James Owen Sullivan (February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009), more commonly known by his stage name The Reverend Tholomew Plague, often shortened to The Rev, was an American musician, best known as the drummer for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. He was also the lead vocalist/pianist in Pinkly Smooth, a side project where he was known by the name Rat Head, with fellow Avenged Sevenfold member, guitarist Synyster Gates.

The Rev

Birth name

James Owen Sullivan

Also known as

The Rev, Rat Head


February 9, 1981 Huntington Beach, California, United States


December 28, 2009 (aged 28) Huntington Beach, California, United States


Hard rock, heavy metal, progressive metal, metalcore, avant-garde metal




Drums, guitar, bass, piano, vocals

Years active

1999 - 2009


Warner Bros., Good Life, Hopeless

Associated acts

Avenged Sevenfold, Pinkly Smooth, Suburban Legends


Sullivan grew up and lived in Huntington Beach, California. He got his first pair of drum sticks at the age of four and received his own drum set at the age of eleven. 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 eighteen 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 aModern 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, 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's signature ability which he called "the double-ride thing, just for lack of a better definition, because no one does it," is a technique that can be heard on tracks such as "Almost Easy", "Critical Acclaim", and "Crossroads" in which Sullivan doubles up at a fast tempo between the double bass and ride cymbals.

The Rev was also a vocalist, songwriter, and pianist for Avenged Sevenfold. His piano-playing can be heard on the tracks "Warmness on the Soul", "Seize the Day", "Fiction" and "Save Me". His vocals are featured in Avenged Sevenfold's "A Little Piece of Heaven", "Brompton Cocktail", "Critical Acclaim", "Crossroads", "Gunslinger", "Lost", "Scream", "Afterlife", "Save Me", "Eternal Rest" and "Fiction". He also wrote the songs "Almost Easy", "A Little Piece of Heaven", "Afterlife", "Brompton Cocktail", "Save Me", and "Fiction". He also contributed to the making of "Critical Acclaim" and "Lost".

Avenged Sevenfold also announced that they will be releasing a demo version of "Nightmare" including The Rev on an electric drumset and his vocals.

At the second annual Revolver Golden God Awards, The Rev won the award for Best Drummer. His family members and Avenged Sevenfold received the honor on his behalf.


Sullivan's body was found in his home on December 28, 2009 at the age of 28. His death was reported as due to natural causes. The results of the autopsy performed on December 30, 2009, however, were inconclusive. On June 9, 2010, the cause of death was revealed to have been an acute polydrug intoxication due to combined effects of oxycodone (OxyContin), oxymorphone (a metabolite of oxycodone),diazepam (Valium), nordiazepam (a metabolite of diazepam) and alcohol. Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) was reported as a "significant condition" that may have played a role in the death.

On January 5, 2010, a private funeral was held for Sullivan, and a day later he was buried in Huntington Beach, California. Avenged Sevenfold dedicated their fifth album, Nightmare, to Sullivan.

Drum Set & Other GearEdit

The Rev had a DW kit with 3 22x18 bass drums (one of which The Rev didn't use), an 8x5 tom, an 8x7 tom, a 10x8 tom, a 12x9 tom, a 14x11 tom, a 16x14 tom, a 18x16 tom (all mounted on a DW Super Rack), two DW 9000 single bass pedals, an AAX X-Celerator 14" Hi-Hat, an AAX 19" Metal Crash, an AA 18" Metal-X Crash, an AAX 19" X-Treme Chinese, an AAX 19" X-Treme Chinese, an AAX 22" Metal Ride, an AAX 22" Metal Ride, an AAX 10" Splash, an 8" Chopper, a Max 11" Splash, an HH 12" Mini Chinese, and Promark drumsticks.


With Suburban LegendsEdit

  • Origin Edition (1999)

With Pinkly SmoothEdit

With Avenged SevenfoldEdit