AVENGED SEVENFOLD’s M. SHADOWS Explains Why He Prefers Headlining Arenas Over Performing At Festivals

During a recent appearance on the “Marvin” podcast, AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s M. Shadows was asked which he prefers: headlining arenas or performing at huge festivals. “I think both have their perks,” the singer, whose real name is Matt Sanders, said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “Both are interesting. I think in terms of knowing that you sound good and having control over everything, it’s gotta be smaller places. Even if you do some of those like warehouse sort of like — something like the Forum [in Los Angeles], which is built out for music now or things that are smaller than that, those have the sweat and the energy, and you know it sounds good ’cause you can kind of get a vibe. Some of those festivals, it’s just being projected and then projected again and then projected again, and you’re seeing like the fist raise up and then everyone’s on like a four-second delay and you’re just, like, ‘I don’t know what these people are hearing. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not.'”

He continued: “A lot of stuff for artists is just confidence, and if you know it sounds good and you know you’re killing it, then that that feeds into this sort of circular energy back to the audience. And festivals, you can get it, but I definitely find myself questioning while I’m on stage, like, ‘What is even going on here?’, ’cause sometimes stuff’s just getting hit back at you. But there’s great festivals and then there’s ones that you just know are just awful, and you’re just, like, ‘Please get me out of here.’ I can tell by our sound guy back there just… You can tell if he’s doing this [makes vigorous motion with both of his hands over an imaginary sound board], we’re in trouble.”

Back in April 2023, M. Shadows reflected on AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s experience of sharing the stage with METALLICA on an entire U.S. tour seven years ago. He told Jason Bailey of Audacy Check In: “Well, that was definitely a little more uncomfortable, because you’re not in your setting and you’re in the daylight and you don’t have your toys with you and you’re playing a quick set. And you’re the opening band. So it’s a different thing. Because when you’re headlining, everybody’s in the palm of your hand before it even happens. When you’re opening for METALLICA and the place is sort of like slowly filling up, half the venue’s full, you’re in the daylight getting hit by the sun, so you almost have to go to war. You might have some people in the pit that are into this, but there’s a lot of skeptical arms crossed, like, ‘I don’t like these new bands. I don’t want anything to do with this. I’m waiting for the real metal gods to show up.’ And so it’s really a lot more feeling like you’re going to war.”

Shadows also explained why he and his AVENGED SEVENFOLD bandmates initially turned down the opportunity to open for METALLICA before finally agreeing to support the San Francisco Bay Area metal legends on their 2017 “WorldWired” tour.

“We have only headlined for so long,” he said. “And one of the things that we heard early in our career, and one thing we respected immensely about certain bands, is if you headline, people think of you as a headliner, and if you go and open for people constantly, they’ll always think of you as second fiddle. So the idea of opening and taking all the toys away, everything everyone had ever seen — my question to [METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich] was, ‘I don’t think this is the right look for new people getting into AVENGED SEVENFOLD. This isn’t where we’re at.’ But to a lot of mainstream people, it was, ‘Oh, you’re the band that opened for METALLICA,’ which put us on a higher pedestal, which was weird to me. And so the conversation just went, ‘We’re not gonna do that.’ Then they would call [our agent] and offer more money, and we were, like, ‘We’re not gonna do that.’ Then it eventually became, like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna do that because we’d be idiots not to.’ But I still walked away from that tour extremely grateful but extremely, I think, right about taking that tour. It did put us in that weird position of, ‘You’re second fiddle to this.'”

Next month, AVENGED SEVENFOLD will launch the third leg of the band’s “Life Is But A Dream…” North American tour, featuring support from POPPY and SULLIVAN KING. The trek begins March 6 in Buffalo, New York, with stops in Toronto, Ontario; Raleigh, North Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and more before concluding in Newark, New Jersey on March 31.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD has been touring in support of its latest album, “Life Is But A Dream…”, which sold 36,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD made its first festival appearance in five years on May 19, 2023 at Welcome To Rockville at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s first concert since June 2018 took place on May 12, 2023 at AREA15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The second leg of AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s extensive “Life is But A Dream…” North American tour included stops in Nashville, Denver, Austin, and more before concluding at Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena on October 15, 2023. Produced by Live Nation, the trek featured support from FALLING IN REVERSE.

To date, AVENGED SEVENFOLD has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and earned two consecutive No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart (2010’s “Nightmare” and 2013’s “Hail To The King”) to go along with over a billion video views and a billion-plus Spotify streams, as well as multiple No. 1 singles on rock radio.


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