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Drugs: M Shadows

You’ve been open about the extent of your excess, the booze, the cocaine. How bad did it get?

It wasn’t that everybody was gakked out of their minds all the time, but everybody really liked to drink and have a party and experiment. But I’m not going to advocate doing drugs, because it does more harm than good. I’d rather have my best friend Jimmy [Sullivan, aka drummer The Rev] here.

Jimmy died of an overdose. He was a huge talent with huge appetites.

That guy loved everything in life – sports when we were young, then drumming, gambling. When you take everything to an extreme that means the bad things, too.

Was his passing the band’s cue to clean up?

We were already cleaning our act up by then. We were adamant in getting Jimmy help, because we didn’t want to get the call that we eventually got. It’s hard – you do all you can and end up pushing away one of your best friends.

You must come across young bands in the thrall of rock’n’roll excess. Do you ever want to take them aside?

If some band had tried to warn us we would’ve just told them to fuck off. Hopefully our story will help people, but it doesn’t hit home until it happens to you unfortunately.

What about Avenged Sevenfold 2014?

The last two records have been very clean. Nowadays we play two-hour headline sets, you’ve got to keep the voice in shape and there’s a lot of expectation on this band. I don’t want my kid to think his dad’s on drugs.

Grant Moon is the News Editor for Prog and has been a contributor to the magazine since its launch in 2009. A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.