Avenged Sevenfold's Johnny Christ shares his love of punk, the band's TRL turning point and the forecast of the new record on The Sailor Jerry Podcast
On the latest installment of the Sailor Jerry Podcast with host Matt Caughthran of LA punk stalwarts The Bronx, the frontman and ever charismatic master of ceremonies welcomed veteran bassist Johnny Christ of Avenged Sevenfold to the discussion series. Among the talking points in the length exchange included some old war stories, as the guys revisited their some of their first international tour stretches together. The guys also discussed their mutual Southern California roots, Johnny's first musical influences and reveals some important updates on the long-awaited, super-anticipated new full length album from Avenged Sevenfold.
Starting out with some old war stories, Johnny and Matt recalled one of their first overseas trips to the UK actually paired The Bronx and Avenged. The guys laughed about the less than glamorous accommodations, the long nights spent at the bar, and the excitement of being able to travel to do what they loved - even if it meant shitty sleep on Eurobuses and rigors of traveling young, hungry and hungover.
It was during that era of the band however that the trajectory really started to skyrocket. Touring in support of Waking The Fallen, Christ recalled how the band made significant strides and credited the traction to their UK run supporting LostProphets at the time.
The conversation ventured even further back, exploring Christ's discovery of music as much more than just a fan. He shared how a birthday gift of bass guitar introduced him to a whole new world of art, citing punk legends like Fat Mike of NoFX and Matt Freeman of Rancid as some of his most formative inspirations. The trip down memory lane with Christ also included a retelling of how he eventually came to join Avenged Sevenfold after connecting with drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan over bands like Mr. Bungle and Primus.
The guys revisited the how the band's City of Evil-era was at first, not very well received. Christ explained that Waking the Fallen had resonated so strongly with fans that the stylistic departure of the next record, at least initially, didn't land like the guys had hoped. He went onto explain how the band's presence on MTV's TRL really was a game changer in the story of Avenged Sevenfold. Crediting Good Charlotte for opening the door for them to play TRL Live, it was shortly thereafter that "Bat Country" became a juggernaut on the network and propelled Avenged Sevenfold to become a household name.
Johnny and Matt would eventually address the elephant in the room which is the long-awaited new album from Avenged. Detailing the timeline of the band since their 2016 release, The Stage, Christ revealed that the delay has really been a result of situation and circumstance. He recalled how in 2018 Matt (M. Shadows) needed time to recover after having blown out his voice while touring in 2018 and how the intention was to take some time off to recoup, however, by 2019 the band had already begun writing.
While the story of 2020 is now all too familiar, Christ shared how the pandemic certainly had a part in prolonging progress on the project, but also impacted the guys' perspective overall. Prioritizing time with their families and making a concerted effort to not rush the creative process, Christ explained that while the band understands and appreciates the appetite of fans for new material, the goal is to ensure they get it right rather than just get it out. Christ did also confirm that the arrival date for new A7X is slated for some time next year.
Christ also took the opportunity to praise the personnel that are working with the band to perfect the record. Referring to producer Joe Barresi as an "unsung hero" he championed the expertise of the veteran producer who is producing the second consecutive record for the band. While the bassist spoke highly of Barresi's expertise, citing his resume that includes TOOL and even the most recent Slipknot record, The End, So Far, Christ attributed his the producer's personal and professional demeanor with getting results. Confiding that the band's tendency to be stubborn necessitates having a flexible steward in the studio and Barresi, is not only chiefly talented, but always even-tempered - making for a harmonious working enivironment conducive to getting shit done.
Check the full episode of The Sailor Jerry Podcast with host Matt Caughthran and special guest Johnny Christ of Avenged Sevenfold below.