Avenged Sevenfold singer M.Shadows was recently interviewed by 93X Radio and recalled moments when the band thought to breaking up following the death of A7X’s drummer The Rev in 2009.
About Mike Portnoy, who replaced The Rev for the ‘Nightmare‘ album recordings and on tour for some time, M.Shadows said: “We got a lot of love from bands that we knew but then we got a lot of love from the community of drummers – there was Vinnie Paul and Mike Portnoy, and all these people involved, and we had this record [‘Nightmare’]. And at first, we didn’t want to record it, we thought the band’s dead, it’s done. We just lost our best friend. So the band decided that since it was kind of a technical record, and there were songs like ‘Save Me,’ which is 11 minutes long and very prog-esque, very influenced by Dream Theater, we thought we would throw a line out there and be like, ‘Hey, do you want to help us out on this record?’.”
He continued: “We didn’t really know Mike at all before this, we just knew that Jimmy was a huge fan – we listened to Dream Theater. And he happened to be doing a NAMM performance soon after Jimmy had passed away and we decided we were gonna continue. And so we went out to dinner with him, we tossed out the line and started talking to him, and he came back very excited to help us out and wanted to do the record. We were just beside ourselves because we were trying to mourn, we’re trying to put together the record, we’re trying to finish what Jimmy had started with us… It was just a chaotic time. And Mike was perfect for it because he learned the parts, he’s obviously a very capable guy in terms of drumming, and he came in and came prepared, and he allowed us to do what we needed to do while nailed it on the drums. So it was perfect for us.”
About the tour after The Rev‘s death, he said: “We didn’t think we were going to tour, and then we decided that if Mike goes on tour, we’ll do it because now it kind of makes sense – he’s a part of the record, he’s a part of our family now, and we’ve spent a bunch of time with him in the studio. And that’s kind of how he helped us get back on our feet and get back into the live performance thing. I remember our first time walking on stage in Canada and it was just terrifying… We’re going out on stage without Jimmy, and we’ve got Mike who is kind of trying to learn old songs, and we got this record, and it was just chaos. It was emotionally draining.”
M.Shadows recalls moments after The Rev’s death, when the band thought not to continue: “It was one step at a time. I remember sitting there on New Year’s Eve and everyone’s partying in Times Square – I remember being just so bitter. We just lost our best friend, people are partying, and we’re just sitting at the house, thinking how the band is done, Jimmy’s gone, life’s horrible. But you slowly work your way out of it. I think it was like two weeks later, sitting at the same house, we’re at Johnny’s [Christ, bass] house, and sitting there going like, ‘Should we finish the record? Should we do it? It’s just sitting there.'”
He continued: “We called Mike Elizondo, ‘What do we do?’ And so just one step at a time, we’ll finish the record, but there’s no way we’re touring! And then it was like, ‘OK, we’ll do one tour, there’s no way we’re doing it again.’ So it’s just a human spirit of it, like, ‘OK, we can do this, we can get on our feet again.’ Fans helped a lot. The fans were so understanding, they were so amazing at the shows reaching out to us. So it’s just one step at a time, I think it’s like that probably for anybody.”