Avenged Sevenfold’s Johnny Christ Discusses ‘Waking the Fallen’ Reissue, Touring + More
Avenged Sevenfold are headlining the 2014 Mayhem Festival this summer and while they’re still going strong on the ‘Hail to the King’ album, they’re also revisiting the past with the ‘Waking the Fallen: Resurrected’ reissue. ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie spoke with bassist Johnny Christ about revisiting ‘Waking the Fallen’ and life on the road with his bandmates. Check out the chat below.
It’s Full Metal Jackie on Loudwire Nights. Johnny Christ from Avenged Sevenfold on the show with us tonight. Johnny, putting together an anniversary edition of an album is like a trip in a time machine. What had you forgotten about yourself and this band that you remembered while going through everything?
Oh man, a lot of stuff really. Mostly the fact that you forget the time. There was a time when we were in a van and handing out the CDs at Warped Tour. We had a two-song EP that we were just handing out for free just to promote ourselves. That was on the ‘Waking the Fallen’ record and we were just going around and handing out the CDs and stuff like that. I thought, yeah that is kind of a very different thing than where we are at now.
An anniversary edition is a great opportunity to do something really special for fans. What special edition albums from other bands are your favorites and what other ideas did they give you for ‘Waking the Fallen: Resurrected’?
Usually I don’t really go back and listen to a lot of special edition ones. The Iron Maiden stuff they have done before, and I think that they have done it a couple of other times, where they do special edition stuff which is cool because they give you a little extra, you know and they are not trying to remaster it. I think those are some of the ideas that we went with.
You can definitely tell the record was made for the time that it was and on the budget that it was. ‘Waking the Fallen,’ I mean. We think that it is cool. It serves its purpose. It serves its time. We don’t want to remaster it or anything like that. To give extra stuff we have put on a few extra tracks of songs that were just a bunch of demoed out songs that eventually became ‘Waking the Fallen’ songs but there are parts in there where you hear four or five different songs in one song because we were just writing like crazy. Then we just had to go in and listen to them. We started to take apart those songs and make them into more concise songs to create ‘Waking the Fallen.’ There are even some riffs on there that we didn’t even use on ‘Waking the Fallen’ but we did use on ‘City of Evil.’ It is kind of wild.
Johnny, was it bittersweet reviewing old footage for the DVD portion of ‘Waking the Fallen: Resurrected’ and seeing The Rev?
Yeah, you know, we all — it was a different time, so it was just fun to see everyone in that aspect and obviously anytime we see stuff with Jimmy it is just bittersweet. You know, little by little we get by a little better each time. It has been a while and things start to get a little easier as anyone who has lost someone very close to them knows that you still feel that way. But you find out that you can just celebrate it than let it hurt you, so it’s actually kind of nice to see The Rev all in black and still wearing makeup and everything like that because that was a time when we were still putting on the makeup and making sure that we were very serious and all in black and everything like that. Now, that just isn’t the case anymore. It is fun to look back and see that youthful time.
Does looking back at earlier releases at all influence creativity and the direction of new Avenged Sevenfold music?
I think it can. The things that we take our influences at each step and how we are feeling at the time. I mean, yeah, we look back and there are a lot of things that we loved about the record and any other previous records. We are going in and we have a little bit of time left still on the cycle so we have only just begun discussing what we want do for the next record. You never know, it definitely can come up. You’ll be sitting around and be like, “Oh, remember that part was this style. Let’s try to do something like that again.” We have done that reference before. You never really know.
Johnny, how long after an album has been released do you start thinking about new music and what is usually the first pitch that gets you jotting down ideas?
Well, after a new record is released, we are a touring band so we are out for two years and we don’t even begin to start thinking about that until our cycles are pretty much coming toward the end. At that time then we go home we take a few months off and then we first like to discuss what we want to make. We definitely want to make sure that what we are making is something that we are proud of and something that we are inspired to write. If we go in there and just try to manufacture something then we are all going to be bummed out.
We always try to sit around, have a couple of drinks with each other, and cite songs that maybe a couple of other guys haven’t heard or if you have it pulling it out like I want to do something like this. Those influences can be from anywhere. A lot of the times it ends up being just random places like hip hop or R&B or, whatever, Mr. Bungle stuff. Then we syphon it through our creativity and rewrite it differently. At any rate, influences come from different places each time and you never really know so we are trying to make sure that we are in the right mind set so we take a little time off, discuss it, see what we want to accomplish with the next record and then get inspired.
Johnny, what non-musical aspect of touring makes you most appreciative of being able to live the life of a musician on the road?
You know, just the fact that we are out here with my best friends. It sounds corny but it is true. I am out here with my best friends, drinking and hanging out after the show. We are just happy to be together and out and traveling the world together. That part, as cheesy as it is is probably the second to the music.
Thanks to Avenged Sevenfold’s Johnny Christ for the interview. Pick up the ‘Waking the Fallen: Resurrected’ reissue at this location, or enter to win a deluxe package below. And look for the band headlining the 2014 Mayhem Festival at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
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