The Rev, A Versatile and Genious Drummer

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In the world of metal drumming, speed and energy are everything. One of the drummers who always seemed to get it all right was James Owen Sullivan, AKA, The Rev. Although his life was cut short tragically in 2009, the drummer had left a legacy behind that is hard to ignore.

His works with Avenged Sevenfold will forever remain a point of reference for those who wish to know what great drumming is all about. He left no stone unturned in pursuit of success as a drummer. He also played with ska and Suburban Legends.

the rev
the rev

The Rev might have been given this name of his power, precision, and smoothness behind the kit. Every song has ever played offers an incredible insight into what a great drummer should do. He was born on Feb 9, 1981. The Rev is a short version of The Reverent Tholomew Plague. He was an American musician known best for his drumming and songwriting skills.

He was one of the founding members of a heavy metal band called Avenged Sevenfold. It is easy to assume that he was the glue that held this band together and drove them from glory to glory. The Rev is a name that was critically acclaimed for his duty on all the band’s albums. He composed all the songs and played the drum for them.

Apart from drumming, the Rev was also the lead vocalist/pianist in Pinky Smooth. This was a side project where he was known as Rated. Every great drummer has to begin somewhere. And the Rev is no different. He started playing at a very young age. The Rev got his first pair of drum sticks when he was only five-year-old. At age 12, he was already a good drummer and with his own drum kit.

The Rev played in many bands while in high school. That is one of the ways through which his skills improved. Sullivan was a founding member of the Suburban Legends before exiting to join Avenged Sevenfold. He was 20 years when he recorded his first album with the band. The album was called “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet” and has remained one of the best projects he worked on.

the rev performing
the rev performing

He was influenced by drummers like Frank Zappa and King Crimson. In an interview with  Modern Drummer, The Rev says he was “ raised on the stuff like rock and metal.” And with that, he became one of the best drummers the world has ever seen. Later on in his life, The Rev found more inspiration from drummers Vinnie Paul, Mike Portnoy, Dave Lombardo, Lars Ulrich, and Terry Bozzio.

Over the decades that The Rev worked as a drummer, he placed his hands on many projects. He was known for the signature move he called “the double-ride thing” or “The Double Octopus.” His speed was unlike anything you may have seen from another drummer. In short, The Rev was a drummer, composer, songwriter, vocalist, and pianist for his band. These are talents you will not find easily in one person.

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