December 28, 2009 – The Rev Sullivan (The Reverend Tholomew Plague) or more affectionately called “The Rev”, by his many fans, was born James Owen Sullivan on February 10, 1981. He attended a Catholic school at Huntington Beach, California, until 2nd grade along with future A7X lead singer M. Shadows.
Jimmy was influenced by musicians such as Vinnie Paul, Dave Lombardo, Mike Portnoy, Paul Bostaph and bands like Metallica, Rancid and Transplants. At the age of 17, he did a brief stint with the third-wave ska band Suburban Legends recording their debut album “Origin Edition”.
He soon after left the band in 1999, to help create Avenged Sevenfold. They went under the shortened name A7X in the early days and each took their high school nick names, Jimmy’s being The Reverend Tholomew Plague.
Avenged Sevenfold’s debut album, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, was released in 2001 and they started to get recognition, performing with bands such as Mushroomhead and Shadows Fall and playing on the Take Action Tour. They also found success with such alternative and modern-rock outlets as MTV’s “Total Request Live” show.
Jimmy and the band achieved mainstream success with their 2005 album City of Evil, which includes singles “Burn It Down”, “Bat Country,” “Beast and the Harlot” and “Seize the Day.” The band’s success followed with their self-titled album, with singles such as “Critical Acclaim”, “Almost Easy”, “Afterlife”, “Scream” and “Dear God”. They put out four albums and won Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2006.
The group’s self-titled fourth album reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2007. Jimmy also performed vocals and piano in his side project, the avant-garde metal band, Pinkly Smooth, he formed in 2001 with fellow Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Synyster Gates. Jimmy took the name Rathead and released just one album, “Unfortunate Snort”. Among his career highlights Jimmy cited, was making contact with some of their childhood heroes, notably some tour dates the band shared with the legendary Metallica.
The Rev was a drummer, vocalist, songwriter, and pianist for Avenged Sevenfold. His vocals are featured in several Avenged Sevenfold songs, including “Strength Of The World”, “Afterlife”, “A Little Piece Of Heaven”, “Almost Easy”, “Scream”, “Critical Acclaim”, “Lost”, “Brompton Cocktail”, “CrossRoads”, “Flash Of The Blade (Iron Maiden Cover)” and “Fiction”.
He tragically and unexpectedly died at his home in Huntington Beach, CA of what initially had been suggested to be natural causes, but The Orange County coroner’s office investigation revealed he most likely had died from an enlarged heart, which could not overcome the stress of an alcoholic overdose in combination with pain pills and valium.
At only 28, The Rev Sullivan sadly left behind his loving wife Leana on December 28, 2009.
Avenged Sevenfold posthumously released a demo version of “Nightmare”, featuring The Rev on an electronic drumset and some vocals.
At the second annual Revolver Golden God Awards, The Rev won the award for Best Drummer. His family members and Avenged Sevenfold received the posthumous honor on his behalf.
In an Ultimate Guitar online reader’s poll of the “Top Ten Greatest Drummers of All Time”, The Rev appeared at #8, placing higher than Bill Ward of Black Sabbath, and just below of Keith Moon of The Who.