Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Memorial Metal Mix Download: Music Fan, Teacher, Reporter Damian Guevara R.I.P.

Click HERE to download the kickass thrash mix you see above (as one .zip file that unstuffs into 15 mp3s, plus liner notes and artwork, 152 MB total); read on to find out why you should, and who made it.

Bad news today. Writer and metal dude Damian Guevara, whom I’d worked with briefly circa 2010, is dead. He was 37. It was an unexpected shocker.

UPDATE & EDIT: Damian Guevara was a respected metro reporter at the Clevland Plain Dealer. Then he didn't work there anymore, which was totally his decision.

After Damian worked at the PD, he joined the staff at Cleveland Scene, the local alt-weekly,which is where I met him. He resumed his work on the political beat, and he continued his socially conscious, ethical reporting. People from daily papers tend to treat alt-paper staffers like they’re scrubs or redneck cousins. Damian never copped an attitude. He was a helpful, supportive team member. He was glad to be in the game.

With a full set of grade-A skills and knowledge, he was the kind of guy you don’t meet too often in the junior-varsity publishing world he found himself in: He had two degrees, one from Syracuse, a capital-J Journalism school. Raised in San Antonio, Damian spoke more than one language (Spanish and English), and he knew a thing or two about a thing or two, so he had an informed perspective. After his distinguished, all-too-brief stint at Scene, he quit the business and moved to Spain with his wife, where he taught English to elementary students.

Not only was Damian a smart guy. He was a good guy. And he was a metal guy.

He played guitar, and often lamented that his bad arms—carpal tunnel or something like it—further limited his performance on the instrument. He really knew his music.

In early 2010, I gave Damian a metal mix. He wasn’t the kind of dude who just accepted the mix and never mentioned it again. Not only did he enjoy it; he responded in kind, with a CD of his own, which he titled “Thrash Retaliation Mix.”

“Thrash Retaliation Mix” was way better than whatever I’d given him, which was probably an unimaginative comp of 80s favorites, a couple obscure tunes, and some contemporary heavy artists. Damian stitched together a classy survey of thrash from different eras. It was a mix of dark, underground stuff, cut with enough [relatively] popular material to demonstrate he wasn’t a snob, with a funereal undertow. No obvious stuff like Metallica; instead, he unearthed some old-school Kreator, Sadistic, and Helstar. Yeah, Damian knew his sh*t. He had cool handwriting, too. You can’t fake that. (That's a scan of his original CD sleeve in the graphic above, with my sloppy title added in Sharpie.)

So that’s what I have to remember Damian Guevara—well, that and a few stories that never would have come together without his help.

We weren’t close. I worked at Scene for eight years, and in that time, I met maybe six people I would have voluntarily hung out with outside work. Damian was one of those people you know briefly, but gladly would have spent more time with. That’s life: You don’t get enough time with the people you like, and you spend way too much time with the ones you don’t.

So check out his mix and raise a microbrew to the memory of Damian Guevara—even if you don’t know him. Click here to download it (one .zip file, which unzips into 15 mp3s, plus liner notes and artwork, 152 MB total). Give it to a friend and tell them you appreciate their presence.

And enjoy the people you like while you can. They won’t be around long enough.

D.G. R.I.P. You were one of the good ones, brother.

— D.X. Ferris, 31 July 2012

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