The thrash metal world was dealt a heavy blow back in March when we all learned that founding member and Dark Angel guitarist Jim Durkin had passed away at 58 years old. The news came as a particular shock, since it was announced that the band was working on new material and had special gigs lined up to perform their 1986 classic, Darkness Descends, in full.
Yet no one was in more shock than the surviving members of Dark Angel, according to drummer Gene Hoglan, who shared his thoughts on Durkin’s passing while speaking with Friday 13th (transcribed by Blabbermouth).
According to Hoglan, the band knew that Durkin was going through some serious medical issue in recent years. They also knew that because of those issues, he’d have to step away from the band from time to time. But his death wasn’t something they were prepared for.
“It was a shock to us, I’ll admit. Jim has always been rather mercurial with us. There’d be times when he would disappear from the threads, and that’s when he had mentioned that, ‘Hey, there’s gonna be some times coming up in the future that I might not be able to make certain shows or certain areas of live gigs.’ He hand-chose Laura Christine to be his replacement.
“But his death was an absolute shock to the band. We did not know that he was about to pass. We knew that there were some health issues, but we didn’t know that we were about to lose our brother, and that hit us all real hard. We had just started that DEATH TO ALL tour — we were about a week into it — when I got the call from [DARK ANGEL singer] Ron Rinehart. And we all chatted about it. Everybody from the band was shattered.
“We knew that Jim would kind of disappear from time to time, but we didn’t know that Jim, the last time he disappeared, he was gonna be gone forever. We didn’t know that. So when we found out that he had passed, it was a real tough blow. But all we can do is just keep moving forward.”
I cannot begin to imagine what that felt like for Hoglan, Reinhart, Christine, guitarist Eric Meyer, or bassist Michael Gonzalez. You always know death can come suddenly, but to lose someone so close, so out of nowhere, is never easy.
Given the fact that the band was working on a new album, Hoglan said there’s going to be a lot of Durkin’s “spirit” on the album.
“Jim and I, we had gotten together a number of times to write some new material for Dark Angel. And we weren’t able to get it down on tape too much. If Dark Angel has any new material, there’s a song that he’s got on there that is pretty darn Dark Angel-esque.”Jim and I, we had gotten together a number of times to write some new material for Dark Angel. And we weren’t able to get it down on tape too much. If Dark Angel has any new material, there’s a song that he’s got on there that is pretty darn Dark Angel-esque.
“In tribute to Jim, Dark Angel’s new material will have a ton of his spirit all over it — his feel. Whether he actually wrote stuff on the new stuff or not, his spirit is very there. His imprint is felt throughout thrash metal, I feel. Even before I was in Dark Angel, I’d see Jim’s influence on bands. Absolutely. So his legacy will live forevermore in the realm of extreme metal. His style will always be a part of Dark Angel, absolutely, big time.”
Immediately following Durkin’s death, his wife Annie set up a GoFundMe page to help cover medical and funeral costs. The page is looking to raise $39,000, of which they’ve already raised $21,000 from 255 donations. If you can swing it, be sure to give the GoFundMe page a look and consider donating. Any amount will help.
Dark Angel will perform Darkness Descends in its entirety in 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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MetalSucks – Dark Angel’s Gene Hoglan Says Jim Durkin’s Passing “Was an Absolute Shock to the Band”
Author: Hesher Keenan
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May 17, 2023