Avenged Sevenfold To Take Break After Touring Behind 'Nightmare'
Avenged Sevenfold is planning to take a break after it finishes touring to promote its fifth studio album, "Nightmare" -- including a headlining run on the upcoming Uproar Festival. And frontman M. Shadows says that time off is necessary.
"We've always taken a long time (between albums), and everyone's told us we're stupid for doing that," Shadows tells Billboard.com. "But I think bands burn themselves out. Look what happened to Disturbed; those are good friends of ours, and you just get caught up in the do a record, tour for two years, do a record, tour for two years...We're very cautious of making sure that everybody has their time. We need to go home...and make sure everybody's mentally in the right spot to do a new record."
And, Shadows adds, the band members don't exactly get away from Avenged Sevenfold when they're home. "We all hang out with each other," he says. "Me and (guitarist Synyster) Gates are married to twin sisters and they're best friends, so it's a total family thing we have going on. And I have a studio in my house. So does (Gates). So we'll hang out and lay some stuff down and joke around with it, and eventually it turns into something for the band -- which is a much healthier way to do it instead of putting a lot of stress on ourselves to meet a deadline or something."
Avenged Sevenfold isn't done touring "Nightmare," however. Shadows says the group is planning to head back to Europe in February and possibly play some of the summer festivals there. "Then we'll take six, seven months and sit around," he says. "If we decide to write, we will. If we decide not to, we won't. That's kind of the timetable we're on."
Video: Avenged Sevenfold, "Nightmare"
Shadows says the quintet doesn't expect to come up with new material on the road -- "We've never written like that," he notes -- but is looking forward to Uproar, which Avenged Sevenfold also played last year. The group has a new stage set that includes a 17-by-40-foot version of its "death bat" logo "that catches on fire and shots flames and all sorts of fun stuff. Our drummer (Arin Ilejay) is gonna be playing inside the mouth of it. It's a very sort of Spinal Tap, over-the-top metal-looking show."
Avenged Sevenfold's repertoire, meanwhile, is culled from a month-long Internet fan poll. "We're picking the top 20 songs and we're mixing it up every night so no one knows what set they're going to get on any given night on the tour," Shadows says. "That's one thing we're really excited about, but it's causing us a lot of work -- meaning we've got to know the songs seamlessly, and we've got to have all our production people know the songs as well and be able to make the show look like the songs belong together every night. It's gonna be cool for the fans, but a lot of preparation for us."
Shadows says some of the surprising fan choices include "M.I.A." from 2005's "City of Evil," "I Won't See You Tonight, Pt. 1" from 2003's "Walking the Fallen" and the epic "Save Me" from "Nightmare." The group is also favoring an unedited version of "Buried Alive" as the album's fourth single, although it may wait until after the Uproar tour when it can get a director -- "Not necessarily a video guy but more of a movie guy," according to Shadows -- to make a video. The group reached out to Rob Zombie, but he's too busy with his next feature film, "The Lords of Salem."
Also on Avenged Sevenfold's future agenda is the status of the drum chair, vacated after the December 2009 death of James "The Rev" Sullivan and temporarily filled by ex-Dream Theater member Mike Portnoy before Ilejay took over at the beginning of the year. "(Ilejay) is great," Shadows says. "He's 23 now, and the first show he played was in front of 16,000 people, and from there we went to Rock Am Ring, 80 or 90,000 people in Germany. As far as personality and his playing, he's our guy, but we haven't been able to write a record with him yet. So we want to make sure for his good and for our good that he can write with us and bring something to the creative and be comfortable in the situation. We're just trying to work towards that, and hopefully everything works out 'cause we love the guy."