sexta-feira, 17 de junho de 2011

Voices From The Dark Side: Chuck Schuldiner (Part 1)

Chuck Schuldiner (1967 - 2001)

From: Voices From The Dark Side
Article and all interviews: Steven Willems

December 2010. On one of the many bleak winter evenings, I was listening to the DEATH-album "Spiritual Healing" once more. Twenty years after its release, I’m sometimes still truly amazed about the incredible intensity, energy and brutality of that specific album. I also suddenly realized that it was already more than nine years ago that Chuck Schuldiner passed away. I got to know DEATH with the album "Scream Bloody Gore" - a true classic in the genre – which made an even more impression. The artwork was outstanding and both the songs as well as the production of the record is still great. Chuck Schuldiner is widely regarded as the musician who put the Death Metal-genre on the map. The brutal music and especially Chuck's deep grunts were simply unheard in the mid-eighties and encouraged thousands of bands to try it also and pick up an instrument. Chuck had a talent that you simply can not deny. A master guitarist, inventive and unique, constantly raising the bar higher for himself and others. In the Death Metal scene, there is also probably no-one who has caused so much controversy as Chuck did. According to one source, he was an impossible person, totally unreliable and unpredictable. Others tell a totally different story and put him sort of on a platform. Chuck was definitely very stubborn and just maybe not always the easiest person to work together with. His stubbornness has however created a couple of records which have passed the test of time easily. Chuck's music has evolved greatly over the years. He was not afraid to experiment and loved to challenge himself. But you can always hear that he put his heart and soul into his music. 2011 seems to be an important year for the Schuldiner family. Not only because in December, it’s ten years ago that Chuck died, but also because there’s a lot of interesting releases planned which will keep Chuck’s memory alive. After ten years, the second CONTROL DENIED album – "When Machine And Man Collide" – will finally be released. All the DEATH-albums will be re-issued this year, each with a lot of bonus material. The official DEATH fanclub - The Metal Crusade - will be revived. And there's an official biography about Chuck Schuldiner in the pipeline, currently being written by Ian Christie. In a nostalgic mood and after watching some old recordings of DEATH on youtube, I got the idea to write a big 'In Memoriam' article and add some testimonies of people who knew Chuck. I contacted a few bands who all responded quickly and were willing to write a piece about Chuck. Without much hope, I also contacted Chuck's family and to my amazement, Chuck's mother - Jane Schuldiner - agreed on an interview. A few days after Christmas 2010, I had a incredibly nice conversation with this very charming, nice, warm and very strong woman who very clearly totally loves her son and her family. This interview is quite unique and probably one of the last you well ever read with Jane Schuldiner. A few days after our conversation, Jane wrote to me to let me know that in the future, she won’t give any more interviews. So this is probably the last one...

 Interview with Chuck's mother, Jane Schuldiner

Chuck Schuldiner was born on May 13, 1967 in New York. In 1968, you moved to Florida. Can you remember why you moved to another city?

"I had visited the Orlando area years ago and never forgot how beautiful it was. The year round warm climate was another thing we took into account in making our decision. Mal, Chuck's father, loved to play tennis and sail his boat, so it was easy to persuade him to move here. So we moved to Florida because of the weather, more affordable housing to buy, and it seemed to have better opportunities. In hindsight, I really loved New York much more."

How would you say Chuck was as a child? Did he get along very well with his brother and his sister? Did he do many things together with his sister and his brother? Would you that Chuck was a person who enjoyed family-life?

"Chuck really was a cheerful and good natured child, and the delight of his older brother and sister. They read to him, played games with him watched cartoons on television and as time passed they included him in building a fort in the woods down the street. We had always hiked and camped out as a family in New York and in Florida. We had a very good family life, and Chuck told me he had a wonderful childhood."

Charles Michael Chuck Schuldiner
Chuck started playing guitar at the age of 9 and took classical guitar lessons in the beginning. Do you remember if his teacher already recognized quickly that he had much talent?

"No, Chuck was impatient with the acoustic guitar lessons and we never forced him to go. When he wanted to stop them, he did. I'm sure there was no time for her to realize any latent talent, but it sure made a difference to Chuck."

When Chuck’s 16 year old brother died in an accident, you bought him a guitar, thinking it would help with his grief. Was this an acoustic guitar? Did he learn to play the instrument easily? Do you think the departure of his brother Frank at such a young age made an everlasting mark on him? Did he look up very much to his brother?

"No, it was an electric guitar, bought at a yard sale when he was nine years old, We had to buy speakers, as neither of us had been familiar enough with that type of guitar to know he even needed them (laughs). After the speakers were bought, Chuck would rather play on that guitar to the exclusion of all else. We set down rules for putting it aside and playing outside with friends and homework. He was very willingly and followed those rules. Chuck and Frank were very close and the loss of his brother made a deep and lasting impact on Chuck's life right up to the end, as it did our family as a whole."

Would you say that music was Chuck’s main interest? Did he also have certain other hobbies like sports for example?

"Chuck played soccer in school and had other activities with his friends. He was also interested in art and sculpture, I have work he created in both of them. But music was 100% his main interest from the time I bought the electric guitar for him. As everyone knows by now, I still have that guitar. Chuck never put it away in a closet, he would refinish it and still pick it up and play a bit throughout his career. He also collected very old beautiful musical instruments."

At the age of 10, he began playing the electric guitar, the instrument to which he took immediately as he never stopped playing, writing and teaching himself. What do you think was it that made Chuck like that instrument so much? Was it actually hard for you to make him limit his playing on weekdays when he had to attend school? Did you work as a teacher at the same school Chuck went to?

"I am positive, as he and I talked about it, that when I bought that guitar for him it was an outlet for the grief he felt over his brother's death and I have always been grateful I did so. He wrote some of the lyrics for his first album early on after that and kept on writing and playing. The impact of the loss of Frank, his brother, was clearly translated when you read the lyrics to ‘Open Casket’. When Chuck was ill, he and I talked about all that and he said it was therapy for him, to be able to express his feelings that way."

Chuck formed DEATH / MANTAS in 1983 when he was 16 years old together with Rick Rozz (guitar) and Kam Lee (drums and vocals). Did you personally like Rick and Kam? Do you think they were good friends of Chuck?

"Yes, I liked them very much, at that time they were all teenagers and had their differences, disagreements, etc. But they were polite young men to me and a pleasure to have around when they were young and practicing in my garage. As for being friends, I observed a lot with all the former members / friends of Chuck's bands and the hurtful things some said to the media. Friends do not do that to one another, no matter the circumstances. So I would just call those people bandmates. Some were really friends as well as bandmembers, some were not. But at the end, Chuck said all that didn't really matter."

Would you say that Chuck was an easy person to get along with? Did he like to socialize with other people?

"The only volatility I ever saw in Chuck was in relation to music, bands, labels and tours. He was a perfectionist, he wanted things to be the best he knew how to make them and that caused rifts with some of them. The decisions Chuck made for the band from the start to finish were just that, for the band. Chuck never raised his voice to me or his father, he was never rude and he got along well with his siblings. He was never temperamental at home or with friends growing up. Throughout his life and up to the end, his friends were the same as he had all his life. And their parents were there for me after 2001 and told me of the kindness Chuck showed to them at times in their lives when it was needed. Chuck was very polite to his parents, his friends and their families. His doctors and the medical community that cared for him said that they would have liked Chuck for a friend. During one of his surgeries, Chuck's music was played in the operating room. A poster of Chuck hung on the wall of his main surgeon's office."

Chuck was in tour around the Europe
Chuck’s relationship with the press and journalists in general was not always the best. What were the biggest reasons for this do you think? Do you think that journalists didn’t always understand him?

"Some of them did not. The reasons for that are as they always are to most everyone who has contact with the press and media, he did not suffer fools lightly. For the ones with complaints, you will find many who had none and write me that they remember him as amiable and friendly. As do a lot of people all over the world. Chuck was honest and forthright and he expected no less of everyone else. And it was rare to find that. I found it impossible to understand the ones who demanded interviews when Chuck was critically ill, that was a bad time indeed. I will never forget that. Chuck's problems with them were mild compared to his mom who was trying to protect his privacy while fending off the offenders at that time."

Do you remember when Chuck played his first gig and was on stage for the first time? Would you say that he already had a lot of impact at this young age as a guitarist?

"Chuck played onstage for the first time with a life long friend at a park not far from the our house. They were all very young, about 15 years old, I think, and very excited to be playing that day. Before that his only ‘public’ contact was exchanging demos through the mail and the guys who crammed the garage while the band was practicing. Our mailman was working overtime, I just wasn't aware of that at the time. I was looking through the mail from those days just yesterday, Chuck saved all correspondence from then and through the years. I have gone through dozens of boxes of materials Chuck saved. This is the last box I have to catalog. Very interesting to read it all, going back in the past."

During the years 1984-1985 when Chuck was just 16-17 years old, he recorded tons of rehearsal-, live- and demotapes which found their way in the underground-scene. Do you remember if Chuck actually was very busy at this young age with trading demos and recordings and writing to other people all over the world to exchange rare recordings? Did he like to do that?

"I thought Chuck was a bit younger than that at the time, actually. He was very busy during those years exchanging and corresponding with people all over the world, quite amazing as I think about it today. The scope of it all, valuable contacts here and abroad that he made through the fanzines he bought. He loved it and it kept him busy, along with his guitar. Chuck saved all that correspondence through the years and I just finished the last box. With that and his music, I never had the worries of many parents of teenagers. We were very fortunate that way."

Kam Lee originally was the vocalist in DEATH, later Chuck took over. His way of singing in the first years of DEATH had a lot of impact on many bands. What did you personally think of his way of singing?

"His music and his style of singing were intertwined, I didn't think of it as good or bad, it just was what it was. I did know it was hard on his throat at first and I knew the fans liked it very much. They noticed when Chuck's voice changed a bit over the years."

When you listen to these first recordings nowadays, they’re really very impressive if you consider the fact how extreme his music must have been in those days. Chuck was apparently originally inspired by IRON MAIDEN, KISS and BILLY IDOL among others as far as I know. Do you know how he got this vision to make such extreme music which just wasn’t heard before?

"There was no vision. It all goes back to 1976, the year of the loss of Chuck's brother. When he picked up that guitar the first time and music poured out, his grief and anger at that loss is what came out. Extreme sounds. He was fortunate that he had that outlet, that therapy, most important it helped with the grief and eventually it led to his career in music. It sure did resonate with a lot of people."

Not every parent is enthusiastic when their child turns out to be an extreme Metal fan. Did you never have problems with that? Would you say that you were always supportive? Do you think parents make a mistake when they’re upset by this?

"His father and I were always supportive. I knew most of Chuck's friends, I knew the reasons for his interests and as he kept close to home in the early years with all his friends in the garage with their music. They were all the nicest guys, I didn't have a problem at all with it. During those years I kept them supplied with food and non-alcoholic drinks and they all behaved very well. I loved having them over and the parents were satisfied as well as they knew where their children were. I have had parents write to me and ask me how to deal with their children and I tell them I do feel it is a mistake to be upset with the music, unless there are other negative signs involved. With parents keeping a close eye on their children today, as we always did back then, there's no need to be alarmed. Our parents didn't like Elvis, all through history that happens, it's normal."

Apparently Chuck did well in school, however he never finished his education and dropped out to focus on playing music. I can imagine that this must have been a difficult situation for you as a parent, especially since you and your husband were teachers yourself? Wouldn’t you have preferred to see him graduate and get a degree?

"Of course we would have preferred to have Chuck finish school. Before we gave permission for Chuck to drop out of school we spoke with his counselor and his advice was the one we followed. And it was tough. But we had Chuck promise to finish school and go to college if he did not succeed within a year. And he did succeed. I will add that Chuck expressed regret in later years that he did not finish his education."

Slaughter Era

In 1986, Chuck went to Canada to join SLAUGHTER. After a few months, he returned home to continue the formation of DEATH. He was just 18 years old - I think - at that time. What do you still remember about this period? Did you stand behind the idea of him moving to Canada to join SLAUGHTER?

"That period was a tough one. We knew Chuck was very young to be travelling around and all the way to Canada! He had never even been in snow and there was a lot of snow when he was there. We were very concerned but Chuck was a man on a mission and if he ran into problems, he called us. And we knew how deeply he felt that staying in Florida at that time was a dead end for his music. It was a learning experience for him. When he came back to Florida he was more determined than ever. He matured a lot from that trip. If you learn and grow from experiences, it’s not a waste."

Was it easy to make Chuck angry? Would you say anger ever was a ‘fuel’ to create the music for DEATH?

"No, it wasn't easy to make Chuck angry. His normal personality was ‘laid back’ but Chuck had no patience with ignorance. Chuck's music was an extension of him, the lyrics were from personal experiences, things he read, wrongs he perceived from people to people, and as those things saddened and angered him, he wrote about them. That was his fuel. And many people wrote to him, and now to me, saying how they related to them and how those lyrics helped them in their lives."

In 1987, Chuck recorded the legendary DEATH-album "Scream Bloody Gore" together with Chris Reifert. Do you remember how he got to know Chris and how the vibe was back then when they recorded that album? Were you proud of your son once the album came out?

"I don't remember exactly. I know he met Chris around the time he went to San Francisco. When he returned to Florida I know he wanted Chris to join him here and Chris wanted to stay there, so Chuck went ahead with his plans with other musicians. They stayed friends and kept in touch. We were very proud parents. Somewhere on the internet, I think it’s on, there is a picture of Chuck holding a cake his besotted parents had made for him with a picture of his album on it. He was very patient with us."

The lyrics on "Scream Bloody Gore" are the typical ‘tongue-in-cheek’ horror-lyrics. As a parent, did you never have problems with such lyrics?

"No, I knew where the lyrics came from. Chuck and his friends would go to horror movies to get motivation for lyrics for those songs."

In 1988, after the recording of "Leprosy", DEATH came over to Europe for their first European tour. Do you remember if Chuck was excited by this? Was this the first time he came over to Europe? Do you remember what maybe made the biggest impression on him on that tour? Did Chuck like to be on the road? Have you ever been in Europe yourself?

"Yes, it was the first time, and Chuck's first trip to Europe was one of the most exciting experiences of his life. The biggest impression was the fans, their excitement to meet DEATH band members, signing autographs and the fact that a lot of them spoke English and so could communicate with them. The fans were respectful but very excited. Just think of it, from a sheltered life here in the US to all that! Chuck took pictures of the sights everywhere he went, sometimes videos. I was watching one of the tours to Germany just the other day. It is amazing to watch and hear Chuck as he talked about what he was viewing. Such a treat to see him like that, enjoying himself. I have never been to Europe but Chuck had asked me where I would like to go. He would treat me to a trip. I have always wanted to go to England but I suffer from claustrophobia and cannot get on a plane. He was more disappointed because of that than I was, I think."

Live with DEATH
I know from an interview that Chuck loved being a musician but that he hated the business-side of things. I already experienced this feeling in interviews many times. Musicians are creative people and the business-side somehow dares to ruin this sometimes. Any comment? Do you think that Chuck often got betrayed by the music-business?

"You have it correct, Chuck once said that he would be a happy man if he could just play for the fans and skip the label and all it involved. Just play for them. The business side did ruin a lot, and as I said before, the business side ruined a lot of the pleasure for Chuck. It was the biggest angst of his professional life. Later, Kim - his girlfriend - helped with a lot of that, freeing Chuck to do what he loved best. And I know for a fact that Chuck was often betrayed by the music business. We are still unravelling the chaos of all that. Too late for Chuck but a necessary vindication for his legacy."

"Spiritual Healing" was the first DEATH album I would say where Chuck put a lot more effort in writing lyrics which stood for something and meant something if you consider for example tracks like ‘Living Monstrosity’ (an anti-drugs statement), ‘Altering The Future’ (abortion) or the cover artwork and the title-track ‘Spiritual Healing’ itself (a critical stand towards religion). Since - as far as I know - you and your husband were of Jewish origin, was this ‘attack’ at religion a problem for you? Would you say that religion ever had an impact on Chuck’s life?

"It was not an attack, it was what he felt, what he believed. We never had a problem with Chuck expressing his feelings about religion. Chuck was very anti-anything that used and abused people's rights but especially when it was done in the name of any religion. He always described himself as spiritual whenever he was asked, as I would describe myself. Chuck was very proud of his Jewish heritage from his father’s side as well as his Christian heritage from his mother's side. My children all were exposed to both and turned out to be very well informed, good people with good values. No parent could ask for more."

After "Spiritual Healing", Chuck started to work with session-members due to bad relationships with DEATH's previous rhythm section and guitarists. This earned Chuck something of a 'perfectionist' reputation in the Metal community. Would you say that Chuck indeed was a perfectionist?

"I would indeed say Chuck was a perfectionist, and that was never more present than in his music. It’s certainly not a bad way to be. But it caused a lot of his problems with disgruntled bandmembers, labels, managers and anything that touched his music in a negative way. If he thought it was best for the band, they were banished. And that was his right, to make everything as close to 100% as possible. I’ll give you another perfect example and I do not disclose this lightly. Chuck was working on the last album in his studio at his house in the country. He was very ill at that time, very compromised. I had worried so about his determination, telling him the work was okay and he said okay was not good enough, his fans deserved better. And he wanted so badly to finish that work, so he kept on going. One day I could not reach him and became very concerned, finally making the approximately one hour drive to his house. I found Chuck on the floor, he was not able to get up. I sat on the floor beside him and eventually helped him up and out to the car, taking him home. That was the last day he was ever able to go there. He was just devastated but hopeful further treatment would enable him to continue. But that was not to be."

Would you say that Chuck had a strong will? If he wanted to reach something, would you say that he was very determined and that he would do everything to get where he wanted to be?

"Yes, I would say that, everything within reason and as long as it wasn't detrimental to those he loved and cared for. That strong will carried him through the 3 most difficult years of his life. And ours. Chuck was our strength at that time, when we weakened."

With "Human" (1991), DEATH became a more and more technical band who nevertheless still managed to release very impressive albums like "Individual Thought Patterns" (1993), "Symbolic" (1995) and "The Sound Of Perseverance" (1998). Somehow, his musical evolution always really made sense to me. I mean, the core of aggressive and extreme music was still there, but it was obvious that his interest in more technical and maybe progressive music was surfacing more and more. You could already easily see this when the CONTROL DENIED-debut album "The Fragile Art Of Existence" (1999) was released. Any comment?

"I have heard that same observation from many people through the years, his many loyal friends / fans and the young ones who are just getting involved with Chuck's music. Chuck was always reaching for more, better, there were no limits with his progression. And isn't that the way of a dedicated person to his art? It should be."

Chuck's interview: print from a footage
Would you say that Chuck thought that progression in music is essential? Was he keen on trying new things?

"Funny, I had just used that word, progression, in the answer above. He absolutely did think - or a better word - felt that he HAD to progress. It was an elemental urge that he just could not ignore. Nor did he want to. He loved his music and always wanted to extend himself."

Chuck loved animals and cooking. Chuck also had a fiancee, called Kim. Do you think that Chuck somehow regret that he never had a family with children of his own? Are you still in contact with Kim?

"Yes, Chuck was known for his cooking, and he loved cooking for friends and family and bandmembers. Some would stay with Chuck when they came into town. He made up his own recipes, some are on the internet if anyone is interested. Every ingredient was fresh. He made a great apple pie, everything from scratch. The men in my family were always great cooks. His father, his nephew, himself. We really miss those days. He loved his three dogs and his cat, they were a family to him. He was concerned about what their future would be and made plans for their care. Chuck did regret not having a family and children. We talked about it. And I very often think back to that conservation, and wish so much myself that he had that, for himself and us who are left behind. I have kept in touch with Kim, she was very much as a daughter to me and I will always love her and feel that way about her."

When I heard in 1999 that Chuck was diagnosed with cancer, I must say that this really came as a shock. It was in this period that Chuck Billy of TESTAMENT also was diagnosed with cancer which he managed to beat as he got well later on. In January 2000, Chuck underwent surgery to remove what remained of his tumor. The operation was a success but apparently your family was struggling financially as you couldn’t afford the total cost of 70.000 $. Many fundraisers, auctions, and benefit concerts took place to help cover the costs. About two years after his original diagnosis - in May 2001 - the cancer returned and Chuck fell ill again. When I heard the news that Chuck passed away, I remember very well that this really came as an incredible shock to me as I was convinced that he would beat the disease. I don’t know perfectly how the healthcare-system in America works but I just can’t understand how someone can die because healthcare doesn’t want to pay his medical bills. Can you clear this up a little bit?

"We never accepted that Chuck would not beat this thing, I remember Chuck was worried about Chuck Billy, and James Murphy. Never did it enter my mind that Chuck would not get well. I didn't let it. And no, I cannot clear it up, there will always be the ‘what ifs’ as far as Chuck's treatments were concerned. It is such a burden to carry, those ’what ifs’. I saw too much. There were the ones in the medical field who were not caring people, who treat patients in negative or careless ways and those who we were truly blessed with. I have to say I will always be bitter, unbearably sorry, the tragic way the system let Chuck down. I stayed in the hospital with Chuck, in a chair beside his bed, 24 hours a day, making sure of his care. He was never left alone. His sister, Beth, was busy with the business, making sure Chuck was not turned down for treatment, fighting with all her might. Once she and Chuck were on MTV, telling how the hospital not wanted to operate on Chuck. Thanks to MTV, the operation was performed. In an interview, Chuck once called his sister a warrior and she truly was, for him."

Was it in that period not very hard for you not to become bitter? You already lost a son and now your other son also passed away... Were there never moments that you maybe wondered like ‘Why me? What have I done to deserve this?

"Yes, I still feel very bitter and saddened. And yes, I do ask myself, more than ‘why me?’, ‘why them?’. As I sit here, I’m asking myself that once again. Everyone says what wonderful young men they both were and they surely were. They had everything to offer. Frank wanted to be a doctor and had written a book at the age of sixteen, he was a straight A student. Chuck also had a lot to offer this world, he left quite an impact on quite a lot of people. Chuck made a difference and isn't that a wonderful legacy to leave?"

How difficult is the 13th of December for you? I can imagine you get a lot of emails from fans on that day who also remember him that day?

"I do get a lot of emails and cards those days and also on Chuck's birthday. The fans hold tributes and candle light vigils, sometimes have a beer together in Chuck’s memory. If it were not for those fans, it would be an even more difficult day for me. They have been so loyal in their memory of Chuck and they write frequenty and tell me what a difference Chuck has made in their lives and still does. They tell me about meeting him on tours and how he made them welcome, taking time to speak with them and offer encouragement in their own music. They invite me to their weddings and for a visit. I have had at least one baby named after me! And Chuck has a few Charles Michaels out there. I have some wonderful portraits painted of Chuck, one came by mail from Australia. Another one was brought from Cuba by a fan who rang my doorbell at 11PM at night. I invited him in and we had a wonderful evening. They are both hanging on my walls now, I love looking at them."

Chuck was buried in Tampa, Florida on the 18th of December 2001. Is there actually a certain place where fans can visit him and pay their respects to him?

"Fans write frequently and ask where they can come to pay their respects to Chuck. Chuck is actually not buried in Tampa. He was cremated, as he wanted, and his ashes were spread in the woods in Altamonte Springs, Florida where he lived and played as a child. That was his wish. I go there frequently and take flowers and always say that he is remembered."

Richard and Chuck: Eternal friends

Were there many people in the Metal scene that Chuck would really consider as ‘friends’?

"He had many friends in music, but his closest friends were Steve DiGiorgio and Richard Christy."

Are you still in contact with many people / bands who worked together with Chuck throughout the years?

"Richard we are close to, he is like a member of our family and I exchange cards at Christmas with some of them. And I also check on them and what they're doing on the internet. A few have found me on the internet and have made contact with me. I am always delighted to hear from them. I will always be very fond of them and wish them well and have many good memories to think about."

From the moment Chuck passed away, you were very much in the spotlights and taking care of his legacy. You seem to interact a lot with fans of Chuck's music. This couldn’t be totally new to you as you lead the DEATH fanclub by yourself for many years?

"Yes, I did. And the contact with the fans is a great comfort to me, they make life easier, as they have from the beginning. I have heard it said that it has been a long time since 2001, but to his family, it has been a blip in time. His sister and I were talking about that just a week ago, at Christmas. One of the fans wrote something wonderful and very profound to me a month or so after Chuck’s passing. He said that I was not alone, that I have children all over the world and that is exactly how I feel. I am so thankful to have them."

Did you learn a lot from these interactions with people who wrote to you (for example through certain touching stories from fans)? Was there a side of Chuck that you maybe didn’t know that you got to know this way? And isn’t it somehow a sort of comfort that his music will live on forever and that it has meant so much for so many people?

"There are many stories. I did learn so much from them, I could write a book from that alone! One story, a fan went to find Chuck after a concert and he found him getting on the tourbus. He asked the fan to wait, that he would be right back and the fan thought he would not return but Chuck did. And the fan said that as Chuck got off the bus, he realized Chuck was wearing sandals. It just did not fit the fan's idea of the big Death Metal guy. But Chuck sure loved his sandals and he was just a regular guy who happened to play the guitar. I am a fortunate person. My son made a difference in this world, he is loved and remembered, his music still lives on through the people who are touched by it. They write to me often and that makes my life so much more than it would ever be without them."

2011 seems like a busy year as for example many of the DEATH albums are going to be re-released and the second CONTROL DENIED album will be released after all these years. Do you like to keep busy with these projects?

"Chuck's sister, Beth, is involved with that. Sometimes I offer my views but we are very fortunate that Chuck's former manager from years ago, Eric Greif, is back in our lives. He has been the best thing to happen to us and Chuck's legacy. Beth interacts with Eric a lot, she is the executor of Chuck's estate."

Do you think that in the end Chuck was happy with the life he has lead? Do you think that he also was proud on what he had achieved?

"Yes, he was proud of all he had achieved and mostly satisfied with the life he had led. He said the only negative was the time away from family. His long term plans were to open a studio of his own for musicians, and making sure they never had the problems and disappointments he had throughout his career. Early on we had many talks about that while I sat with him."

To close this interview, I want to thank you for your time and your effort to answer my questions. If there’s still anything you’d like to add, please feel free to do so.

"Thank you for the insightful questions you chose, Steven. I had a few laughs and a few tears, but I am ending this interview feeling good. It’s as if I were having a good talk with a friend. I send you very warm regards. Jane Schuldiner."


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