The Rev wasn’t only the drummer of A7X, but he was also a vocalist, pianist and a song writer who wrote many of A7X’s top songs such as: ‘Chapter Four’, ‘Afterlife’, ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ and ‘Almost Easy’.
The Rev wasn’t only a member of the band; he was an icon. He was a drum genius that many talked about. He was… Critically Acclaimed.
The Rev was also the lead vocalist and pianist in Pinkly Smooth but known as “Rathead”, with his fellow, childhood best friend and lead guitarist of A7XSynyster Gates, The Rev and Syn were so close to each other since their early days, they were the two that can’t be separated.
Pinkly Smooth and A7X weren’t the only bands Jimmy “The Rev” contributed with; he was a member of Suburban Legends from 1998-2000 and he worked with the musician and comedian Brian Haner (Papa Gates), Synyster Gates’s father in 2008 and 2010.
After knowing all these bands and instruments Jimmy played with, I can tell he is a real octopus, not only on the drum set (I’ll explain that later) but also in real life.
The Rev started playing drums – for fun – when he was about 5 years old and took some lessons, and resumed at the age of 10, his teacher said that he was playing Metallica on his little toy drumset, and she was mind blown after knowing that he was playing Metallica without a real drumset!
I’m going to tell you something funny; when I first saw Avenged Sevenfold it was on MTV and it was ‘Seize The Day’ song then, and just before I like the song and before I like the video, The Rev was my number one admiration of the video and the band. I saw The Rev drumming and I thought “Oh God! How talented is this guy, he is so cool with his moves, look at him moving the sticks between his fingers!” that was even before I know anything either about A7X or The Rev or even the song’s title!
I could tell that he is talented the first time I dropped my sight on him; As I said “I’ll explain that later” The genius drummer had a signature ability called “The double-ride thing” or “The Double Octopus”, as The Rev called it, “The Double Octopus” is a technique that can be heard on tracks such as ‘Almost Easy’, ‘Critical Acclaim’, and ‘Crossroads’ in which Sullivan doubles up at a fast tempo between the double bass and ride cymbals; you can know better through this video:
As you can see in the video he is kicking his double-ride more quickly than usual.
Avenged Sevenfold’s hit song ‘A Little Peace of Heaven’ was Jimmy’s idea, they were at the record label thinking of something new, so The Rev started playing insanely on his piano in a way that is related to the ones of Pinkly Smooth style. You can see the scenes and full story through this video:
After the great success of Avenged Sevenfold, and the wonderful acclaims of The Rev, the clock has ticked and ring belled for one of the best, funniest and talented musicians, the book of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan was closed on December 28, 2009; five years before today, The Rev was found dead in his Huntington Beach home; Police claimed that his death was from natural causes, but the truth was otherwise; On December 30, 2009 an autopsy performed and toxicology results revealed to the public in June that he died from an overdose of oxycodone (Percocet), Oxymorphone (a metabolite of oxycodone), diazepam (Valium), Nordiazepam (a metabolite of diazepam) and Alcohol.
The coroner noted cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) as a significant condition that may have played a role in Sullivan’s death.
The remaining members of the band posted the news of Jimmy on their Myspace and Twitter on December 29th:
“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we tell you of the passing today of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.Jimmy was not only one of the world’s best drummers, but more importantly he was our best friend and brother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jimmy’s family and we hope that you will respect their privacy during this difficult time.
Jimmy you are forever in our hearts.
We love you.
M Shadows, Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance and Johnny Christ”
All have agreed that The Rev committed suicide, but The Rev wasn’t the first member to attempt or commit suicide as the former bassist Justin ‘Sane’ Meacham had attempted suicide by drinking excessive amounts of cough syrup. The attempt had an impact on the band’s Take Action Tour. During his hospitalization he remained in poor condition and was replaced by Dameon Ash.
Many theories was uttered then by the fans to determine a good reason for Jimmy’s suicide; some thought that as Jimmy was born with enlarged heart, so he was in pain and knew his heart would cause him pain later on as he passes with age around 40’s or 50’s, so he committed suicide for relief. And you can sense this theory in two songs, the first is ‘Brompton Cocktail’ that was written by The Rev and released in 2007, they said that this song is a suicide note as it tells a story of a man who suffers from some kind of disease so he takes the “Brompton Cocktail” to rest in peace.
The Second clue or the second song was ‘Fiction’ the last song The Rev ever sing and write. He wrote it three days before he passed away and recorded it secretly without telling anything to his band, Synyster Gates have stated in an interview to Hard Drive Radio: “The eeriest thing about it is there is a song on the album called “Fiction” (a nickname The Rev gave himself) which started out with the title “Death”. And it was the last song The Rev wrote for the album, and when he handed it in, he said, ‘That’s it, that’s the last song for this record’. And then, three days later, he died.”
So, they said it was a goodbye letter, if you listen closely to it you can find it’s a letter for people who cared.
But many people came against that claiming that he accidently committed suicide as he was deeply drinking alcohol. Adding that enlarged heart patients don’t know when the worst might come, the age to feel pain out of cardiomegaly is undefined so no one knows, and The Rev had a wonderful life so why would he throw it away?
But only God knows…
On January 6, 2010, a private funeral was held for Sullivan, and then he was buried in Huntington Beach, California.
After A7X lost the cornerstone of their band, they released their fifth studio album and titled Nightmare on July 27, 2010 and dedicated it to their fantastic deceased drummer and it was the last album The Rev records with Avenged Sevenfold, but the band added ‘So Far Away’ which was written by Jimmy’s band mate and childhood best friend Synyster Gates.
After the drum set’s chair went empty, Mike Portony (the former drummer of Dream Theater) volunteered to drum for the album in place of The Rev.
On January 20, 2011, Avenged Sevenfold announced via Facebook that former Confide drummer Arin Ilejay would begin touring with them that year. He was not yet considered a full-time member at this point.
After the band started recording materials for the new album ‘Hail To The King’ on January 2013, Arin Ilejay was confirmed as an official band member and replacement of The Rev.
His kit from 2007 is on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The Rev was hilarious, funny and beloved human being, whether on stage or in personal interaction. Nobody hated The Rev, he was a friend, brother and son .
Rest in peace foREVer. We shall see you in the Afterlife, you’re so far away but you’re watching us from the bird-eye camera view…
Here are some videos of the fantastic, hilarious Jimmy “The REV” Sullivan:
All I can finish up with is to quote: “Seize the day or die regretting the time you’ve lost”
Written by: Amged Mahmoud
Edited by: NJ Bakr