Drummer Arin Ilejay says that he was "totally shocked and scared" after being fired by AVENGED SEVENFOLD in 2014.
Ilejay's exit from AVENGED SEVENFOLD after four years was announced last July even though he had been out of the band for a year. He has since been replaced by Brooks Wackerman, who had previously played with the veteran punk act BAD RELIGION.
Ilejay told Rolling Stone that he was dismissed from AVENGED SEVENFOLD over the phone. "I was totally shocked and scared out of my mind when [AVENGED guitarist] Synyster Gates called me to let me go," Ilejay said. "I was like, 'Oh my God! My wife is about to have a baby. How am I going to support my family now?'"
Ilejay quickly moved on to a gig in ISLANDER, which reached out to the drummer after learning of his departure from AVENGED SEVENFOLD online.
"I used to joke around with him all the time: 'Hey, whenever we need a fill-in drummer, I'm gonna call you,'" ISLANDER vocalist Mikey Carvajal said. "Finally, I called him and I wasn't joking at all. I said, 'You have to come play with us.'"
Although he initially faced the new milestone in his life with a sense of trepidation, Ilejay was excited about the prospect of being involved in the creative process with ISLANDER.
"I realized if I joined ISLANDER, I would have an opportunity to help write songs and build something, instead of being on the inside but, at the same time, really be on the outside the way I was with AVENGED," the drummer said.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows spoke about the band's split with Arin in a November 2015 interview with the "Talk Is Jericho" podcast. He said: "It just became increasingly difficult to be on the same page, not only touring, but with writing and just where we want to take things." Shadows continued, "We said, 'Listen, we can ride this thing out the way it is right now and we'll be fine or we can shake the nest a little bit and we want to fire on all cylinders again. We want to be the baddest band on the planet. We want to just dominate onstage.' And I came up with the idea that I really want to talk to Brooks and see if there's any chance and see where he's at in his life right now."
Ilejay was the second drummer to sit behind the kit for AVENGED SEVENFOLD since the death of founding member James "The Rev" Sullivan in December 2009.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD recorded its 2010 effort "Nightmare" with ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy, who was Sullivan's favorite drummer.
Portnoy toured for several months with the band, but by early 2011, he was out. The group brought in Ilejay, who started out as a touring member but played on 2013's "Hail To The King", AVENGED's second straight No. 1 album.
ISLANDER's new album, "Power Under Control" — the group's first with Ilejay — will be released on August 5. The official video for the first song from the disc, "Darkness", can be seen below.