DREAMS OF DAMNATION Vocalist Pays Tribute To Late Thrash Metal Guitar Legend JIM DURKIN: “Jimmy’s Friendship Was The Gift Of A Lifetime”

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“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because dawn has come.”Rabindranath Tagore

Dark Angel guitarist, Jim Durkin, passed away at the age of 58 last Wednesday (March 8). Dreams Of Damnation vocalist, Loana dp Valencia, has released the following tribute:

“On Wednesday, March 8, 2023, the worldwide metal community lost a titan of thrash metal: Jim Durkin of Dark Angel.

While best known for creating ear-blistering, adrenaline-inducing, soul-slaughtering guitar riffs and writing songs that would become legendary in a genre of metal that his band helped create, he was also a gentle giant with an incredible singing voice who would never hurt a spider and would stop everything to move an injured animal – insect, bird, reptile, mammal – out of harm’s way.

Humble to his core, he never understood why anyone made a fuss about him. I remember my nervousness at meeting him in-person for the first time at The Brave Bull in San Gabriel, California in 2000, after his 3-piece band, Dreams Of Damnation, played their set. My hands shook as I handed him my Dark Angel albums to sign. Here was the man who wrote “Darkness Descends” and “Leave Scars” – two life-defining albums that articulated and gave full voice to my rage which had no other outlet but heavy metal music. Being such an esteemed & influential guitarist, his humility, genuine kindness, and very Irish sense of humor immediately impressed me.

Jimmy‘s friendship was the gift of a lifetime. He introduced me to mixed martial arts & the UFC, Hellboy comics, and Defleshed‘s “Fast Forward” album. Though he worked long days and weekends, he patiently listened to me vent about work and L.A. traffic, made me howl with laughter until my sides and cheeks hurt, and always remembered my birthday (and Randy Rhoads‘s and Scott Gorham‘s and Phil Lynott‘s and Gary Moore‘s). We had comic book reading marathons, watched Japanese kaiju movies in his living room (Go Go Godzilla!), and grilled burgers in his backyard. He invited me, an unknown & unproven nobody, to front Dreams Of Damnation and write lyrics to his music. He saw something in me that I didn’t. He believed in me.

It is inconceivable, unjust, and utterly devastating for a human being as beautiful as Jim to be taken from us. To me, he will always remain a shining example of – as guitar tech Willie Gee appropriately said – “the tenacity of the human spirit.”

To KISS, Motörhead, Slayer, Metallica, Tank, Venom, Wargasm, Witchery, The Haunted, At The Gates, Defleshed, and the long list of bands residing in his music library: YOU INSPIRED HIM.

To guitarists Randy Rhoads, Mick Tucker, Cliff Evans, Scott Gorham, Gary Moore, Brian Robertson, Michael Schenker, Paul Chapman, Neil Carter, Neal Schon, Rik Emmett, John Norum, John Sykes, Joe Bonamassa, Patrik Jensen, Anders Björler, Gary Holt, Michael Amott, Akira Takasaki, Doug Aldrich, Adrian Vandenberg, and so many others: YOU LIVE IN HIS DNA.

To singers Algy Ward, Steve Perry, Phil Lynott, Phil Mogg, Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner, Tony Thurlow, Mickey Thomas, Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Tony Martin, Terry Ilous, John West, Joey Tempest, Ray Gillen, Tony Kakko, Roy Khan, Kal Swan, and Josh Groban: YOUR VOICES MADE HIS HEART SOAR.

To composers John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith, and Howard Shore: YOUR WORKS WERE A WELL OF CREATIVITY HE DRANK DEEPLY FROM.

To the NWOBHM bands who launched a still-relevant, historical musical movement: YOU OWN A SPECIAL PLACE IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HIS HEART.

To the Chilean fans in Santiago who gave Jimmy & the band a hero’s welcome at the airport in 2014 and raged in the pit with road flares: YOU AMAZED HIM.

To the 2014 Sweden Rock Festival attendees who drove hours & crossed borders to come see him play: YOU HUMBLED HIM.

To those present at Finland’s Jalometalii Festival in 2014 for the band’s inaugural live debut: YOU MADE HIM GIVE HIS BEST.

To the Hellfest 2014 crowd in France (the largest audience he’d ever played for): YOU TOOK HIS BREATH AWAY.

To the Irish & English fans at Bloodstock Open Air 2015 (and the fans that embraced him at the pub afterwards): HE CHERISHED YOU FOR KNOWING HIS GREEN CONVERSE WERE A TRIBUTE TO GARY MOORE.

To the 2018 Lords Of The Land fans in Glasgow, Scotland who spent their hard-earned money on concert tickets: HE DEEPLY APPRECIATED YOUR FINANCIAL SACRIFICE AND REVERED THE SACRED BEAUTY OF YOUR HOMELAND.

To the promoters & metalheads of Japan: THE FINGERPRINTS OF YOUR POLITENESS & ATTENTION TO DETAIL LEFT AN IMPRESSION ON HIM.

To the 2019 tour organizers & audiences of Australia: HE WAS AWED BY THE PURITY OF YOUR PASSION AND THE ANIMAL LIFE OF YOUR CONTINENT.

A todos los metaleros mexicanos de México Metalfest IV 2019: DICHOSOS TODOS USTEDES – YOU WERE THE LAST AUDIENCE TO EXPERIENCE HIM LIVE ON STAGE.

To the veteran headbangers of Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach & the Ultimate Revenge 2: HE HAS NEVER FORGOTTEN YOU.

To ALL generations within our beautiful, worldwide heavy metal scene: Jim was HONORED to be a tape-trading founding member of what has become this immense, loving, globe-spanning community. He’s been EXTREMELY proud of the many ways all younger generations are carrying the torch forward into metal’s future. HAMMER ON!

To ALL of us around the world left behind with broken, heavy, grieving hearts: Let us HONOR HIM by living our lives rich with meaningful friendships and with kindness toward all creatures great & small.

To Annie, his wife of 34 years: Jimmy‘s love for you can only be measured by an INFINITY OF INFINITIES.”

“Dearest Jimmy, Our Cú Chulainn,

My life improved with you in it. The light of your strong and generous heart reached the depths of my soul. There are no words that could express my everlasting gratitude. You will be deeply missed all the rest of my days. In quiet moments, I will listen for your laughter. May your beloved mother & uncles and the line of your people – all of your ancestors all the way back to the beginning – welcome you among them with their everlasting light and love.

Strength and Honor.

Now you are free.” –

Loana dP Valencia, Dreams Of Damnation

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