Rick Cimato killed in wrong-way crash

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Metal fans, friends, family, and neighbors are mourning Brooklyn drummer and singer Rick Cimato after the Williamsburg resident died in a head-on car crash early Wednesday.

The 37-year-old hardcore and metal stalwart — who fronted Gods Green Earth and played drums for Thinning The Herd — was driving through Connecticut with his brother and girlfriend after visiting family in Maine when a vehicle going the wrong way on the highway collided with his car.

The other driver perished in wreck, while Cimato’s girlfriend and brother suffered serous injuries, but are expected to survive.

Bandmate Gavin Spielman, Thinning The Herd’s lead singer, said he was heartbroken and that the group would probably call it quits.

“Rick was the best friend a guy could have,” said Spielman, who met Cimato in 2007 when he was still manning the sticks for Nassau Chainsaw. “He was trustworthy and personable, and an amazing musician. Everyone who knew Rick loved him, he had an easy and calm way — and a great smile.”

Thinning The Herd finished its new album “Freedom From the Known” last month and was planning to release the record — which was made with help from Nirvana producer Steve Albini — in early 2013.

Cimato’s bands frequently played venues such as St. Vitus in Greenpoint and Trash Bar in Williamsburg, where he took the stage for the last time in early December with Thinning The Herd in a tribute show for deceased Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell and the Hurricane Sandy victims.

“Rick always stood out for his various musical talents and thanks to his commitment to the New York metal and hardcore scenes, he will never be forgotten,” said Jo Schuftan, who runs Horns Up Rocks, a New York-based heavy music blog and promotion website. “I first saw him on stage with Nassau Chainsaw, but it was when I saw him fronting Gods Green Earth that his energy and humor captured my attention.”

Cimato’s fans weren’t just metalheads — he had plenty of followers on the nights he bar-tended at Brooklyn watering holes including Grand Victory in Williamsburg.

Spielman is working on organizing a Brooklyn memorial for the musician.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 7:03 am, December 28, 2012
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