An Open Letter to A7X
To Avenged Sevenfold:
Before I start this letter, let me just preface it with the fact that I have been having some hand/nerve issues and my writing may become disjointed because of that.
I first found out about y’all four—almost five—years ago. The reason I got into y’all is probably a little different than other fans. I’m an avid reader and one of the books I read said to understand the book better, the reader needed to look up the lyrics to “Dear God” by Avenged Sevenfold and then to listen to it. So, like a good reader, I did. I fell in love with that song and had to hear more from this band. (I thought y’all were country). The second song I heard was “Hail to the King” and the change in pace and tempo made me love the band even more. I bought that album (it had just come out) and started listening to all of your other songs. It took about six months for me to get through all the albums, but when I had, you had all awakened a part of me I didn’t know existed.
From my appreciation of your music, I started looking into other hard rock and heavy metal bands. Obviously, I knew who Metallica was, but I started digging into more of their stuff and even got into Judas Priest and Pantera, bands my parents hated and bands I thought I would never like.
When I got my resident assistant job, I was listening to “MIA” and that song became my lucky one. Unfortunately, some things in my life happened that might have torn down another person. It was y’all and other metal bands that helped me through.
You see, I’m a soon-to-be college graduate who has had a difficult six years, but the last two years of my life have been rougher than I ever expected them to be.
It all started in November 2015 when I got this terrible lower abdominal pain. I thought it was cramps or ovulation pain; the emergency room in Texas couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Flash forward to winter break, and I’ve had this pain for four weeks now. My wonderful mom got me into a surgeon, and I’d never been more nervous. I’d only had my wisdom teeth removed, so an actual surgery terrified me. They took me in and let me listen to a couple of songs (“Gunslinger” and “Strength of the World”) before I went under. It turned out I had two ruptured cysts and appendicitis. I easily could have gotten a terrible infection from either.
Time wears on, and I head back to my university (University of North Texas, go Mean Green!). I’m an athlete, have been for most of my life. I run/ran three times a week. My knee started to dislocate when I ran, but I could just pop it back in place. Eventually, it got to the point where running and even walking hurt too much. I waited until summer and returned home to see what the hell was wrong.
From all my years of soccer and running, and continuing to play soccer after a knee injury five years ago, I had torn the ligament that attaches my femur to my patella—the most rare knee surgery. A week before my knee surgery, my incredibly wonderful mother found out that my alcoholic father had stolen and gambled away $3,000 from their joint account. That same say, my father found out that his mother was dying. He flew out to San Antonio to deal with that situation. Mom started the process for divorce. Literally an hour before my knee surgery, I found out my grandmother had died.
When I woke up, I was in the worst pain of my life. My knee had to be immobile for four weeks before I could start physical therapy. I was up every four hours to take Percocet, which we later found out I’m allergic to. Having my leg (my dominate leg) taken away from me and not being able to do things for myself filled me with anger. A lot of what helped me through was y’all and bands similar to you. Post-knee surgery me was the worst, but your music helped me through.
Fast forward again, and I’m now back at school in my final year (Fall 2016) and my life was looking up. I found a publisher for my books, I would be turning 21 in November, and I’d get to see my favorite band with my best friend at Texas Mutiny.
Texas Mutiny was the most incredible concert of my life. I smuggled my DSLR camera in (don’t tell anyone) and captured some of the best photos of my life. That concert helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my photojournalism degree. And for my 21st birthday, my friends surprised me with a signed vinyl of The Stage and several of your CDs. It cheered me up because my birthday was on Election Day and very few people remembered it… which was understandable.
However, my life can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Nine days before my birthday, I was rushed to the ER after puking up my guts. The ultrasound technician found five ovarian cysts. Three of them were the size of my uterus, and I needed immediate surgery. Because I’m a college student “immediate” meant my next time off. My Thanksgiving break was recovery and more of your music. My wonderful mom came down to Denton to help me through that surgery.
My 2016 winter break was spent writing and getting my older sister to listen to your songs. She really enjoys the white album and even some songs on The Stage. I also examined that album and just fell in love with basically every song. My cover for my book came in, and I got inspired to write a collection of short stories based on songs. My favorite bands are featured quite a bit… I hope that’s okay.
Now, I’m back at school again and my stomach pain comes back. Two months after surgery and the ovarian cysts were back. But something even worse happened at the end of January 2017. I’m a writer and a photographer who depends on her hands for work and stress relief.
At the end of January, my hands started to malfunction. They can’t fully flex of fist, they’re always cold, they get numb and tingling, my wrists and elbows hurt, and my joints are very stiff. My spring break was spent back in Reno getting tests done. They ruled out anything wrong with my central nervous system—thank god—but the pain still remains. And I was scared. I’m still scared actually. I have psoriatic arthritis and it’s incurable. Really the only things helping me are music, the Deathbat nation, my friends, and my mom. To make matters worse, my father had two heart attacks and two surgeries right before I came home. He only has maybe 2-5 years left. He’s an asshole, but I love him.
I know that was the longest intro ever, and y’all are probably wondering why I’m writing this at all at this point. My name is Carmen, and I’m a photojournalist (almost) and recently published author who just wants to thank you guys for everything you’ve done for me and the other fans. So here’s my long list of thank yous.
To all the guys: thank you for forming Avenged Sevenfold. Without you coming together, I wouldn’t have found a lot of my friends. Your music has gotten me through some of the most difficult situations in my life and your music has inspired my writing and made me a better person (the writing portion). There’s something about your music that just speaks to people and has made my life so much brighter. I can’t wait to see you and Metallica in June!
To Brooks: I know you haven’t been with the band long, but I’m glad you’re with them! I loved your drumming when you were with Tenacious D and Bad Religion. You definitely remind me of the dad friend out of all the guys, and I think it’s awesome to see what you add to the band. Your drumming on The Stage is also INSANE. I love what you did on “Angels.”
To Johnny Christ: I don’t think you’re a gnome for starters. You’re much taller than my short ass. All jokes aside, I love how you are on stage. You exude so much passion and energy; I wish I had gotten more photos at Texas Mutiny. You sing/shouting on “Nightmare” also adds a little depth to the song and never fails to put a smile on my face. Oh! Congrats on your son.
To Zacky V: I’m ambidextrous because I have to be from the hand issues, and I so rarely see left-handed musicians that every time I watch you play, it gives me hope. I’m not musically inclined at all, but knowing a lefty is out there brightens my day. You have such an awesome style and your skill with the guitar is out of this world. I hope we can get more solos from you.
To Synyster: dude, you are one of the best guitarists I’ve heard, excluding Santana. I could pick your style out so easily. The work you’ve done with A7X and Pinkly Smooth just blow me away. I can’t believe someone can have talent and skill like that. You are a guitar god, Mr. Haner.
To Shadows: as a writer, I most easily connect with words. Your lyrics speak to me on a spiritual level (which is probably why I have so many tatted on me). You have a way with words. And your voice is so unique and every time I hear “Dear God,” I remember why this band became my favorite. Just, thank you for doing what you do.
To the women of A7X (Val, Michelle, Lacey, Megan, etc.): thank you guys for being you. I hope you know how much love the Deathbat nation has for you. Without your support, the band probably wouldn’t be where they are (no offense guys).
To the fans: thank you guys! I have met so many amazing people through this band. Y’all have helped me through a lot, and I’ve met some good friends through it. Sevenfold has cultivated a fan base unlike any other, and I’d like to thank every Deathbat for who they are and for being so caring and for taking care of me.
So, I just want to say thank you from a fan who’s been through a lot and has made it through thanks, in part, to your music and the most supportive mother ever. The only thing I have to add is that my dream is to one day meet y’all and thank y’all in person. And this final part is going to sound so fucking cheesy, but I hope y’all sign my Deathbat and that the writer side of me gets to write your extended (not brief) biography.
Thanks again for all you have done.