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Avenged Sevenfold’s New Drummer Is Brooks Wackerman

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About a week ago it was revealed that longtime Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman had left the band. On Wednesday morning, we found out why. He’s the new drummer for Avenged Sevenfold. The news was revealed on the Talk Is Jericho podcast hosted by Chris Jericho.

Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows and the band’s new drummer, Brooks Wackerman, were the guests on the episode and they spoke in depth about the decision.

According to Shadows, Wackerman’s name has been tossed around since the death of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. “To be honest, Brooks’ name has always been in the mix. It was one of the names we were throwing around when Jimmy passed away in terms of who was going to step up for Nightmare. We felt Mike [Portnoy] was the right choice and we still feel that way. Mike just destroyed on the record. He was perfect. But at the time, our tour manager brought up Brooks’ name as well. But at the time he was also busy with Bad Religion and it was also … people were going to look at it differently because he was a punk drummer at this point.”

The band also feels strongly about bringing in Arin Ilejay in the middle of their touring and working him into the band, but felt that they needed something different to be the band they wanted to be. “It just became increasingly difficult to be on the same page, not only touring, but with writing and just where we want to take things,” said Shadows. “We’re just a bunch of guys who are all over the place and we have a bunch of different influences and we need somebody who can instantly … who can sit there and say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got that influence too or I understand why we’re gonna go here. I understand why we’re going to do that.'”

He adds, “It just got to the point where after Mayhem Festival last year, we had just decided to fire on all cylinders the way we want to, we needed to make a change. And we all had our little talk. We said, ‘Listen, we can ride this thing out the way it is right now and we’ll be fine or we can shake the nest a little bit and we want to fire on all cylinders again. We want to be the baddest band on the planet. We want to just dominate onstage. And I came up with the idea that I really want to talk to Brooks and see if there’s any chance and see where he’s at in his life right now.”

The vocalist added that they did not hold auditions for the drum spot, but rather it was all initiated with whether or not Wackerman would be interested. “Jimmy’s missing and you’re not trying to replace that and you’re just trying to get to the point where if you were to tear this thing to the bottom floor, how would you rebuild it — to just say new band, new mentality, new fire. And one of the things was let’s give Brooks a call and see what he’s doing. It wasn’t like we were going to start trying guys out and we were serious about this change. It was like if Brooks is willing to do this, that’s what we want to do. So it wasn’t like we were gonna just start looking for drummers.”

Shadows says that Avenged wasn’t trying to poach Wackerman and upon talking with the drummer, they learned he was up for a different challenge. “What we did was we just wanted to make sure we didn’t jump into anything too fast, so for us it was, ‘Can we play the old songs? Let’s go have some rehearsals. Can we write together? Let’s write together. Let’s throw some riffs at him and see what would you play on this and can you give us 10 different drum beats around this riff?’ And it just instantly clicked and everyone was so excited.”

Wackerman said it was a little tough telling Bad Religion of his plans to move on, but they’re happy for him and understood. “There was no lead up to it and no one knew. Initially it was shock to everyone,” said the drummer. “I spoke with every band member individually on a day off on tour right before our last show. There’s just a lot of history there, but they understood. They get it. I mean the band has been around for 35 years so they’ve gone through this before.”

Shadows credits The Rev for actually introducing the band members to Wackerman’s playing, citing his work on the Infectious Grooves album Groove Family Cyco Mas Borracho as being the disc that really turned them on. He recalls finding out that Wackerman had joined Bad Religion shortly afterward and was excited when Avenged was going to be on the same Warped Tour with them in their early days. “It was cool to see a different style, because we were used to that cool funk drumming, that different type of thing with Infectious Grooves and then Bad Religion it was more straight forward punk rock but he was adding so many cool nuances,” says Shadows. Because Wackerman comes from a background of not only playing punk, but having other influences, that’s part of the reason he was the right guy. He’s right in the vein of what The Rev brought to the band. “We like the idea of not going with someone who just plays a blistering fast double bass and snare fills,” says Shadows. “We want something that’s completely different. So that’s the whole idea is to not only have somebody who completely clicks but can do all that stuff.”

The rocker also offered a bit of an update on the band’s new music, stating, “The idea of the last record was a very stripped down sound and the idea of the next is a not very stripped down sound.” He added that the band has been very cognizant of the idea of letting Brooks be free on the album rather than just asking him to play what’s written.

Listen to the full interview with Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows and Brooks Wackerman in the Talk Is Jericho podcast from Podcast One below.

Hear M. Shadows + Brooks Wackerman on Podcast One’s Talk Is Jericho Podcast

See Where The Rev Ranks Among Our Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Drummers

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