NEW YORK — The dudes in Avenged Sevenfold haven't written an acceptance speech to take with them to the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. That's because they aren't optimistic that their "Bat Country" clip will win Best New Artist in a Video, a category they share with Angels & Airwaves, Chris Brown, James Blunt, Panic! at the Disco and Rihanna.
"It feels not likely," guitarist Synyster Gates said of the chance that he'll be clutching a trophy Thursday (August 31). "But we're going to have a good time. We just came to hang. [Being nominated] sort of puts us on the map, because it's a great accomplishment for us to come out here and at least be acknowledged."
Frontman M. Shadows said he's in New York to meet some of the artists he's a fan of, but agrees with Gates that Avenged will leave New York's Radio City Music Hall empty handed.
"I just like hanging out and seeing people that aren't in our genre of music and seeing different artists around," he explained. "There are a lot of rappers I listen to and a lot of pop stars we listen to that we would never get in contact with being on a tour bus, at rock shows in the middle of the country. So it's sort of cool seeing different people around."
He's also hoping to run into Guns N' Roses mainmain — and his own pal — Axl Rose, who'll be taking the stage as a presenter during this year's VMAs.
Moonman or no Moonman, Avenged Sevenfold plan to keep on trucking for the remainder of the year, playing nine North American dates next month — the band's first live gigs since coming off this summer's Ozzfest (see "Avenged Win Over Crowd, System Snore, Ozzy Returns To Form At Ozzfest Launch"). Three of those dates are in the U.S. — September 7 in Anchorage, Alaska; September 13 in Fargo, North Dakota; and September 15 in Des Moines, Iowa — with the remainder set for Canada.
The 'Fold are also lined up to share the stage with GN'R, Alice in Chains, Papa Roach, Muse, and 30 Seconds to Mars at this year's Inland Invasion, set for Devore, California's Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen on September 23 (see "Avenged Sevenfold, Alice In Chains Join Guns N' Roses For Inland Invasion").
The band is hitting the U.K. in October with openers Bleeding Through, "and then we'll be back in the States to hit all of the small cities that never get shows," Shadows said. "It will be throughout the country, but it's going to be very scattered. Like, there won't be New York or Los Angeles stops."
Shadows said that Killswitch Engage and Bleeding Through will provide support on that run, which should commence sometime in November.
As soon as 2006 is in the bag, Shadows said Avenged Sevenfold will go into writing mode, with plans to record the follow-up to City of Evil — which has sold close to 673,000 copies since it was released in June 2005 — in early 2007. Gates added that the rockers haven't been tinkering with fresh tunes just yet — they've got riffs here and there that they've been collecting, but they've been putting a lot of thought into what they'd like to do on their next LP.
"There are different philosophies running through our heads about how to approach the next album and what we want to do differently," Shadows said. "We're a constantly evolving band, so we just want to do different sh-- each time."
"We've worked on it a little bit, but we're going to keep our mouths shut about it until it comes out," Shadows added. "We want our fans to be surprised. I think when you build something up too much they get all these preconceived notions of how the record should sound. All I can say is, it's going to be a different sound for us — something no one's heard before and no one expects. We'll just leave it at that."
For everything we've got on the 2006 VMAs, vma.mtv.com.