segunda-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2011

Looking back: The Human Factor (Part 1)

Chuck Schuldiner: The Human
Death mainman Chuck Schuldiner talks to Borivoj Krgin about yet another year of controversy and the long-awaited new album "Human"

Magazine: Thrash 'n Burn
Article: The Human Factor
Written by: Borivoj Krgin
Published: August 1991

While his songwriting abilities have never been questioned, DEATH's Chuck Schuldiner has garnered a reputation for himself as a bit of an eccentric, a man seemingly incapable of maintaining status quo for very long. Personnel shufles, disputes with other groups, feuds with various journalists... DEATH has been at the centre of it all, and based on recent events, it doesn't look like we've seen the last of it.

Late last year, literally days prior to the start of DEATH's scheduled European tour with KREATOR, it was learned that Mr. Schuldiner had refused to fulfill the touring engagements he'd previously agreed to, leaving drummer Bill Andrews and bassist Terry Butler no choice but to enlist sit-in musicians for the two-month trek.

Although there was an initial uproar over yet another European tour being blown off by Schuldiner (two other tours were either cancelled at the last minute or aborted early on), eventually the whole thing blew over, but not without its consequences: Bill and Terry had split from the group (to rejoin the reformed MASSACRE), while Chuck was left as the sole remaining member.
Earlier this year, after a couple of months of complete silence, Charlie resurfaced with a decidedly fresher attitude, making publis his plans to record DEATH album number four, using session musicians instead of a permanent line-up. Recruiting drummer Sean Reinert (CYNIC), guitarist Paul Masvidal (CYNIC) and bassist Steve DiGiorgio (SADUS), for the project, Charlie began intensive rehearsals for the record, eventually entering Tampa's Morrisound Studio's on April 29th to start tracking the album. At the end of May, just as the group and producer Scott Burns began to mix the new record -titled "Human"- I had an opportunity to sit down face-to-face with Chuck 'Right On' Schuldiner and discuss the many controversies that continue to plague this extraordinary gifted act.

Chuck, tell me, in your own words, about the events leading up to you pulling out of your scheduled European tour with KREATOR and the eventual split with Bill Andrews and Terry Butler?

Chuck - "OK, well, after... actually, during the tour with CARCASS/PESTILENCE, there were things revolving around... actually, it was a lot of little things that turned into a big thing. And that is, I felt extremely smothered at that point in my life by all the business that I had on my back, all the shit that I kept continuously taking on behalf of the band, me literally representing the band business-wise. A lot of pressures have constantly been on me, and it's easy to be in this business and to get consumed by a lot of things that revolve around.. that people aren't aware of, the conniving ways that people around you present, like as far as having to worry about every fucking person you do business with literally ripping you off; a lot of things that... years of taking the shit for standing up for what is right for us, while other people stand in the background and take what I get out of... you know, all the shit I have to put out.

Anyways, what I'm saying is, there were things revolving around those years of build-up, there were things in my life outside music that also combined... it just really felt like I was being smothered. I had to break away, I had to get away from everything for once in my life, I had to get out of what I'd been consumed by, which is so easy to do -to be overtaken by a lot of things, by what people say about you constantly. For years now, I'm supposedly a psychotic jerk to work with, and that is so totally opposite of what I'm about. A lot of things in my life at that time, and like I said, throughout the years, built up. I'm sure there's people out there that might be reading this -even if they're not in a band- that can relate to this feeling of just being cornered and just having to get away, and unfortunately, it was not good timing for my need of privacy. If people don't understand that, that's fine, I'm not begging for people to understand me. I just think, as a person -which I am, and not this monster that people make me out to be- as a fellow human being, I think other humans relate. You don't have to be in a band, it's just a matter of people understanding that I'm not a person who has it made in life. I'm struggling, I've struggled for years... you know, there's a lot of things that people don't take time to think about, don't take time to think, 'well, Chuck's a person, what if Chuck's affected by things in life, like other people are?' And I am. I'm not some hard-ass, fucking asshole who doesn't care about other people, who doesn't have feelings. I have feelings, and you know... at that point in my life, I was very confused and... whatever. I'm not a weak person for feeling that way at that point, I was just pushed to my limits."

Did you explain this to Bill and Terry or did you just avoid confronting them at that point?

Chuck - "No , I told them. I called Bill and told him, I physically and mentally at that time felt I couldn't. I had to get away, I had to get away from things. I had to."

Why do you think they had such a hard time accepting that explanation?

Chuck - "Well, it was bad timing, and I could see why they might've been angry, I mean, of course they're angry, but when you're in such confused state of mind, and you feel depressed, and you're being consumed by depression, all I knew was I had to do something for myself for once, not for everyone else that was around me, I needed to do something for me, you know what I'm saying?! I had to get away, man, and it did me a world of fucking good. I have learned a lot of things the hard way, and I've bounced back, and in my opinion, everything that happened to me, whether it be good or bad, in the past few months, happened for a reason. I'm not saying that to make excuses for what I did, I truly believe, and I think when people hear this record, they'll know also that things happened for a reason, 'cause I would go through it again in order to come out with a record that we're about to come out with."

Did you give Bill and Terry your blessings as far as them going ahead and doing that European tour without you?

Chuck - "Uhhh... I was told that they were gonna go ahead, and I just thought, whatever , I knew it'd be shit. There was nothing I could do. They felt they needed to fulfill it, and that's cool. I could see how people might think that I didn't care about anything, but the thing is, I had to put that beside me, I had to think about me first and foremost. When I heard they were going, I was like, 'Well, that's fucked, but it's just gonna have to happen, and I'll just pick up the pieces after everything happens and take the responsibility for what I did,' and I am, I'm not blaming it on anyone else but myself."

Did you think at that time, that things would eventually work themselves out between you, Bill and Terry, or did you pretty much know that that would be it for that particular line-up?

Chuck - "Two and a half weeks into the tour or whatever, Terry called my house and told my mom that him and Bill wanted nothing more to do with me or the band DEATH, which I heard they denied, but the thing is, my mom got the phone call and it was obviously from Terry, so... as soon as that happened, I knew that things were in the past at that point, they (Bill and Terry) were part of my controversial past. Ha,ha!"

Chuck: Dedicated musician
Did they ever contact you after the tour was finished about doing something together again?

Chuck - "No. That so-called DEATH (that did the KREATOR tour in Europe) did the best to ruin my name, and take full advantage of my not being there and whatever , they told people I didn't care about my fans, they told people I wanted to form a rock band. Anyways, Bill called me after they got back, and said, 'Look man, we've been friends for a long time..' and I said, 'Yes, we were..' and I considered Bill and Terry to be my best friends, not just musicians that were with me, but my best friends, people that I shared so many things with, and they shared a lot of things with me, too. When you live with people on tour and you share different emotions, you become close, and I considered myself close to them. I sacrificed a lot for them, and I don't really regret doing it, but... whatever. Like I said earlier, I took all the shit, I was always the one taking the shit, 'cause I would always have to be the one to stand up for us and say, 'Hey, we're being fucked, where's our fucking money?', this, that, whatever.

Anyways, Bill called me and he claimed he didn't say anything bad about me himself... whatever, I can't prove whether he did or not, but the thing is , and what I told him, even if he didn't say things about me, he let things be said about me, he stood by while people just picked my name apart and tried to make me sound like such a shitty person, and that hurt a lot. When I started hearing the rumours of what they were doing, putting signs at shows saying, 'Chuck's home jacking off,' shit like that, that hurt me. That didn't make me really mad- that hurt. I don't care if that sounds corny or not, it's the fucking truth, man. I took it personally, it hurt that they would desecrate my name that way after -whether they believe it or not- I did a lot for them, and was happy to stand up for everyone, 'cause that's the only way things will get done.

Bill let people say stuff about me, people that have no room to talk said things about me, like Louie (Carrisalez, ex-DEVASTATION drummer/DEATH roadie who sang lead vocals on DEATH's European tour with KREATOR) and Walter (Thrashler, ex-ROTTING CORPSE guitarist/DEATH soundman who played guitar during said tour), two musicians who have no credibility in the underground scene, or even as musicians, talked shit about me. To me, they're very insecure people that have to take full advantage of any moment they get to rag on someone in order to make themselves look better, and that's lame. The whole thing is, people that were my friends for years let things happen, that's a drag. Everyone makes mistakes... whatever, it's all in the past as far as I'm concerned. The thing is, you learn a lot the hard way, and maybe that's the best way to learn sometimes."

When you were going through all this, was there any doubt in your mind about whether the band would coninue or not?

Chuck - "Really, at that point, I didn't know what I wanted to do, I just knew I needed a break from music, I needed a break from everything, I had to live a normal life for a little while, and not be cornered by all this shit, which I felt I was. But deep down inside, I think I knew. This (playing death metal) is what I've been doing since I was sixteen years old, since 1983 I've been playing death metal, and to have people talking shit about me when I put so much into the scene and my music and my life, I'll never get those years back, I put crucial years of my young life into this music, I've seen very little from it. Most of the stuff that I've seen is people ragging on me... whatever. I think people need to worry less about whatever I'm supposed to be like and just listen to the music. My music is what should represent what people say, they shouldn't worry... I have a lot of favourite bands, I don't care what they're like as long as they put out good music, that is my main concern. I can't imagine doing anything else. This is what I've been doing for so long, it's part of me. It is definitely a part of me."

Why do you think that they (Bill and Terry) would say that you wanted to pursue other types of music? Was that something that was brought up in your discussion with them or..?

Chuck - "Just slanderous statements. Just sheer stupidity. When this new DEATH album comes out, there's gonna be a lot of words. This album is revenge for me. For myself, to prove myself, and to make other people look like the liars that they are. The truth will be revealed when this album comes out."

Looking back, do you think that you've made some mistakes over the last couple of years that have let to people having a negative opinion of you?

Chuck - "Even before all the European shit started I had problems in my life, and I had to take time out..., sure, it was bad timing, but because I'm human and I have to have time for myself does that mak me a dick? If people wanna think I'm a dick, fine. I'll fucking do whatever I want in my life in order to make sure I'm happy. No one controls my life. I worship people that buy our albums, 'cause they're making my existence in the music scene possible. I appreciate what people do when they buy the records and support the bands. The thing is , everyone has to do things in life that doesn't make sense to other people sometimes. My actions may have caused people to think that. That's pretty lame for people to automatically think you're some psychotic monster just because some people are saying it. Why believe everything someone says? I think that's lowering their standards of living by thinking that.

I have friends, I'm not a friendless person like people might think. I have a lot of friends still. I've lost a lot of friends, but I've still got a lot of friends. The people that know me, the people that will come up to me and say someting, they'll know I'm not a jerk, they'll know I'm not some fucking bastard, some psychotic rock-star monster, like some of the European mags are printing about me, fuck those people! Gee, I wish I was as perfect as them. They act like they're perfect. They act as if they have no faults in life. I have faults, I've never claimed to be a perfect person. I will always continuously make certain mistakes in life -we all will. The thing is, we have to learn from them and we have to better ourselves from any mistake we've made in life, instead of dwelling on them, you know what I'm saying?!"

Yeah, but you can understand people feeling a bit concerned, especially since you've already blown off three seperate European tours?

Chuck - "This was the only tour, the other European tour that we were supposed to do, we pulled out because we were gonna get fucked on everything, they were just giving the shitiest touring circumstances. I'm not into shit. The European tour that I cancelled out on was becasue of my personal life. I think, sure, KREATOR's a great band, I've always wanted to tour with them, it's a drag that I couldn't experience that and give people the real DEATH. The thing is, it happened. We've all gotta live. We've all gotta realize life goes on, you know what I'm saying."

At which point did you hook up with Sean Reinert, Paul Masvidal and Steve DiGiorgio?

Chuck - "I had been working on material for a while, making casette tapes of riffs, putting them together and stuff, and after I realized that I needed to come back with something strong.. I've known Sean and Paul for a long time, and they're both fantastic musicians. Actually, I persued Sean first, and I called Paul and got in touch with Sean, and I asked him if he wanted to perform on the next record with me and Sean was like, 'Fuck, yeah!'. So, what happened was, Paul started rehearsing with us, and luckily, I was able to get a couple of leads into the material and it fit great, he's a great lead guitar player, and it worked out cool. And then, I've known Steve for a logn time, and he's a great bass player, so I just wanted a top-notch band this time around, I wanted every musician to be really proficient on their instrument."

Did you ever consider trying to get permanent members?

Chuck - "Sure, but I realized that it would have taken me a long time to get people with the kind of playing ability and attitudes that I was looking for, there just would have been way too much shit that I would have had to deal with. The thing is, I knew these were killer musicians, these were people that I knew for a while and I knew this would work. And I was very shocked when Sean put his drumming to my riffs, it really took me by surprise, it was such a fresh feeling.. it was a great feeling."

James, Chuck, Bill and Terry

So you think these musicians really enchanced your songwriting?

Chuck - "Sure, they added a lot of aggression to the material. Sean is a fucking excellent drummer who, in my opinion, deserves a lot of recognition when this next album comes out. That's my personal opinion. It just took me by surprise how much spicier everything sounds, how much more energetic things sound, 'cause each musician is different, and working with different musicians this time around just enchanced the material, enchanced the DEATH sound. The DEATH is there, but it's so much more technical sounding.... it's amazing how things worked out. I'm really excited and feel very positive about what has happened in my life, as far as this new album and why things happened the way they did. And now I know."

So what are you gonna do about touring? Are thy gonna go on the road with you?

Chuck - "Yes, we've already talked about it, and they're really psyched to do some touring, 'cause they performed on this album, they're gonaa be representing themselves. It's not gonna be a 'Chuck' tour with members helping, it's gonna be a very solid foundation of everyone kicking ass. Also, Skot Carino, ex-bassist of a local band called FESTER, is gonna be going out on the road with us (Chuck, Paul and Sean), 'cause Steve is gonna be way too busy with SADUS to do any touring with DEATH. And we'll see how everything works out. We're all excited, and it should be killer."

So you're not even really thinking right now about getting a permanent line-up together at some point down the line?

Chuck - "No, not right now, not when I know that there's a killer line-up to tour with, it wouldn't be the same with any other drummer, let me put it that way, Sean is unique, and no one can ever replace that. And that's kinda scary, but right now my main concern is touring. I'll worry about that shit after the tour."

So there's no possibility of Sean and Paul joining the band permanently?

Chuck - "I would be into it. They've got CYNID going, and CYNIC is definitely a different type of band from DEATH, and I think they feel they still need to express themselves musically through CYNIC, which is totally logical and comprehensable on my part. They're far more technical, and they have those urges to come out...whatever."


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