Avenged Sevenfold firing left Arin Ilejay ‘shocked and scared’

Islander featuring Arin Ilejay
Ilejay, left, with Islander (Image credit: Dustin Smith)

Former Avenged Sevenfold drummer Arin Ilejay has recalled how his firing from the band via a phone call left him “shocked and scared.”

His dismissal was confirmed last year, although the move had been planned as early as 2014. He was replaced by former Bad Brains man Brooks Wackerman. The band cited the need to “move in a different direction” as the reason for the split.

Ilejay is now a member of islander, who’ve just released a video for Darkness, the lead track from second album Power Under Control.

He tells Rolling Stone: “I was totally shocked and scared out of my mind when Synyster Gates called to let me go. I was like, ‘Oh my God – my wife is about to have a baby. How am I going to support my family now?’”

He was offered the role with Islander soon after that band’s frontman Mikey Carvajal heard he’d been fired. The drummer says: “I realised if I joined Islander I’d have an opportunity to help write songs and build something – instead of being on the inside, but at the same time really being on the outside, the way I was with Avenged.”

He’d discovered Islander through Korn bassist Fieldy at a US festival in 2014. “I watched their set and instantly fell in love,” Ilejay says. “The song Counteract especially blew my mind. I was like, ‘Dude, I wish I could sit in on the drums just for that song!’”

Carvajal had often joked that Ilejay would get a call from his band one day. “Finally I called him and I wasn’t joking at all,” he recalls. “I said, ‘You have to come play with us.’”

Power Under Control is released on August 5. Avenged Sevenfold are currently working on their seventh album.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.