AVENGED SEVENFOLD's JOHNNY CHRIST: Making New Album During Pandemic 'Gave Us A New Perspective On The Record'

July 5, 2023

In a recent interview with Marty Duda of The 13th Floor, AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ spoke about the band's latest album, "Life Is But A Dream…", which arrived on June 2 via Warner. Regarding why it took so long to put together the LP, considering it has been seven years since 2016's "The Stage" was released, Johnny said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There were several roadblocks that we had to get by. One of the biggest ones, the one that everybody knows about, is the pandemic, unfortunately. We got off the road in 2018, just like any other times, a little abruptly — our singer had some vocal issues. But just like any other time, we decided, 'Okay, let's just take a couple of months off. We just got home. Let's see friends and family for a little bit,' start to figure out what our muse was gonna be or what we wanna create on the new record. And we start those conversations and we start writing individually and then we start bringing it all together. That process was going well. We took a little bit — about the same time as it usually does, maybe a little longer; it was a little over a year by the time we were ready to take our demos and re-record them into the record forms that we do. And that was right about the time — we were scheduling with [producer] Joe Barresi, studio time, and the whole world shut down. So we were, like, 'Well, I guess we're gonna take a little bit longer on this.'"

He continued: "You find the silver lining when shit like that goes down. So the silver lining was we all have young kids now, young families, so we were stay-at-home dads for a lot of it, for the last five years, which was really cool. I got to take my son to all of his practices and games and everything and school. It's not like you want a pandemic to happen, but it gave us a new perspective on the record that we were about ready to go record. And it gave us time to continue to trim the fat.

"There's a lot of information on this record, but time-wise, it's our shortest record we've ever put out," Johnny added. "So it feels like you've gotten all this information, but we trimmed all the fat, and we did that over a process. And those delays allowed us time to experiment with our instruments or new technology, what's going on out there. We did some really fun stuff that people won't even know… you won't even hear it. [People will think], 'Oh, they must have programmed that.' We didn't program really anything on this record; it's all live playing, even down to the flutes. [Guitarist] Synyster Gates played flutes. It was a really wild time to just get in there [and make] a record that would have been made in the '70s or the '80s but with this sound. And it was a lot of fun."

Written and recorded over the span of four years, "Life Is But A Dream…" was produced by Joe Barresi and AVENGED SEVENFOLD in Los Angeles and mixed by Andy Wallace in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. The album is a journey through an existential crisis; a very personal exploration into the meaning, purpose and value of human existence with the anxiety of death always looming.

"Life Is But A Dream…" reportedly sold 36,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart. AVENGED SEVENFOLD's previous LP, "The Stage", debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 album chart in November 2016. The surprise release of "The Stage" earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in eleven years. It sold 76,000 copies in its first week, less than half the tally of its previous two efforts.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD made its first festival appearance in five years on May 19 at Welcome To Rockville at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The band's setlist included three songs from "Life Is But A Dream…": "Game Over", "We Love You" and "Nobody".

AVENGED SEVENFOLD's first concert since June 2018 took place on May 12 at AREA15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In April, AVENGED SEVENFOLD announced the second leg of its extensive "Life is But A Dream…" North American tour featuring support from FALLING IN REVERSE. Produced by Live Nation, leg two includes stops in Nashville, Denver, Austin, and more before concluding at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena on October 15. Fans will have the opportunity to hear the group's first single in seven years, "Nobody", and their new album "Life Is But A Dream…" for the first time live during the 30-show outing.

The first leg with support from ALEXISONFIRE includes thirteen cities across the U.S. and Canada, such as Mansfield, Québec City, Tinley Park, Calgary, and more.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD kicked off its 2023 touring run earlier this month with two unique one-night-only arena shows in New York and Los Angeles.

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