It's just so obscure to take a folk song in a different language and be a pretty well-respected English-speaking rock band and totally take a song and twist it around and have fun with it.

My dad played some guitar, and both my parents are fans of music and have huge record collections.

We're always talking and plotting and discussing what we can do to give our fans the best possible experience and leave everyone going home with having an amazing time and a memory that will last a lifetime.

I worked a lot on our album cover, and I didn't just want to post it on our website one day and move on. We wound up breaking it into 18 pieces and hiding them on fan sites all over the Internet and then posting clues, so fans could put together the puzzle.

We're trying to do something nobody else is doing right now.

We're not a Screamo band.

We wanted to write the kind of songs that can really cross any language barriers, any borders, and resonate with fans around the world.

There are so many people involved in making an album, and naturally, all you want to do is show it to your friends and family. You just can't do any of that because all it takes is one morsel of information on the Internet. Within seconds, it's around the whole world.

We like to be in touch with our fans, but we're also very private. 'Cause, to us, it's not about Zacky or M. Shadows or Synyster Gates. It's about Avenged Sevenfold; it's more important than any one of us.

I think there's a whole group of kids out there that don't relate to the glitz and glamour of hanging out in clubs and partying all the time. So I think some people are just more real than that, and I think our fans are those kind of kids that need something to relate to, and I think we're the band to do it.

A great way to get your rhythm playing together is to work with a drummer, preferably someone that has a good groove and plays solidly in time.

Basically, we're just a bunch of kids who got together and try to use what we have and try to learn from each other.

I think everyone's trying to come up together and bring up other bands along the way, and we've always been really blessed to have bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden take us under their wing and say nice things about us.

After 'City of Evil,' the world was still kind of apprehensive about Avenged Sevenfold. They didn't know if we were a serious band or just some kids trying to play really ambitious music with crazy guitar parts that would be here one minute and gone the next.

In terms of content and instrumentation, I feel we have been extremely ambitious on every one of our albums going back to high school. We were the first screaming hardcore band to put a big ballad on our record.

Once you can get a fan to listen to an album a handful of times and really have a lot of substance for them to grasp, then you're looking at having a fan that really appreciates what you do for life and can appreciate coming to see it live.

Just by nature, we're always filled with so many ideas and want to cram as many ideas into a song as we can, and I think that gave us a lot of our signature sound.

You carry on knowing that there's something so much more important than yourself to deliver to millions of fans across the world, to all your friends, and to yourself.

We're in the business of making fans that will last with us a lifetime. In order to do that, you've gotta give them something special.

Iron Maiden and Metallica are bigger now than they ever were. They're playing stadiums across the entire planet. Even though it seems like their heyday was back when MTV and the radio played their songs all the time, the truth is that they've gotten bigger now because they play all the time, and people know they're going to get a great show.

When we were trying to come up with a concept for our music video for 'The Stage' we basically run through a lot of different ideas, and ultimately, I sat and studied the lyrics that Matt had written - and they really resonated with me.

We wanted to write songs that we really like that incorporate everything. It seems a lot of bands want to stick with one thing. We didn't want to be scared to do anything that we wanted to do. We didn't want anything to hold us back. We wanted no boundaries.

Only a world spinning out of control could inspire the music and vision we have now.

I think the most important thing to putting on a good show is to always mix things up. Sometimes we wear makeup; other times we don't. The point is, you'll never get the same Avenged show twice. I think it's really important to be theatrical. I mean, look at Iron Maiden!

Even when we were at that point when we had very few fans, we never felt like a small band. We always felt like we had a big purpose.

We're very historically tried and true when it comes to our albums. We pick the best songs; we get rid of the songs we feel don't fit on the album, and we don't work on remixing or remastering albums.

I think we are really in touch with what's going on around us in the world of music, trying to push the bar forward and try new and exciting things that our fans can react to.

Everything an artist does is scary, but we do it anyway. If someone tries to steer you off-course, push them outta the way and get back on course. Never giving up - that's what I truly believe all the greatest bands have done.

We go out there every night, and we fight the battle. We don't care about people who don't think we're true metal. We hope to change their minds. I have total faith.

I've had the chance to watch Metallica's James Hetfield from the side of the stage night after night, listening to his monitors, and his playing is so perfect. Slash is an amazing lead guitarist, but when you listen to his rhythm playing, you can hear how he pulls everything together with such a great feel, which is the most important thing.

Basically, everything I've learned on guitar, I've learned from listening to my favorite albums. I never had any formal training. My teachers were Dimebag Darrell and Slash and the guys in Rancid and Slayer.

When we were recording, sometimes I wondered if what we were doing would even be possible to play live.

I remember what it felt like when I was young, and I looked up to someone, and they would pay me just an ounce of attention. And some of the bands I listened to when I was young probably never even sold any albums, but it didn't matter to me. If I'd go up and say, 'Great show,' it would be amazing that they even would acknowledge me.

That's what bands like Pink Floyd and bands like Rush and even the Metallica of this world have, which is long, ambitious songs that pull in all different directions.

We wanna be on the frontlines of everything new and exciting. The old world order of putting out four singles before you release an album is so boring to us.

There's always going to be haters, but those people are few. We're not too worried about it.

We've never tried to write radio hits. If I hear our song on the radio, it's cool, and I'm proud, but it's never a goal.

We had to take full advantage of the fact that we wanted to be one of the most creative bands out there that's getting backed by one of the biggest companies.

I can't honestly say with a straight face that every Avenged Sevenfold album is my favorite.

I love listening to Led Zeppelin and classic rock albums from the Seventies. They're just so brilliant because they breathe.

That is one thing about playing with Guns N' Roses and Metallica: everyone wants to interview you.

The first review our band ever got - when I was 17 years old and we had just released our first EP, and this tiny little magazine wrote a review on it, and for that month, we were the best album of the month, and we were also the worst album of the month. We won best and worst album of the month in the same magazine.

I like being able to do dueling leads, and it's fun to be able to shred.

We really wanted to create an album that had no boundary or limit to it. There's nothing to say that we couldn't release a song that belongs on 'The Stage' 20 years into our career. We want it to be an album that constantly grows with what we want to do, and that's what we did.

A lot of people have ideas and opinions on what Avenged Sevenfold should be or what we should do, and I think our No. 1 rule is to always make sure we never listen to any of that and to always do what we believe.

We're not the kind of people to just take a break and say everything's going good, you know, let's rest on our laurels, act like rock stars - we take it very seriously, and we certainly aren't just celebrating and doing a victory lap.

When you start running out of things to do on a guitar, you have to find other ways of making music with your instrument.

I absolutely remember when I decided upon playing Ernie Ball strings, and it was right then and there at the guitar store up in Seattle when I picked up my first guitar ever. They said, 'What kind of strings should we put on it?' And I just looked at the brightest color package and said, 'That one!'

From day one, we've always gotten backlash for certain outlandish ideas that we've had and presented. That's also kind of been the driving force that's pushed us forward.