Interview with Jim Durkin
Interviewed By Arto Lehtinen
Jim Durkin, the guitarist of the legendary thrash combo Dark Angel,
returned back to the limelights with an entire new band called Dreams
Of Damnation and got the cd “Let The Violence Begin” out on
Necropolis Rec. Even though the band is technically new, but the name
was already chosen to use for Durkin’s recording project in the early
90’s which EPs are still available at DODWARPARTY@AOL.COM
and by the way it is a damn good EP indeed so get it!!! There would have
a lot of things to ask about Dreams Of Damnation and of course Dark
Angel, but however the interview became long.. Enjoy.. Or Death Is
Certain Or Life Is Not....
Good day Jim what’s up there in California, I have heard that
you have had some electric blackout in the whole state?!?
Yes a lot of them!!! But they mostly happen when I'm not at home...
At least not during practice. I would hate to do an acoustic set with
All right let’s get to the business and there will be a lot
of things to ask about both Dark Angel and Dreams Of Damnation. I was
recently told that you are working on the new material for the next DOD
album and the stuff will and obviously should have more aggressive and
rawer approach than the stuff on the debut output, could you shed a
little bit light on the new material for the next album?!?
and Demoing. Well I hate to do the usual "It's a lot heavier than
last time" thing but lets just say we continue to grow together and
work off of each other's strengths.
So when the next DOD album will see the light of day and could
you reveal the title of the album ?!?
It should see light in October... The working title is so far
"Ugly songs for an ugly world”.
Speaking of the debut DOD album… In fact “Let
The Violence Begin” was received by the metal crowd with quite
inconsistent opinions as the album was expected to be some kind of
continuation to the Dark Angel saga. Somewhere it was criticized quite
heavily whereas then it was praised quite a lot. What sort of responds
have you personally got and read regarding the album and in general how
do you take all those negative as well as positive criticisms about your
I listen to each one and try to see each ones point (good or bad).
But I can't think of a band in history that could please everyone !!! It
will certainly not be this band. We do what we like... Even in DA people
had their opinions of our works then. It bugged me then... But now I
feel if you don't like it don't listen to it. I'm not like most people
trying to relieve my glory days!! We're all about having a killer time
and anyone who's seen us live, can tell you the same. Not too many metal
people I know make their living doing this... We do it because we love
As far as I know the debut DOD album was basically supposed to
be some kind of demo thing in the first place, but then after all ended
to the hands of the staff and Necropolis Rec who wanted to press the
material to the cd format... Hmm... Did it actually happen in this way,
so could you tell what made you decide sign a deal with Necropolis ?!?
No not exactly like that... We only had a few songs and had only had
this line up a couple of months and I wanted to get in the studio as
fast as possible because I had some time off from my business... I found
a little punk studio we used it and banged out the songs in a couple of
days. I could not see spending any more money at this point.
It was like a demo to us to let people know I'm still around. A
sample of things to come. I went with Necropolis because I felt it was
the best deal for us at this point of our growth. They are doing all
they can for us so far.
By the way how much do you dig all the bands on Necropolis?!?
I like most of the bands on there for what they are. I have some
opinions about some, like most people, but I'll keep my asshole opinions
to myself. I still remember the days when all my hopes and dreams were
invested in my music... Why put down something simply because I'm not
into it?!? Someone buys it.. So it must be liked by someone.
Hmm this may sound absurd, before starting to work on the
interview I went through the whole Dark Angel album and demo releases
and then the Dreams Of Damnation stuff. Of course I found major Dark
Angel references to point out in the DOD music, no wonder why. But
actually I used to be under the impression you have used some leftover
DA material for DOD, am I entirely wrong?!?
Yes you are wrong. I may have had a riff or two but it's all been
since I've left. It's just my style! Everything I do will have that
sound in it some where that’s how I write. I sit down that’s what
Even though Dreams Of Damnation of nowadays is completely the
different one from the band of the early 90’s, but let’s take a
rapid glance at the historical side. Who was involved in the first DOD
when the band was basically a recording project in the early 90’s and
how did you start it out in the first place?!?
Well at that point I just wanted to put out a couple of tunes to let
people know I was still kick'n. I had a friend or two and said “Hey
come play” and they were kind enough to do it. But most people wanted
to do the grunge shit then ('92) so I gave up hope of a actual band..
You put out one EP definitely being one hell of a kick ass
output and to be honest belonging to one of the best EP ’7’s
released during the whole 90’s in my opinion. Even though the band was
basically different compared to the current one, but I am pretty much
confirmed people and especially several hard core Dark Angel fans would
like to get a hold of the EP. So have you ever planned on putting the EP
out because it is impossible to find and it is found somewhere, the
price would be insane?!?
I had 2500 pressed and did a second pressing of which I have about
1000 left at $10.00 US plus shipping.. People can contact me at DODWARPARTY@AOL.COM.
I continue to sell it even now.
As far as I know you had more tunes composed and written from
that era, what have you entirely buried the stuff and are you gonna
rework and rewrite them for other and upcoming DOD releases?!?
I’ve used 'em here and there I will rework two of the songs for the
next CD as bonus tracks.
How many copies were pressed of the EP back then and it was
released via your tiny label, right?!?
A little bit more about you label business, did you release
anything else or just the first DOD EP and why did you decide to
terminate the label thing after all?!?
I did two more local hardcore/metal bands mostly for colored vinyl
collectors. I just did it as a hobby and got into other things so I let
the label go. I never made any money on it anyway. It was fun and I
learned a lot.
And then the whole project was put on hiatus during the whole
90’s until in the end of the decade DOD was resurrected from the ashes
and you recruited new members, but firstly the line up consisted of four
guys, you and vocalist Charlie and two other dudes, but what things got
fucked as the line up was shaped up to the three piece?!?
As I became more serious I needed full time members and a couple guys
had their own bands going. It just worked out right.
And do vocalist Charlie and drummer Al have a long metal band
history behind and as far as I know you have been knowing Charlie for
two decades, but AL how and where was he discovered?!?
Charlie was in a local band called Malignant that played around so I
knew him and as for Al, he was in a band called Mad Whip Thunder a Raven
like band back in the 80'S and I think they opened for DA once... We put
out ads, tried guys out and he was the best of them all hands down. He
got the gig.
I recently read your interview in some major magazines where
you mentioned about not being capable of getting out to tour effectively
and all around the States or in Europe, because of family commitments,
right, but apparently you have done some gigs in the local area, so what
kind of response have you got and which bands have you played with ?!?
The response has been killer we're a live band bottom line so we do
what we do best... So far we've played with DEICIDE, IMMOLATION,
MONSTROSITY, GOATWHORE, CAGE, AGENT STEEL, ABATTIOR, DRI, NAPALM DEATH
and some great gigs for us.
But I guess you have participated in a couple of tribute
albums, at least you did a track for the Saxon tribute...excuse me which
track did you actually process for that tribute?! But in general have
you been involved in other tributes ?!?
No tributes at all. Not one.
Speaking of tribute albums and cover tunes regarding the mighty
Dark Angel. As far as I know Arctic Music was said to be working on the
tribute album for that legendary thrash metal combo, so have you been
approached by them to do and warm up some old Dark Angel classic for
that tribute ?!?
I said yes, but I don't know how far it's gone. It hasn’t happened
yet. We would do "Merciless Death."
Once again Jim the interview will get the direction to your old
band Dark Angel. Frankly are you kinda surprised that people are still
talking about Dark Angel everywhere (in magazines, everywhere on the
net, even new bands name Dark Angel one of their influences…etc..etc.)
and there are some websites founded and above all the band are still
desperately wanted to see live on the stage?!?
I never dreamed it would go that far when we were in high school and
started this thing. I'm happy to be part of such a good thing it was a
special band and people will always have the cds to listen to.
Honestly, are you getting sick, tired and in some point pissed
off at all these questions regarding Dark Angel and all the questions
dealing with the reunion?!?
No, I'm glad something I started mattered to someone...Hell at some
gigs I play some kids don't remember Dark Angel at all!!! Are we that
old ??!! hehe.
Well because of the benefit gig for Chuck Billy of Testament
several old and already defunct groups like Death Angel, Heathen,
Violence, Exodus(once again!) have reunited for that gig and it wouldn’t
be any big surprise if some of those bands continued. But did the organizers
of that benefit gig approach you asking you to make the Dark Angel
reunion for that gig?!?
Hmm I have noticed in several message boards and newsgroups
that people do think that Dark Angel did a comeback gig in LA in 97/98
with the Darkness Descends line-up, so what is actually the truth behind
this reunion gig, did you have a purpose to get on the stage with that
line up to find out if there is still interest toward?!?
There was no gig ever.
a few interviews you announced if you wanna return with Dark Angel, it
gotta be the Darkness Descends line-up, hmm hopefully you won’t rip
your pants apart, but seems like the current existence of both Yahn and
Dotty is unknown, well to my knowledge…But why can’t you get on the
stage with Ron Reinhart then?!?
I can get up with RON he's a great guy and the best singer I know. I
just felt, as do many, a true reunion should be the classic line up.
Doty is still around but not into the thrash thing as I know and
Robbie's in the army somewhere... So why make a joke of it.
Let’s clear the air now, have you had a discussion between
other guys of getting on the stage with Dark Angel and will that ever
We have not really talked about it in a year or two and I will never
say never at this point but I'm busy now with this band and it looks
like we may go to Europe soon.. I'm happy with this band and I would not
waste time on a half assed attempt for the old glory..
Frankly do you view this reunion is somehow funny for example
all those bands with whom you have played and toured and picked up old
leather belts from closet for example from your area Armored Saint,
Abattoir, Hirax and in general everywhere else for example Destruction,
Sabbat,… Do you think they should have let the sleeping dog sleep ?!?
I just have no desire for it at all. No not at all.. I think it's
fine for them and some of them have something to offer and some of them
don't .. As for me I just have no desire for it at all.
Media re-issued the whole back catalogue of Dark Angel album by album
apart from the debut album “We have arrived” originally published by
a tiny label Axe Killer/Maelstorm, so why didn’t you want to authorize
Century Media to put out that album and how did you end up to give the
rights to Dark Realm Rec (run by the Sadistic Intent man) ?!?
I just did a trade deal with Dark Realm and it was limited. I'll be
looking at other offers in the future. I never heard from Century Media
As for the re-issued albums, were you thrilled about this
re-issuing, did you have any chance to have an effect on the reissue
plans of Century Media?!?
No, but they've done a great job, I'm happy it's out. They bought the
catalog from Combat.
You and Gene Hoglan seem to the most visible guys nowadays from
the DA days, but what’s up then all those former Dark Angel guys
nowadays, what are they doing nowadays like Rob Yahn, Don Dotty, Mike
Gonzalez?! By the way what’s up with Gene Hoglan at the moment, does
he still dwell in Canada?!?
Now this is just what I’ve heard... Rob is in the army... Don's a
house inspector… Mike I have no clue!! I believe Gene goes back and
forth from here to Canada... I'm not sure....
What do you think of Ron
Reinhart’s current band Oil based on the Christian views and
thoughts and Eric Meyer’s current band Swine?!?
Ron's band is heavy and they seem to have a following... I’ve not
heard Eric's band I hear they're like Korn. I'll go to the gigs and hang
out because we're friends.
Both Reinhart and Meyer used to have a side recording project
called Hunger and did one demo back’94, but now afterwards some South
European metal magazine put it out advertising it as a Dark Angel demo,
have you talked to Eric about that rip off thing and what did you think
of that way of using the Dark Angel name to advertise another band’s
I have not talked to him about it, but I will. He may not be aware of
it. That would be ripping the fans off, and it sounds nothing like DA -
totally two different styles.
I came across the OIL interview where it came up Ron was
heavily into the drugs and alcohol and acts of violence in the old days,
I can’t help asking if those good old days were of Dark Angel more or
less intoxicated oriented (drugs, alcohol) and a lot of fights?!?
We had our share of this and that and I drank a lot and was drunk
more and more toward the end... I would say we could party pretty hard
hehe… We had a few fights mostly in LA.
I have come across some bootleg releases from the “Gates of
Darkness” tour which Dark Angel did with the first American death
metal band Possessed throughout the States, how long was that tour and
how many clubs were trashed and were the crowds much wilder back then
than for example nowadays when you have played with DOD?!?
The tour was two or three months long and some places got trashed as
well as us!! The people were pretty wild then... They seem to be getting
better for us now depending on who we play with. I notice some people
just stand there for the bands and clap not too much slamming.
In some point you were supposed to team up with the former
Massacre vocalist Kam Lee to help him with his Kauldron band or could it
be said project, what’s up with that?!?
I said I'd play but he fell off the face of the earth... It would
have been heavy. He wanted to do a doom thing. I sent him some riffs and
we went back and forth for a while.
The metal stills run in your blood vessels nowadays and it is
obvious you follow the current metal scene very with a huge interest and
very closely. What sort of bands have you recently picked up, I guess
you must have a plenty of fave bands anyway?!?
Underground I would say DEFLESHED, ARCH ENEMY, THE HAUNTED, WITCHERY,
DIMMU and too many, but just anything that has good songs... Pantera
still deliver the goods as well the best American band hands down for
All right Jim I thank you and your time for answering this mega
interview for Metal-Rules.Com about both the bands, Dark Angel and
Dreams Of Damnation. So Jim the mandatory last words are as usual yours…
I thank all the fans who have taken the time to contact me...I try to
answer each e-mail if I don't... Don't be mad I really try... Thank you
Photo from the LEAVE SCARS album
©2001 Metal Rules!!