoy? It must have been rare to have one of your idols playing with you.
“It was weird because Jimmy was so good battery and more. In ten years I never saw him make a mistake. I think Mike knew that, for ¬ they were friends. When he came, the first thing was I had to learn it all parties. For us it was very important to touch as he would not like Jimmy and Mike Portnoy would have done. Sometimes I recorded something and was angry with himself because he said ‘this does not sound like Jimmy’. The first day in the studio talking about all these things, but Mike was so humble and receptive, I doubt we could have found anyone better. ”

Did you consider using reference tracks directly Jimmy had left?
“No. We knew that Jimmy was a perfectionist and would not have we would have used something that was not intended to be published. Not of sufficient quality sound level, were simply models. The truth is that not us We could not ask for pure technical issue. ”

In this case I guess Mike Elizondo, producer, almost had to do more motivational or psychologist.
“Mike had a great relationship with Jimmy and at worst we were going, had a very successful way of maintaining focus and has ¬ Cernos go to study and work hard. We said, ‘I think this song has so much potential, let’s get it out’ , got a lot of energy in the process. It is also very good editing songs gave us many ideas to try something different. Every time ¬ less frequently found trarte with producers to get involved much. If we end the disc, in large part, thanks to him. ”

Outside his name is a bit strange, because it is known for working with Eminem, Dr. Dre or Regina Spektor, not metal bands.
“It was Mike who offered to us. He said it was a big fan of ours and the first meeting, it became clear that it was the right person. I really like metal, we speak of Pantera, Iron Maiden, Metallica. .. After the meet, or even call the other candidates. ”

I have always seen as a cross between Metallica and thrash swagger of Guns N’Roses, and the touch of metal bands epic Euro ¬ pean. Do you think all your influences have been reflected more than ever on this album?

“For me, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Guns N’Roses, before groups of my generation are the ones in my blood. When I write a song, that’s the bar that I get. May not make it, but I try. If an item just because Metallica is sounding a lot like us (laughs). I’ve always loved those bands and I’m not ashamed for anything to be noticed in our music, and Synyster is a big fan of Blind Guardian and Sonata Arctica , so she just felt in our music. ”

Do you think your greatest contribution is to have returned the technique and musicality to the scene? When you came out of Orange County, all were breakdowns and screams.

“You’re right, the underground was all guys yelling and main-stream, the rock was very bland and soft. But we, fortunately, not heard anything like that. Listened to Iron Maiden and Dream Theater, we also like bands something more pop and melodic as Queen or the Beatles, that even though they were metal, made memorable songs. We never closed to one style, so I think that our music does just sounding horn. At the end of the day, which always we have tried is to write great songs. That has been our top priority. When we have a great guitar part, I think, ‘What I can do with my voice that is just as good? “.

Do you see your role in the group serving as the hook a little to the casual audience that might never hear a theme of progressive metal vo ¬ 7 or 8 minutes?
“For it is a very good observation (laughs). For us, every second of the ¬ is song has to be something that catches your attention, is something that makes the guitar, drums or vocal melody. But you are right that to most people catch it by the voice, as if you have a good melody, it is very likely that you hear and come to find out all the rest. I think it is important that the first time you hear the disc has something that will be easily understood and assimilated ¬ lar, but only if you listen to often be able to appreciate what we do in its entirety. There are many records that prime ¬ ras have not convinced me, but I’ve finally finished thinking it was incredible. It is not an easy path to take because there are many people today in music seeks only immediate, but Noso ¬ ters know that we are fortunate to have fans that will make the effort and not remain on the surface. ”

How do you see your evolution as a vocalist? You started screaming, then almost abandoned and in this album combine a little of both facets.
“My voice has changed. In Waking The Fallen started to change, before City Of Evil had to have surgery. For me it is hard ¬ spoon that record, because it cost me to sing, I could not give all that I would have liked. Now I feel very comfortable doing what I want. I can sing every night all kinds of songs and I feel good. I’ve learned to cry without hurting myself. After eleven years, I finally learned to do (laughs). ”

I remember seeing at the Warped Tour with Waking The Fallen and I thought I saw a group with great ideas but unable to materialize ¬ them up. Do you think you are now able to capture everything that goes through your head?
“You’re absolutely right bitch (laughs). We’ve grown and learned every day, every year the group has existed. We have the ambition to be the best group possible and now we feel more comfortable. We know we can go out and play every night and doing great. Nobody has given us’ anything, so we’ve had to work us and that has made us stronger at the end. ”

When released the album City Of Evil, interviewing Zacky and Johnny were very stick of rock stars, talking about drugs, girls, party … The death of Jimmy has made you change your attitude about it all?
“I think when City Of Evil exploded horny started a bit of everything, especially the press. I think everything was exaggerated a little. We were just a bunch of kids enjoying being 24 years starting to large concerts and all the fun that goes with that (laughs). We were living our fantasy rock band, but does not go out much partying. I like le-vant in the morning, exercise, healthy living … Party to Avenged Sevenfold is not a priority. Having Mike Portnoy is also a good influence, it takes much longer than us and has already been through all that. So all these things were rubbish we did when we were young and immature. ”

Officially, the death of Jimmy was due to drug intoxication. Did he suffer some kind of addiction?
“We knew that taking substances, but for fun and every once in a while. Jimmy was not an addict, had never been anything that alarmed us. The day he died was to party with some friends, was a bloody accident. Jimmy would not die “.

Do you surprised by the reaction of the metal community will respect the dead ¬ The Rev? It seems that, suddenly, many people mind you ¬ publicly expressed his respect.
“I think when you succeed there are many people that aims to criti ¬ carte or talk bad about you but not like you. Something so serious I realize that. If | a good person and a great drummer, and are able to put aside their hatred of us. There may be musicians or fans of other groups because of this have listened to our previous albums and have discovered how good it was Jimmy. or even like us. Unfortunately, human beings are well. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to give you a chance. Of course, now we are more respected than before. ”

But at some point you have hurt the criticism?
“No. We have been criticized since the first day. But the more people criticized us, more people are interested in the band. In the end it worked in our favor. When we released City Of Evi! There who said we had sold. But that is a full term infant. Do not think there are many groups in a multinational company to take out singles conl songs that last 6 or 7 minutes. And also the opinion of the people who really matter to us, like Lars Ulrich or Vinnie Paul, has always been positive. Why should I worry about what to say a journalist or a kid who kept their parents, and have nothing better to do in life that get us? “.

Your case is peculiar. There are people that I discovered collabo ¬ ration with Good Charlotte and now I find people by Mike Portnoy. And possibly some other fans end up being yours. There are not many groups that can cover a broad spectrum.
“Yes I think that’s why our audience is growing. Although from City 01 Evil, which sold a million copies every time we have been selling fewer records, because that is the reality of all groups in our lives the age has increased.’s emo ¬ ingly think more and more people coming to us. We know that some people hate us for our image or because we in magazines or on TV. And I understand, because I was so of small ¬ no. There were bands who hated him, and now I love them. Or for example, I liked Green Day, but when they began to sound on radio, I ended up hating. Now I’m more mature, I see my hatred had nothing to do with the group or their music. I guess there who will do the same with us. ”

A few weeks ago turns 29. How did you celebrate?
“In fact, I celebrated last night because we were touring that day and could not prepare anything. We met some friends and we spend ¬ well. Nothing unusual.”

Could also be used to conclude that your album has been number 1 in the U.S..

“Yes, the funny thing is that we got the news on my birthday and everyone was talking about that instead of congratulating me. It was a good shit (laughs).”

Does it mean something special for you to have achieved the number 1?
“It means a lot. The reality is that the drive has worked very well all over the world. That shows how great they are our fans. I had read reviews before they come out the disk in which they said could happen, but do not think it was happen. For me 
is a dream come true. So thanks to each and every one of those who have made the effort to buy the album. ”

And you wear a few months on tour. How do you feel on stage with Mike Portnoy and playing these songs so personal?

“At the technical level is still great, but on an emotional level is still quite hard. We are trying to bring the best we can. By now you know Mike better and the atmosphere is very positive ¬ vo, but it’s hard when we hear the voice Jimmy and we know we never play with him. Still, the concerts are being very good and we try to go on stage with a smile and have fun. I suppose that, over time, more is better. I look forward to the day I can live in this normally. ”

You’re playing four or five new songs. Do you have any idea of incor ¬ porate Nightmare more issues facing the European tour?

“I do not know. The kids want to hear songs from all our records, especially in the U.S., so it’s difficult. We are at a point in our career where you have to park some songs. But for me is exciting because it is a bit Metallica, who have so many songs that can make different sets each night. That’s great. But the reality is that if we commit ¬ me more new songs will have to remove some old ones. There will always be to sacrifice something. ”

At least, when you come to Spain, you could play three hours and make everyone happy …
“(Laughter) I do not know, do not know if would resist. Physically it is very hard to do the show we want. But we can not wait to return to Spain. We were only there in a festival, and it was great. It will be great to see all our fans from there. ”

If many were surprised that Mike Portnoy was offered to record and tour with Avenged Sevenfold, it was still greater surprise that the Sept. 8 announcement that temporarily left Dream Theater, a band that has dedicated 25 years of his life. His new teammates have commented that they did not know at all the decision that was to take the battery (“As fans of Dream Theater, we’re as shocked as everyone else and we can not imagine the group without it,” said bassist Johnny Christ to the magazine Classic Rock) and Portnoy himself has insisted that his departure has nothing to do with Avenged. Thus, as has recently told the radio station Q104.3 FM in New York, was an idea that ran through your head for a long time before he died The Rev and therefore they had not even thought it would give playing with A7X. “I needed a break from Dream Theater. We have almost 20 years releasing albums and rotating continuously. There is something I have come at once. Last year I mentioned that it would stop a couple of years to recharge the batteries. But they people not like and wanted to start writing a new album in January 2011. Basically, I found myself in a position where he or record a new album without the heart was in it or say goodbye, and I decided to say goodbye. It was the hardest decision of my life and I feel very sad, and I know the rest of the group are also sad. It’s weird because no one wanted it, but that’s how it happened. ” However, Portnoy hopes that in future it can rejoin the group as it did “with Tommy Lee in Motley Crue or Phil Collins in Genesis.” Does this mean that Mike Portnoy on drums will keep Avenged Sevenfold at least for a long time? During the interview we did with M. Shadows, shortly before the announcement of Portnoy asked about the commitment of the battery, he said: “We will go step by step. We will continue in 2011 with us. But we have not discussed further. When the time comes, we’ll see what happens. we are still very strange to think of writing without having to Jimmy. For now, we and Mike are happy. “