Magazine: Aardschok-Metal Hammer / Netherlands
Article: Evil Chuck met een korrel zout

Written by: Robert Heeg
Published: April 1989





Death for sure can be called one of the most extreme bands of the thrash scene at the present time. Death isn't the most speedy band, certainly not the slowest and it's neither their purpose to put as many songs in a minute as possible. No, the extremeness lies somewhere else. Main culprit is guitarist/vocalist/founder Chuck Schuldiner (also known as "evil" Chuck). With his horrifying rasping "death grunt" as his trademark, he became one of the most outstanding figures of the, not too gentle, thrash scene. His lyrics? Well, titles like "Torn To Pieces", "Regurgitated Guts" and "Leprosy" speak for themselves. His evil helpers are: Rick Rozz on guitar, Terry Butler on bass and Bill Andrews on drums. After a very intense gig in the Melkweg (Amsterdam/YK) the four are, all sweaty but satisfied, answering some questions. "Evil" Chuck appears to be a cheerful, sunburned guy, sipping away at his his mineral water. Look, that's what I call extreme!!!


Chuck some years ago you left Florida to come back again via Canada and San Fransisco. Why did you leave?

CHUCK: "When I left there was no metal scene in Florida. Wherever I went, I couldn't bring about a permanent line up. Something that teased me from the very start. All the time I kept one main goal: a record deal ! Eventually I returned to Florida because it's where my family lives, it's home."

Then the reunion with Rick Rozz, who was a part of the first Death line up.

RICK: "I heard Chuck was back and went to his house. Terry, Bill and I were in Kam Lee's Massacre and things were not going well. I told Chuck about our problems, we talked a while, practiced together and started the new Death. Initially Chris Reifert, drummer on "Scream Bloody Gore" would move back to Florida with Chuck, but in the end he decided to finish school first. Understandable, moving is a big step."

The left behind Massacre member Kam Lee must not have been that happy as Chuck snatched away the entire band.

CHUCK: "Hahahaha, Kam Lee is shit! He wasn't even happy on the day he was born."
TERRY: "He steals, he lies and he's terribly lazy. That's all there's to say to it (explaining why he wasn't in the thanks of the album/RH). If you knew him the way we do you definitely would understand."

Once Chuck and Rick seperated. No hard feelings?

CHUCK: "No, everything came together real smooth. We now have four people that can let rest old discords. That's why we can work well together and "Leprosy" turned out to be very well despite of us being together for only 18 months. Rick and me play together in a natural way, we have very different ways of playing solo's, so we complement each other very well and in this way provide a lot of variation. With the new line up we have a solid sound. On the first album it mainly was about me and Chris Reifert, which also can work all right, but things always can be better."

Which not at the least is to owe to top producer Dan Johnson.

CHUCK: "Dan is divine! We'll try to work with him again next time. I hate shit productions. We want a clean sound yet one that smashes you right off your feet!"

Bands such as Crimson Glory and Savatage did not have good words to say about Dan. According to them he's pretty lazy.

RICK: "Crimson Glory wear silver masks you know......
CHUCK: "What's to be expected from a band playing Halloween every day?"
TERRY: "Dan brought Crimson Glory as well as Savatage their sound, they should honor him for that. Those two bands have a bad attitude."

The gig tonight just took about one hour due to the voice problems of Chuck. I think you're straining it a lot every night.

CHUCK: "Normally it isn't this bad, but at the first show of this tour in Belgium the sound was so awful that I indeed strained it too much. In fact I ruin my voice this way, using it exact the opposite way a melodic singer does. But giving it just the little extra is worth the effort. I get complimented a lot for it."

Listening to the lyrics (as far as we can hear them) one could easy get the impression Chuck is a sick guy.....

CHUCK: "Hahahaha, I know there are people taking the lyrics way too seriously. On the first album I liked it because nobody was using this filthy stuff. The inspiration came from all the nasty horror movies: beautiful! But on "Leprosy" the lyrics are more serious and on the next they will get even more realistic. Now my ideas come from newspaper articles. The world is full of shit which is in our advantage."

In the meantime the horror approach of the "old Death" became an example for a lot of others.

RICK: "I think it became a trend, that's why we will rush forward with our new music as well as the lyrics so quick that nobody can ever sound as us. It will be very complex, but so heavy it can blow your head off of your trunk. Recordings will start in August and hopefully the release will be in January. They say you can't be progressive and heavy at the same time, we are going to prove they are wrong, they all will freak out!"

But first there's an American tour with.......

TERRY: "We are going to do 35 shows together with Dark Angel, then some gigs in Mexico and then we will head for the studio, we will try to do some festivals in the summer.

You might say the future is looking bright, but a break through like Megadeth's doesn't seem to be anticipated.

CHUCK: "We never think that negative. We just go full speed ahead, doing what we want to do and we'll just see where it'll lead to. What happens to others doesn't really bother me, we only think about Death."

Despite the optimism this European tour halfway through Germany had to be canceled. Not because of Chuck's throat, but because of arguments between Death and the German and Belgium promoters. Death refused touring with Exodus just to be able to headline in Europe. Looking back this might have been the wrong choice. Next year hopefully better.

Robert Heeg


to talks

Translated by YK/AS for EmptyWords-Published on June 9 1999