Earlier this month, Jim Durkin — founding guitarist of the California thrash pioneers Dark Angel — passed away at age 58. He played on their seminal first three albums —1985's We Have Arrived, 1986's Darkness Descends and 1989's Leave Scars — before departing the group in '89. He returned to the group during their second reunion in 2013 and had been a band member since then till his death.
Today, Dark Angel paid tribute to their fallen comrade and announced plans for two memorial shows, in L.A. and NYC, where the group will play their classic 1986 album, Darkness Descends, in its entirety in his memory.
"Jim Durkin was the founder of Dark Angel, a major contributor to the music and was one of the founding fathers of thrash," the band wrote in their joint statement. "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 added a personal tribute. "I miss you so much, my Brother," he wrote. "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."
Durkin's widow, Annie, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with Jim's medical expenses and memorial — please give if you can.
Dark Angel's Jim Durkin tribute shows are scheduled for April 14th, 15th and 16th at Los Angeles' Teragram Ballroom, and June 2nd at Irving Plaza in NYC.