M. Shadows and Zacky Vengeance of AVENGED SEVENFOLD were recently interviewed by Terry "Beez" Bezer on the "That's Not Metal" podcast. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.
Speaking about AVENGED SEVENFOLD's decision to part ways with drummer Arin Ilejay and replace him with Brooks Wackerman (BAD RELIGION), M. Shadows said: "'Brooks is] older than us. We respect him, and we wouldn't have made this change unless we knew it was the right decision. We spent a long time, and, for whatever it is, we took heat from people that don't know anything about the situation, like, 'Oh, changing drummers again,' 'Oh, they're doing this,' and from the outside, we knew that was gonna be an issue. But on the inside, we were just making the necessary adjustments that we knew were gonna get us to this point to where we can put out something we're proud of, a guy that we can throw ideas at, and he can throw ideas at us, and we respect each other. He's a smart guy, he's a great guy to be around, and he's just a fantastic drummer. So, for us, we knew we were gonna take heat for the last couple of years with all these changes we were doing. But I think we've proved that we were doing all of our due diligence behind the scenes. We were making sure that everything, from taking our time writing the record to staying off the road to getting Brooks a year and a half ago… Obviously, we had to announce that earlier than we wanted to, because out of respect for BAD RELIGION — they needed to move on, and it would have been obvious what's going on — and out of respect for Arin, because Arin needed to move on."
M. Shadows also spoke in more detail about the circumstances that led to Arin's exit from AVENGED SEVEFOLD. He said: "I think Arin, obviously, got more and more distanced as time went on. It's kind of like everyone goes through their honeymoon period and it's all great, but then you start realizing that we're four guys that have a way we do things and then there's someone else that just doesn't really fit into that at all. And as nice of a guy as he is, there were just a bunch of things that didn't represent us at all, and you can't have that, especially when we've worked for so long and so hard at what we do. And the last thing we care about is our public perception of what we should do with our lives. So I went to the guys and said, 'We've gotta do something.' I'm, like, 'We've gotta ask Brooks Wackerman if he wants to [join the band].' And it's funny, 'cause we've known Brooks forever, and it just seemed like such a bold move, only because he's in a band. And I play golf with the guys in BAD RELIGION. It just seemed bizarre, but it just happened that he was at that point in his life too where he wanted something different. So it all just worked out. But at the same time, I can see how, from the outside, everyone was [forming] their opinions on what we were doing."
AVENGED SEVENFOLD's latest album, "The Stage", came out more than a month ago. The group made the album available at midnight on October 27 with almost no promotion beforehand, save for the arrival of a new song one week earlier.
The surprise release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale, earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in 11 years — less than half the tally of its previous two efforts.
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.