The Pop Culture Road Trip

The Pop Culture Road Trip

Fans coming together, and a Rainbow

First of all, we picked a winner in the signed book giveaway. All of your “first concert” experience comments were wonderful, it was a totally random pick and the winner is someone who described what it was like to see the band Avenged Sevenfold.

Now, there were many comments about the band, so odds were high I’d pick one of those reviews.
However, it also seemed fitting. 
You see, here in our city of Huntington Beach, California, we had a loss last December: Jimmy Sullivan, aka “The Rev,” drummer for Avenged Sevenfold, died suddenly and unexpectedly. The band is from here, and for 10 years, more or less as brothers, they have created intense, meaningful music. 
In doing so, they also created an intense, meaningful fan base.
The Sullivan family and my family are close friends, and so we took the loss hard. After the funeral, I asked the family if I might write a piece about Jimmy (I write a weekly newspaper column here in town). They gave me the okay and so I wrote about the beautiful service, in which band members, friends and family all talked about the kid who was born to be a drummer–the kid who grew up to live his dream.
Once the column ran, I started hearing from fans of the band–young people who expressed their grief, their pain and their frustration–but mostly their love of The Rev. 
Each day more and more letters arrived and I was given a peak into a community that was so  hurt yet so affected by the music, that I started learning things I’d either forgotten (or never known). The faith, hope and importance they placed on the songs was something of another era–back when music meant something–back when lyrics spoke to you and related to you and made you feel like you were never alone.
So yes, inside, when I pulled an Avenged Sevenfold winner–I smiled. 
A coda to the story. This summer, when Avenged Sevenfold hits the road in support of their new work, their drummer will be the legendary Mike Portnoy from the longtime progressive-rock band, Dream Theater. 
He was Jimmy Sullivan’s musical hero growing up. And so when the band approached Mike about sitting in, he was honored. 
I’ve never heard of this happening in music. It’s a very special show of faith and friendship, and I’m sure the Avenged Sevenfold faithful will make Mike feel right at home this summer.  
On another Dream Theater note: my good friend, Jordan Rudess is the keyboard player in the band. He’s a supremely talented individual who melds art and science in a way that produces sublimely powerful music. 
Recently, he created/released a new app for iPad called “MorphWiz.” It allows novices and pros alike to turn their iPad into a space-age instrument that produces dreamlike sounds and effects.
Last week, Jordan was in Los Angeles. Dream Theater was playing that night, but in the afternoon my son and I met him at the La Brea Tar Pits and I shot a short video of Jordan to help promote his iPad app. That night I also shot some concert footage to edit it.
I cut the video to a piece of music Jordan created using the new app. 
You’ll know the song. 
But I never you never heard it like this before. I hope you enjoy it. (And to all of you Avenged fans, maybe it will make you think of Jimmy for a moment or two).

Comments read comments(7)
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posted June 25, 2010 at 4:23 am

In most cases, the word is misused, abused, inappropriately used, or too often used… But, in this case, the correct descriptive word is, “AWESOME!!!”
Great work! Thanks!

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posted June 25, 2010 at 11:14 am

Your consideration for us fans is truly amazing =)
There aren’t many journalists who go to such lengths to show their appreciation, so thank you =)

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Rachel Perez

posted June 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I love reading your articles and thank you so much for everything you’ve written about Jimmy, his family, and the band. It means a lot to everyone.

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posted June 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Wow. Great app. It sounds beautiful. But the meaning behind the song was even more beautiful. I just wanted to sincerely thank you for everything you have done in helping us Avenged fans. Your articles have honestly made a world of difference to all of us. With the guys out of touch (and rightfully so) it was a really hard time. First of all being hit with this tragedy but then on top of that wondering how the guys were holding up and the rest of Jimmy’s family and also what would happen with the band. Your insightful and sincere articles made everything so much easier in such a depressing time. I can’t even put into words how thankful I am that you helped us all the way you did. Thank You.

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posted June 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm

awesome app!!
thanks for helping us avenged fans
it really means a lot

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Karen in Philly

posted July 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Great article and video. I love the sentiment you always seem to have behind the things that you write. Loved it!

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posted August 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm

This is great that people are able to take the loan and this opens new opportunities.

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