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Gates and The Rev played in an experimental metal band named Pinkly Smooth.Formed in the summer of 2001 in Huntington Beach, California, the band featured ex-Ballistico members Buck Silverspur on bass and D-Rock on drums.Gates was chosen as one of Guitar Hero's 50 fastest guitarists.
Gates was voted Sexiest Male in the 2008 Kerrang Readers Poll.
In 2010, Guitar World listed him as one of the 30 greatest shredders of all time.
They described him as being able to perform finger-twisting licks, acrobatic sweeps, devilish chromatics and towering dual-harmonies.
In the Special Edition of Revolver magazine that was released the same day as the Nightmare album, Gates stated that he originally started out writing the song "So Far Away" in honor of his grandfather.
However, the song is now primarily about his former bandmate, best friend and previous drummer of A7X, the Rev, who died on December 28, 2009.