Comprising vocalist M. Shadows, lead guitarist Synyster Gates, rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer Jimmy ‘The Reverend’ Sullivan best known as ‘The Rev’, Avenged Sevenfold formed in the summer of 1999 in Huntington Beach, California USA, while all members were still in high school. The quintet took the band’s name from the Biblical story of Cain and Abel and created their unique sound, blending Metal, Emo and Punk-Rock.
They recorded their debut album, 2001′s “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet”, when they were 18 years old. Since then, they’ve made the road their home, hooking up with heavy-Rock acts such as Shadows Fall and Mushroom head.
The members of metal core outfit Avenged Sevenfold (or A7X) were still attending high school in Huntington Beach, CA, when they formed their band in 1999. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for M. Shadows (vocals), Zacky Vengeance (guitar), Synyster Gates (guitar), the Reverend (drums), and Johnny Christ (bass) to make an impression with their aggressive hybrid of metal, hard rock, and punk-pop. The band made its official debut in July 2001, releasing Sounding the Seventh Trumpet on the Good Life label before moving to the Hopeless roster for 2003′s Waking the Fallen. Warner Bros. took interest in the band’s aggressive sound and issued its breakthrough release, City of Evil, in June 2005. The album reached number 30 on Billboard’s Top 200, propelled in part by the Top Ten success of the single “Bat Country.” The accompany music video was heavily rotated on MTV and Fuse, where live appearances also helped boost Avenged’s growing profile, and the band ultimately won the Best New Artist Award (though they were hardly newcomers) at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards.
The group has learned a great deal having spent the last three summers as part of the Warped tour. Shadows got some valuable advice from Fat Mike of NOFX, besides how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. “He’s like, ‘You know what, if you do this stuff long enough, you gotta fucking have fun. If you can’t have fun on tour then you’ll never last,’” Shadows recalls. “I think that’s a really important thing.”
Additionally, the quintet, which started on a Warped side stage, graduated to the second stage, and then made the move last year to main stage, a spot they’ll be returning to this year, learned a lot by the gradual progression. “We’ve seen bands that we started out with that got a little bit of a head start or an early break and they’re done. We’ve learned so much more doing it from the ground up. We’ve got so many more stories than other bands will have; so many more good times, bad times. It has made us stronger as a band too,” Vengeance says.
Hard work is what also accounts for the band’s fiercely loyal following, according to Shadows. “It’s rewarding ‘cause you know you have this really solid core fan base that has been through a lot and they believe in the band now as more than a band, it’s like a lifestyle,” he says. “If anything happens we don’t ever fall, it’s like they’re holding us up. We’re not on the radio, but everywhere we go we always have this rabid group of fans. We would’ve never had that if we had some lucky break and just jumped to the point we’re at now. I hope it gradually keeps going up. The slower you go the more I think it builds underneath you and we’re grateful for that. They can’t just get pulled out from underneath us. There’s nothing you can grab to pull; it’s fans that love that band. So, it’s very gratifying to be at this place now.”