The last twelve months has seen Avenged Sevenfold
profile rise considerably, the result of which has seen the band ascending to the top of the metal heap. Their most recent studio album, and major label debut City Of Evil
, saw the band moving on from their metal core roots into more of a classic metal sounding direction that in its wake saw them achieving mainstream success. Just like their music, the band members are every bit as hard hitting and unafraid to speak their minds in person as they are via their musical medium. Joe Matera caught up with the band's guitar twins, Zacky Vengeance
and Synyster Gates
in Melbourne during the band's first ever tour to Australia. Read on as Vengeance and Gates let loose verbally on their critics, Bogner amps, Ozzfest, touring with Guns and Roses and strippers!
Ultimate-Guitar: In the wake of the success garnered by City Of Evil and the change in musical direction, a lot of critics have attacked the band for blatantly selling out to pursue commercial acceptance and success, what do you say to that?
Those people who say that about us are fucking retarded that's all I've got to say about it.
The main thrust of the guitar sound on the album is heavily driven by Bogner amps?
|"Bogner are just a bunch of cheap fucks."|
Yeah but Mesa Boogie actually wants to do some stuff with us now so we're actually considering Mesa Boogie at this point. You see, Bogner are just a bunch of cheap fucks. We've said so many good fucking things about those guys, and yet they won't throw us a bone so...
They're a small company and it has become really hard now because for us, since we play every single country all the time, every day, and we fly and we travel, we can't bring our full rigs everywhere we go. It is just too expensive and also impossible to do that way. If you have to be here today and there tomorrow, you can't send your whole entire rig. And that also means and you're unable to get a Bogner.
In retrospect they've sent us some cabs and stuff like that, and yes they are a small company, but aside from that they're flimsy amps as well in a way. Well not flimsy but very temperamental and they breakdown all the time?
You've each got signature Schecter model guitars, The Synyster and The Vengeance?
Yeah, they came about because of a demand we had got from our fans who wanted guitars like the ones we play. There are two different versions of the guitars, a custom model which is the version of the one we play in that it has the pickups and every other thing our guitars have. And a different more affordable standard version that's for beginners and players like that. This way people have the option to choose from both versions. My main model is a red S-1 that has a 6661 thing on the inlay which is the year we started but written upside down and has Seymour Duncan JBs in it and that's pretty much the only modifications the guitar has. I have another model which I play on stage also too which is a platinum colored guitar, with the same set-up but more basic than the custom model.
I have kind of a Frankenstein main model in a way, that has a neck through with an Avenger body but with a Scorpion headstock and I have my name Syn spelled out on the 5th, 7th and 9th frets. It has some screaming Seymour Duncan Custom Invaders and a Floyd Rose tremolo and that's basically it.
How was the whole Ozzfest experience like for Avenged Sevenfold?
|"When we heard about the tour with Metallica and Guns and Roses we were almost in tears."|
It was a big deal for us to be on Ozzfest especially as one of the main headliners and being the band that wasn't announced; the mystery band. We'd never played the second stage at Ozzfest and all of a sudden we're on the main stage. But it wasn't that we just blew up overnight, we'd been touring for about four years so we were already on the radar for this whole group of kids. And the main metal crowd that didn't want to like us but here we were all of sudden put in front of their faces. So it was a trial by fire for us as we had to go up there and win them over every night which I think we did.
We definitely did.
It was awesome, people weren't even talking about Ozzy, everybody was talking about us, and whether it was good or bad I mean they were still talking about us. It actually turned into the Ozzfest message board creating its own fucking Avenged Sevenfold forum, like there was an all things Ozzy section and all things Avenged Sevenfold section! They had to create a forum because everybody wanted to talk about us.
You recently toured with Metallica and Guns and Roses, what was that like?
It was probably one of those things, where it's like fucking a super model and giving them HIV or something. It's like everything came with a price. I mean when we heard about it (the tour) we were almost in tears. They're like our two fucking favourite bands of all time and to do a full tour and Avenged Sevenfold as main support, it's amazing, but then you get over there and its like? so hard.
It was probably the most hectic tour we've ever been on and that we've all been through together. You had like about 16 guys with you, so when we showed up first we all had this twelve passenger bunk for the fucking 16 people! It was crowded. We usually get those double deck buses, but this time we got a single deck bus and half the bunks came into the living room. The back areas were the smallest thing I'd ever seen and there was sulphur dioxide kind of shit leaking near our fucking bunks so we almost fucking died too.
And when we weren't on a bus, we were on a plane flying somewhere. Every morning we'd be up at 3.00am and get on a bus just so we'd get to the airport to catch the 10.00am flight. We'll get on this bus that drove for six hours, on a shitty bumpy bus ride that also smelled of sulphur, so we could get to the airport in order to fly to a festival date somewhere. Then you'd show up there and you have to do a shit ton of press as soon as you're off the fucking plane. That is one thing about playing with Guns and Roses and Metallica, everyone wants to interview you.
What was it like touring with Guns and Roses, particularly with Axl?
|"We've tried to write on the road and we should, but we just can't do it."|
Axl was amazing, he's a very nice guy, we hung out with him and he's a cool guy.
Most journalists have a bad impression of Axl due to his attitude towards them in particular and Axl's immense dislike of the media?
Well we can understand that, as it's hard being on this side of the fence as we get so much shit that it turns you off I guess, of doing any press at any time, especially for a guy such as Axl and of his magnitude. I mean I can just imagine, he gets into a little bit of scuff or trouble in his life then all of a sudden he's turned into this whole different monster that he's never aspired to be or actually is.
Axl's for fucking real man. He's no joke. He's a nice guy. You know, Axl has these crazy after parties, where there are hundreds of super models... he's absolutely for real man. He's on a total different sleeping schedule to anybody else. Axl Rose starts at about Midnight. He takes a Limo straight to the show, plays his show, gets off stage and then stays up for the entire next day!
We were very fortunate to hang out with Axl and also Sebastian Bach. Like all three of us were at the back of our bus watching Spiderman movies. That was very cool. The guy [Axl] is just misunderstood.
You have a love for strip clubs and the whole debauched rock and roll lifestyle, so how much of if it is for real and how much of it is exaggerated by the press?
|"Axl has these crazy after parties, where there are hundreds of super models... he's absolutely for real."|
There was a time when we divulged a lot of information and it was taken to an extreme, yet none of us are shooting up heroin or anything. I'm kind of over the whole fucking people caring too much about the party thing as it's got really jaded and too contrived and shit. After awhile everybody just wanted to have these big articles about that kind of shit.
Anyway most strippers are fat and ugly!
For the record, my girlfriend is hot and strippers are not!
I do like alcohol though. And I do like tits and asses and good bodies on hot girls but you can only find those at the strip clubs.
Have you started working on ideas for the next album?
No we're fucking tried to write on the road and we should as it'd be great but we just can't do it. We'll continue to try though. I think we've just got to get home, clear our minds take some vacation and then regroup and hit the writing process.
So you don't carry around a Pro Tools rig with you out on the road?
We did but it ended up not working for us as when we did start to put down ideas and tried to go back to it later half the band would come back fucking drunk and just going 'do this' or 'do that' and mainly for laughs so it just didn't work.
2006 Joe Matera