Avenged Sevenfold knew they’d ‘take heat’ for drummer change

Avenged Sevenfold
New man: Wackerman, left, with Avenged Sevenfold
(Image: © Travis Shinn)

M Shadows has admitted that Avenged Sevenfold knew they’d “take heat” for replacing drummer Arin Ilejay with Brooks Wackerman before the making of latest album The Stage.

Wackerman is the band’s third sticksman since the death of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in 2009, with Mike Portnoy appearing on 2010’s Nightmare and Ilejay taking the stool for 2013’s Hail To The King.

Frontman Shadows tells That’s Not Metal: “We wouldn’t have made this change unless we knew it was the right decision.

“We spent a long time, and we took heat from people that don’t know the situation, like, ‘Oh, changing drummers again.’ From the outside, we knew that was going to be an issue.

“But on the inside we were making the adjustments we knew were going to get us to the point to wher we can put out something we’re proud of.”

He describes Wackerman, who’s older than his colleagues, as “a guy we can throw ideas at, a smart guy, a great guy to be around, and just a fantastic drummer.”

He adds: “We were doing our due diligence behind the scenes, from taking our time writing the record to staying off the road to getting Brooks a year and a half ago.”

Shadows says Avenged Sevenfold had to announce the lineup change earlier than they’d have liked, so that both Wackerman’s former band Bad Religion and Ilejay could move on.

He says of the band’s relationship with Ilejay: “Arin got more distanced as time went on. Everyone goes through their honeymoon period – then you start realising that we’re four guys that have a way we do things, then there’s someone else that just doesn’t fit in.

“As nice of a guy as he is, there were a bunch of things that didn’t represent us at all. You can’t have that, especially when we’ve worked so long and so hard at what we do.”

Avenged Sevenfold are the cover stars of the upcoming edition of Metal Hammer, which goes on sale on December 6 (Tuesday). They tour the UK and Europe starting next month.

Avenged Sevenfold tour dates 2017

Jan 10: Glasgow SSE Hydro, UK
Jan 12: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, UK
Jan 13: Birmingham Genting Arena, UK
Jan 15: Sheffield Arena, UK
Jan 16: Manchester Arena, UK
Jan 18: Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, UK
Jan 19: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, UK
Jan 21: London O2 Arena, UK
Jan 22: London O2 Arena, UK
Feb 12: Frankfurt Festhalle, Germany
Feb 13: Hamburg Sporthalle, Germany
Feb 15: Berlin Arena, Germany
Feb 16: Dusseldorf Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Germany
Feb 18: Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, Netherlands
Feb 20: Stuttgart Schleyerhalle, Germany
Feb 21: Milan Forum, Italy
Feb 23: Vienna Wiener Stadthalle, Austria
Feb 25: Munich Zenith, Germany
Feb 26: Zurich Halle 622, Austria
Feb 28: Lille Zenith Arena, France
Mar 01: Luxembourg Rockhal, Luxembourg
Mar 02: Paris AccorHotels Arena, France
Mar 04: Copenhagen Valby Hallen, Denmark
Mar 07: Helsinki Hartwall Arena, Finland
Mar 09: Stockholm Ericsson Globe, Sweden
Mar 10: Oslo Telenor, Norway

Avenged Sevenfold's Hail To The King 'too close to Metallica'