Does it count as a boycott, if you have, like, a bunch of other shit going on that night already?
This is a question plaguing fans of speedy hard rockers Avenged Sevenfold. The band has pledged to skip the Grammys to protest the show’s alleged mistreatment of rock and metal—in other words, the fact that the Recording Academy will hand out awards for those genres during the pre-show instead of the main event.
The thing is...this is not new information? The Grammys haven’t always aired the Best Rock Song award—it was on the broadcast last year when the Chainsmokers accepted the award David Bowie’s behalf, but not in 2016 when Alabama Shakes won for “Don’t Wanna Fight.”
That’s not all: Avenged Sevenfold had tour dates booked up on either side of this Sunday’s Grammys (Saturday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday) for a while now. I’m no international rock star, so I can’t speak to the feasibility of flying halfway across the country twice in a 36 hour period, but it’s doubtful that frontman M. Shadows and the gang were planning on attending the Grammys in the first place!
Their faux-boycott rings far more hollow than when hip-hop artists skipped out on the Grammys in 1989, over years of frustration and neglect. Avenged Sevenfold aren’t indignant because the pendulum never swung rock’s way, just that it’s drifted away right as they have a chance of being recognized at the highest level. (It’s their first Grammy nomination.)
America has spoken: It’s another genre’s turn to be the most-listened to in the country, so you can’t fault the Grammys for serving what their viewership actually wants to see on the broadcast—pop and hip hop. The pendulum may or may not swing back Shadows’ way at some point (if, and maybe only if, Harry Styles were to ever get nominated in the rock categories), but he can always count on those lucrative Midwest arena tours.