Finland's Kaaos TV recently conducted an interview with AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.
Asked if the surprise release of AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "The Stage", was always planned or if it was something that was decided shortly before the record's arrival, Christ said: "We had that plan in motion when we were writing the record, pretty much. We wanted to do something different and have a surprise release. At first, naturally, the label was getting a little scared about that, because they wanna sell records and a surprise release means it might not go as quickly. And we just really stuck to the guns, they stuck to their guns after a while, once they came to the table, and it was great. We executed it well with the new team at Capitol and our management and everybody involved, and we couldn't be happier. Everyone killed it. It went off really well — better than we could have hoped. And there was no leaks. We got to do the surprise release, which I think was an exciting thing for our fans."
"The Stage" arrived with just a week of advance promotion at the end of October and its surprise release appears to have backfired on the group, with the record selling considerably less in its first weeks on sale that the last three AVENGED SEVENFOLD albums.
Johnny played down the disappointing first-week sales performance of "The Stage", telling Kaaos TV: "I think we were aware that it would most likely have a slight effect like that. I think we did really well to have a surprise release and still have that many fans come out and support [it the first week of release] under pretty much no promotion and not really knowing, and then, all of a sudden, it's out and that many people went out and got the record, downloaded it, streamed, whatever it was. I was very happy with how it came out."
He continued: "When you run that risk, you kind of know it's gonna happen. For us, it wasn't so important where we started but 'let's see where we finish' kind of feel. We wanted to do something cool and different, and we were able to accomplish that. We were well aware of the risk going into it, and now that it's happened, and now that we've seen pretty much where we ended up after the first couple of weeks, now we're ready to go out there and kick some ass on the road and see where we finish with this thing."
The bassist added: "The importance of first-week sales has kind of diminished, in our opinion, in the industry, and we don't really know what it really means anymore. It is what it is in the industry. And for us, it's all about the endgame, not where it begins."
AVENGED SEVENFOLD made "The Stage" available at midnight on October 27 with almost no promotion beforehand, save for the arrival of a new song one week earlier.
The marketing plan and launch of the album, the band's first for Capitol Records, was months in the making, starting with the projection of the band's logo, the Deathbat, on buildings in cities around the world. The campaign even included some misdirection, as the group had its friend Chris Jericho "accidentally" leak a fake album title and release date.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD will tour Europe in early 2017 before coming back to North America in the spring.