Bloody-Disgusting is proud to give you readers this exclusive interview with Johnny Christ, bassist of rock/metal band Avenged Sevenfold! Currently co-headlining the Rockstar Uproar Festival with Disturbed, Johnny Christ took a few minutes to tell us what’s been going on in the A7X camp, what it was like recording with Mike Portnoy and what the future holds for the band. Check it out after the jump!
How are you doing?
I’m doing alright!
Fantastic! ‘Nightmare’ is about to come out and the reception so far, at least on Bloody-Disgusting, has been very positive and full of anticipation. What are your hopes and thoughts regarding it’s release?
I think that everything has been accomplished that I was looking for. The opening track on the record is a song that we feel had to slap you in the face and I think the song pretty much accomplished that. The fans have been really responsive to it, which is great and you really can’t ask for anything more than that.
I saw you several years ago when Avenged Sevenfold opened up for Mushroomhead. Since then, the band’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. What has the journey been like for you?
It’s been a good one! [laughs] Since touring with Mushroomhead, we’ve just been touring our asses off and writing the music that we feel is good, you know? We always make sure that we write something that we want to do as a band. And we love touring; we love getting out there and playing and meeting our fans and trying to get new ones. It’s part of what we do and it’s part of what we’ve always wanted to do. We’ve put in a lot of our time and a lot of our effort to get where we are and it’s definitely paid off. Now the touring is a little more luxurious. It’s been a long journey with perks and a lot of downfalls. But overall, I’d say it’s more perks and I’m pretty happy to say that.
What was it like working with Mike Portnoy in the studio?
It was cool! Mike Portnoy has always been a hero of ours and Jimmys. He was really just a good fit to help us accomplish what we needed on this record. After Jimmy passed, we didn’t think we were going to make a record, that wasn’t the thought in our head. The band was in the background and in the foreground was the fact that we just lost our brother and best friend and going through that we took baby steps and realized that we have this record that Jimmy was 100% a part of and very proud of and very much wanted to get it out there. So, we made a couple of calls to see if Mike Portnoy would come in to fill in and play the parts that Jimmy had already written. And it came out great! Mike did a great job and was really humble and said, “However many times you need me to do this, whatever it takes to get you guys the record you guys want to make.” He was directive, he has a really, really good personality, a really good soul and really meshed with us as well. He offered us the services to tour for a little while. At that time, we still weren’t ready to tour and then, as it went on, we realized that we want to get as many people to hear this record as possible to carry on Jimmy’s legacy, we’re going to have to tour.
Mike will be Avenged Sevenfold’s touring drummer for Uproar and, from what I hear, more dates beyond. It might be a bit soon to ask, but are there any plans for afterwards, when Mike cannot continue touring with A7X, regarding a new drummer?
Yeah, it’s too early to tell. We’re going out with Mike to support this new record and also to make an easy transition. But when he goes back to Dream Theater or whatever he’s gonna do, we’re gonna have to take a deep breath and go back to the bag for what we want to do with the band.
Aside from a pretty intense amount of touring coming up, what else is in the works for Avenged Sevenfold?
Right now we’re just gonna promote this record and get out there and tour and meet the fans that have been wonderful through our entire career and wonderful through all this and get out there and see them again. Give them a little hope that we needed at one point that they gave us.
The artwork and themes of Avenged Sevenfold have strong roots in the horror genre. How much does horror influence you?
I love horror as a genre! I always have. As a kid more so in movies than in visual arts for me. It’s always been very intriguing to me and I also love a lot of the cheesy aspects of a lot of horror movies I grew up watching. It’s an influence more so in my character and my personality than in my music but when it comes to the artwork, we’ve always been intrigued by that kind of thing. Our favorite album arts have had these horror kind of looks about them from Eddie from Iron Maiden to Vic from Megadeth and Metallica has always had classic dark records. It’s always been something that we’ve been drawn to and wanted to continue.
What are some of your favorite horror movies?
I love the original Nightmare on Elm Street, totally love the original Friday the 13th, a few others. Most of them are everybody else’s favorites as well. But as a kid, I had two older brothers who would watch these movies and I wasn’t allowed to and I’d sneak out and try to find them and watch them anyways. All around, just a big horror movie fan!
Alright! Well, thanks a lot and best of luck on Uproar!
Thanks a lot, man!