Avenged Sevenfold‘s new album The Stage concludes with a 15-minute song called “Exist,” which features a monologue from none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson. The famed astrophysicist wrote the monologue specifically for the song, with a little help from M. Shadows and company.
“[Tyson] called me on the phone and we went through things that we liked about [his essays], and things that we thought weren’t appropriate for the record,” Shadows tells ABC Radio. “And so he rewrote some stuff, my wife actually wrote some of it as well and sent him some ideas, and then he figured it all out and we all went over it, and we got it to a point to where we were all happy with it.”
When Tyson heard “Exist,” though, he was initially taken aback by the scope of the song.
“[He] said, ‘You know, John Lennon was able to express his opinions in ‘Imagine’ with just a few words,'” Shadows laughs. “And I said, ‘I totally get it, dude, but this is a different thing. We’re not trying to write ‘Imagine.'”
Shadows says that Tyson came to understand what A7X wanted to do with “Exist,” and his monologue is a rather optimistic end to an album that deals with a lot of dark themes concerning the future of the human race.
“It’s just basically saying, ‘Let’s just keep pushing forward. And let’s make the right decisions now so that we can keep the human race around for a while, and we can explore more of the universe, and we can have a good future for our kids and our kids’ kids,'” says Shadows. “So it is positive, it’s not all negative. It’s just there are some daunting questions that are posed in it as well, though.”
The Stage is out now.
Be Just and Fear Not