A memorial service for former CRIMSON GLORY frontman Midnight (John Patrick McDonald, Jr.) will be held on Saturday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Siesta Key public beach (just south of main pavillion) in Florida. This celebration of Midnight's life will be open to all who wish to attend.
CRIMSON GLORY bandmembers Jon Drenning (guitar), Ben Jackson (guitar), Dana Burnell (drums), Jeff Lords (bass) and Wade Black (vocals) have issued one joint as well as five individual statements regarding Midnight's passing.
The band says: "Midnight was a very special soul with a beautiful heart...
"To try to describe his many gifts through the limiting restraints of text and typeset is like trying to describe a thousand rainbows to a blind man who never learned to count. His mind was both extraordinarily beautiful and enticingly frightening, an indescribably mysterious place from which came some of the most brilliantly creative and soulfully poignant lyrics in the history of heavy metal. He was not always understood, but his talents were undeniable and transcended far beyond the bounds of our weaker imaginations.
"As is the case with all truly great artists, Midnight was hounded by his demons...but he put them to work, using them to pull back the curtains of his cosmic wonderland and reveal the pieces and parts that made him who he was: the soft vulnerable child, the eccentric and maniacal genius, the soaring passionate believer, the charming and mischievous imp, the wistful dream weaver...discovering Midnight was like discovering a new reality for us; we knew from the moment we first heard him sing that he was something special, and we all feel honored that he shared himself not just with us, but with the rest of the world.
"Midnight's voice was truly unique; he had such an emotional, magical, mystical quality that most singers never have or come close to achieving. That voice took all who heard it through highs and lows, through triumph and suffering; every word, every note touching, reaching deep inside and commanding response and feeling. He was a great influence for metal singers and will continue to be for many years to come.
"Despite his personal demons we always loved him and hoped that one day he would get well. We will miss him dearly. He was one of us...our friend, our brother. Midnight was and will always be the singer for CRIMSON GLORY. He is at peace now; he will always live in our hearts...he is forever."
Jon Drenning: "Midnight and I shared so much together over the years; dreams, goals, visions, creativity... We would often daydream for hours upon hours about how we would make the most amazing music together that would 'transcend' the world. We were determined to make an impact like no other and wanted create a legacy that would be everlasting... Despite our disagreements, I loved him deeply and will miss him profoundly. We had a contentious, yin-yang type of relationship, but we respected each other's ideas, talents and creativity, and loved each other dearly; we were brothers 'til the end. Midnight was a kind, generous, spiritual, beautiful, passionate, eccentric, mysterious, stubborn old soul with the voice of both an angel and a lion. Truly, he was a rare individual with an enigmatic, angelic voice who had a great influence on many of today's well-known and yet-to-be-known metal singers. There have been many great singers throughout the years in the metal genre, including several who have tried to copy Midnight's uniquely moving, intensely emotional style, but there can be - and will only ever be — one Midnight. He was a once-in-a-lifetime singer, one-in-a-billion, a star among stars... Indeed, the world has lost a great singer, songwriter, painter, poet and friend... but his spirit lives on in each of us who knew and heard him, as well as for those yet to discover his creative genius. In death you live again, my brother, my friend. It does not mean the end; it never really ends..."
Ben Jackson: "Words cannot express the sadness I feel today over the loss of my dear friend Midnight. Having been friends with Mid for the last thirty years has provided me with memories I will surely treasure for the rest of my life until we hopefully will meet again. Together we made music, shared laughs and good times, traveled the world to faraway places and lived life with passion. He touched many with his unique gift and was universally loved by his many friends and fans. A gentle genius and a sweet, sweet soul. I will miss you so much buddy! I love you!"
Dana Burnell: "Today the world lost an incredible singer and songwriter. I lost my band mate, my friend... my brother. I've known Midnight for over 30 years; he was the gentlest, kindest and most caring person I've known, and I loved him very much. Midnight only wanted good for everyone, he was a good soul. Knowing he is at peace now brings me great peace. I love him and will forever miss him."
Jeff Lords: "Speaking in the wake of my friends and bandmates, I can say that they've covered, very eloquently, a lot of what needed to be said. Notwithstanding, I will offer my thoughts, because every relationship is truly unique.
"What few people know, probably even some of my own bandmates, is that I knew John 'Midnight' McDonald longer than most — from the seventh grade, to be precise. We sat next to each other in history class. Mind you, this was well before I ever picked up a bass or knew that he could belt out the ZEPPELIN and FLOYD tunes. Well, Midnight ('John,' then) would sleep or doodle during class. We sat next to each other in the back. Come test time, he'd want to copy my answers (that rascal!). In any event, I knew that he was a rare breed with a tendency toward the arts. Little did I know...
"Fast forward 7 or 8 years, and one night at our rehearsal facility we were going to try out this guy whom we discovered on the beach playing acoustic guitar. Admittedly, I was skeptical when this shoe-less and frumpy-clothed fellow showed up to give a whirl at singing PRIEST, ACCEPT, MAIDEN, SCORPIONS...all of which were bands we covered very briefly before CRIMSON GLORY was born. I was once told, 'You cannot tell how far a frog can jump by lookin' at it.' Well, that night, and the following nights, that little adage was never so solidified in mind. The kid had a set of pipes. We later learned that he had a knack for writing creative and thought-provoking lyrics, as well. CRIMSON GLORY was born.....
"Fast forward again, and we found ourselves going from a warehouse to the studio to stages overseas. With the increasing amount of pressure to sing the songs as you hear those recordings today, Midnight sought to overcome this pressure by unnatural means, which would later, and sadly, become his downfall, as well as the band's. This problem put a tremendous strain on the relationships with people close to him, meaning, not the fans in this case, but with his family and bandmates (who were his second family). To my understanding, we all did what we could to help him.
"In the end, I am sad: Sad, because of the loss of life and that such a talented human being never reached his full potential. I am angry: I am angry because he was out of touch with reality towards the end, and could not be reasoned with, even if that meant trying to reconcile some past mistakes made along the way, including my own. I am hopeful: I am hopeful because, while I don't believe in a hereafter, I firmly believe that John 'Midnight' McDonald has touched people in this life, the life that we know for certain exists, and in that sense, he was most certainly an Earthly 'Angel.' Farewell, Mid'.
Wade Black: "My friends, my heart is filled with sadness today as my friend, and brother Midnight has passed from this world into the next. I was called to the hospital last night as things were not looking good for him, and I am thankful that I was able to say goodbye to him and visit with his family before he passed.
"We all know what Midnight's legacy has meant in the world of metal. His voice, his style has served and will always be one of the benchmarks against which all metal vocalists will be judged. His work after CRIMSON GLORY showed a true artist at work — pushing the envelope, expanding what Midnight was really all about, and taking us on musical journeys down paths only he could see.
"There are many singers in the metal community who owe much to Midnight. I certainly am the one who perhaps owes him the most. When I assumed the role of vocalist in CRIMSON GLORY a decade ago, it was a huge opportunity. Where another might have been bitter or had harsh words for me, Midnight communicated only praise and encouragement. When I finally met him and had an extended conversation with him two years ago, it was instant brotherhood. We talked like old friends, and that evening was the beginning of a collaboration that really closed a loop that had been started a decade earlier. I'd spent the better part of ten years in part singing the songs that Midnight had created, and then had the privilege of working with him creating new music. Very few people get to meet the people who inspire their careers, fewer still get to work with them. In this regard, I count myself as truly blessed."
Midnight passed away yesterday (Wednesday, July 8) from "total kidney and liver failure." He was 47 years old.
According to JON OLIVA'S PAIN guitarist Matt LaPorte, who played on some of Midnight's recent solo recordings, the singer spent his final hours surrounded by his mother, brother, daughter as well as members of CRIMSON GLORY, SAVATAGE, and JON OLIVA'S PAIN. His death occurred at 3:30 a.m EST at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Midnight sang on CRIMSON GLORY's first three albums — "Crimson Glory" (1986), "Transcendence" (1988) and "Strange and Beautiful" (1991) — before going into self-imposed exile for almost a decade. He eventually rejoined CRIMSON GLORY in 2005 but was dismissed in January 2007.
Last fall, Midnight announced plans to release a new solo CD called "All Souls Midnight" which was to feature the "Acoustic Crimson" EP (four songs) along with the lost "Midnight Mass" recordings from the late '80s/early '90s plus some other "cool rarities."
CRIMSON GLORY's classic "Lonely" video (off "Transcendence"):
Midnight playing acoustic guitar and singing (October 2007):