By Brian Tucker
The light a person’s life can shine on those around them is remarkable. Sadly, that was significantly highlighted following the passing of Wilmington musician Carlos Denogean on Friday, August 24th. His sudden passing dealt a heavy blow to the Wilmington music community over the weekend, leaving people in shock and heartbroken. The drummer had returned from a jog on the beach and suffered an aneurysm at his home.
The drummer would have turned 31 this weekend, taking part in a music showcase/birthday bash he’d helped put together at local haunt Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern. Immensely passionate about music, specifically classic heavy metal, Denogean held a strong work ethic about it. Playing in a numerous bands, he did so with wild energy and a smiling spirit, as if the drums were an extension of the man.
“Carlos, to me, had that live-in-the-moment fire which was infectious to everyone around him,” Thunderlip and Valient Thorr guitarist James Yopp said. “He was such a strong, positive force for Wilmington’s music, inspiring all of us. When you saw him play he was on 11 the whole time, all the time. My heart’s at half mast for my rock and roll brother.”
Denogean founded Salvación in 2009 to carry on the spirit and playing of classic heavy metal while also taking it further, delivering the band’s crowning release with 2014 concept album God, Gold and Glory, inspired by the history of Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador.
“I have always believed there was ample room to explore within the genre of heavy metal while remaining within its parameters. That’s what most appealing to me about playing this kind of music,” Denogean said about the album in 2014. “Our mission statement has always been to celebrate and pay tribute to the traditions of classic heavy metal bands we admire most.”
The band would release three albums, two EP’s and several singles, most recently in March with the song “Take Control,” and open for bands Lynch Mob and Anvil. He played in other bands or sat in with them (White Tiger and the Bed of Roses, Pounder, Walpyrgus, Cerebus) and toured again with Weedeater this summer. He championed up and coming acts, taking it further by creating Thou Shall Rock, a showcase that brought together local and regional heavy metal bands.
Denogean found what he loved in life and did it with fervor, taking it on the road. The bond with music carried Denogean across the country and overseas to perform, to meet musical soul mates and heroes. He was an interview to look forward to (in addition his Facebook posts/images), the love for what he was doing always abundantly clear. In addition to passion for music, what comes to my mind about Denogean is an anecdote about his father, Jose Denogean, introducing him to music.
“My dad was a rocker and a metal head in the 70s and 80s. I more or less grew up in a Firebird with the T-tops off and Judas Priest blasting,” Denogean said in 2016. “I was fortunate enough to be exposed to it at a young age. The first band I really took to was KISS. Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits was my first record.”
Final visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 1, 2018 at the Wilmington Funeral Chapel at 1535 South 41st Street. A gathering of friends and family will take place afterwards at Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern off Oleander Drive.