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NME Guitarist Dead At 39

When Kurt Struebing died this week after his car fell through the open draw span of a bridge, it ended a life that friends said seemed to have been lived by two different people.

Nearly 20 years ago, he killed his mother and was sent to prison. Years later, he became a leading figure in heavy-metal music, a trusted friend and a doting father.

On Wednesday, Struebing, 39, drove his Volkswagen Jetta through two barriers on the Spokane Street Bridge as it opened to let a tug pass on the Duwamish Waterway. The Jetta plunged off the bridge and landed on the ground more than 50 feet below.

Police investigators and motorists who saw the crash were puzzled over why Struebing drove off the bridge.

Friends believe it was simply a horrible accident.

Struebing was involved in music for the past two decades, forming a band with some high school buddies in the mid-1980s. By 1986, their band, NME, had released three albums.

But in April of that year, Struebing, then 20, was accused of killing his adoptive mother, Darlee Struebing, with a hatchet and a pair of scissors. At the time, friends said, Struebing had been abusing drugs, and even prosecutors believed he was mentally unstable. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, although prosecutors sought a shorter sentence.

Released early from prison in 1994, it wasn't long before Struebing, a guitarist, began playing music again and the band, NME, reformed.

Critics call their music "black metal." Some music of that genre includes satanic imagery and mentions of the occult. Struebing's band, whose name is pronounced "enemy," had its own Web site at www.nme666.com.

But friends said the music was tongue-in-cheek. "It was just music," said Stephen Austin, who is producer for a heavy-metal program on a cable-access channel.

Bonner, who managed the band in recent years, said Struebing never liked to talk about his past. And for most of his friends, his past didn't matter.

Kriss Blazina, a bassist in the metal band End Theory, said whenever anyone who knew Struebing found out about his criminal record, they usually reacted in disbelief. The man most knew, Blazina said, was kind, generous and funny.

"At the drop of a hat, he'd help anyone out," he said.

Through his job at Reprographics, Struebing was always willing to produce fliers promoting other bands, particularly the ones just starting out.

"He was a very good graphic artist," Bonner said. "One of the best."

Though he practiced with his band every Monday, helped organize benefit concerts and played often himself, Struebing spent his spare time with his wife and son in their Federal Way home.

A photo of the wreckage can be viewed here.

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7 Comments on "NME Guitarist Dead At 39"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Shelly ( Olson ) writes:

I was a friend of Kurts @ the time that he killed him mom. Just to make it clear to those who didn't get to know Kurt until AFTER his release from prison...yes it's hard to believe the Kurt that YOU know could have done something like that... but it was just as hard for all of his friends that knew him THEN. He was not a horrible person and was so much fun to be around. Unfortunately, drugs can destroy peoples lives. I only wish that I had kept in touch with him through writting and an occasional call as I did the first 2 years of his detainment. My Ex-boyfriend hated the fact that I was writting to a convicted killer ,not wanting or caring to know that he really was a good person and that he needed and deserved support from his friends. To my ex, a killers a killer. After not hearing back from Kurt for a while, I figured he wanted some space??? Just goes to show how we mature...I realize it wasn't Kurt cutting me off, it was my ex hijacking my letters. I only wish I had known. Kurts friends and family are in my prayers, and given the music he played, that might sound funny....even though I have chosen to live for God, I STILL and always will care for my frined from '86 and in turn will care for his family. God Bless You All! Shelly

# Mar 15, 2005 @ 12:15 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Stephen Austin writes:

I have monitored the media re. my friend's life and death fairly closely. As I've said before, we can't change the facts, but I'm saddened by the wave of hate from people who never met him. It seems that forgiveness is a scarce commodity now matter what side of God you align yourself with.

# Mar 15, 2005 @ 5:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. erik hamlin 3-15-05 @ 10:21 PM seattle time writes:

i am deeply sadden by the loss of an old friend,kurt was a great person ,and to those who had the oportunity to know him were better for it ,tho i hadnt talk with kurt for a long while he was always in my thoughts all of the guys (in the band were)they use to practice at my home back in 86 loved to hear him play,we lived life like 20 year old people did,we like to have a good time,but the one thing that has always trouble me was they always say that he was a drug abuser,i was there, he was no such person ,his music was everything to him but drugs werent a part of it,he had a good time ,but he didnt need drugs to do that,no one will ever know what really happened on that sunday in april but he was forgiven for it by those who loved him,why cant they,i just wanted to say something about that cuz even after this long it still seems to bother me,im sorry that i didnt spend more time with him later on ,i cant stay in the what ifs i will miss him deep in my guts,those who knew him will never forget the man he was,erik hamlin just a friend

# Mar 16, 2005 @ 1:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. jesus writes:

dont worry hes in good 'ands

# Mar 16, 2005 @ 8:50 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. txrn1 writes:

I first heard the album with the song "louder than hell" on it in 1985 I think. I stillhave the lp here somewheres. Anyhow, Possessed released their album either before or after this I don't recall which, and NME was about as scary as it got at that time. That racket reeked of evil! And it was so over the top noisy I played it all the time. Sorta like an evil Blue Cheer offspring of the 80s. I loved the feedback. I head at the Austin Record Convention of one member killing his mother but until I just ran across this message board I didn't really believe it. And now the guy recently died. How time flies. I am 42 now and I can't believe its been 20 years ago! Hope he finds peace wherever he is now. Thanks for the kick-ass devil music! - RW in TX

# Mar 24, 2005 @ 2:18 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. PoopyPants writes:

Thats what he gets for killing his mom, god works in strange ways, he had it comming ya know. Sinful man, may god bless his mother.

# Mar 29, 2005 @ 7:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Brian Llapitan writes:

I am the current singer, and original singer on the Unholy Death album. I would like to say thank you very much to the friends and fans who have been so supportive and helpful during this horrible time. For those of you who make snide remarks about him, you can f*** right off! He was one of the best men, and friends I have ever known. He did nothing but good since he was released, and actually did more than most people who did not have a troubled past. He did not 'have it coming", and those who knew him would agree. Check out his a memorial for him at www.thebraindead.com, or follow the links on our site www.nme666.com to various pages that will tell you about my friend. And for those of you who enjoyed the Unholy Death album, we appreciate it, and regardless of whatever becomes of NME, there will be more from me in the future.

Brian Llapitan

# Apr 6, 2005 @ 6:40 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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