Enlarge L to r: Synyster Gates, Jericho and Zacky Vengeance

Chris Jericho Explains His Avenged Sevenfold Album Release Fake-Out


That Avenged Sevenfold were able to keep the release of their new album The Stage a secret right up until one day before it came out is nothing short of remarkable. Sure, artists such as Beyonce and Frank Ocean have done it in the recent past, too, but none of those also had physical product in stores in addition to a digital release. Think of all the people involved who need to keep the secret: obviously the band, their management, anyone involved in recording (including studio assistants), lawyers, booking agents, and entire record label staff (hundreds of people!), but in Avenged Sevenfold’s case also people at the label’s distribution company, staff at the manufacturing plant, merch company, and workers at literally HUNDREDS OF RECORDS STORES across the world. We’re talking thousands of people staying quiet.

A big part of that: wrestler Chris Jericho, whose Tweet a couple of weeks back, which he quickly deleted as part of the head-fake, threw fans off the scent by suggesting a release date in December and a title that he completely made up. Every metal news outlet picked it up as fact, including this one (I would like to point out that we did posit the Tweet was a planned publicity stunt, although we never could’ve guessed to what extent).

Jericho had Avenged Sevenfold as the guests on his Talk is Jericho podcast earlier this week, and The PRP has transcribed the part in which he explains how the whole PR stunt came together:

I’m taking a little bit of credit for being able to keep this record secret, “The Stage“. Because their plan was always to just drop it with no announcement, no warning, but they always knew that it could leak, cause that’s just the world we live in.

So about the time we recorded this podcast, about a month ago,Shadows and I were talking about it and he was afraid it was going to get leaked, it was going to get spoiled—that the whole surprise was going to get spoiled.

So I came up with an idea and I was like ‘dude, why don’t you let me post a fake release date on my Instagram and then I’ll take it down a couple days later as if I screwed up. And like took some information and posted it that I wasn’t supposed to and that way people will think the record is coming out on a certain date, you know, months after the real release date. Kind of plant a real cool red herring to throw people off the scent.’

And Shadows thought that was a great idea so. So I guess a couple of weeks ago Shadows called me and said ‘we’re starting to feel the heat, we need to post this release date.’ So I had him send me a meme of the Avenged Sevenfold deathbat and we decided on the date of December 09th, 2016. So I just posted… this Deathbat with December 09th, 2016 and then I put a hashtag of ‘voltaicoceans’ which people were then deciding that would be the name of the record,”Voltaic Oceans‘ is out December 09th, 2016.’

And then I pulled it a couple hours later after posting it and suddenly it went viral. Loudwire was talking about it, Metal Injection, Blabbermouth, Metal Hammer, everybody was talking about how ‘I think Chris Jericho screwed up and posted something he wasn’t supposed to and told the world that the newAvenged Sevenfold record ‘Voltaic Oceans‘ is coming out December 09th, 2016.’

So that kind of put a huge smokescreen up for people to think ‘well, the record is coming out, we know that. The new single ‘The Stage‘ came out about a week ago or whatever it was, two weeks ago.’ But everyone knows when the record is coming out becauseJericho posted it.

Meanwhile I made up the whole thing. ‘Voltaic Oceans‘, I just made it up. And the reason was at first I was going to call the record ‘Warmonger‘, and I thought that was a little bit generic. So, I had been listening to The Cult and they have a song on their ‘Electric‘ record that’s called ‘Electric Ocean‘.

And I thought ‘Electric Ocean‘ sounds pretty cool—sounds like something that Avenged Sevenfold would call one of their records. But then I thought let me see if I can find another word for electric. So I Googled thesaurus.com and found that voltaic is another word for electric and I’m like ‘that’s perfect.’ ‘Voltaic Oceans‘, December 09th, 2016.

So if you go online and Google ‘Voltaic Oceans‘, there’s a Wikipedia page setup that talks about ‘Voltaic Oceans‘ isAvenged Sevenfold‘s seventh record and it’s coming out December 09th, 2016. And it worked too perfectly, I felt like…Colonel Hannibal in ‘A-Team‘ when he goes: ‘I love it when a plan comes together,’ and he chomps on his cigar.

It worked so perfectly, we fooled everybody. We were the masters of puppets pulling the strings for all of the media and throwing everybody off the scent of ‘The Stage‘.

Meanwhile, I think last night—24 hours before the record was released—finally, somebody found a copy in the store. Because that’s one of the things is that when you’re going to drop a record completely online, you can keep it a secret.

But when you have physical copies as well, which needed to be ready to be in the stores for Friday. But there’s been boxes of CD’s for days in warehouses and record stores—if there’s any such thing as record stores nowadays. But nobody figured it out and then finally yesterday, somebody found a copy of the record, posted a picture of the album, posted a picture of the album title, the album cover and all the songs on the back.

But to think about that, a three-year process where this record was done months and months and months ago and we were all able to keep it secret up until one day before the record came out. And I bet you a lot of people didn’t even realize that ’cause not everybody reads online or goes online.

So we were able to keep it secret with the smokescreen of ‘Voltaic Oceans‘. I think Avenged Sevenfold is now going to make a t-shirt of ‘Voltaic Oceans‘, kind of the lost Avenged Sevenfold record…”

I mean… wow. It’s all fucking genius. Huge tip of the cap to everyone involved, from Jericho and the band right down to the interns at their record label. Well done, everyone!

Stream The Stage in full below via Spotify:

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