I really don’t think I have to introduce the mighty DARK ANGEL to anyone out there, do I? DARK ANGEL were during their heydays in the very front-row of the furious Thrash Metal movement and were responsible for timeless classics like "We Have Arrived" (still very much influenced by the Speed Metal movement at that time), "Darkness Descends" (to many people the status of this album is equal to the classic of all classics – "Reign In Blood"), "Leave Scars" and "Time Doesn’t Heal". When I bumped into an old photograph one day on the internet, I got the idea that it would be a cool to have a big DARK ANGEL feature, the problem was just how to get ahold of any of the original members? I started looking and after some intensive investigation, got ahold of the contact addresses of original drummer Jack Schwartz (played drums on "We Have Arrived"), Eric Meyer, Gene Hoglan and Jim Durkin. First, I contacted Gene but unfortunately never got any reply from him. Afterwards, I contacted all the others one by one, but this also didn’t have much success and I already thought I’d better drop the idea, until one day I got answers from both Eric Meyer and Jim Durkin at the same time. First, I didn’t know what to do now, but in the end decided to put their answers together as many of the questions were the same anyway. Sometimes, their answers differ a lot, it just makes the interview more interesting I think, you can make up your own mind about it. In the end, even Jack Schwartz also came up with some answers which was pretty cool as well! So here it is, the (more or less) full DARK ANGEL story… sit back, enjoy it and remember: we’ll bring you merciless… death!
How did you get into Metal music and what have you been up to before you got together in DARK ANGEL?
Eric: "I got into the metal scene that was starting to happen in the early eighties through some of my friends in high school that used to jam together and listened to bands like ARMORED SAINT, METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD, VENOM and MERCYFUL FATE. Those bands really had a big impact on me."
Jack: "I had been a fan of the genre since the early eighties."
Jim: "I got into metal like most other kids. I liked seventies Hard Rock … like KISS, VAN HALEN, BLACK SABBATH and then later on got into newer bands like RAINBOW, JUDAS PRIEST and it just went from there."
Are there any bands that you played in previously?
Eric: "Yeah, lots of bands, but nothing that is really worth to mention."
Jack: "I played in several bands prior to DARK ANGEL, but none of them are worth of mentioning."
Jim: "I had no experience before forming DARK ANGEL. We were called SHELL SHOCK after the TANK song and just took a more dark direction from there. Robbie Yahn (bass), Don Doty (vocals) and myself had a band before we actually had instruments, heh heh."
When and how did you hook up with the other DARK ANGEL members?
Eric: "Back in ’84, I realised after I had jammed with all of my local musicians, that I wasn’t going to get anywhere unless I tried to branch myself out. So I advertised myself, looking for a band with the same influences."
Jack: " DARK ANGEL had an advertisement that they were looking for a drummer. I first met Don Doty and Jim Durkin and we played some tapes to each other. I played some of the past work that I had done, and they played the old DARK ANGEL demo."
Jim: "We all met in high school, we all had long hair and we all liked metal, so we just said ‘Let’s form a band’. So we did a high school talent show, it was really horrible but we were so proud of ourselves, heh heh."
Who came up with the bandname DARK ANGEL, did you ever plan to name the band otherwise?
Eric: "The band was already named that way when I joined them. The reference was to a vampire, because of the wings in our logo."
Jack: "I’m not exactly sure who came up with the name. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say Jim Durkin. As for what it means, that’s certainly open for interpretation."
Jim: "I came up with the bandname. The other guys at first thought it was too evil but they came around to it. I guess it was more like a demon thing."
Did you play any cover tunes in your early days?
Eric: "No, we didn’t play any covers."
Jack: "When I was younger, I played in some cover bands, mostly LED ZEPPELIN, some AEROSMITH, TED NUGENT (late seventies stuff)."
Jim: "We slaughtered many cover songs like OZZY, TANK, BLACK SABBATH, you name it… My main influences were the NWBHM bands I guess."
Did you already release your first demo "We Have Arrived" the same year the band got formed? Did you already have songs written prior to the forming or Dark Angel or were you simply fast songwriters?
Eric: "No, the band had been together for several years before I even joined up with them and the songs evolved accordingly."
Jack: "I’m not sure on that. I had nothing to do with the demo. You would have to ask Jim Durkin or Don Doty. I joined the band after the demo was recorded. Those songs were already complete at that point."
Jim: "We recorded a really bad demo before we did the "We Have Arrived" demo. It was our first stab at original and own songs, heh heh, we could not even play our instruments. When I listen to it today, I just laugh until I cry. We were little kids back then, like 16 or 17 years old. We wrote more as we went along, just trying to get better."
How was the response on that tape?
Eric: "It wasn’t a tape, it was a real album that was released on Iron Works Records in the States and Axe Killer overseas. The response was great because we ended up getting approached by Combat Records to do our next record."
Jack: "It was actually pretty favorable. There definitely was a buzz about the band after the release of the demo."
Jim: "The tape, well … some people really liked it. I can’t believe anyone liked it, but we were proud at the time, we didn’t know any better, heh heh."
Who actually was Ed Repka, the guy who originally designed the DARK ANGEL logo?
Jack: "I have no idea. I never met the man or heard anything about him since."
Jim: "Ed was hired by Combat to make cover art. He’s great, but he did not create the DARK ANGEL logo, he just perfected it. I drew a real bad one, then the drummer we had at that time had a friend who did one which was better and in the end, our manager at that time added the wings."
Is it possible that there were already rehearsal-tapes available which got recorded prior to the "We Have Arrived" demo featuring material which wasn’t included on your first demo?
Jack: "Sure, it’s possible. You would have to ask Jim Durkin. If I am not mistaken, DARK ANGEL used to cover ‘Am I Evil?’ (before I joined the band). It was Jim Durkin’s idea to cover that song way before METALLICA released their cover of it."
Jim: "Yes, I think I have some around. I would never let them out to the public though… they’re pretty funny!"
Why did it last until 1984 until your debut, so the album version of "We Have Arrived", got released? If you would have the same situation now, would you do it again that way or would you work faster?
Jack: "We were working on a record deal, 1984 was when we put it together."
Jim: "Our debut actually didn’t get out until 1985 because of many delays from the US label. The European label released the album already many months before it came out in the States. We just waited and waited… it was not in our hands."
If I’m not mistaken you already played live a few times in L.A. at the time. What kind of reactions did you get? I mean Thrash Metal was still almost non-existing at the time, so…
Jack: "There definitely was a small core of fans. You have to keep in mind that for example SLAYER (who are coming from the same part of L.A. as DARK ANGEL) was just taking off. METALLICA had just released "Kill ‘Em All" and toured twice (stopping in L.A. both times) in support of that LP. EXODUS’ demo was just everywhere and their first release, "Bonded By Blood", due to come out soon. The reactions were great! I loved those days. The people who came to those shows were really dedicated to that kind of music."
Jim: "Our first few shows were rough, but just like anyone and every band, you get better. When we got Eric Meyer in the band, just a little bit before we recorded the album, we got a two guitar sound. It made the band sound much better. At that time, we played with some Glam bands and stuff and got into fights, etc. Sometimes, we got some good shows though, with bands like for example SLAYER, POWERTRIP or SAVAGE GRACE."
How come that DARK ANGEL got banned in many clubs in L.A., were your shows that violent?
Jack: "I have no idea. We were never banned from anywhere when I played with them. None of the shows were violent. Although I remember a wild show we played at Ruthie’s Inn in Berkeley. There were people running full speed into each other. There were several people head-banging so hard, their foreheads nearly hit the stage! One guy ran up on stage, grabbed the mike under my 13" tom, and yelled at the top of his lungs into it."
Jim: "We got banned often because the clubs didn’t like our pits, which were going like real punk gigs. Plus our roadies always started fights, it was quite an adventure sometimes."
Did you have any kind of stage show or something? Do you still remember the first show you played?
Jack: "To tell you the truth, I can’t remember the first show we played."
Jim: "We never had any kind of stage show at all, it was just us and the music. I think our first show was at some kind of a backyard party."
How much time did you spend on the recording of the debut album? Any memories?
Eric: "Probably about 2 weeks. There were some chickens that were in cages in the alley behind the recording studio and when we would take a break, we would go out and piss on them…"
Jack: "If I recall correctly, it took about 2 weeks, we didn’t have much money or a big budget. I started recording the drum tracks at about 7pm in the evening and I finished about 9 am the next morning. I had so much coffee and was pacing so much in the control room listening to each take, that I actually made a large wear mark in the carpet!"
Jim: "I think we spent a couple of weeks on it, on and off. We paid for it ourselves so we did it really cheap. I remember very well we simply could not wait for the album to come out."
What’s actually the difference between the demo version of "We have Arrived" which apparently was released in 1982 and the album version of 1984?
Eric: "There is no difference."
Jack: "I don’t remember the demo very well at all. It was rough, (as are all demos) and if I recall, some of the songs were played at a slower tempo. It was my predecessor on drums. It didn’t have some of the songs which we wrote later on (for example ‘Welcome To The Slaughterhouse’ and ‘No Tomorrow’)."
Jim: "The difference was more time and experience, also better songs. We had added a guitarist, it just sounded better all around."
Through which label did "We Have Arrived" actually originally got released, since it’s been re-released over the years quite several times, was it Azra / Metalstorm Records originally?
Jack: "It was Azra / Metalstorm originally."
Jim: "We signed first to Azra / Metalstorm and they hooked us up with Axekiller Records in Europe."
How did you hook up with that company and what else did they release?
Eric: "Azra Records was also working with OVERKILL at the time, and they were from the same city as Jim Durkin."
Jack: "It has been so long, I don’t remember how we established that relationship. As for what else they released, the JAG PANZER album comes to mind."
Jim: "Actually, Gene had a friend down the street who just started Metalstorm Records. They released an OVERKILL E.P. as well as an JAG PANZER E.P. at that time."
What have you mainly been doing to promote "We Have Arrived" at that time? With which bands did you play shows back then?
Jack: "We played as much as we could. We made sure as many people as possible heard the album. I can’t remember many of the bands we played with at that time, with the exception of AGENT STEEL."
Jim: "We had little or no promotion at all. It just went from word of mouth, we played single live shows etc. and played with bands like SAVAGE GRACE, SLAYER and AGENT STEEL. I just remember lots of parties because we did no real tours until after the "Darkness Descends" album."
When did Jack actually leave the band? What were the reasons and did the other guys actually immediately find a replacement in Gene Hoglan as he was the lighting guy at your shows?
Eric: "Jack left immediately after the recording of "We Have Arrived" because we didn’t enjoy his company. Before Gene joined the band, we actually worked with a drummer called Lee Roush for several months."
Jack: "I believe it was in late 1985. The band decided that Gene Hoglan (our lighting guy at the time) would take the band much farther than they ever would go with me on drums and they were right! It was time for me to move on."
Jim:"I believe we parted ways with Jack because of musical differences. We wanted to be more brutal as I recall. I was already always hanging around with Gene. Then I found out he was a great drummer. Since we had the same tastes in music, he fit in DARK ANGEL just perfect! It was great!"
Is it actually true that Gene also did the lights for the very first SLAYER shows?
Jim: "Yes, that’s right, he did the lights for SLAYER. That’s actually also how I met him because I was always hanging around with Kerry King. I often went to help them out and that’s how I met Gene. He had poofy hair on top and I thought he looked like the drummer of an L.A. band called Black &Blue, so I used to tease him with that. Like "Hey man, aren’t you in Black & Blue?". He’d say "Fuck off man!!", heh heh. We laughed and that’s how we got friends."
When and who came actually up with the description ‘Caffeine Metal’? Was it Gene?
Eric: "Actually it was more ‘Speed Metal’ in reference to amphetamines, but since we didn’t figure that was very appropriate, we went the more wholesome route."
Jim: "Yes, Gene came up with that. He’d take no doze to get pumped up before a show."
When did you start the songwriting for "Darkness Descends" and what do you still remember about the recording of the album itself?
Jim: "I wrote a song or two before we got into the studio. Gene had a few ideas for riffs and then when he joined the band, we went to work. We were really happy in the studio and could not wait for the world to hear us!"
Eric: “I’m not really sure about the exact year because it did sit in the can for a good 6 months, due to cover art delays. We recorded the album in 10 sessions and 2 days of mixing.”
How did you hook up with Combat Records at that time?
Jim: "Aah, Cliff of Combat called me and said something like "What the fuck are you wasting your time?". Call us for the next record… and that’s what we did."
Many people see "Darkness Descends" as one of the best Thrash Metal albums ever together with SLAYER’s "Reign In Blood". Are you aware of the status the album has?
Eric: "Yes I am, I have heard something like that before and I’m very flattered."
Jim: "Yeah, I’m very proud of that fact. I believe it was our finest moment, because then we lost Robbie and Don not that long after."
Gene and Jim wrote most of the songs on that album. Gene wrote the lyrics while Jim would write the music. Didn’t the other members ever want to contribute to the songwriting as well?
Eric: "Obviously not."
Jim: "Yeah, I guess. If it worked we used it, Eric wrote a couple of riffs, Robbie wrote some, we all helped."
Why did you re-record ‘Merciless Death’ for "Darkness Descends", weren’t you satisfied with the original version?
Eric: "No, we weren’t."
Jim: "We thought since we had a producer, we’d re-record it! Plus it was a very popular song for us and Gene also improved it! I think we also needed another song, heh heh."
At a certain point, Eric got asked by Dave Mustaine to join MEGADETH. In the end, they went for Chris Poland. Why didn’t he join them?
Jim: "Actually it was me they asked, not Eric! Dave asked, then he used Kerry King for a while. I was friends with Dave but I wanted to stay with DARK ANGEL because it was my band. Plus he needed a much better guitar player like Chris, not me or Eric, heh heh."
Eric: “I didn’t feel comfortable with the situation.”
The title-track "Darkness Descends" was apparently based on the comic Judge Dredd. Were many members of the band comic fans and what did you think of ‘I Am The Law’ by ANTHRAX, which was also dealing about Judge Dredd and the movie that was made afterwards with Sylvester Stallone?
Jim: "Actually Gene turned me on to Judge Dredd. I am a huge comic fan and he wanted to write a song about the Dark Judges. I liked ANTHRAX’ tune, it was OK. and much better then that rap thing they did later on. The movie could have been better though."
Stephan Gebedy, the guitarist / vocalist of THANATOS was already mentioned on the thankslist of "Darkness Descends"? Which member of DARK ANGEL was in contact with him at that time, do you know that?
Eric: "That was me."
Jim: "I believe it was Gene who knew him."
With which bands and where did you tour for "Darkness Descends"? If I remember right POSSESSED was one of them, weren’t they?
Eric: "Yes, POSSESSED toured with us on their first U.S. tour. It was our first big tour, and Don Doty couldn’t go. We grabbed Jim Drabos from DEATH FORCE. He sounded pretty Death Metal and his timing was good, so he did the tour. We didn’t want to keep him permanently, though. We had a good time though."
Jim: "POSSESSED was really the only band we toured with for that album. The local shows we played were quite different from one to another. I remember our manager at that time once passed out drunk outside our hotel door and almost froze to death! He had frozen puke all over him!"
The live-tracks that were added on the re-release of "Darkness Descends" (Century Media version), were they taken from the "The Ultimate Revenge" sampler?
Eric: "Off hand, I really don’t know."
Jim: "I think they were."
How do you actually look back at the "Ultimate Revenge" sampler? You played there together with RAVEN, DEATH, FAITH OR FEAR, and FORBIDDEN.
Eric: "It was fun, that was one of our first times actually that we flew out to the East Coast to play a show, so it was a real big thing. What was really ironic was how we headlined the same venue on tour later, and played in front of 5 times as much people as we did at that festival where the "Ultimate Revenge" got recorded."
Jim: "I think it could have been tighter on our part. The sound was pretty noisy, meeting RAVEN was cool for me though."
When exactly did you hook up with Ron Rineheart? Which bands did he sing in before and why did Don have to leave?
Jim: "At the end of 1987, Don was out of the band. We heard about Ron from a friend, so we tried him out and we thought he was really great. His old band was MESSIAS I believe or something like that. I never heard them, maybe I saw a video once, can’t really remember. That’s mainly it. Don had some personal problems which conflicted with the progress of the band, so we let him go."
Eric: “It was a hard decision for us to remove Don. He kept missing rehearsals and then started to suck at live shows, so we finally just said that’s it! Ron was singing in a local band called MESSIAH, Jim had seen them play and thought he might be good…”
The author Andrew Vachss apparently was a big inspiration for Gene Hoglan to write the lyrics for "Leave Scars". Can you tell a bit more about that author? What kind of books did he publish?
Jim: "To be honest, I don’t have a clue about this!"
The lyrics on "Leave Scars" and also the follow-up "Time Doesn’t Heal" were written by Gene Hoglan and the least you can say is that they were very intelligent and touched sensitive subjects. "Leave Scars" was mainly dealing with sexual abuse of children, for example the title-track and ‘The Death Of Innocence’. Why did you want to cover such sensitive subjects?
Jim: "We just wrote songs about stuff that bothered us, that’s mainly it. Who needs another song about hell, heh heh."
‘The Promise Of Agony’ is dealing to my opinion about suicide. Did any of you ever lost close ones through suicide?
Jim: "I believe Ron did but I’m not 100% sure about that. I know I never have."
Eric: “Gene wrote those lyrics, I can’t answer for him… I’ve never lost anyone to suicide.”
Why did you record the LED ZEPPELIN song ‘Immigrant Song’ for the album "Leave Scars"?
Jim: "Just for the hell of it! We thought it would get us on the radio! It was just crap!"
Eric: “We had wanted to record the song before, but Don couldn’t pull it off. We also hoped that it would break us open more.”
If I’m not mistaken, you toured in the U.S. with DEATH for that album. Later on in that tour, DEATH didn’t want to continue anymore. Why?
Eric: "Yes, we toured the U.S. for "Leave Scars" in 1989 and they didn’t feel that they were being treated fairly."
Jim: "Yes, we did that tour with DEATH but I left the band already before the fallout with DEATH. I don’t know what happened there, nor do I care."
Both DARK ANGEL and DEATH had extremely severe words about each other in interviews afterwards, so I was wondering why Gene joined DEATH later on if DARK ANGEL were that mad at DEATH?
Eric: "Actually, I wondered about the same thing."
Jim: "I think Gene joined DEATH because they had something going on, they were going somewhere. I have never been mad at DEATH. Maybe it was a rival thing, who knows, we were just young and dumb."
On the U.S. tour for "Leave Scars", you Jim, didn’t want to continue anymore due to ‘personal problems and marriage problems’ (statement from the band at that time) and you got replaced by Brett Eriksen. Where did Brett come from, in which bands did he play before?
Eric: "Brett was a good friend of Gene’s and he played in a band called VIKING that we both were friends with."
Jim: "I had no problems with my marriage and I am still happily married after 13 years! It was some fag in the bands’ excuse, among other crap that was said at that time. I was gonna kick someone’s ass for that! I needed money and I was not making any and was tired of all the crap going on, so I said ‘Fuck it!’ and I left."
If I’m not mistaken you also toured Europe for the first time with that album together with CANDLEMASS, is that correct? How did that tour turn out for you?
Eric: "Actually our first European tour was with NUCLEAR ASSAULT. It was a monumental experience. We had a two deck tour bus and a road crew – It was really cool. We filmed a concert video at England’s Hammersmith Odeon, did tons of drugs and booze; it was really killer… that is, until Mike got arrested."
Yeah, on that tour, Mike got arrested and put in jail in Germany because of car-vandalism, is that right?
Eric: "Mike was falsely charged with car-vandalism by the German Police. Several others in our entourage that evening were responsible. Mike was the only one with a passport that got arrested, so he was the scapegoat."
I once heard a story of a friend who went to a gig of yours in Tilburg (Netherlands), I think it was on your first European tour, and everyone got on stage. Do you still remember that gig?
Eric: "No, not really. There were plenty of shows in Europe that were completely out of control in that manner, which was what made it so incredible."
You even played in London on that tour together with CANDLEMASS and DAM, and a video was put out of that gig, "Three Way Thrash". Were you satisfied with the way the video came out? How about the tour you did together with TESTAMENT and SAVATAGE, that was only in America, right?
Eric: "Yeah, I was satisfied with the way the video came out. I was really stoked when I saw the cover and saw that my fucking face was on it. We had placed ourselves under a lot of pressure leading up to that gig, and it was quite stressful. We had never done anything of that nature before. I think it came out alright, considering. The tour with TESTAMENT and SAVATAGE were only 3 shows and it was quite awkward to be playing support for these bands, in the same areas that we had already headlined. We had the offer to do the shows and so we took it."
I remember very well that I was a bit disappointed when your live album, "Live Scars", came out, it somehow missed power I think. What’s your opinion on that live album?
Eric: "The recording of that concert was done by Westwood One, it was originally solely intended to be for a radio broadcast. We later decided that because it was recorded, maybe we could release it as a little bit of something to help tide our fans over until the next studio album came out. That concert was recorded in the middle of a very stressful U.S. tour. The fact that we were even being recorded was basically the furthest thing on our minds. We didn’t have any hand in the mixing of it either."
Did you play the FEAR song "I Don’t Care About You" which was also put on your live album very often?
Eric: "Yeah, we always started playing the FEAR song as one of our last songs. Everybody seemed to have a real good time with it, and it just stuck with us."
When did you start the songwriting for "Time Doesn’t Heal"? Was it mainly through Brett that the songwriting on that album changed?
Eric: “Gene was always writing songs, he and Brett seemed to collaborate well together. In the early days the songs were more of a group collaboration. After Gene joined, he really took over the song writing duties. He fit well into that role. The “Time Doesn’t heal" record was definitely a product of Gene and Brett.”
How was it for you to work together with Terry Date on "Time Doesn’t Heal"?
Eric: "It was a bitchin’ experience to work with a producer that has ended up being such a megastar."
In interviews, the band often stated that they thought that "Time Doesn’t Heal" was their most mature album. Do you still think so after all those years?
Eric: "Yeah, definitely."
How did you hook up with Relativity / Under One Flag Records for that album?
Eric: "I may be mistaken, but I don’t think the band had much to do with that."
For "Time Doesn’t Heal", you toured together with RE-ANIMATOR.
Eric: "Yeah, it was a fantastic tour, even though I think RE-ANIMATOR were not quite suitable for the bill, because their style was much softer than ours was."
When and why did the band actually split up?
Eric: "Around ’93 or ’94 after we released the "Time Doesn’t Heal" album, we had a U.S. tour that was completely booked with BOLT THROWER supporting us. We were just finishing up the European tour and when we came home, we had to cancel that U.S. tour completely because of lack of tour support from Combat Records. We decided that this was the last straw with our recordlabel."
Were you still involved in the compilation album "Decade Of Chaos"? Do you agree if I say the cover and all that doesn’t look very good?
Eric: "No we were completely uninvolved in the "Decade Of Chaos" record. Combat released several compilation albums of bands which were around at that time, for example EXODUS, FORBIDDEN and DEATH. I was quite disappointed in the look of the album myself as well."
Jim: "I was not involved. I always thought that compilation was a piece of shit! Plus they put Brett’s picture on it, not mine, the only founding member was left off! What a joke!"
Are there actually still unreleased songs which you recorded but never appeared on any album?
Jim: "Yes, I believe we recorded a FEAR tune called "I don’t care about you", but we did release all the songs we recorded."
What have all of you been doing in the meantime? I know Jack Schwartz manages a medium-sized information technology department for an Aerospace company and that Gene Hoglan and Jim worked together on DREAMS OF DAMNATION after DARK ANGEL broke-up. Gene has been involved in DEATH, OLD MAN’S CHILD, TESTAMENT and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, if I’m right, but what has for example Don, Brett, Mike and Ron been doing?
Eric: "Over the past year, I’ve been involved in my latest project which is called SWINE, and I believe we are the future of heavy music. We basically have combined what we feel are the best elements of the old school and the new school together. It’s heavier and more aggressive than fuck!"
Jim: "I don’t really talk to the others anymore, I just see Ron now and then but that’s mainly it."
Jack: "After DARK ANGEL, I recorded and toured with HOLY TERROR, I played on the original HOLY TERROR demo."
How do you look back at your work with DARK ANGEL?
Jack: "It was great. I have many fond memories."
Eric, after the split of Dark Angel, you did the production for some bands like TRANSMETAL and RECIPIENTS OF DEATH. Do you like being a producer?
Eric: "Yes, I enjoyed being involved in the production of those bands. I have a recording engineering degree and was always involved in the production of the DARK ANGEL records as much as I could be without stepping on anybody’s toes or egos, which was usually very difficult. It’s fantastic to be able to be in control of studio projects."
Jim, if I’m not mistaken you already worked together with Gene on DREAMS OF DAMNATION, your new band, back in 1992, because you put a 7" out at that time after DARK ANGEL split up. What can you tell us more about that release?
Jim: "Gene did not play on that recording, it was a drum machine. Gene just helped me program a song or two, because I just bought the machine and he showed me how to use it. It was just a studio project so I could put out my own songs that way, that’s all."
Jim, within all those years, what have you mainly been doing and when did you start writing the material for "Let The Violence Begin"? Have you kept playing your instrument within all those years?
Jim: "I’ve been working … living, martial arts. Yes, I have always played at home off and on. I wrote riffs when I felt like it, I had some songs for years. My new band DREAMS OF DAMNATION has played about six shows that have really got good response and more and more people are coming to the shows, it’s been great. We even bust out ‘Merciless Death’ or ‘The Burning Of Sodom’ for fun sometimes. So far, I’m really happy with the cooperation with Necropolis Records."
Jim, are you satisfied with the way the DREAMS OF DAMNATION debut "Let The Violence Begin" came out? What kind of audience do you think will pick it up?
Jim: "The CD was just our demo so it’s a little rough. I can’t wait to do the full-length album, but we are happy at this point. We’re getting lots of old school Thrash people into it, it’s just what I hoped! It’s a little too harsh for some hardcore DARK ANGEL fans so they don’t care for the deep vocals. But oh well, I never said DREAMS OF DAMNATION was like DARK ANGEL. It sounds a little like DARK ANGEL because of my style and the way I write songs, but that’s it. You either like it or you don’t… no skin of my ass!"
Eric, nowadays, you’re playing in the band SWINE. Who else is playing in that band and what have you put out already?
Eric: "I play with 4 other guys: Chris Mays on vocals, Josh Ramirez on guitar, Joey Partise on drums and Derek Phillips on bass. Then of course there’s "The Swine Bitch". We are just completing our first studio demo, which will be available to the masses through our website at www.swinemusic.com. Like I said before, it’s heavier than shit. No DARK ANGEL stuff!"
Have you ever thought about a re-union of the original DARK ANGEL line-up? I heard that there was quite some interest from the people who organise the Wacken festival?
Eric: "About 2 years ago, the Wacken festival sparked the idea for a reunion, which later ended up blossoming into a 15 show European tour, which because of many unfortunate circumstances had to be scrapped at the last minute. It was very disappointing."
Jack: "If I would get a proposal for a re-union, I’d think about it for sure. My wife keeps trying to keep me playing."
Jim: "There was indeed quite some interest a couple of years ago but it’s not gonna happen. DARK ANGEL is my name, my songs and I say to reform now would be a joke. Some of the other guys don’t even listen to metal anymore. I won’t do it and I won’t allow anyone to make a joke out of it. At this point, DARK ANGEL is dead and gone. I miss it sometimes but now that I’m playing again, I’m happy."
Do you still follow the metal scene closely? Do you prefer the metal scene of the eighties or do you still have a good time these days as well?
Eric: "Well, there are so many different subdivisions of metal these days and I don’t keep up with everything that’s going on. I think the eighties were a great time, DARK ANGEL enjoyed a great run of success, and for those years I will always be grateful. The scene has changed now, and I don’t think it’s as fun as it was back then, but I’m trying to make the best of it."
Jim: "I follw the metal scene very close. I prefer the scene as it is now, I won’t live in the past. I’ve always had and will have fun with metal."
What are your current future plans?
Eric: "World domination for SWINE!"
Jim: "DREAMS OF DAMNATION plan to record their debut full-length CD and play in Europe!"
Is there anything you still want to add? I hope I didn’t bore you too much!
Eric: "I know that many fans of heavy music will be extremely stoked when they hear my latest project. Thanks for the interview, I hope you found it entertaining."
Jim: "Well, Steven I want to thank you for your patience with me for taking sooo long to answer this. My life is very busy now, so my friend, I say thank you! And I thank all the DARK ANGEL fans for their undying support for me. This is by the way really the very last DARK ANGEL interview I will ever do !!! I will only do DREAMS OF DAMNATION stuff now, I live in the present, heh heh! Perish in flames and let the violence begin!"