While Avenged Sevenfold was in the process of creating their fifth studio album, Nightmare, they suffered an almost incomprehensible loss. The death of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan brought new meaning to Nightmare, as well as the last song The Rev ever wrote for the band, “Fiction.”
Towards the end of 2009, Avenged Sevenfold had momentum on their side. All the music for a recording concept had been written and dated, and the band couldn’t wait to get into the studio. The Rev was known for his songwriting ambition, but this time around he upped it. He was on fire. He would take all the ideas of each member of the group and add something to them. He was working like crazy. As guitarist Zacky Vengeance would say, it was almost as if he “used up every ounce of what he had left”.
Rev’s lyrics for “Fiction,” which was originally titled “Death,” include the lines “I gave you all I had to give / I found a place to lay my head / Although I could be hard to find / I heard that there was just peace other side.“
The Reverend was aware of some of his health issues. He was born with an enlarged heart and, towards the end of his life, complained of persistent stomach problems. Add to that an addiction to alcohol and never being the type to run away from drugs … that doesn’t make for a happy ending. Perhaps he knew his time was drawing to a close and wanted to wish his friends and family the best of luck as he left.
“I don’t know of any time in history where someone basically said goodbye to a track and then died and his music came out six or seven months later with him singing,” Mr. Shadows would later reflect. “It’s pretty crazy, it’s quite surreal.”
In memory of Jimmy, the band changed the song’s working title from “Death” to “Fiction,” a nickname Jimmy gave to himself. Before Jimmy’s death, he demonstrated all of the piano and drums in the song, but only part of the vocals. As a tribute, Jimmy’s voice was left on, with Mr. Shadows almost duet with him in parts.
Check out the full story behind The Rev’s latest song in the video below.
Avenged Sevenfold – The Tragic Story of The Rev’s Last Song
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