sábado, 18 de junho de 2011

Voices From The Dark Side: Chuck Schuldiner (Part 2)

Eric and Chuck in happier times

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

Statements from DEATH's manager, Eric Greif

Another person in this Chuck Schuldiner special who could not be missed in our opinion is Eric Grief. Eric was formerly assistant manager of MÖTLEY CRÜE, worked as a supervisor for various festivals (including the Milwaukee Metalfest), produced several albums and recordings - CYCLONE, DR. SHRINKER, MORBID SAINT, INVOCATOR just to name a few - and was in the early nineties the manager of DEATH and therefore much 'on the road’ with Chuck. Eric is currently working as a lawyer for CYNIC, Hank Shermann and DEMONICA and is now - as already discussed in the interview with Jane Schuldiner - also responsible for Chuck's legacy...

"There is of course quite a lot of activity in the Chuck Schuldiner camp these days. This is due to a couple of factors that I’m sure are obvious to any casual Metal observer. First, the way Chuck’s legacy is run has changed somewhat and is now a far more organized endeavour. At some point, my old friend and adopted sister Beth Schuldiner asked me if I’d change my life a little and come in to take over the pilot’s job of plotting the course for everything related to DEATH and CONTROL DENIED. This wasn’t a difficult task to imagine myself doing, but at the same time was a very big change for me in my personal life. The second thing is that now, almost ten years from the time Chucky died, an entire new generation of young fans of Chuck’s music has blossomed. Now, after spending more than a year putting Chuck’s posthumous career in order – with a new label (Relapse Records), the sorting out of issues with former labels, ending illegal merchandising operations, and organizing the possibility of completing CONTROL DENIED’s final work – I find myself doing a lot of interviews and giving my perspective on not only what is happening now, but my own personal thoughts on the man behind it all, Charles Michael Schuldiner. 

Big Chuck Live with DEATH
I always try and bring the DEATH story back to a narrative on Chuck the man. I guess I do this because of so much adulation about Chuck the myth, or maybe even the small but vocal horde who have reacted negatively to the false (but good natured) portrayal of Chuck the deity. I think if my friend Chuck Schuldiner was alive today, he would scratch his head and wonder how he could be perceived in so many ways. He would have been extremely flattered by all of the attention, but on the other hand it would mystify him as to how his death would seem to have turned him into a God-like figure or, as someone has written, a Metal Messiah. The bottom line for me is that Chuck was a human being, just like any of us, albeit with an enormous, far-reaching musical & lyrical gift. I first met Chucky in Milwaukee at Metalfest, in the summer of 1987. It was the first gig of the "Leprosy" line-up. "Scream Bloody Gore" had been out a couple of months by then and there was already a buzz around the band and the record. But more than that: there was a buzz about the charismatic dude behind it all. I did feel that buzz surrounding him when we first shook hands and spoke. Six months later and he was back in Milwaukee, this time me promoting a much smaller DEATH show, allowing for us to speak longer and in greater depth. Immediately we saw eye to eye and I knew I wanted to work with him and, after a drive in my Dodge Daytona, I was the new manager of DEATH. We were young and self-confident. We were human beings with a shared vision, musically and mentally. 

I liked this guy a lot. Over the course of Chuck’s career, there was a lot of press surrounding his own personal life, much of it based on rumour or innuendo. This is what has prompted me to say these few words about Chuck’s humanity. In numerous ways he was a fragile soul who worried about the same things as many of us. He had bouts of anger, jealousy, or downright meanness. But these were tempered with great kindness, generosity and, of course, genius. The guy I knew could indeed fly off the handle and go berserk. But the next minute he could be buying me a gift or standing in the freezing cold in a t-shirt signing autographs, with that devilish smile never faltering. Our own up & down relationship was covered in the press and I think that Blabbermouth.net’s Borivoj Krgin referred to it as a ‘gruesome collaboration’. I guess it was gruesome because Chuck & I were an unbeatable team that liked to be brutal with record companies, shitty promoters, and assholes. But on the other hand it was gruesome because we fought like some brothers do, even taking each other to court twice. Beth Schuldiner has said to me that in order to hate you have to also love, and this is why Chuck & I were like brothers. We were brothers, actually. 

Human Tour: Eric Greif - a inveterate workaholic

When I see that Chuck is portrayed in deity terms, I have to stop and smile and remind people that this was a guy who would spit when he got mad and would laugh hysterically at pranks. He loved challenging people to eating spicy chicken wings and would jump up & down on a bed like a little kid when we’d be confined to a hotel room or make up silly parody rhymes to songs. He liked beer. He described the shapes of his ‘toilet logs’ and we analyzed such things like others check their horoscopes. He was also a dedicated musician who helped create a genre of Metal music, whose talent made me shake my head in awe. Even people that didn’t know who he was would stop to stare at him when he walked down the street. Ultimately his humanity was confirmed in the fact that he got sick and eventually died from that malady. It was cruel and it was unfair, not only to his family but to the music fans of the world. I miss Chuck the songwriter because of all the songs that were never written. But mostly I miss Chuck my friend, the guy who would phone me up in the middle of the night to tell me about a horror movie he had just enjoyed or scream at me on the phone if he was mad. One thing that Beth and I agreed upon recently was trying to present Chuck to the world as a human. Former DEATH guitarist Paul Masvidal said it best that it is because of Chuck’s humanity – his vulnerability – that his genius best shines; we’re able to see that such extraordinary creativity came not from the top of a Mount Olympus but out of the garage of an average American teenager who one day picked up a guitar and made it do great things that has an impact on many, many people all around the world, even almost ten years after his tragic death."


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