AVENGED SEVENFOLD Vocalist Keeps His Politics Out Of Band's Music

March 24, 2018

AVENGED SEVENFOLD frontman M. Shadows recently guested on "The Stansbury Show" on the Canton, Ohio-based radio station Rock 106.9. The full conversation can be streamed below (interview begins around the 93-minute mark). A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On how it feels to be considered a peer of legendary acts such as METALLICA:

M. Shadows: "It's crazy. I still feel that it's our duty to try to take this thing even further, because rock is in a little bit of trouble in terms of mainstream exposure, but when it comes down to kids that are growing up with a guitar and with video games and however else they're exposed to AVENGED SEVENFOLD, I just know that it's a total honor that they say that. I don't feel we're on that level, but I definitely appreciate it, and it puts a little bit of responsibility on us."

On the success the band has enjoyed at active rock radio:

M. Shadows: "When you're young and dumb and putting out records, we had no idea how radio responded. We didn't even know the label would be sending it to radio. It's kind of funny looking back on it and realizing how different it was at the time. I remember not hearing any guitar solos on the radio anymore, and I remember not hearing much speed — a lot of it was kind of slowed-down radio rock — so it's kind of crazy looking back and seeing that that actually worked, but I think sometimes the things that work are the things that aren't meant to work, and that's why they sound different to everyone."

On the group's influences:

M. Shadows: "In the early days, a lot of it was IRON MAIDEN and bands that IRON MAIDEN influenced, whether it was IN FLAMES or any kind of European metal band, mixed with American metal like the METALLICA's and the SLAYER's of the world, MEGADETH. That was kind of our early inspiration, and as we got older, we started pulling inspiration from stuff further back or music that wasn't a part of our genre at all, whether it's Leonard Cohen or Elton John or THE BEATLES. All of our influences have been a kaleidoscope of different things, but IRON MAIDEN, to us, has always been the pinnacle of speed, thrash, melody and storytelling. They're amazing at that. IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, those guys are the pinnacle of what we're trying to do."

On the song "Hail To The King":

M. Shadows: "I'm starting to hear it at sports games and stuff. It's like a dream come true — you go out to a sporting event or a hockey game, and they're playing it the same way they'd play 'Crazy Train' or those other pump-up songs. That's been very cool, because we are rock guys, but we're also sports guys. We love our local teams; we love going to events; and when that starts getting played places, it gives you a little smirk inside and makes you very happy."

On when to expect new music from the group:

M. Shadows: "We're going to start writing again after this tour in September, and then try to figure out creative ways to release it. Creative things to get into — we did the video game stuff with 'Black Ops'; maybe we do something with the new 'Black Ops', and just try to really after this tour just figure out cool, new ways to get music to people and keep pushing this genre forward."

On his feelings about whether recent walk-outs by American high school students will force Congress to better address gun control:

M. Shadows: "I hope so. They're the future, and they're the ones that are sitting targets in these schools. I think they have a right to protest. There's a lot of logistics that go on, obviously. I think technology can solve a lot of our problems. No one's talking about that. If my iPhone can open from just looking at my face, then we can get guns that work in a similar fashion. There has to be some give on both sides, and both sides right now are just not willing to give at all. Right now, it's just so polarizing. No one wants to give up anything. It's tough, but I respect these kids, and I love that they're doing that. As youth, they have to care. They're the ones that are getting shot in these school. I respect them. This is how the country works, and always has. There's always the generation which, we kind of look back on these kids and we have to assess what we really feel about what they're doing — if they're doing it and it makes sense, or do they just want to skip school? And I feel this is how the country changes. This has always been the forward progress of America, and that's why we live in a great country where you can do stuff like this and we can have this discussion, and there are going to be new ideas. There are a lot of ideas that people still aren't talking about — right now, it's black and white, and there is a compromise in the middle somewhere where no one really wants to budge. I get it, but this is how the country changes. It's usually the kids."

On whether he would describe himself a "political person":

M. Shadows: "I would consider myself pretty political, but I try to keep it out of the music, because I just know that every soundbite you'll get from me in a radio interview or a magazine, then there can always be a counter-argument which I'll never be able to [give a] rebuttal to. That's what gets taken out [of context] online, and that just causes more division, I find, especially with our fans. They hear anything — like, 'Oh, you're taking out PROPHETS OF RAGE, Communist jerks,' and it becomes this crazy thing where there's no discussion. I feel like I'd rather save my comments for a discussion that could be had, and you could actually talk intelligently about things instead of just little soundbites."

On the group's upcoming tour with PROPHETS OF RAGE:

M. Shadows: "Our biggest challenge right now is getting AVENGED SEVENFOLD fans to get out to these shows [early]. The catalog these guys have is unbelievable, with the CYPRESS HILL and the RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE stuff. I think if they get to the show, they're really going to enjoy this. I think they can not worry about the political stuff so much. It shouldn't be so polarizing to them, because I've seen a lot of fans that don't want to hear it. I just think, get to the show, listen to the music, have a good time. I think people are going to have a great time if they get out there and see these songs. These guys are legends."

AVENGED SEVENFOLD's North American summer tour with PROPHETS OF RAGE — which also features THREE DAYS GRACE — kicks off July 22 in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "The Stage", was re-released as a "deluxe edition" last December.

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