Interview with Jim Durkin

Interviewed By Arto Lehtinen

Jim Durkin

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 Charlie!!!!


Dreams of Damnation


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?!?

Writing 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 works?!?

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 it.


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 comes out.


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.


In 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 happen?!?

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.


Century 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 about it.


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 output?!?

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 me.


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 again.


Photo from the LEAVE SCARS album

©2001 Metal Rules!!

Return to top of page

All rights reserved and contents ©1995-2001.
Keeping the Metal Faith Since 1995.

This page last updated on:
Saturday, November 17, 2001