December 28, 2009

According to The Orange County Register, AVENGED SEVENFOLD drummer James Owen Sullivan (a.k.a. The Rev) was found dead at his home on Monday (December 28). He was 28 years old.

Sullivan appears to have died of natural causes, Huntington Beach police Lt. John Domingo told The Orange County Register. Police were notified by firefighters who had responded to Sullivan's home about 1 p.m., according to the report.

Sullivan is survived by his wife, Leana MacFadden.

In addition to playing drums for AVENGED SEVENFOLD, The Rev was a prolific songwriter, having contributed the track "A Little Piece of Heaven" (see video below) to the band's fourth studio CD, 2007's "Avenged Sevenfold".

"The Rev is very good at coming in with full songs," singer M. Shadows said in a 2007 interview with Revolver magazine. "That guy's a piece of work; he's badass and he's a great writer. He walked in with 'A Little Piece of Heaven', and it was like an eight-minute movie that he wrote and had in his brain; nothing was on a recorder — he just walked in, one-fingered it on the piano, played drums over it, and was like, 'That's the song. Let's bring some string guys in to work on the string arrangements.' And we were like, 'Fuck yeah, dude!'"

"I can write in any style that I choose," The Rev said in the same interview. "And I've always been heavily been influenced by Danny Elfman, OINGO BOINGO, MR. BUNGLE, and bands like that. With all the different parts and the cinematic feel, I thought it called for lyrics that told a story, too. Without giving too much away, it's about a couple: First the boyfriend kills the girlfriend, and then the girlfriend comes back and repossesses her body and kills the boyfriend; then he comes back and repossesses his body and apologizes, and they get married. And then they start killing everyone at their wedding. I just had a lot of fun with that one!"

According to Reuters, AVENGED SEVENFOLD in recent years tried to live down its reputation for debauchery. Sullivan, in particular, had raised eyebrows after a 2006 cover story in metal magazine Revolver described his penchant for cocaine and other drugs.

"The press was all like, 'They want to be GUNS N' ROSES; all they care about is partying, all they care about is girls,'" Shadows complained in the 2007 Revolver interview. "We've all got steady girlfriends; I've got a fiancée. I'm not out there banging every groupie and getting hammered every night. I drank twice on the whole Asian tour, because I was dealing with the record, which was still being mastered, and I was trying to keep my voice fresh. We're not a bunch of drugged-out friggin' wannabes that don't give a shit about their music or their fans."

"No one could get anything done if they were completely out of control all the time," seconded The Rev. "Everyone likes to go out and have a few drinks with their best friends; I don't think anyone on the planet doesn't like to do that."

AVENGED SEVENFOLD's last release was the DVD/CD package "Live in the LBC & Diamonds in the Rough", which came out in September 2008. The live DVD features the band's April 2008 hometown show at the Long Beach Arena headlining the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour, while the CD contains previously unreleased b-sides that were recorded during the making of "Avenged Sevenfold", plus various covers, and other never-before-heard material. The DVD was directed by Core Entertainment's Rafa Alcantara, who also worked on the band's critically acclaimed 2007 road documentary "All Excess".

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