Avenged Sevenfold – The Tragic Story of The Rev’s Final Song
As Avenged Sevenfold were deep into creating their fifth studio album, Nightmare, they suffered an almost incomprehensible loss. The death of drummer Jimmy 'The Rev' Sullivan brought a new significance to Nightmare, along with the last song The Rev ever wrote for the band, "Fiction."
Nearing the end of 2009, Avenged Sevenfold had momentum on their side. All the music for a planned concept record had been written and demoed, and the band was raring to hit the studio. The Rev was known for his ambition when it came to songwriting, but this time, he upped the ante. He was on fire. He was taking in every idea from each band member and would add something to it. He was working his ass off. As guitarist Zacky Vengeance would say, it was almost as if he was “exhausting every ounce of what he had left.”
The Rev's lyrics for "Fiction," which was originally titled "Death," include the lines, "Gave you all I had to give / Found a place for me to rest my head / While I may be hard to find / Heard there's peace just on the other side."
The Rev was aware of some of his health struggles. He was born with an enlarged heart, and near the end of his life, complained about lingering stomach problems. Couple that with an addiction to alcohol and never being the one to shy away from drugs... it doesn’t make for a happy ending. Perhaps he knew his time was coming to an end, and wanted to wish his friends and family the best of luck for when he left.
"I don't know of anytime in history where someone had basically said goodbye on a track and then they pass away and their music comes out six or seven months later with them singing it," M. Shadows would later reflect. "It’s pretty crazy, it's pretty surreal.”
In memory of Jimmy, the band changed the working title of the song from "Death" to "Fiction," a nickname Jimmy gave himself. Before Jimmy died, he demoed all the piano and drums to the track, but only part of the vocals. As a tribute, Jimmy’s vocals were left in, with M. Shadows almost duetting with him in some parts.
Check out the full story behind The Rev's final song in the video below.