segunda-feira, 20 de junho de 2011

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

Chuck Schuldiner: The Man. The Musician. The Legend. The Human.

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

Statements from various Metal musicians

This Chuck Schuldiner special also seemed the ideal opportunity to let some musicians also speak about Chuck. I contacted a few bands who used to tour with Chuck Schuldiner, made music together with Chuck or whom we suspected to respect and admire Chuck somehow...

Mike Browning (ex-MORBID ANGEL):

"I remember first meeting Chuck in the MANTAS days when I was in MORBID ANGEL. Everyone was just discovering a new style of Metal and it wasn't uncommon for bands to put together shows with several bands. Back then everyone tapetraded and real fanzines that you can hold were all over the place and done by the fans that loved the music and dedicated lots of time to promoting these bands for free. It was a true brotherhood no matter how far away someone lived or what style of music that you did. The old days will always be missed as well as Chuck himself from the scene! Chuck was always a very cool person any and every time I had ever met him or hung out with him. He always had respect for what I was doing as I did for him too. He made a huge mark in the Metal world with his unique style of playing and vocals and progressed in his music without ever having to resort to having blast beats to compete with everyone else! I always liked DEATH and as he became more and more technical with his writing I liked it even more. One of my all time favorite Metal albums is "Human", that album still to this day just blows me away! I knew Chuck since around 1985 when he was in MANTAS and although we never played any shows together we were friends. It would have been a great thing if we could have done some music together, we talked about it a few times but unfortunately we never got to jam together. I guess it was that every time I saw Chuck he was a real personable person to me, even in the later days! I was very shocked when I heard he passed away. I think Chuck still had a long way to go with his music and if he were still alive today I think that he would still be putting out albums that would be totally amazing. I will always remember him being up front with his guitar and mike, singing ‘Pull The Plug’!’

Jeff Becerra (POSSESSED):

"I literally think Chuck was a riff-monster with a million riffs just floating around in his head. He was a good friend and a wonderful man all around. Unfortunately I haver had the chance or the opportunity to play a live show with Chuck. DEATH will always be a mainstay in the Death Metal scene forever. He is our Death Metal hero! I had never heard of DEATH until after I met Chuck for the first time. From the first minute, he turned me on to his music and I just loved it. Chuck was a very honest and humble man. He always gave me credit personally for my influences and he was always very respectful towards me and POSESSESSED. He actually used to stay at the POSSESSED’s president’s house - Krystal Mahoney - in both San Francisco and Florida. We were both big fans of each others’ work. I remember very well one night where we just sitting around, partying and showing off our riffs to each other. He was always very funny and honest to me. I was just floored when I heard Chuck had passed away. I remember trying to hold back the tears. Chuck was an honest, great and real musician and will forever be in the annals of Metal and Metal history. He will be missed in my heart forever.’

Chuck: Kick ass!
Kenn Nardi (ANACRUSIS):

"First off, I have to admit that in 1993 I was not a big fan of the band DEATH. It wasn't that I disliked Chuck's music, but as more of a fan of melodic Power Metal like METAL CHURCH and SAVATAGE, I simply wasn’t that familiar with the band. By then Chuck had already established himself as a pioneer of "Death Metal" and “Progressive Metal” and I knew of the band of course, but when I was told that we had been offered a month's worth of shows in Europe opening for them I didn’t know what to expect. Anyone involved in the Metal scene in the 1990s had heard the stories of band in-fighting and canceled tours and all the rest and frankly I expected to meet a sinister sort of flaky Metal guy who might fly off the handle at the slightest agitation or up and call off the whole tour without warning. Knowing that not only would we be sharing a stage with DEATH, but also a tour bus (our 1st one ever) I was more than a bit apprehensive. However, knowing that the band’s line-up included Craig Locicero of FORBIDDEN did ease my mind since we had met him and the guys a couple times in the past through Debbie Abono, who had worked with ANACRUSIS as well. Well, anyone who ever met or knew Chuck well probably knows how this story ends, but I have to say that I have never been so pleasantly surprised by meeting any other musician ever. When I finally met Chuck, he was very laid-back and soft-spoken and not at all what I had expected. I remember many times while speaking with him that I would think “what’s the deal here? This guy seems very rational and reasonable and easy to get along with”, or “Ok, he seems cool, but when is he going to ‘snap’”?, haha. I know Chuck took his music very seriously and was an incredible writer and guitarist, so maybe being in his band was more demanding than simply holding a casual conversation, but either way, Chuck was a total gentleman to me and ANACRUSIS the entire time and seemed to treat his band with the same respect. I’d love to say I spent endless hours talking to Chuck about all sorts of deep philosophical or musical topics, but honestly we only ever spoke one-on-one a few times. Bassist Steve DiGiorgio and I hit it off right away due to our common dry sense of humour and I hung out with him more than anyone during those few weeks in Europe. I also shared many musical likes with drummer Gene Hoglan and enjoyed some good times discussing everyone from ANGEL to Kate Bush to Neil Diamond. Chuck usually kept to himself, but not in a stand-off-ish way. He would sit in the lounge area of the bus with all of us, but was usually pretty quiet, listening to everyone talk and goof around. He just seemed to go with the flow and came across as a good-natured, thoughtful guy usually focused on meeting his fans or playing the next show. Even when there were major problems with some of the venues which (justifiably) led to a couple shows being canceled, there was never a tantrum or anything of this nature and Chuck honestly only seemed concerned with his safety and ours (and that of the fans). Though ANACRUSIS was nearing its end and this would be the last tour we ever played before breaking up shortly after returning to the States, the trip itself was a great one for us and we have Chuck to thank for that. Though we had many fans overseas, it would be our only trip to Europe until our appearance at the "Keep It True Festival" 17 years later, where we met several people who had seen us on this tour with DEATH. I only learned later that Chuck had considered himself a fan of ANACRUSIS, especially of our "Screams And Whispers" album, which we were touring in support of in ’93. He never mentioned anything to me at the time, but others have told me that he was even influenced in some ways by our music and my vocals, which if it is true is an honor to say the least. I did come to respect Chuck as an amazing musician and though the more progressive DEATH albums are a little hard for me to get my head around, there is no denying his impact and influence on Metal music. He always came across as a true professional and seemed deeply committed to giving 100% at each and every show we played with him. There was none of the ego-maniacally unpredictable behaviour that I had expected. In fact, Chuck even allowed us to go back on stage for an encore at a few particularly great shows, which I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any opening band do. It takes a very secure musician to do a thing like that. Probably the most personal moment I shared with Chuck was an interesting conversation about music one night while travelling across the countryside somewhere in Europe. The bus we shared was a double-decker with a seating area above the driver. Sometimes in the evening, a couple of us would sit up there and just watch the road speed by beneath us. On this one occasion, it was only Chuck and me and one of my band-mates. I remember talking about JUDAS PRIEST and some of the older Metal bands we all liked and Chuck expressed how he really wanted to try to do something heavy, but with more melodic vocals. Perhaps this was something he liked about ANACRUSIS? I know later on he did stretch his wings a bit and try some new things, but I could hear the frustration in his voice at the time, not knowing what fans of DEATH would think of this type of thing. I remember saying to him that the fans who really appreciated his music would accept whatever he did as long as it was from the heart. I never had any contact with him after the tour and after ANACRUSIS broke up I walked away from the music business altogether for many years. Since I hadn’t kept up with the Metal scene much after that, I was shocked and saddened when I heard that he had just passed away. He certainly made his musical mark on many people and influenced countless bands then and now, and I am grateful to him for inviting us to share that trip to Europe with him at the end of our run. I had the opportunity to meet many musicians and other people involved in the music business during my years playing and touring and I can honestly say that Chuck was one of the nicest of all. He left only good memories in my mind and I offer my thoughts and prayers to his close friends and family, who I am sure miss him more each year.’

Alex Krull (ATROCITY):

"My first thoughts when DEATH / Chuck Schuldiner comes to mind is the "Infernal Death" demo tape from 1985. Some friends and me ordered it directly at Chucks private address - but we never got the demo back although we payed it hahaha, so we had to copy it from somebody else. Anyway, it's a real classic. I like the music of DEATH. Especially the early days and the "Human" album, which was interesting for me to see that also DEATH got a much more technical approach to their music like we had before with "Hallucinations". I met guitarist Shannon who played together with Chuck in DEATH and CONTROL DENIED in September at his home when we toured with LEAVES’ EYES in the USA, and Shannon came also over to our show at Atlanta / Progpower USA fest. So there’s still a ‘connection’. Chuck was an extraordinary and influential musician within the Metal scene. Without any doubt Chuck wrote some all time classics in Death Metal! The typically DEATH guitar riffs and melodies are an huge trademark as well. Chuck managed to keep the spirit of POSSESSED and developed his own kind of extreme music. We met a couple of times and there’s an interesting story as well. When we decided with ATROCITY to record ‘Arch Angel’ from DEATH we spoke with Chuck about the arrangement of the song and lyrics etc. So we met in Ludwigsburg when they came on tour and we jammed the song together. It was quite funny that Chuck almost forgot about the own riffs and we had a lot of fun showing each other what was once recorded on the “Infernal Death” demo tape. Regarding the lyrics we decided that I write new lyrics for the song and so it turned out to a wonderful co-operation, it’s a pity that we couldn’t even record together or played it live at a show or something - we should have done it! I was shocked when he passed away, also what I have heard in which way things were going on and I think it’s ridiculous regarding the health system in the US as well. It’s a real problem for musicians in the US when they get seriously ill and they were living before on the minimum because of the music and they get no financial support etc. It’s a shame. I will always remember Chuck and his music and keep the ‘golden’ times in mind. The DEATH song ‘Archangel’ was always one of my favorites on the "Infernal Death" demo tape, which was recorded originally only with two guitars and no bass by the way. Chuck never used the song for a DEATH album. When we talked he said to me he will never use it… until we jammed together. I think he started to love it again (laughs) and as I said, it was really cool to work on it together."

DEATH: Last line-up


"It would be an honour to share with you my thoughts and memories of my friend and bandleader, my brother, Chuck. The memories resound to this day because of the impact he had on me on several levels. Personally, Chuck was a kind and caring person who loved his friends and his family wholeheartedly. He loved sharing good times with us whether it was in the back yard barbequeing, or listening to his record collection, or goofing off at the grocery store. Whatever we did, we had a lot of fun doing it together. Spiritually, it couldn't have been any more harmonistic between us. Professionally, Chuck was the real deal; he was a true leader. When it came to getting down to business in the rehearsal studio, there was sort of a ritualistic approach to it. We'd wake up rested, have coffee and bagels, and call in our requests to the local radio station. He'd get on the phone and make whatever calls needed to be made, while I'd review the material we would be working on that day, and I'd go through my warm-ups. Then into the studio we went, and we'd work out the parts for the new material he was writing for the record. When we were done for the day, we'd have dinner, rehearse with the band, then he'd invite friends over to chill for the evening. One memory that stands out in my mind is when one night while we were hanging out in the backyard by the fire, he pulled me aside and asked me how I would feel about making CONTROL DENIED a permanent band. He wanted to leave DEATH behind him, and continue on with CONTROL DENIED and I couldn't have been happier. I let him know that if that's what he wanted, then I wanted it too. We both wanted to make CONTROL DENIED the greatest band ever and work at it until we retired. Unfortunately, it was shortly after the recording sessions were complete that Chuck had to cancel all plans for touring because of the diagnosis of cancer. That was more of a shock than his passing. I had just lost my mother to cancer the year before, several other family members passed away as well, including my youngest brother during the preparation stages of the record. The next 2 years were like a roller coaster. There was hope and there was fear. Amazingly, it was Chuck himself who kept the rest of us optimistic about his recovery. Even more amazingly, he gathered up enough strength to write and record all his parts for a new record. Since his passing, it's been 9 years, and for most of those years there was a batlle for the rights and a proper release of it. Now, those issues are settled and we are about to begin the completion stages of "When Machine And Man Collide". Richard's drums, Chuck's guitars, and most of Shannon's guitars are recorded. Soon Steve and I will be heading to Tampa to do our parts and from there, it will be a few months of waiting while Jim Morris mixes and masters and Relapse has it pressed and packaged, and it's safe to say that it will be in the hands of the fans by mid summer, if not earlier. As with all of Chuck's records this one is unique and has all the unusual twists and turns a composer of his calibre incorporates. Lyrically, I would say it's a bit deeper and darker than "The Fragile Art Of Existence". I'm very excited about working with Jim on it and finally getting it out to all of you."

Jörgen Sandström (ex-GRAVE, ex-ENTOMBED):

"Chuck was one of my favorite Death Metal vocalists of all time. "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Leprosy" have been a big influence over the years!! When we first got hold of "Scream Bloody Gore" we played it all the time, same with "Leprosy". And yes, I still listen to DEATH every now and then. For me personally it was the intensity in the playing and the vocals. His vocals was just amazing. And Chris Reifert’s drumming on the first album together with Chuck was just the perfect match!! I would not say that I knew him on a personal level, we did a festival tour together back in 1993 or something around Germany mostly. It was great to meet him and see him play live although around that time I was not so much into their new material. I remember one night we (GRAVE) were sitting backstage and drinking beer and then we started to whistle through the bottleneck. So we tuned them and then we walked in to DEATH´s dressing room and Chuck was sitting there and we said ‘Listen, we wanna play something for you.’ and we ripped out ‘Infernal Death’ on the bottles (laughs). He was impressed to say the least (laughs). It is always sad when your idols pass away. I am glad I got to meet him and tell him thanks for all the great times I had listening to his music and I will never forget him or his great work!"

By Rafa V.
Lee Harrison (MONSTROSITY):

"It’s a shame Chuck had to go so early. Really didn’t expect that. I first read about Chuck in a magazine talking about "Scream Bloody Gore" so I didn’t know him personally really before "Leprosy". I was friends with CYNIC who were friends with Chuck. We had gotten hold of a pre-release of "Leprosy" that still had the four counts at the beginning of the songs. The songs were mixed but just not mastered. I still have this tape too. One time the South Florida guys all got together and drove up to Tampa as MORBID ANGEL and DEATH were playing together, this was in 1988. Pat from HELLWITCH, Paul and Sean from CYNIC, Phil from MALEVOLENT CREATION, we all drove up in my van. DEATH came down to play in Miami at the Cameo Theater and that’s another time I remember because they really killed it that night. I would see Chuck before shows and I would give him a ride to the store and stuff. We would hang out before the shows. So yeah we never hung out too much but at the shows we would always catch up. Chuck was really cool."


"What has always intrigued me about Chuck and DEATH is his way of singing. I've never been a guitarist, but DEATH was definitely one of the first Death Metal bands I listened to and appreciated. "Scream Bloody Gore" is still a great album, Chuck's vocals on that album are extremely brutal. I remember when I first saw DEATH live, that was in 1989 in the club Zopo in Horst (Netherlands) together with DESPAIR. I’ll never forget that show, I still have a recording of it on tape. I used to listen a lot to the demos of DEATH, that old stuff still remains as impressive as it was in the beginning. Records such as "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Leprosy" are absolute milestones. I do not really like what Chuck has done later, the more melodic stuff with CONTROL DENIED and many solos, that was not really my thing. But as a singer in the early years ,Chuck had a really great voice. When Chuck was already ill for a while, we played a show with OCCULT at a benefit-concert for Chuck in Hardenberg, along with some other Dutch bands. We also played the old DEATH tune 'Mutilation' that evening, together with Wannes Gubbels. A nice evening."

Frank Harthoorn (ex-GOREFEST):

"Jan-Chris and I got to know Chuck when he was touring in Europe with the album "Leprosy", that was in February 1989. We were both very big fans of DEATH and it was a great experience for us to meet our hero in our own little provincial town. Around that time, we started with GOREFEST - then called LEPROSY - which says enough about the impact that DEATH had on us. We had obviously no idea that we would go often on the road with the same man later on. My memories of DEATH are without any exception very good. We had heard all the stories about how impossible Chuck would be and that he would cancel shows easily. As everyone, the man had his own character but ‘Evil’ Chuck was definitely just an amusing nickname. A highlight for GOREFEST was playing as a support-act during the U.S. tour for "Individual Thought Patterns" in the summer of 1993. We had never been in the U.S. before and to get an invitation from Chuck was a big honor for us and a little surreal, initially anyway. On a tourbus, you learn quickly who you are dealing with. During this tour and other tours, I got to know Chuck as a very normal person, very laid back, obsessed with Metal, loving animals, fond of bagels and nice food in general and afraid of sharks (laughs). As a fan of the band, I stood just about every night on the side of the stage to watch DEATH play. I think I have seen DEATH all together about fifty times. I found it especially cool to let Chuck know when he had a less flexible evening than usual. We both had to laugh about it because we both knew - myself to say the least – that I didn’t exactly belong to the better guitarists in the scene. Chuck would go like ‘Oh man, Frank's ragging on me again, I gotta practice more’. (laughs). I still listen quite often to DEATH. "Scream Bloody Gore" because it is so brutal and authentic, "Leprosy" for the catchy songs, "Human'" '"ndividual Thought Patterns" and "Symbolic’" for the memories. Chuck and DEATH were part of a period in my life which is very dear to me. He was a man who showed the way, a very special musician, a Metalhead but above all a very nice guy and great to tour with. My words will probably not sound much different than what for example CARCASS, LOUDBLAST, SACRIFICE or BENEDICTION would say. We all miss Chuck."

Jim Durkin (ex-DARK ANGEL):

"I see Chuck as the godfather of American Death Metal. I have followed Chuck from the very beginning. I had the DEATH demos and I remember I was very impressed by the DEATH debut "Scream Bloody Gore", a very strong record. I believe what made Chuck rise above the rest was his way of singing. He really had a tremendous and unique way of singing. Although DEATH often played together with DARK ANGEL and we have even toured together, I never really had much personal contact with Chuck. Of course I bumped into him while touring, he was always kind to me and we always had a chat with each other but I would not dare to say that I had a really deep contact with him. I sometimes had a beer with Rick Rozz who was also playing in DEATH but both DARK ANGEL and DEATH pretty much kept to themselves. I was very sorry to hear that he died, especially because his music seemed to develop all the time. I really loved the way he played guitar. He was very talented and he would have done many more interesting things if he had not been ill."

Rick Rozz (ex-DEATH, ex-MASSACRE):

"I first met Chuck at a party in late 1982. We both had a soft spot for music and we discovered quickly that we had a lot of common ground. Chuck and I were friends before we made music together. When we started with MANTAS / DEATH , we practiced almost seven days to seven in Chuck's garage. Apart from a few covers - including SAVATAGE and SLAYER - we started really soon to write own material. We often went to see NASTY SAVATEGE play in those days and we were very honored when we had the chance to open for them in December 1984. The recording of that show was later the first official live-tape of DEATH. In the spring of 1985, I got sacked and got the offer from Bill Andrews to play in MASSACRE. I then moved to Tampa and played for a couple of years in MASSACRE and recorded the demo "Chamber Of Ages" with them. In 1987, Chuck came back to Florida and I visited him one evening. There was not much going on in MASSACRE so I suggested to Chuck that Bill Andrews and Terry Butler would join DEATH so we could tour to support "Scream Bloody Gore". Many riffs of the songs on "Scream Bloody Gore" were written by me, therefore it was not difficult for me to master the songs. In April 1988, we recorded "Leprosy" in the Morrissound studio with this line-up, together with Dan Johnson. Dan had produced the first two SAVATAGE records and it was very easy to work with him. Then we were off to Europe for a European tour, a tour of which we unfortunately had to return early on because we had a lot more shows scheduled. DEATH then began to work on "Spiritual Healing" and I got the sack again and I was replaced by James Murphy. Still a lot of riffs on that album are written by me. I returned to MASSACRE and recorded the demo "The Second Coming" with them. I was playing with Joe Cangolosi and bassist Butch Gonzalez at that time, both great musicians. Bill Andrews and Terry Butler were touring as DEATH in Europe at that time without Chuck. They called me one day, asking me to return to MASSACRE. Earache showed considerable interest in the band and so I had to let Joe and Butch go which made the line-up of MASSACRE complete again. I recorded the album "From Beyond", the single "Provoked Accurser", the EP "Inhuman Condition" and the infamous and rightly maligned album "Promise", an album which really should never have been released. Chuck was a musician with a vision and I have much respect for that. I once bumped into Chuck at a local pub just after his first surgery and we talked about two hours about all sorts of things. We cleared up and settled a lot of things during that last talk. RIP Chuck."

Eric Daniels (ex-ASPHYX):

"When I think of Chuck Schuldiner and DEATH, my spontaneous reaction is "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Leprosy", two absolute cult albums and the precursors of the early nineties Death Metal scene. Chuck was really the man behind these masterpieces. A great guitarist and an amazing throat! I can still remember that Bob Bagchus and I really listened to that album on and on in the early years of ASPHYX. For us, "Scream Bloody Gore" pretty much sums up how Death Metal should sound. Unfortunately I never had personal contact with Chuck, I would have loved to have a talk with the man but unfortunately I never did. DEATH is also special to me because of the way the songs are written, especially the way one riff goes into another. As a guitarist I pay attention to this and I can only conclude that it is really wonderfully done. But all the bandmembers of DEATH are really impressive, in the end it’s a band that makes music together. Chuck always knew how to gather good musicians around him. I was very shocked when I heard the news of his death, I was very surprised too. That's because you do not really think that something like that can happen to a musician like him. His music will always live on through numerous albums. I will always remember Chuck as a class-guitarist and - perhaps most importantly - the forerunner of Death Metal."

Michael Borders (ex-MASSACRE):

"I've never met or spoken to Chuck myself. And I will not talk bad about Chuck here, but the memory I have regarding Chuck are the phonecalls his girlfriend used to make to Bill Andrews and me, complaining that MASSACRE were stealing Chuck's songs (laughs). Chuck never called us himself. DEATH was in my eyes back then just another unsigned demo band without a record deal when Kam Lee and Rick Rozz came to join MASSACRE. The demos of DEATH were going around in the scene at that time but DEATH did not even have a full line-up, nor did they play live. I was stunned when Rick Rozz and Bill Andrews left MASSACRE in 1988 and joined DEATH. I had the impression back then that there was quite a bit of bad blood between Chuck and Rick. But when Chuck proposed them the certainty of a record deal, they didn’t hesitate a second. Everyone would have done the same in their place. Do not get me wrong, I have great respect for Chuck and for everything that he did. He has always done his own thing and most certainly has left his mark on the Metal genre. I don’t wish the disease he has had to anyone."

Charles Michael Schuldiner

Wannes Gubbels (PENTACLEe, ex-ASPHYX):

"I still get the chills from it... a live tape, recorded on an old TDK D90 cassette which I got ahold of back then in the eighties through tapetrading. I got these to hear those recordings for the first time at the place of some friends of mine. Somewhere during the night, I was confronted with DEATH for the first time at a time when the band had a huge impact on the underground scene. "Listen to this!" was said. Unsuspecting, the tape-recorder was put on a table in the kitchen and 'play' was pressed. The intro made it very clear that we were not talking about a cheesy Hardrock band. The music started and I was just blown away by the power and darkness of it. The aggression... I could hardly believe it! Of course I knew bands like VENOM, SLAYER, EXCITER and HELLHAMMER, but this? For forty-five minutes I was confronted with one extremity after the other. What an incredibly intense band! I'm talking of course about the infamous DEATH live-tape, recorded on December 30, 1984 in Ruby's Pub, Tampa, Florida when they played as support for NASTY SAVAGE. DEATH was clearly one of the most intense bands in the underground and I liked this kind of noise very much. I started looking through the tape trader circuit for a better version of this recording and soon after, I had my own copy. I do not know how many times I've listened to this tape but the term 'playing something to shreds' is certainly applicable here. Although DEATH grew into a highly professional and technically superior band – which I respect a lot – I always prefered the first two albums – "Scream Bloody Gore" and "Leprosy" - and especially the demos, rehearsals and of course ‘my’ live-tape. When I started my own band a few years later - PENTACLE - and when I was looking for a few songs to cover, I did not need to think. We had always had a weak spot for the more obscure stuff such as ‘The Reaper’ (HELLHAMMER) or PENTAGRAM's ‘Spell Of The Pentagram'. So, it was only a matter of time until I would reach out to my trusty and old DEATH live-tape. Two songs I had already in mind for a long time, ‘Legion Of Doom' and 'Witch Of Hell'. And we eventually recorded those two as we have recorded these two songs for our "Ancient Death" record. I'm still very proud of our versions. They will never be able to replace the originals but they are a sincere homage to DEATH in the purest form."

Travis Smith (cover-designer of "The Sound Of Perseverance", "The Fragile Art Of Existence" and "When Machine And Man Collide"):

"When I think of Chuck, I am immediately reminded on how good he was and how much pleasure I have had working with. I’m proud that I could call Chuck a good friend. We had only seen each other a few times and we had only spoken briefly with each other before we decided to work together. Afterwards, we developed a very close friendship. DEATH is still one of my favorite bands and I still regularly listen to them. Nowadays I'm not one hundred percent satisfied anymore with the cover I made for "The Sound Of Perseverance". I have therefore created a new one which is used for the re-issue which was recently published. I like the new design much better, I think it reflects Chuck’s vision much better. I can not exactly describe what makes DEATH special for me. But there is something, that’s for sure. I guess the way the songs are put together, the sound, the structure, the musicians on the album and how everything just seems to flow nicely together. A very good example is the album "Individual Thought Patterns". I still remember when I heard that album for the first time. A friend was visiting me and he made a comment about a riff in ‘Overactive Imagination’ and said something like "Now that’s not something you hear every day." That might be a good way to summarize DEATH. I heard the sad news of his passing from Jane, his mother. She called me to tell me in person, she really had to comfort me. The last time Chuck and I had spoken with each other, he sounded much better, also had the impression that he was getting better. So I was genuinely shocked when I heard it. I remember his incredibly positive attitude about everything in life. Even in his last weeks, he was incredibly strong and positive, something that has helped me to put certain things in my own life later in perspective."

Glen Benton (DEICIDE):

"Chuck was a nice guy. Every time DEICIDE and DEATH met each other, Chuck was always very kind to everyone. I have known Chuck for a long time, I even saw DEATH play at the Sunset Club - a tiny concert club – where DEICIDE also made their first steps. That was the first time I've ever seen DEATH. I would not say that DEATH really influenced DEICIDE. We knew very well where we wanted to go and there was a healthy kind of competition between the two bands. DEICIDE has never toured with DEATH, but we have often played together on the same festivals. We all knew Chuck was very ill and I thought it was truly terrible when I heard that he died."

Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY, ex-DEATH):

"Well, everything comes to mind very easily. When I was with Chuck in DEATH, it was very pleasant, very relaxed too. Later on, things got much more stressful for Chuck because of many problems with musicians and labels. But when we were just the two of us, making music, that was really nice. There simply was no pressure from the outside, we also got along very well together. I've never played live with Chuck in front of an audience, we've only played together in the rehearsal room and the studio. The joy of making music together always came first, even though we were serious about it. I was seventeen, Chuck was nineteen. We never had problems with each other. We also did a lot together: discovering new bands, listening to records together and just hang out. I haven’t actually played that long in DEATH, at most one year. But afterwards I always stayed in touch with Chuck, one year later after I left I even stayed at his place for a couple of days. AUTOPSY and DEATH were once together on the bill of a festival in 1990, that was kind of funny (laughs). And when DEATH came to play in the Bay Area, I always went to the show. I was very surprised when I heard of his death. I knew Chuck was very ill, still it hit me like a hammer. When I was still a part of DEATH, I stayed for two months at his home with him and his parents who all lived in Florida. Chuck's parents treated me really well, something that was not always obvious, especially if you keep in mind the mischief a seventeen year old is up to (laughs)."
By Biel - Chuck, we never will forget you

King Fowley (DECEASED):

"I first made contact with Chuck in a multiple phone conversation a good friend of mine started up in 1984, it was called 'the phone pirates'. He had a conversation hook up that let him bring tons of folks on the phone together at one time. He had on Bobby Blitz of OVERKILL, Les Evans of CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, Katon from HIRAX and many more. Chuck was one of many of us, talking Metal and shooting the shit. He and I talked some and that was my introduction to him and his upcoming band. DEATH as a band, I heard soon after! The MANTAS tapes were fun and messy and I liked ‘em. DEATH became the name and it got even better. Early cuts like 'Baptized In Blood', 'Evil Dead' and 'Beyond The Unholy Grave' were probably my favorite. I bought the record when it came out and thought it was a bit too 'clean' but I was happy to see the band move forward! My first live experience of DEATH was a crappy one. Chuck seemed really moody that night when they were opening for ANVIL at a local club called the 9:30 club. I was drinking a bunch and was really ticked off at how crappy their performance was. Chuck giving out smirks and kind of acting a jerk, it threw me for a loop! I spit his way and walked away from their set awaiting ANVIL. A year or so later, I mentioned this spitting incident to a friend of his. The word got back to Chuck that I had spit his way and the next time I saw Chuck, he and I confronted each other. He had a bottle of beer in his hand and I first thought it might come to blows, thankfully it never did. We left unsolved and both pissed off, we had a quirk for sure between us now. A few years later again I saw Chuck again. I was on a guestlist for a show DEATH was a part of. He changed my name from King Fowley to Queen Fowley on the list. I found it was childish. I went to tell him so and he acted like a fool! I planned to boycott the band forever more on the live front and to do my own thing musically. DEATH got less fun and more intricate to me. The talent was there but they didn’t seem to manage to write memorable songs. I wasn't impressed with much from the band now. "Symbolic" was the first record to impress me in quite some time. I decided to go and bury the hatchet with Chuck and see if he wanted to do the same. I went to the club Jaxx in Virginia and hoped for a talk together. Unfortunately, it never happened! We just never could caught up that night. I told a mutual friend of ours that our acts in the past were childish and life was too short for such nonsense. The friend told me Chuck felt the same and appreciated the effort I made to squash past differences. Sadly I never saw Chuck again to sit down and shake hands and end the stupidity between us. Chuck was obviously a keyplayer in Death Metal. His guitarplaying was loved by many in the genre and he always put as much musicianship into the band as possible. With his other projects, you could see he was slowly pulling away from Death Metal in general and more to traditional Metal sounds, his main love anyway. His life was sadly cut short. RIP Chuck! We had our differences, but getting over them was on the horizon between us. With respect. King Fowley."

Alan Averill (PRIMORDIAL):

"My first spontaneous thoughts when DEATH and Chuck Schuldiner comes to mind is just some great music, especially getting the first album back when it came out. We had never really heard anything like that. "Scream Bloody Gore" was a very big influence. I still listen to DEATH nowadays. I did lose my way with the more technical stuff he recorded in the middle of the nineties but I appreciate those alums more now than at the time they came out. The first two albums will always remain my favorite, but I also really like the final album as well. Chuck had a very clear vision of what he wanted the band to sound like and what to achieve. It's rare someone has something so fully formed so young. I only met him very briefly in 1992 after a show in Dublin, unfortunately he was very rude that evening … talking down to most of us who were chatting with him because we were into Death Metal. I was kind of shocked when I heard he passed away because he was so young. It's always sad when someone that talented clocks off so early. For the rest, I don’t have anything special to tell to remember him. There are other Metal musicians who had a greater impact on me, Quorthon of BATHORY for example. But I still listen to DEATH quite often."

Tormentor (DESASTER):

"The song ‘Pull The Plug’! That was the first song I ever heard from DEATH. I will never forget those days, when little Tormentor was around fourteen years old and went to a local youthclub to join the ‘Metal Disco’ and banged my head to hell! ‘Pull The Plug’ was a song which made every Metalhead headbang! Ahhh, good old times! At this place – it was called ‘Haus Der Offenen Tür’ - I met Infernal – the guitarplayer of DESASTER - for the first time around 1990. Six years later I joined DESASTER, our rehearsal room is in the same venue! Unfortunately we never played with Chuck. Of course I still listen to DEATH nowadays. Chuck has written history with records like "Scream Bloody Gore" - hail drum master Reifert!, "Leprosy", "Spiritual Healing"… CONTROL DENIED also has its good moments! I am not that much into the rest of the albums like "Symbolic". I like it rough and wild (laughs), but they are all high quality recordings and all of them were shaping a whole scene! I think what made him stand out is his special unique style of playing guitar and his voice. He wrote some real headsmashing and neckbreaking Death Metal classics. A while ago, we recorded 'Zombie Ritual' for a shape-disc. The reason why we choose that one is I because that was the only song we could play (laughs)! No, I don’t know, Infernal started once with the riff in our rehearsal room just for fun. At the end we decided to cover that song as a ‘tribute’ to a great band! I can’t really remember how the first contact to Chris Reifert happened. I think I wrote to him just to say ‘thank you’ for all the great work he had done with DEATH, AUTOPSY (hail the godz!) and ABSCESS. After some emails, I asked him to sing ‘Zombie Ritual’ for us. We have sent the recordings over to the US and were blown away from his great vokills! We met him and the rest of the AUTOPSY guys at Party San Open Air last year and what can I say?! They are fuckin’ killer… total possessed maniacs without any kind of rockstar image! AUTOPSY is back… I have no more words to say. Of course I was shocked when I heard about his passing. In a scene like ours, it’s really sad when you hear that someone passed away. I felt the same last year when Dio and Pete Steele died. A small part of a big scene died but they made themselves unforgettable with their great releases. Also Chuck will never be forgotten, a small piece of him is living in every record he made! Existence fading - Into ashes, Burn those bodies - To Infernal death!"

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