Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows Talks Band's Involvement With Guitar Hero Live
Ever since "The Beast and the Harlot" challenged players in Guitar Hero II, fans of Avenged Sevenfold have requested more of the band to appear in the series. While Activision and Harmonix have given the Guitar Hero and Rock Band communities several tracks from Avenged Sevenfold's catalog in the past, the band is joining forces with Activision to provide special content for the upcoming Guitar Hero Live.
M. Shadows, lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold acknowledges the band's history with the series and says the band wanted to do something different for Guitar Hero Live. "We are offering fans exclusive content if they get the game pre-release," he tells us. "The whole idea of the game being from the artist's perspective and looking at a crowd... what we're going to do with our exclusive content is you get to see an Avenged Sevenfold crowd at Download Festival or Mexico City – we're still working out the details – and kind of see what it's like on stage as one of us and playing three live tracks that you can't get anywhere else. So, instead of putting out a track that everybody's already heard, these are going to be exclusive tracks just for Guitar Hero."
Avenged Sevenfold has provided music for the Black Ops series in the past, establishing a strong relationship with Activision. While they haven't determined the live songs that will appear in Guitar Hero Live, the band is currently picking from a list of seven songs. "We're going to need to figure out which ones are going to be the most technical for the fans – we want to put up some cool technical stuff – and which ones are going to translate best to that setting," M. Shadows says. "The people at Activision are like a part of our family for so long now, so we wanted to do something special for Guitar Hero just because Activision has been so good to us and try to stay really loyal to their games."
The vocalist tells us that having the band's music in video games has proven invaluable over the years. "The first thing we ever did was – we knew this guy Steve Schnur who worked at EA and he was putting together music for Madden back in the day," he says. "He loved our record and we were [one of] the first band[s] to not be from a major label to have music in a video game. We used to go play shows at the House of Blues and you'd get the security guards going like, 'You guys do that song? I heard that on Madden!' Throughout the entirety of our band, we've been involved in video games whether it's Black Ops or Guitar Hero or Madden and there's been this whole fan base that's heard of us strictly through video games. We keep doing it because not only are we fans of games, but the fan base keeps growing because of games. It's the best way for artists to get outlet."
He also is optimistic about what Guitar Hero Live's GHTV could mean for bands hoping to promote their music. "Streaming means that new things are going to be put in front of people and right now – you can argue this til the cows come home – music is not as important to people nowadays as it used to be," he says. "When I was growing up, it was really important; When my dad was growing up, it was very important – music defined generations – and now music's just kind of an afterthought. People are doing a lot of different things, so any way that we can get in front of new people, and any way that we can get people to focus on music, that's good for us. Having a streaming service that's shooting videos at people and you're competing and getting into songs is really good for people like us because we need people to be excited about what we do."
While the label always has the ultimate say in what songs goes in, M. Shadows says that he definitely has his preferences. "A lot of it is you get old school fans who want the older stuff, but you're also trying to introduce the newer fans to the old stuff as well," he says. "You're also trying to get new fans who have never heard of you or never gave you a chance. For us, we try to put our best foot forward. We want songs that have a wider appeal that people are going to know from the radio or heard at a hockey game or NBA game, and they just know what it is, they don't know who it is. Something like 'Nightmare' or some of the bigger songs we've had work well in video game settings."
In addition to exposure, M. Shadows is passionate about this topic thanks to his lifelong love of gaming. "I have a whole gaming rig that I bring on tour," the singer tells us. "I actually have internet that's just for me on tour and other people can't sign on. That's my 'lead singer syndrome' when everybody can't get online because I'm playing Black Ops and stuff. I'm definitely a gamer – I've played my whole life. I've got every Mortal Kombat cabinet and every Street Fighter cabinet in my garage."
If you'd like to learn more about Guitar Hero Live's GHTV, you can read our hands-on impressions here. If you'd like to learn more about how Live mode plays, you can click here. Guitar Hero Live launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, iOS, and Android on October 20.