Chuck Schuldiner of DEATH

August 24th, 2005
by EvilG

Chuck Schuldiner: The pain of a genius

Interviewed in September 1999 by Patricia Renda

A few months ago, we received a memo from Nuclear Blast saying that, for everybody’s amazement, Chuck Schuldiner, the leader of the world’s 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 Denied’s 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 "The Fragile Art of Existence", enclosed with a proposal to interview Chuck himself. We surely couldn’t 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. Here’s what happened during this cheerful interview. 


METAL RULES!!

How are things?

Chuck

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

 

METAL RULES!!

It’s good to hear that because everybody here is worried about you…

Chuck

Me too (laughs). All the support I’m getting from fans and mags have been great. It’s been really amazing and it helps me a lot, ’cause 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

You’re right, we never think these things can happen. I was shocked because I found this out really close to my birthday, and it sucks. It’s 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 that’s something we have to deal with immediately, go ahead, try not to be depressed, know that we have a full life ahead and it’s 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, ’cause, 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, I’ve already started to write new songs for the next album, you know, I’m doing my best to lead a normal life. It?’ hard, but it’s 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 people?s sides. Many people came to talk to me, some of them I hadn’t spoken for years, friends I thought I had lost sight of, people I don’t even know wrote me giving support. These things have been really amazing, some of the letters that arrived really touched me. If there’s 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 don’t enjoy it. When something like that happens, you start thinking about everything: the things you say, your future…

 

METAL RULES!!

How’s 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 couldn’t guarantee a tour right now and they understood perfectly.

"I don?t like to make predictable albums."

Chuck Schuldiner

METAL RULES!!

Meanwhile, what’s happening with the bands?

Chuck

Control Denied is the main thing on my career now. Death is a separate thing, it’s on hold for some time. Control Denied’s CD is coming in the end of September and I’m very proud of it. We all are, including the company. The CD will be released and we’ll start giving interviews. We can’t go on tour right now and the band knows that. Like I said, if we don’t go on tour for this CD I hope to do one for the two CDs, as I’m writing songs for the next.

 

METAL RULES!!

So you’ve already started writing! But are these songs for Control Denied or Death?

Chuck

Control Denied.

 

METAL RULES!!

I’ve already listened to the album. I’d 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 couldn’t. I’ve 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 didn’t want to make an iron Maiden-like album. I wanted to make an unpredictable album, just like I did in Death, I guess. I don’t like to make predictable albums. 

"Iron Maiden is one of my favorite bands"

Chuck Schuldiner

 

METAL RULES!!

We’ve heard that Nevermore?s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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, The Fragile Art of Existence, was chosen for a long time?

Chuck

Yes. It was chosen before I knew I was sick. In fact, I’ve 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 it’s not possible, you’ll go on tour for the 2 albums…

Chuck

Right. There’s the right moment to go on tour and if it becomes too late for The Fragile… I’ll 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 we’ll record another album and we could go on tour for the 2 albums, what actually would be great.

 

METAL RULES!!

You’re 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 don’t think I should take the credits for this death metal stuff. I’m 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. It’s 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. I?m 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 it’s huge in Europe and we are doing badly here, I mean, the metal scene. We’ve 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 there’s still hope.

 

METAL RULES!!

Do you have any message for the Brazilian fans?

Chuck

I just wanted to thank everybody for the support I’m 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 they’ll 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 I’d love to play in Brazil.

 

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