Pilgrim Singer/Guitarist Jon Rossi Remembered | Page 2 | Revolver

Pilgrim Singer/Guitarist Jon Rossi Remembered

Doom-metal musician known as "The Wizard" passed away at age 26
pilgrim.jpg, Metal Blade
courtesy of Metal Blade

Jon Rossi, vocalist and guitarist of Metal Blade recording artists Pilgrim, passed away at age 26 late last week. Though details remain sketchy, tributes from doom fanatics across the globe have come pouring in honor of the fallen musician.

Pilgrim burst onto the metal scene in 2011, playing shows in the Northeast and garnering considerable attention via Fenriz's "Band of the Week" blog and their Forsaken Man demo. The Rhode Island trio soon released its Metal Blade debut, 2012's Misery Wizard, to accolades from critics and heshers alike. Rossi's vocals and songwriting, as displayed on albums including their latest, 2014's II: Void Worship, drew parallels to godfathers of the genre like Candlemass, Trouble and Witchfinder General.

Photographer Angela Boatwright spent a considerable amount of time with the Pilgrim boys, and as such, she has kindly submitted some rare and never-before-seen shots of the guys during their Forsaken Man/Misery Wizard days. You can see them below.

We also reached out to other friends and peers of Jon Rossi and Pilgrim; they gave us the following remembrances of the fallen musician:

"When I first met him, I loved him instantly. He was special and I think it was pretty evident to everyone he crossed paths with. He was underage and tired from touring the first time we played together so I put him in the back of the Windhand van and fed him whiskey 'til he perked up. He was always trying to challenge me to a 'sing-off.' It never happened, but he would have obviously won. He would always make jokes about thinking he was ugly, but he was fucking beautiful. And smart. And hilarious. And pure. And talented in a way that hardly exists anymore. I will always love him like a little brother and I am honored to have known him at all. I don't usually do this kind of thing and am pretty private with my feelings, but everyone should know about him. Everyone should know how great he was and what the world has gained by him ever having been in it at all. I will never forget him." - Dorthia Cottrell, Windhand

"Jon was a great man. We're all thankful we were able to be his friend. He's going to be greatly missed." - Ryan Wolfe, Windhand

"Although I did not get to know Jon very well personally — which is a shame — I felt a significant connection to Pilgrim's music over the years. Magic Circle's first ever gig was with Pilgrim and I have seen them play many times. Jon was without a doubt a master within the musical realm, both as a live presence and on record. His music conveyed such an alluring aura of foreboding dark mysticism that I think can only be fully understood by those from New England. It's extremely tragic that Jon died so young, but he wrote great and meaningful music that will be enjoyed throughout the years and he had many friends and people who loved him. In my opinion, that equals a life very well lived." - Brendan Radigan, Magic Circle, Stone Axe, Pagan Altar

"I remember after playing our first show with Pilgrim at the Cake shop. Just being in awe of Jon's voice. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. I think I drunkenly told him he had the voice of an angel, which I'm sure he hated to hear, haha, but it's true: His voice was a direct extension of what a beautiful person he was. Everything he touched was unique and inspiring. I'm going to miss him so much." - Ryan Weibust, Natur

"My friendship with Jon began on the internet about four years ago, as a lot of friendships do nowadays. We talked pretty regularly for two people who'd never met each other, but he was immediately supportive of the band. I'd send him demo tracks, and we'd exchange solo stuff and talk about going on tour or playing a show together. Pilgrim was already doing great things. Admittedly, I'd always missed them when they came through and didn't get the chance to see them in person until we toured together in March, which was a happy coincidence. I was floored by his vocal power, night after night, and how tight the band was.  On the last night of tour, at AS220 (oddly enough a venue Jon had mentioned to me years back), we were all saying our goodbyes before going back to normal life. I don't remember what his exact words were, but he said something to the effect of that he'd wanted to play with us from the minute he heard Heavy Temple, which was flattering, to say the least. All that Jon EVER wanted to do was play music, and I feel that with every fiber of my being. He will be sorely missed" - Nighthawk, Heavy Temple

"So sad to see the passing of Jon Rossi. A truly talented and wonderful human being. We were so lucky to be able to work with Jon and his brilliant band Pilgrim. Such a tragedy to lose him so young — he had so much more to give." - Brian Slagel, Metal Blade Records

"Jon and I toured together in 2012 with Mares of Thrace/Primitive Weapons/Pilgrim and he was a funny, kind, talented dude who seemed truly dedicated to keeping the influences in his life positive. He was always extremely honest, unpretentious and passionate about his craft. I respected him a great deal for his attitude and what he accomplished with Pilgrim at such a young age. He was present for my first 'real' touring experience, and it was an honor to share the road and stage with such an exceptional person. He will be deeply missed by many, always." - Rae Amitay, Immortal Bird


boatwright_pilgrim143.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_pilgrim233.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_pilgrim-0036.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_pilgrim-0058.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_-2756.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_-2474.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_-2702.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_pilgrim188.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright
boatwright_-2684.jpg, Angela Boatwright
photograph by Angela Boatwright