Chuck Schuldiner
The pain of a genius

by Patricia Renda

A few months ago, we received a memo from Nuclear Blast saying that, for everybodyís amazement, Chuck Schuldiner, the leader of the worldís most important death metal band, was about to begin a series of treatments against a brain tumor, discovered right after the end of the recordings of Control Deniedís CD -  his other band apart from Death. During August, after wishing his best and his full recover, we were lucky to be one of the twenty magazines around the world to receive the Control Denied CD, entitled ďThe Fragile Art of ExistenceĒ, enclosed with a proposal to interview Chuck himself. We surely couldnít let this opportunity to talk to him slip through our fingers. After all, we wanted to know how things are and wish him the best of luck personally. Hereís what happened during this cheerful interview.

 

METAL RULES!!
How are things?

Chuck
Everythingís all right now, considering what Iíve been going through. Iíve had 6 weeks of treatment with radiotherapy in New York and now Iím going back to Florida, where Iím staying for a month or so, which is great. The doctors are satisfied up to now, Iím putting some weight on and I should go through another check up to see if the radiation is working and how. Iím in good spirits, Iím feeling fine and just waiting for the future, looking forward to the CDís release.

 

METAL RULES!!
Itís good to hear that because everybody here is worried about you...

Chuck
Me too (laughs). All the support Iím getting from fans and mags have been great. Itís been really amazing and it helps me a lot, Ďcause this is definitely hard to go through.

thanks to http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Studio/7593/portrat.html  for the picture!

METAL RULES!!
Everybody here was shocked when we received the news through the Record memo. We always tend to think that this kind of thing never happens to us or to the people we love. How did you feel at first and how are you feeling now?

Chuck
Youíre right, we never think these things can happen. I was shocked because I found this out really close to my birthday, and it sucks. Itís terrible, I thought I had hurt a muscle in my neck, not a brain tumor. I could never have imagined that. I went to several doctors and when I finally knew the truth, it was like a nightmare. But thatís something we have to deal with immediately, go ahead, try not to be depressed, know that we have a full life ahead and itís very important. You start staring at your life in a complete different way, you have to concentrate on yourself and not depend only on the doctors to see any improvement. I try not to think too much about it, Ďcause, as I said, I have to wait and see the results of the radiotherapy. The doctors have been very positive and it comforts me. All I can do is rest, do what I have to do and wait for the future. We have this CD coming, Iíve already started to write new songs for the next album, you know, Iím doing my best to lead a normal life. Itís hard, but itís something I just have to do.

 

METAL RULES!!
Has your way of facing the world and life changed somehow?

Chuck
You bet. We put a different perspective on things, we start seeing things from a different point of view. Many times we just live our lives, let it go through us very quickly and when for some reason, such a thing happens and throws it all away, things get different. People get closer, in a strange way, and we end up seeing other peopleís sides. Many people came to talk to me, some of them I hadnít spoken for years, friends I thought I had lost sight of, people I donít even know wrote me giving support. These things have been really amazing, some of the letters that arrived really touched me. If thereís anything good in this whole situation is this approach, people getting closer, making me think better, enjoy life better. As I said, we are so used to life that, somehow, we just sit and wait things to happen. We just live our lives, we donít enjoy it. When something like that happens, you start thinking about everything: the things you say, your future...

 

METAL RULES!!
Howís the Record Company coping with it?

Chuck
Since the day we signed the contract Nuclear Blast has been fantastic, really unbelievable. They have given me a lot of support, they have been very understanding, in short, they are all I could expect from a record company. I thought this way before and now even more, because of all these things that are happening to me. I called them, said I couldnít guarantee a tour right now and they understood perfectly.

ďI donít like to make predictable albums.Ē

Chuck Schuldiner

METAL RULES!!
Meanwhile, whatís happening with the bands?

Chuck
Control Denied is the main thing on my career now. Death is a separate thing, itís on hold for some time. Control Denied Ďs CD is coming in the end of September and Iím very proud of it. We all are, including the company. The CD will be released and weíll start giving interviews. We canít go on tour right now and the band knows that. Like I said, if we donít go on tour for this CD I hope to do one for the two CDs, as Iím writing songs for the next.

 

METAL RULES!!
So youíve already started writing! But are these songs for Control Denied or Death?

Chuck
Control Denied.

 

METAL RULES!!
Iíve already listened to itís album. Iíd like to know the differences between the songs and lyrics of this album and the Death albums.

Chuck
Musically speaking, the main difference were the vocals, as the song itself is an extension of what I was doing with Death. The guitars, drum and bass are very similar to Death, but the vocals are very different. Actually, these vocals are all I ever wanted to do in Death but couldnít. Iíve had this dream of recording like that for years, and it seems like a dream come true. Tim is an amazing singer and this is the main difference. I think people will be surprised at the violence and strength of the album. Many people are expecting something like Iron Maiden, but, despite being one of my favorite bands, I didnít want to make an iron Maiden-like album. I wanted to make an unpredictable album, just like I did in Death, I guess. I donít like to make predictable albums. 

ďIron Maiden is one of my favorite bandsĒ

Chuck Schuldiner

 

METAL RULES!!
Weíve heard that Nevermoreís lead singer, Warrel Dane, would sing in this album. What happened?

Chuck
In 1996, I met Warrel and we talked about working together, but when we started he was very busy with Nevermore and I wanted to make Control Denied a full-time band. I thought this would be very difficult to happen while Warrel was dedicated full-time to his band. I didnít want Control Denied to be only a project, I wanted it to be a band, so I ended up choosing Tim as the lead singer. Then Steve came, and I had already worked with him some time ago, and that made Control a real thing. Having Tim as an official member of the band made things easier, it put us closer, and we didnít have to have a singer from another part of the US, who would come once in a while. It would be hard for Warrel to do all these things at the same time, and in the way we wanted.

 

METAL RULES!!
The title of this album, ďThe Fragile Art of ExistenceĒ, was chosen for a long time?

Chuck
Yes. It was chosen before I knew I was sick. In fact, Iíve had it in mind since 1995, which is really weird, kind of treacherous, because now it seems very real.

 

METAL RULES!!
You said you want to go on tour for this album but, if itís not possible, youíll go on tour for the 2 albums...

Chuck
Right. Thereís the right moment to go on tour and if it becomes too late for ďThe Fragile...Ē Iíll have had enough material for the next CD, go on studio, record it and tour for the 2 albums. All these things that are happening really suck, but people will be able to have the CD and listen to it, and as soon as possible weíll record another album and we could go on tour for the 2 albums, what actually would be great.

 

METAL RULES!!
Youíre considered the father of death metal. Do you consider yourself so important to death metal as Mustaine and Hetfield are for the thrash metal?

Chuck
I donít think I should take the credits for this death metal stuff. Iím just a guy from a band, and I think Death is a metal band. If you consider the name and the singing style, yeah, we are into it. Itís very good to receive the laurels of it, no matter what they are about, but all I hope is to have done something good for metal. Iím a heavy metal fan and if I could do something to help, as a fan, that would be good. I hope that these new things cause great impact and go further, especially here in America. We really need some help around here! I hope this CD helps metal in America, because itís huge in Europe and we are doing badly here, I mean, the metal scene. Weíve done a great tour with HammerFall and we shocked people. It was a real metal tour, no bullshit, no fake metal or hip hop/metal. It was just two real metal bands and it was really good, so I think thereís still hope.

 

METAL RULES!!
Do you have any message for the Brazilian fans?

Chuck
I just wanted to thank everybody for the support Iím getting due to my sickness and for my music. I hope everybody likes the new album, coming in September.

 

METAL RULES!!
How can people get in touch with you?

Chuck
They can write letters or send e-mails to Nuclear Blast, and theyíll hand it to me.

 

METAL RULES!!
Well, we from wish you the best, that everything works out fine for you and we hope that you can come to Brazil next year for a tour!

Chuck
Thank you very much, and Iíd love to play in Brazil.


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