AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Synyster Gates (real name: Brian Haner, Jr.) was interviewed for a recent installment of the “Sounding Off” podcast. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked if AVENGED SEVENFOLD ever writes any music on tour, Gates said: “Historically, we’ve always been… We have to do everything a hundred and ten percent when we’re doing it. If we’re on tour, we’re constantly thinking of different ways to make the show better, or whatever it is. It’s too hard to write [on the road]. And maybe one day it won’t be. But certainly when you’re on a bus for four freakin’ months, it’s hard to not progressively drink more, and that’s definitely not conducive to waking up all bright-eyed and cheery, ready to start the new record; it has an adverse effect on that. But it’s always led to what I feel is a solid concentration on exactly what we’re doing. We don’t ever spread ourselves too thin. And sometimes it’s a little bit to the chagrin of our fans; they don’t get albums… I mean, THE BEATLES were doing two albums a year at one point. And guys like us, [we release] an album every three years, if we’re lucky. ‘Cause it’s very involved for us. I don’t feel like we have that Paul McCartney gene, and I think the cool thing about us is that we know it. [Laughs] And so we work our asses off to get to where we’re really, really happy, and the [entire] group has to be happy, and that’s a tough time. So the minute you start spreading yourself out a little too thin is the moment that you kind of lose it and you’re not happy with anything you’re doing.”
Gates was also asked if he immediately knows when he has come up with a great idea or if it sometimes takes a while for him to realize how strong the material is. He responded: “I think it runs the gamut of all those things. I think back when I was younger, I was a lot more confident about certain things that I would write and I didn’t need the band’s blessing or agreement; I would just kind of fight for it ’cause I knew it was good. And then the problem with getting older, especially when there’s some success involved, you have a different measuring stick; you’re thinking, ‘Oh, that’s great!’, and, ‘It could be a single.’ And even just that is, like, poison — it’s just poison when you even do that, let alone if you start to write because of that. And that’s where having a band that you trust and a group of great friends and brothers that really come in and each… They just pull you to… they pull the ‘real’ out of you. And we’re always trying to do that.”
He continued: “We usually have our blinders in and it’s just our art and we’re good about the delineation between that and the major label and touring and all that kind of shit. We’re pretty good about having our heads way up our own asses when we’re wanting to write a record and have it sound the way we want it. Case in point, this last record [2016’s ‘The Stage’] — the most successful point in our career and we write a record like that, but we couldn’t have done anything different. So we can delineate; it just gets tougher when you’re older. You’ve experienced so many different things and you have a house and a family and different things. So you just do your best and you’re very fortunate if you have a band that won’t let those things come into your circle of influence.”
“The Stage”, a concept album based on Artificial Intelligence, was released last October with almost no promotion beforehand. Even though debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 — and No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Rock Albums and Top Alternative Albums charts — the band has since acknowledged that the unconventional rollout has made for something of a struggle ever since.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD frontman M. Shadows recently confirmed to the Razor 94.7 radio station that the band will embark on a full North American headlining tour in January and February 2018. The trek, which will be announced later this month, was originally “supposed to happen this summer until we got that call from METALLICA, so we decided to put it on hold,” the singer explained.