AVENGED SEVENFOLD's JOHNNY CHRIST: 'We Don't Know If We're Gonna Do A Full Album Again'

June 12, 2023

During an appearance on the June 6 episode of "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie, AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ reflected on the unusual marketing of the band's 2016 album, "The Stage". The surprise release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale in October of that year, earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in eleven years. It sold 76,000 copies in its first week, 73,000 of which were physical.

Asked by Full Metal Jackie "why those guerilla tactics wouldn't work now" for AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, the just-released "Life Is But A Dream…", Johnny said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't know that they worked then, though [laughs], to be honest. It was something we wanted to try.

"Every time we do something, it is with full intent," he explained. "We decided at that moment [in] 2016, we were tired of the same rollout from the label, or whoever was involved — 'You've gotta release this single, and it's gotta live there for that long, and then you've gotta come out with this and then that and then that and then that, and then you get the album.' We were, like, 'Why can't we just shake things up a little bit and try something new?', knowing full well, to be honest, that we probably wouldn't have a great first week or whatever and it would kind of shock some people. But we thought that that shock would eventually start a snowball effect that would get people to come around the record and at least get eyes on it. And I think we're always just kind of pushing the envelope that way, to be honest. I mean, even the release of this record, to this day you'll see that it wasn't a traditional drop. We did a really cool scavenger hunt with the guys over at the Deathbats Club through some Web3 stuff, and then it was all to get to 'Nobody', the first single, and then flash forward a few months later, it's gonna be the only song you really hear until we release the whole album. And that's a little different these days, at least for our genre, it seems. A lot of the bands are dropping three, four, five singles before the album even comes out. To us, we just feel like this album in its entirety is too special to single out. We called 'Nobody' the single, but it's really just our first [track to be released]; it's not really the traditional idea of a single that represents the whole album. It's just, like, 'This is your toe in the pond of what is 'Life Is But A Dream…'.'"

Christ added: "We want this to be a full experience as an album. We don't know if we're gonna do a full album again, to be honest. We might do singles and eventize those later on in our career. At this moment, this is our body of work that we want everyone to get kind of at the same time and experience it from track one to track eleven. And I think that that's what has always been important to us, is the way we release things to the public. And it's not because we're hoity-toity and think we're better than other artists or anything like that. It's just we have a certain way that we communicate with our fans and have [done] for the last 20-plus years. And we like to keep that intact and always come up with a new, fun way of releasing it. Just like with our music — we're always challenging ourselves and trying to do new things in our music. Why stop there? Let's think about how we can do something fun in the releases and stuff like that. And I think that's really what came back to the way we released 'The Stage'. We had this grandiose idea that we could do… It might not be accepted right away. But the cool thing was we did what we wanted to do. We dropped a surprise release, which no one had done in our genre at the time, and we got to play on the top of Capitol Records, the iconic rooftop there, and do the first-ever virtual livestream in 2016. And at the time I didn't even realize what that would mean. It wasn't until 2020, as we all know, and everything went crazy and everyone went to virtual livestreams that it was able to actually show a little bit more significance that it already had being on the top of Capitol Records and playing a livestream."

"Life Is But A Dream…" was written and recorded over the span of four years. It 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.

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.

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