News: Dark Angel Pay Tribute to Founding Guitarist Jim Durkin

The members of Dark Angel were notified on Thursday, March 9, that band member Jimmy Durkin had passed away on Wednesday morning, March 8. A founding member of Dark Angel, Jim Durkin was a major contributor to the genre and was one of the founding pillars of thrash.

Durkin had been sitting out Dark Angel shows due to personal matters since 2020. Jim requested Laura Christine as his replacement. With Durkin’s passing, the band have announced that they will continue to perform and record in Jim’s memory and preserve his legacy, as he requested before his passing. All the members have shared statements about their fallen brother.

Gene Hoglan says:

“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, 1,000-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.”

Ron Rinehart shares his thoughts:

“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. “

Eric Meyer recounts how he met Jim:

“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.”


Michael Gonzalez says:

“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 shares how she joined the band through Jim:

“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.”

Annie Durkin has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with Jim’s medical expenses and memorial. Anyone can contribute to the great cause here.

Dark Angel Darkness Descends 2023

April 14, 15 & 16 – Los Angeles – Teragram Ballroom w/ Evil Dead *
June 2 – NYC – Irving Plaza w/ Prong, Whiplash and Ready for Death *

*performing Dark Angel’s 1986 album Darkness Descends in full!

Dark Angel

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

Dark Angel

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Photo courtesy of Alex Solca

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