DARK ANGEL Will Continue To Perform And Record In JIM DURKIN's MemoryMarch 30, 2023
California thrash metal pioneers DARK ANGEL have paid tribute to their founding guitarist Jim Durkin, who died on March 8 at the age of 58.
Earlier today, DARK ANGEL's surviving members issued the following statement: "On Thursday March 9, everyone in the DARK ANGEL family was notified of Jimmy Durkin's passing on Wednesday morning, March 8. Jim Durkin was the founder of DARK ANGEL, a major contributor to the music and was one of the founding fathers of thrash. He was known as the master of the riff with some of the most memorable and evil thrash riffs ever. Jim Durkin was family to all of the DARK ANGEL camp and will be deeply missed.
"Jim had been sitting out DARK ANGEL shows due to personal matters since 2020. Jim requested Laura Christine as his replacement, and she has joined us at the more recent DARK ANGEL appearances, as he'd requested that we keep it in the family.
"DARK ANGEL will continue to perform and record in Jim's memory and preserve his legacy, as he requested before his passing."
DARK ANGEL drummer Gene Hoglan said: "I miss you so much, my Brother. I never quite know how to grieve anymore. Had I known that our last few times together would be our last times together, I would have cherished them more. And you even more, Jim. You were my original guitar hero, my biggest influence, a truly inspirational legend to me and so many others. Had I, or any of us, only known that you'd be taken from us so suddenly, we would not have let you leave us…So suddenly. On tour, in my bunk, tears. Onstage, behind my kit, tears. Backstage, the thousand-yard stare. Tears. Realizing we'll never share the stage in this physical plane again…the greatest void. You chose The Unicorn yourself to fill that void. Only now am I beginning to grasp the complexity and graciousness of your monumental gift. My love for you gives me strength to get through this. And you are so beloved by everyone who knows you, Jim. Everyone. I sure hope you feel this. Your spirit will eternally live on, Brother. Onstage, with us, your wings will always be right where they belong, on stage right. In life, you'll always be in our hearts, right where you belong. At the front. Annie, Ron, Eric, Michael, Laura, Rob, and all of your friends and family love and miss you so much, Jimmy. I love you, Brother."
DARK ANGEL singer Ron Rinehart said: "Jimmy D was the very first person that I met in DARK ANGEL. Right from the start he was busting my balls! When I first spoke to Jimmy, we were talking about the band that I had just left. Jimmy said, 'We saw your band. They suck but we loved you!' I laughed. Another great memory I have was at a METALLICA and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES show. Someone told Jimmy, 'I don't like you when you're drunk,' and without skipping a beat, Jimmy answers, 'I don't like you when I'm sober.' I almost swallowed my tongue. I can't count the times where I would end up spitting something out of my nose!!! Jimmy would just laugh! He had the best sense of humor. From day one… we were Brothers… Yesterday, today and forever Jimmy will always be my Brother!!! Until we meet again!! I Love you."
DARK ANGEL guitarist Eric Meyer stated: "Way back in '84, I placed an ad in the Recycler newspaper: 'Guitarist seeking established band'. Jim Durkin called me, DARK ANGEL was his band. We instantly connected, and I will never forget that first phone call, the beginning of a friendship that would last 39 years. A lifetime of memories were created, and I'm devastated that we won't be making more. Forever in my heart, my stage right brother."
DARK ANGEL bassist Michael Gonzalez said: "Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy. You and I go way back. I remember when I first joined DA and you would come over to my house to teach me songs. We'd sit out in the garage and run through the 'Darkness Descends' set. I was with you the very first time you met Annie and fell in love with her from the moment you saw her. I was there when you married her. We have shared so many moments together that are just indescribable. I will miss you forever my friend, my brother, my family. Until we meet again, you will always be such a huge part of my life. Good bye… for now."
Laura Christine, who is married to Hoglan, said: "At the California Death Fest in 2018, Jim Durkin took me aside and said that he would be stepping down from playing live, and that he wanted me to take over his live duties for DARK ANGEL. Coming from one of my guitar heroes, this was a major shock, followed by a mixed array of emotions. I felt honored yet greatly concerned for my hero. Nobody wants to see their guitar hero step down, let alone leave this earth. It's a very heavy thing for me to digest.
"I love and greatly respect Jimmy and his playing so much, and it is a tremendous, immense honor to be chosen and encouraged by him to fill his spot. I will do my best to honor Jim and help preserve not only my friend's memory, but also the DARK ANGEL legacy."
Jim's wife Annie Durkin has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with Jim's medical expenses and memorial.
An original member of DARK ANGEL, Durkin played on the band's first three albums — 1985's "We Have Arrived", 1986's "Darkness Descends" and 1989's "Leave Scars" — before departing the group in 1989. He was part of DARK ANGEL's lineup when the band reformed in 2013, and had been playing with them ever since.
DARK ANGEL, which has been touring intermittently since reforming a decade ago, is scheduled to perform its legendary album "Darkness Descends" in its entirety at three special concerts next month at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, California. The band will do the same on June 2 at Irving Plaza in New York City.
For much of the last few years, Durkin and his bandmates had been working on material for a new studio album.
DARK ANGEL's first CD since 1991's "Time Does Not Heal" was supposed to feature the lineup that has performed sporadic live shows since reuniting in 2013: Hoglan, Durkin, Eric Meyer (guitar),Ron Rinehart (vocals) and Michael Gonzalez (bass).
In February 2022, Hoglan said during a Twitch livestream from his home that he and his DARK ANGEL bandmates were "in the process" of making a new album. "I have a lot of work ahead of me, and so does Jim Durkin," Gene said. "He's been sending over songs, riffs, stuff like that, [which has been] super exciting. We're all of the same mindset of making this just the most absolutely kick-ass DARK ANGEL record that we can."
DARK ANGEL released two albums with Don Doty on vocals — the aforementioned "We Have Arrived" and "Darkness Descends" — before he exited the group and was replaced by Rinehart (after a brief stint with Jim Drabos in 1987). The band issued two more studio LPs — "Leave Scars" and "Time Does Not Heal" — before calling it quits in 1992.
DARK ANGEL is:
Gene Hoglan - Drums
Ron Rinehart - Vocals
Eric Meyer - Guitar
Michael Gonzalez - Bass
Laura Christine - Guitar
Photo credit: Alex Solca
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