Avenged Sevenfold’s M.Shadows recalls the band’s early shows: “We were paid with pizza and beer”

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Avenged Sevenfold began his career playing in tiny California venues, eventually conquering the world’s biggest stages.

A7X singer M.Shadows recalled his life-changing experiences. He said: “The first ‘big’ band I ever saw was Reel Big Fish. Me and The Rev went when we were kids – Jimmy’s dad took us, and he’d bring a book and sit in the corner. And we would mosh while everyone else was skanking, because we thought that was what you were supposed to do (laughs). We went to a ton of punk-rock shows growing up – it totally influenced us. We were little metalheads already playing music at that point, and if you listen to our music there’s so much stuff we throw in there – it’s obviously because we grew up in Southern California, where the ska scene was very close to the metal scene… All that stuff was welcomed under the same umbrella.”

About the first show they played as Avenged Sevenfold, M.Shadows said: “There was, like, 10 friends there and they watched us and then left, and then some other band played afterwards and 10 of their friends watched them. The second or third show we ever played was at Chain Reaction, and we were playing to a hardcore scene and none of the kids would walk to the front of the stage – they’d watch you from the back with their arms crossed (laughs). Our first big shows were with bands like Twelve Tribes, Eighteen Visions, Poison The Well and Shai Hulud… It would be just a bunch of hardcore bands but it felt big for us – it was awesome. We had a three-song demo out at the time!”

Regarding the first Avenged Sevenfold sold out show, M.Shadows recalled: “We were playing the Showcase Theater in Corona, California, in December 2001, and it was sold out. At the time, if you had asked me how many people were there at that show, I probably would have said 900 – but it only holds, like, 300 people! But it just felt so huge; that’s where I grew up going to shows. When we were able to play there a few years later, it was like, ‘This is going to be fucking awesome!’ But we didn’t even get paid – we sold the place out and the guy gave us pizza as a payment (laughs). But we were just like, ‘Cool, we’ve got pizza and beer – we’re going to be huge, man!’”

On the worst show A7X ever played, M.Shadows said: “We were in San Antonio, playing for a radio station. I remember we had a breakdown! We had sold a lot of records with City Of Evil at that point, and there was all these bands that we should have been playing after and we were already bitter about it – we were being total pricks. People were setting up our stage backwards and we had feedback the whole time, and I could see the crowd plugging their ears after, like, 30 seconds. So I just flipped out and threw my microphone down, Jimmy kicked over his drums and the guys threw their guitars and we got in the van and left. For, like, six years afterwards, that radio station would play 30 seconds of our songs and then turn it off (laughs).”

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