AUBURN, Washington — It's no secret Avenged Sevenfold adore Guns N' Roses.
And for "Seize the Day," the third single from the band's 2005 LP, City of Evil, Avenged — intentionally or not — borrow a few cues from GN'R's epic 1992 clip for "November Rain," which cost $1.5 million to make and featured Rose and then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour being wed in a church before shifting to depict the model's funeral.
The gritty "Seize the Day" video, which was directed by Wayne Isham (Metallica, Velvet Revolver), opens with Avenged frontman M. Shadows and his pregnant wife — played by the singer's actual girlfriend of more than a dozen years, the band's ex-tour manager Valary DiBenedetto — laughing and shooting footage of each other with a camcorder. The rest of the Avenged come to collect Shadows and he leaves with them despite his wife's strenuous objections. The boys drive off to hold up a liquor store and escape out the shop's back door as the police roll up. But Shadows is snatched up by the cops and hauled to jail.
There, Shadows — who came up with the video's concept and wrote its treatment — is stripped of his numerous piercings and stripped down to his birthday suit. He even makes a stop at the prison's barbershop, where his dome is shorn short before he's escorted to his cell.
Next the video shows Shadows having an argument with his wife when she visits him in prison. After leaving abruptly, she's killed when her car is sideswiped by a large van. The camera then shifts to Mrs. Shadow's tear-jerking funeral, where, in true rock-god fashion, guitarist Synyster Gates mounts the casket as it descends six feet down and wails the song's melodic, "November Rain"-esque solo.
By the video's end Shadows has been released from prison and, with his band at his side, visits his wife's final resting place. A young boy, presumably the infant she'd been carrying at the time of the crash, wanders up to Shadows, and the frontman wraps one of his arms around the child's shoulders, comforting him as they stare at the tombstone.
"We wanted to do a more emotional video this time," Shadows explained. "We have a lot of strippers and stuff like that in our other videos, so we wanted to be much more serious. It's about taking the people you love and holding them close. You make some mistakes in life and that can all be taken away from you in two minutes, so you have to think twice about your actions. It's about seizing the day and keeping those you love close and not messing up."
Shadows admits a connection between his video and the classic Guns N' Roses clip but says the tracks are very different.
" 'November Rain' is a much longer, in-depth song," he said. "This is a five-minute soft ballad. But the video reminds me of 'November Rain' because it has a storytelling vibe to it. It's not us driving around in cool cars and just chilling, you know? It has a story and Guns N' Roses did those videos the best. It wasn't about looking cool and being flashy, it was about being real and showing the scenario and being true to the video" (see " 'TRL' Faves Avenged Sevenfold Want Out Of 'Teeny Magazines' ").
Avenged, who haven't decided whether they'll devote the fall to a headlining tour or to writing new material, will spend the rest of the summer on Ozzfest, which kicked off here June 29 (see "Avenged Win Over Crowd, System Snore, Ozzy Returns To Form At Ozzfest Launch"). Most Ozzfest bands play the tour's second stage when they first join the tour — but not Avenged.
"I think we've earned it," said Shadows of his band's coveted mainstage slot. "We've worked really hard for eight years now, so I don't think we fit on the second stage at this point. We're a mainstage act and we are proud of it."
For months, though, no one knew that the 'Fold would be taking the Ozzfest stage at all — until mid-May, when Avenged and DragonForce were added to the lineup (see "Avenged Sevenfold Confirmed For Ozzfest's Main Stage"). Being one of this year's Ozzfest mystery bands was critical for Shadows, because by the time the band was named to the bill, most of the festival's tickets had already been sold.
And why would that be a good thing, exactly? "So our fans couldn't buy them," he said. "And that was the point. If the same kids see you, it doesn't get you anywhere. We want to get in front of people who don't necessarily like us, or people that haven't given us a chance yet or don't know who we are, and this is our tour to prove everyone wrong that has doubts about Avenged Sevenfold.
"We're going to do our thing and people will still hate us," he continued. "All you can ask for is a chance to play in front of a crowd like this."
For more on Avenged Sevenfold, check out the feature "Appetite For Destruction."