Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Essence Left My Heart Tonight

Mood: incredibly sad and regretful.
Lip-syncing: Avenged Sevenfold -- I Won't See You Tonight (Part 1) and all things A7X


How did you feel when you found out about JFK? The Beetles? Princess Diana? Because to me, it's happening again.

Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It's empty and cold without you here
Too many people to ache over

Music has always held mysterious power. It can raise you up to the highest of heights, and bring you down lower than you've thought. And for some, it can save. One of my favourite bands, Avenged Sevenfold, have on more than one occasion, healed my hurts and sorrows. They've helped me raise my head, and get out of bed, even when all I wanted to do was sleep and never wake up.

But now, who will ease the pain from Jimmy Sullivan's death?

December 28, 2009 is now forever embedded in my mind. James Owen Sullivan was found dead in his home in Huntington Beach. Sullivan, better known as "Jimmy" or "The Rev", was the drummer for Avenged Sevenfold.

Was...that's going to take some getting use to...

Perhaps it is unreasonable, stupid even, to feel such a connection to a person I was not friends with in reality. Last night, in the midst of my shock and anguish, people laughed and informed me I shouldn't take things so personally. I've been told, more than once, that my obsession with A7X is unhealthy.

But that is the mark of an A7X fan: we are fanatics. You don't like A7X without knowing about how Johnny Christ is "short shit", how Matt married his childhood friend Valary Dibenedetto, how Syn Gates loves Marlboros, how Zacky got a great dane puppy. You can recall the exact moments of, "You can't spell bass without ass," "Ya don't play guitar with ya neck bro, ya play it with your bum bum," and "I seriously listen to Barbie Girl by Aqua way too much." You probably even remember the time Matt's dog ate the 'special brownies'. The humour and open attitude of Avenged truly makes us fans feel like part of the experience, part of the family. They welcome fans with open arms and a few beers (or maybe absinthe). They may not have known each and every one, but each and every fan feels loved and accepted by the band.

"Just a spoonful of Jimmy helps the whole world go down."

Police are saying that he died of "natural causes". But what's natural about a 28 year old passing away suddenly? Of course, I'm just waiting for the accusations of abuse and addiction to start. Yet any true A7X fan would point to Jimmy's past to argue against it. That Fiction tattoo down his chest? That's not just for show; his life sometimes read more like a novel than any books you can pick up.

Sorrow sank deep inside my blood
All the ones around me, I cared for and loved

It's just hard to comprehend how such a lively, humorous person could just be gone like that. "The Rev is out of his mind in the most wonderful way," said Valary Dibenedetto; and he was. Watch the youtube videos, the behind-the-scene DVDs, the interviews. Rapping about grapes, buckets and sex? Claiming steak tacos hibernate? Chasing "stallion ducks"? The Rev certainly earned himself quite the reputation. He truly did give off the impression of being crazy.

Yet there is a fine line between insanity and brilliance. And Jimmy Sullivan didn't just walk it; he danced, jumped and cartwheeled along that line. The things he wrote, the words he sang, the songs he played, are just a glimpse of the creativity and innovation hidden inside his mind.

A mind that is now forever lost.

Music has truly lost one of its greats. I don't even want to think about the future of the band, the stories I write, or anything along those lines. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the Rev, drumming, screaming, singing, laughing , silly Rev, is no longer with us. My heart goes out to not only fans, but his family, his ever-loving Leana, and of course, his best friends and band mates.

So here's to you, Jimmy Sullivan. You were the reason we never missed a beat. May your double bass and blast beats rock Heaven's gates as much as our hearts.

Rest in Peace, James Owen Sullivan.
February 9, 1981 - December 28, 2009