James Owen Sullivan, more commonly know as 'Jimmy Sullivan','Rathead', 'The Reverend Tholomew Plague', or just simply 'The Rev', is a musician best known for his work with Avenged Sevenfold and Pinkly Smooth. He formed the band Pinkly Smooth with childhood friend Synyster Gates. The Rev later went on to form Avenged Sevenfold with friends Zacky Vengeance and M. Shadows in 1999.
Jimmy was born on February 9 1981. He grew up in Huntington Beach, California along with many of the band members of Avenged Sevenfold. He met Brian Elwin Haner Jr. (Synyster Gates) in middle school. After an argument, they found they had a common love of music, and became fast friends. Matthew Sanders (M.Shadows) and Zachary Barker (Zacky Vengeance) also befriended Sullivan during their school years. Jimmy started playing the drums as early as 5 years old, but began to play and learn seriously at the age of 10. According to his childhood drum teacher, he was transcribing Metallica songs accurately with very little training Sullivan was engaged to long term girlfriend Leana McFadden (Leana Silver) at the time of his death.
The first notable band Sullivan was in was Suburban Legends, being the bands drummer from 1998-1999. The band released "Origin Edition" during this time. Under the name "Rathead," Sullivan and Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Synyster Gates formed the band Pinkly Smooth. Sullivan was the singer as well as keyboardist. The band released Unfortunate Snort in 2002. The most notable work Sullivan did was with Avenged Sevenfold: His drum tracks, singing and screaming helped make Avenged Sevenfold a household name following the critically acclaimed release of 'Waking The Fallen'. His unique style of drumming and his signature move which he calls 'the octopus' or 'the double ride thing' has become a signature part on the drum tracks for Avenged Sevenfold. This technique is very clearly heard on the song 'Almost Easy.' Sullivan also wrote many Avenged songs, as well as having backing vocals and playing piano on some tracks. He wrote the fan favourites 'Bat Country', 'Almost Easy', 'Afterlife', 'Brompton Cocktail', 'A Little Piece Of Heaven', 'Welcome To The Family', and 'Fiction'.
On December 28 2009, The Rev was found dead in his home. The band released the following statement on their Facebook page: 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. An autopsy done on December 30 revealed to be inconclusive. Autopsy results realeased in June stated that an overdose of oxycodone, oxymorphone, diazepam, nordiazepam and alcohol was the cause of death. It was also noted that Sullivan's heart problems were a significant factor. There are many rummors around the fan community that The Rev's death was a suicide. Sullivan had written the song "Brompton Cocktail" two years prior, which is about a person overdosing to avoid dying from a diesease. Sullivan had also written the song "Fiction," which appeared on Nightmare. When asked about the song, M. Shadows commented: "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." The topic of suicide is just a theory and there is no way of proving if that was the cause.
The Rev's drum kit was donated to the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Vegas, Nevada and is now on display there. Synyster Gates wrote the song "So Far Away," about the death of his friend, and is the first Avenged Sevenfold song written entirely by Gates. It is a goodbye to The Rev, and one of the more emotional songs on the album. When performed, the band has the audience point their lighters and cell phones into the sky as a tribute, and an image of Johnny Christ, Synyster Gates, and The Rev hugging is put on the big screen (The image comes from a scene in "All Excess," and is also on the CD case artwork for Nightmare). On January 12th 2010, Zacky Vengeance sent out this tweet: "Jimmy will always be with me in everything I do. Except sitting at home being sad, so today Im going to try to start living again. foREVer" "foREVer" has since become a way of remembering Jimmy. Fans and the band both use the term as a tribute.