Not surprisingly, considering his band's free-wheeling, kaleidoscopic sound, Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows has been shaped by all kinds of music over his lifetime and career — from Pantera to Elton John. Count among that list System of a Down, and particularly their smash hit "Chop Suey!" off their 2001 sophomore full-length Toxicity. When we talked to Shadows earlier this year about the 10 songs that have molded him as a person and an artists, he included that spasmodic single among his picks. Below are his thoughts on its profound impact on him.
"I remember when that got played on KROQ for the first time. We were trying to catch it, trying to make a tape of it, trying to record it in the car, because there wasn't any music on the internet yet, and the record wasn't out yet. Brian [Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold's lead guitarist] was finally able to do it, so we had this warbly tape with someone like [KROQ DJ] Stryker talking over it. It just blew our minds. We couldn't believe that something like that was getting played on the radio. We were like, 'What is this? It's the craziest song we've ever heard!' And it totally opened our minds to the idea that you can do things that are very different and still make them palatable to people, in a mainstream sense. I never understood how they got their sound until we did that Linkin Park benefit for Chester [Bennington] recently. Daron [Malakian, SOAD's guitarist and vocalist] was there, and watching him go up there and play his guitar — it just sounded like fucking Daron, and when he screams in the mic, it's him. I've always loved his voice, and loved the hot and cold between him and Serj [Tankian, SOAD's frontman]. I just respect that band so much, because they have their own sound and no one can copy it."