“The promoter got pissed at us because we played about five minutes over our time and we were the opening band. He said ‘You guys suck! and ‘They’re cocky!’ But we were just excited to play a show,” Shadows told Pollstar. “Then Avenged Sevenfold started getting bigger and we played shows at the Showcase Theatre.
“The guy actually called me and we made up and were cool again. The next show we played at Chain Reaction sold out.” From that inauspicious debut, Avenged Sevenfold (aka A7X) has since landed slots on the Warped Tour and Ozzfest, opened for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses as well as headlined in its many months on the road. The band’s self-titled release on Warner Bros. Records recently debuted at No. 4 on the Nielsen SoundScan Top 200 album chart and landed spots on various singles charts. And it keeps getting better for these five friends from Huntington Beach, Calif. Shadows, guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer The Rev have forged their own path since forming the band in high school. Coming from the punk and hardcore scene that spawned Atreyu, From Autumn to Ashes and others, A7X developed its own blend of rock influenced by Rancid, Metallica, Megadeth and Pantera. That gave the band a sound that was considered “out there,” even by underground standards. “We wanted to start a band that mixed both genres because we loved them so much, so there really wasn’t a fit for us,” Shadows said. “The hardcore bands are like ‘Why are you singing half the time and screaming half the time? You’ve got to do one or the other.’ We didn’t want to do that.” The plethora of talent in the area also made it tough to get in at Chain Reaction or the Showcase Theatre in Corona, the places to play for up-and-coming bands. “It was really hard for us because we didn’t know anybody. We were just kids in high school with – looking back on it – a really shitty demo. Atreyu, us and a few other bands were younger than everybody and there were bands that kind of had a lock down,” he explained. “No one had booking agents or anything, so we would hand out demos. People would usually just throw them away.
“If you weren’t constantly hounding people then you probably weren’t going to get a show.” Tour dates with From Autumn to Ashes eventually put A7X on cross-country trips to Texas, Arizona and other markets to get in front of audiences and develop the arena-style show the band is now known for.