Local Musician and DJ Thom Gabaldon (a.k.a darksouldealer) Passes Away

Categories: News

thom gabaldon darksouldealer.jpg
James Bound
Thom Gabaldon, also known as DJ darksouldealer (1968-2013)
We have the unfortunate task of reporting some tragic news today that's bound to sadden many. Local DJ and musician Thom Gabaldon, who performed off and on over the years as darksouldealer, passed away early this morning after succumbing to cancer. He was 44 years old.

As many of his countless friends would tell you, Gabaldon was a mountain of a man with an equally big heart, a yen for pandas, and an incalculable thirst for music.

One of his longtime friends, Layal Rabat, told us earlier today that, unlike most people, Gabaldon wasn't just a fan of a handful of genres and had a passion for all music.

"So much of it, [I] can't describe a genre," Rabat says. "Someone commented on someone else's post that they had seen him at every show since the '90s."

Aleksandr Aeternum, another friend of Gabaldon, described his wide-ranging musical tastes (which included his fervent fandom for The Legendary Pink Dots) over a Facebook chat this morning.

"Thom had an incredible love for music that was eccentric, bizarre, and preferably obscure," Aeternum says. "He got his start in music going to punk rock shows at the FUCK (First United Christ's Kingdom) Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He moved to Arizona and worked at Zia Records for years. He loved to recant the time he confronted Peter Steele, of Type O Negative, about racist lyrics in Steele's other band, Carnivore."

thom gabaldon darksouldealer pandas.jpg
Joi Carey
Gabaldon in his hospital room while undergoing cancer treatment in December.

Aeternum added that he'll always remember Gabaldon for putting on Black Coffee, an all-ages night in the mid-aughts at both the old Counterculture Café in Phoenix and later the Sub Culture Café in Tempe where he performed as darksouldealer and spun goth, darkwave, synthpop, and old-school industrial.

Gabaldon also pulled occasional gigs as darksouldealer at various Sadisco* events over the years and was a regular presence at the formerly monthly themed dance parties.

In fact, the first time we ever encountered Gabaldon was at one of the Fight Club Sadisco* events that took place at bygone punk bar Jugheads many moons ago. As other attendees at the annual event were wont to do, he was in the middle of a fight, albeit with himself.

As the clamor of industrial and EBM blared over the speakers, Gabaldon was mimicking Edward Norton in the cult flick and doing the man dance in solo fashion, whipping his trademark long black curly locks around as he threw his body against a security barrier and dusted himself with haymakers.

It was just a bit befitting the theme of the event, however, as Gabaldon was a completely affable cat who never was the aggro sort. According to Aeternum though, he was a very opinionated and a proud liberal who was outspoken about many topics, usually thing pertaining to music.

"I don't think he kept anything to himself ever," he says.

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Thom was always smiling when he'd come in my shop, he was such a bright person.  It's too bad he was taken so young.  



Refuge: A Memorial to Thom Gabaldon Public · By Aleksandr Aeternum

  • Come join us as we remember Thom Gabaldon, who was taken from us too soon, with his favorite local bands. We will also bring you the first-ever live performance of dreamcell, Thom's ambient electro project.

    For those who do not know, Refuge is the name of a Hurricane Katrina benefit show that Thom organized at Anti Space several years ago. It seemed a fitting name for his memorial.


    Cover: Free, but donations will be accepted to benefit St. Joseph's Hospital and Hospice of the Valley, which cared for Thom over the past few months.

    The Captives
    DJ //she//
    DJ Squalor
    DJ Self.Destrukt
    Others to be announced as they are confirmed



Post your memories of Thom Gabaldon. or just share some music or film or writing that pleases and/or disgusts you. These are the balances that Thom kept sacred and I wish to carry on with them. As Thom would want to be remembered for this spirit..it is with love and admiration for Art and Conversation that I invite you all to join the Panda Collective



To avoid conflict of schedules I thought of a Memorial project for Thom. From now until April 7th anyone and everyone that loves Thom(Our favorite panda man) and wants to honor him is welcome to bring flowers,candles,pictures, poems, music, etc etc etc and place it under the big giant momma panda and her child within the park. If you are having a hard time finding it, its will be at the east side of the park. The idea is that with this memorial is it will grow and we can post pictures of the memorial as it grows. I did leave a message with Parks and Recs.. If they do get back I will let them know its for a very special person in the community and we just want it up for 1 month. So please go there an honor Thom at the Panda in the Park and take a picture and post it to this event and to his page. Thank you!


Thomas was an incredible person to me.  He was a friend, a brother, a fellow music lover, he was my heart.  I love him more than words could ever say.  I saw him through many hard times and he was there for me when I was going through my own personal hell.  I had the honor of having him as a roomie for 2 years during which time I had to save him from himself more than once.  I will never forget his smile and how his eyes would light up when he saw me.  I loved watching him on the dance floor whipping his curly hair around and not caring what anyone thought of him or who was watching.  I will never forget attending a certain show with him in Tempe and holding him as he sobbed when a certain song came on.  His heart was an open book to all and I could only wish to be as open with my feelings as he was.  He was a kind and gentle man that sometimes felt too much too deeply.   His friends hurt and pain became his hurt and pain and he would never desert you when you needed him.  Thomas was a gentle giant and one of a kind.  I will miss him horribly.  I wish I could have said goodbye to him before he left but it happened too quickly.  I hope he has found peace finally and his soul is free to find the happiness he searched for all his life but never quite found.  I love you, Thomas.  You will never ever be forgotten.  And, as I always used to say...I CARE ABOUT THOMAS!!!!!!!!  


I've known Thom for 20 years. He was a friend, a brother, a sparring partner. We circled warily round each other for many years before finally realizing that we were both too much alike, and too different, NOT to be friends. Not least because we shared a bonding experience--we both worked at Phoenix-area record stores throughout the 90s, the last time that job actually meant something. Along with another friend, Michael Johnson (a Tower Records vet),  I wanted the three of us to open our dream record store someday. Our last conversation was Oscar night, texting back and forth about Seth MacFarlane, William Shatner, and Affleck's snub. I promised to bring him movies to watch in the hospital. I was just about ready to do that when I got the call that if I wanted to see him I'd better do it soon. I spent sometime at his bedside the afternoon before he passed, and I'm glad I did. I know he knew I was there. I'm beyond glad I knew him and now I wish I'd gone out of my way to know him more and better than I did. He was one of the good ones and he is, and will continue to be, severely missed.

But I'm one of those silly people who believes that our consciousness and identities do not end when our body does, and thus I believe Thom has gone somewhere else, to that great gig--and record store--in the sky, and someday I know I'll see him again there.

Benjamin deserves serious props for writing such an amazing piece, and also Aleksandr, quoted extensively in this article, deserves to be singled out for special praise for going above and beyond out of his way to help Thom out in so many ways through this difficult time.

Rest in peace, Thom.


damn, he looked so healthy, too.


Thom, I am sad we never met, face to face.  All I have are good memories of you- I doubt anyone else will ever see the world with the same eyes as you did.  For what it's worth, you are one of the rare people in my life to have been nothing but a positive, uplifting person- no matter what you were looking at, your perspective was insightful, funny, and delightfully weird.  We'll miss you.


Death sucks. I did not know this man, but after reading this I wish I had.


Thom was an early and enthusiastic supporter of FilmBar, from its inception, when I was involved there. Really nice guy and very sad to hear this.

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