Zacky Vengeance Talks To Australia's Rave Magazine. - Avenged Sevenfold

Zacky Vengeance Talks To Australia's Rave Magazine.

Rave Magazine in Australia spoke with Zacky Vengeance about the loss of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, recording “Nightmare” and it’s success, Mike Portnoy and Arin Ilejay.

“We worked harder than we ever had in our lives on anything – the only thing on our minds was ensuring that Jimmy was going to get the best possible send off. The fact that Nightmare turned into a number one album was just a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. It was a big statement to us, to our fans, to the world, really. We’d never had a number one album before and this was the only chance that Jimmy would ever get to be a part of something as special as that.”

Given the untimely death of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in late 2009, guitarist ZACKY VENGEANCE tells BIRDIE that Nightmare seemed pretty apt for an album title when melodic metallers AVENGED SEVENFOLD finally wrapped up their fifth record last year.

2010 had been the most devastating period in the band members’ lives after unexpectedly losing their best friend and ‘brother,’ but scoring their first ever number one album with Nightmare couldn’t have served as a better send off for Sullivan, according to Vengeance.

“Jimmy’s death was the hardest hit any of us had ever taken in our lives,” he states. “It’s something you can never prepare yourself for, it still doesn’t feel real. In one moment, it was all gone. We went from having the beginning of an unbelievable-sounding album and one of the best years of our touring life and making a decent amount of money finally – to having our entire world turn upside down. Losing Jimmy was horrific and I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy. No pun intended – but it was a nightmare. Nobody could cope with it.”

The first “ray of light,” as Vengeance puts it, came in the form of ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy who offered his services in regards to the album’s completion. And while recording was the last thing the band had on their mind after Sullivan’s sudden passing, the album presented an opportunity to properly honour their late friend in a way they knew best.

“We worked harder than we ever had in our lives on anything – the only thing on our minds was ensuring that Jimmy was going to get the best possible send off. The fact that Nightmare turned into a number one album was just a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. It was a big statement to us, to our fans, to the world, really. We’d never had a number one album before and this was the only chance that Jimmy would ever get to be a part of something as special as that.”

But it was Portnoy who added drumming duties to many of the songs on the album, stepping in for Sullivan up until 2011 when inexperienced, fresh blood became a more obvious choice of drummer. Nothing personal against Portnoy, as Vengeance insists, it’s just that chemistry between band members had always been equally as important as the music itself. Enter Arin Ilejay…

“Mike is amazing as a musician, as a person, and for being that ray of light for us at first. He came to us and helped us at a really devastating time. Arin was just a better fit and had better chemistry. We wanted someone who was exactly like we used to be when we started this band. Someone who took nothing for granted, someone who would kill for the opportunity. He’s been doing an amazing job though, especially being part of a record that reflects a period of time when we were in the midst of utter devastation and felt all hope was gone.”

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