It was 2005 and Avenged Sevenfold became one of the breakout acts of the year with their City of Evil album, but it didn’t really start off that way. In fact, M. Shadows revealed that if it wasn’t for an extra push from Good Charlotte, their career trajectory may have taken longer.
The vocalist recalled how things played out during an appearance on the Tuna on Toast With Stryker podcast (as heard below). Shadows reflects, “When that album first came out, our fans on [2003’s] Waking the Fallen were very bummed on it. The fans were like, ‘This isn’t Waking the Fallen 2.'”
“We came off of a disappointing first week, and then basically no traction. The record had dropped all the way off the charts and it was, we’re doing, 2,000-3,000 records per week, which at the time was a total failure. And we’re on a major label and have a different sound,” he adds.
“It was a disappointment, because the thing was just going like this and it was like, ‘Well, what’s gonna save us?,” the singer continues, before nodding to Good Charlotte. “Benji and Joel [Madden] were like, ‘We’re gonna take them on TRL with us and play ‘Bat Country’ on TRL. Because they liked us and we liked them, we were friends, and I think we were one of those bands that came off as, like if people were gonna talk bad about Good Charlotte, it would be someone like us. And we weren’t those guys. We were like cool with them. We loved Good Charlotte and we were friends with them.”
“They said, ‘We get to bring on an artist that we want,’ and they brought on Avenged Sevenfold,” Shadows revealed. “They played our video and it never left TRL after that. And it went all the way to No. 1. And then we ended up winning video music of the year [Best New Artist].”
“It really was because Benji and Joel saw something, Good Charlotte saw something that no one else saw, and they took us on there and it had a mainstream audience,” says Shadows. “The video was killer, the song worked, and then all of a sudden everything just started going. It was like, here we go.”
Though City of Evil peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard 200 album chart, the buzz from their MTV play helped catapult them to reaching a new audience and breaking out in a major way. After “Bat Country,” “Beast and the Harlot” and “Seize the Day” followed and the album has since gone on to reach platinum certification status. And by the time their follow-up self-titled album dropped in 2007, it debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, starting a hugely successful run for the band.
Within the same interview, M. Shadows also spoke with Stryker about their next album, which remains on hold even though it’s been completely written for over a year. “If everybody was in the headspace where we could go on tour, support this record, and life wasn’t completely getting in the way and all these other endeavors that people are doing, and then also just the randomness of the Covid stuff. Shows are on then they’re off then they’re on then they off,” reiterated Shadows explaining why they’ve held off.
He added, “The songs are done. I still have some vocals to do. And we have some strings to record. And the thing with the strings is that, in L.A. they’re simply not allowing people to be within six feet. And we have experience, I’m not gonna name bands, but our producer worked on some records and he’s like, ‘Listen, you put somebody six feet apart and you mic them all, it does not sound like a group playing together.’ There’s so many little things. And we’re just not willing to compromise on it. And at the end of the day, everyone needs to decide I’m ready to go support a record.”
“We’re gonna release it when we want to release it. That’s the bottom line,” he concluded.
Check out more of the chat between Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows and the Tuna on Toast With Stryker podcast below.