Earlier this month, the metal world was shocked to learn that Dark Angel founder and guitarist Jimmy Durkin had suddenly passed away. It was a devastating loss to thrash metal, both in terms of his contributions from its genesis and to the band itself, which had been working on new material.
And while he hadn’t been playing live shows with Dark Angel since 2020 due to “personal matters,” the band has been able to continue performing thanks to the inclusion of Laura Christine.
In an statement released today, the band announced that they’d be moving forward in light of Durkin’s passing, opting to dedicate their upcoming New York and Los Angeles shows to his memory. Going even further, they mentioned that they’d be paying tribute to their fallen brother “Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam,” or “in perpetual memory of the matter.”
Following his death, Durkin’s wife Annie set up a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for medical costs and his memorial. So far she’s been able to raise nearly $20,000 of the $39,000 she’s been looking to raise. If you can help in any way, please do.
Along with their announcement, the band members offered some words of remembrance and tribute to Durkin. Drummer Gene Hoglan said “had I known that our last few times together would be our last times together, I would have cherished them more.”
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.
Vocalist Ron Reinhart had this to say about Durkin’s passing:
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.
Guitarist Eric Meyer, Durkin’s battery mate, paid tribute to Durkin by remembering how he joined the band back in 1984:
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.
Bassist Michael Gonzalez said he would never forget running through the Darkness Descends set with Durkin shortly after joining the band.
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.
Finally, Laura Christine commented about Durkin and his impact on her life, having been selected by the man himself to fill in for him moving forward.
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.
Dark Angel will perform Darkness Descends in its entirety at three shows in Los Angeles from April 14 to 16 at the Teragram Ballroom with Evil Dead and New York City on June 2 at Irving Plaza with Prong, Whiplash and Ready for Death. The band is also scheduled to perform at the following festival dates:
May 26 – Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee Metal Fest
June 10 – Gdansk Stocznia, Poland – Mystic Festival
June 17 – Dessel, Belgium – Graspop Metal Meeting
June 18 – Clisson, France – Hellfest
July 13 – Gävle – Gasklockorna, Sweden – Gefle Metal Festival
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