James Owen Sullivan (February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009), more commonly known by his stage name The Rev (shortened version of The Reverend Tholomew Plague), was an American musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer and
founding member for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. The Rev was critically acclaimed for his work on Avenged Sevenfold albums, and contributed entire songs written by himself, such as Chapter Four, Afterlife and Almost Easy. He was also the lead vocalist/pianist in Pinkly Smooth, a side project where he was known by the name Rathead, with fellow Avenged Sevenfold member and childhood best friend, guitarist Synyster Gates, and he was the drummer for Suburban Legends from 1998 to 1999.
Sullivan grew up and lived in Orange County, CA. He received his first pair of drum sticks at the age of five and own drum set at the
age of ten. In high school, he started playing in bands.
Before leaving to join Avenged Sevenfold as one of the band's
founding members, Sullivan was the drummer for the third wave
ska band Suburban Legends. At the age of twenty he recorded his
first album with Avenged Sevenfold titled Sounding the Seventh
Trumpet. His early influences included Frank Zappa and King
Crimson. The Rev said in a Modern Drummer Magazine interview that
"I was raised on that stuff as much as rock and metal."
Later in life he was influenced by drummers Vinnie Paul, Mike
Portnoy, Dave Lombardo, Lars Ulrich, Joey Jordison and Terry
Bozzio. He even had a "visual influence", Tommy Lee, on which he
commented that "I never thought I'd have one of those." Sullivan
had a signature ability called 'the double-ride thing' or 'The Double
Octopus', as the Rev called it, "just for lack of a better definition".
'The double-ride thing' is a technique that can be heard on tracks
such as "Almost Easy", "Critical Acclaim", "Crossroads", and
"Dancing Dead" in which Sullivan doubles up at a fast tempo
between the double bass and ride cymbals.