Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows
antiMusic: How did you get connected with the Call of Duty game?
M. Shadows: Anyone that knows me, knows I am a big time gamer. From when I was young and got my first NES I could always be found playing video games. Once Xbox Live was created, it opened a whole new world to me. Competing online was such an awesome experience. So it turned out that our A&R guy, Craig at Warner Brothers, was friends with Mark Lamia over at Treyarch. He knew I was a big fan of the franchise and especially that game, so he made the introduction. I went down to Treyarch where they created the game and got to see all the ins and outs. Shortly after my visit, we got a call asking if we wanted to do an original song for the "Call of the Dead" zombies map pack. The rest is history.
antiMusic: Are you all fans of the game? Are the band serious gamers or just occasional players?
M. Shadows: We are all fans of the game, but not all of us play. Gates does not have a gaming console, but I see Zacky playing Black Ops a lot online. Johnny is more of a DJ Hero type of guy. The Rev used to play MW2 back in the day online. I am the most hardcore gamer in the group by far -- I put a lot of time in on Call of Duty.
antiMusic: What are your favorite parts (levels) or editions of the game?
M. Shadows: My fav part of Black Ops is the fact that they made it an extremely competitive game. I felt MW2 was too lethal, it took away the skill of a gun battle. There are people that are fans of that style of gaming, but I prefer what Black Ops did to the game. I feel they are very aware and attentive to the community as well. They listen and fix glitches immediately. Not only did they get the game to a competition level, but they added a competition Playlist, which is all I play when I'm not doing GameBattles. It's a very pure version of the game. Also, the amount of content they put out for the Zombies fans is incredible. You couldn't ask for more.
antiMusic: What was your reaction when asked to write a song?
M. Shadows: I was very excited. It's not often that you get asked to do something that you really want to do. We were just proud to be associated with the game.
antiMusic: Did you have an idea right away that you thought would fit or did you have to work it up from scratch?
M. Shadows: We worked from scratch, but I definitely knew I wanted it to have a Castlevania type vibe melodically. We threw the kitchen sink at it. Our goal was to make it pump you up while killing endless hordes of Zombies.
antiMusic: How long did the song take to come together?
M. Shadows: 1 week and 3 days to record it. We didn't have much time, since we were in between tours.
antiMusic: Did you go by the storyboards fairly closely or just go with a song that would fit the overall vibe?
M. Shadows: We went with the storyboards. It was fun. We have a lot of respect for the Zombies community and wanted it to fit in with the story so far. I did a lot of back and forth with the people at Treyarch to make sure the lyrics worked for the story, without giving away too much of the future.
antiMusic: How much input did Treyarch have with regards to the song? Any special requests?
M. Shadows: They said do whatever you want. They said it could be a ballad if that's what we wanted to do. They were happy that we wanted the lyrics to make sense with the story though.
antiMusic: Is the expansion map actually available to consumers now? If so, have you played it yet?
M. Shadows: Yes, I was actually playing "COTD" with Matt Tuck from Bullet for My Valentine yesterday backstage and we unlocked the song.
antiMusic: Would you say that "Not Ready to Die" accelerates body counts for zombies?
M. Shadows: I guarantee it.
antiMusic: What's the longest stretch you've ever gone playing Call of Duty?
M. Shadows: Probably 16 hours.
antiMusic: What other favorite video games does the band play?
M. Shadows: I play Mortal Kombat, Zelda, Mario, Halo, Golden Eye 007, Bust a Move, Street Fighter 2, Double Dragon, Robot Unicorn, and many others. I think Johnny plays a lot of DJ hero.
Morley and antiMusic thank M. Shadows for taking the time to do this interview.