Magazine: Ill Literature / USA
Article: In Control

Written by: Glenn Watson
Published: #12 1999



I am pleased to bring you an in-depth interview with the legendary singer/songwriter, Chuck Schuldiner of Death and now the current Control Denied. Regardless of his chemotheropy and cancer treatment (for a brainstem tumor he was diagnosed with in May ‘99) he was very spirited and upbeat about both bands. Not only is Schuldiner a strong person, both emotionaly and physcially, but he always wants to please his fans no matter what his circumstances may be. He not only has the will to fight for his life, but he has the will to fight for metal.

What's the story behind your new band Control Denied?
Basically, Control Denied is something I started writing for back in 1996, way before I even started really writing for the last Death album, The Sound Of Perseverance. After I was done writing this record, I decided to finished writing the Sounds... record, cause I already had material going for that as well, so it was really just a matter of deciding what album to put out first. So, I decided to put out the Death record first and then switch back over and finish Control Denied, which includes Shannon Hamm, my guitar player and Richard Christy, my drummer from Death, and recruiting Steve DiGiorgio, bass, back into the band who I haven't performed with since Individual Thought Patterns back in 1994. So, it was very exciting to finally be able to put this together and to get it going.

Since it was such a long delay, did you think you would ever finish the album?
It took a long time to finally see it happen. I have been wanting to do this record for a long time, and I think good things are worth waiting for. I feel it's definitely worth the wait and hopefully the fans will think it's worth the wait as well. I know people have been very patiently waiting for this record to finally come out.

What was the intention of the music when you went to write the album?
Basically, my main focus was to keep the attitude that I had with Death, which was being melodic and aggressive; you know, all the elements that were part of the music with Death. I also wanted to keep some of those elements as part of the music for Control Denied. I knew that I wanted to get a singer who can scream his head off, but I also wanted to have someone that could sing melodically as well.

Wasn't it odd for you not to sing on the record?
It actually felt really good and natural.. I just had to worry about playing guitar and didn't have to worry about the microphone which was a really good change of pace.

How did you find Tim Aymar to be your vocalist?
I had gotten this demo tape in the mail from his band Psycho Scream, and I was blown away by the vocals and thought, ‘God, this guy is just a great singer.’ So, I actually got his number and I called Tim and told him I was putting the band together and was really impressed by his vocals. I asked him to come out to Florida to make a demo tape to see how it goes, so he came down, and we recorded a 3-song demo and it just clicked. We knew that this would be a very good thing once it started happening. We felt really good about it.

Orignally, when Control Denied started, I think you had wanted Warrel Dane of Nevemore to do the vocals?
We were talking at one point. We never got together to jam or rehearse or anything. Warrel is another one of my favorite singers. I think Nevermore are incredible, but it just didn't happen, which was unfortunate. What's funny is after hearing Tim, you realize that he almost has the same style. Yeah they're both very, very strong singers, and both are very original, they definitely both have their distinct sound.

Did you write the entire album yourself or did the band members chip in?
Basically, I wrote in the same process as the Death albums. I come up with the music and give tapes to everyone and then we get together and go over stuff. It's just a very nice process that we have. Everyone is really proud of the project, and it just came together really easily for us.

How long did it take for you guys to finish the record?
We recorded the new record in probably about four weeks.

Did the album come out the way you had hoped?
Oh yes, I am very, very happy with it. I think Jim Morris did a fabulous job with the production. Jim is just incredible and is one of the best out there.

Do you think that you could have done anything differently on the album that you didn't?
There are always those things that you wished you would have done differently but you can't think about it too much or else it would drive you crazy. But, I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

Was there any pressure when you went in to record with Control Denied?
I didn't feel any pressure. More or less it was just anticipation. Anticipation of waiting to record this for so long. Anticipation is just a good word. A lot of people say that they hear a lot of Sounds Of Perserverance on it.

What are your thoughts?
I have no problem with that and I'm very happy that people are hearing connections between Death and Control Denied because it is very connected. The thing is with Death, it's a matter of outgrowing the confinements of what Death had gotten trapped in as far as the vocals because they are very limited in what you can do with those type of vocals. Musically, I felt there was a lot of freedom in Death; guitar-wise, drum-wise and everything else. The big difference between the two bands are the vocals. I think that's what people are finally hearing. They're hearing the music that they've been embracing and now they're hearing the vocals that I wanted to hear. I think it starts to make sense once you hear it, like, "Oh, ok, that's what he wanted to do."

Musically, what's the difference between the two bands?
The vocals are the biggest difference, and obviously the name of the band. I really like the name Control Denied because it's a strong name and it's something that I think everyone can relate to. No one likes to be controlled. It's a nice, wide open type of name. I think the vocals are going to reach a lot more people that were turned off by those of Death. At the same time I think it's going to please a lot of people that are Death fans.

You worked with Richard and Shannon on the album. Did you want to work with anyone else or were they always involved?
They were always involved and were the first people I wanted to have involved. We perform really well together and they are really good people to be around. I really wouldn't want it any other way.

Where did you come up with the title The Fragile Art Of Existence?
That was actually going to be the name of the last Death record. I came up with that title back in ‘95. I decided to hold off and call it The Sound Of Perseverance.

One of my favorite songs is "When The Link Becomes Missing". What's the story behind that one?
That song is actually about the Internet. I just feel people are really obsessed with the Internet. People are always talking shit, and there's just a lot of garbage on there. People just spend too much time on there. Basically, if the whole computer thing goes down, or a big virus takes over, that link will be missing that people will be a part of now. People are obsessed with being on there and talking. I think a lot of people's lives revolve around that now and if something were to happen, I think people would be in a state of limbo. That's when the link becomes missing.

Do you feel like the Internet plays any type of role for heavy metal?
I think it's good that the record labels have stuff on there that people can read. There is naturally a good side to it, but the not-so-good side is very powerful as well. There's too much power in too many peoples’ hands, and unfortunately, the problem is if people believe everything they read on the Internet whether it's part of a record label’s website or just any Joe Blow putting their own website on there.

The songs seem to tie in together lyrically. It's just all about reality, all about life. Do you think Control Denied will play an impact on Death in the future?
Well, I'm definitely concentrating on Control Denied now. In fact, I'm already writing for the next Control Denied record right now. Death is on hold so Control Denied is definitely my priority right now as far as music goes.

Really? Do you think you might not do another Death album?
That's actually a really good question. I'd like to say ‘never say never’, but I can't say it's gone for good right now. What I can say is that I am only concentrating on one band at a time right now and Control Denied is definitely that band.

So you’d like to tour with Control Denied?
I definitely hope so. That would be really nice.

Any ideas who you'd like to take on tour with you again?
I would really like to get on a big tour with a band like Iron Maiden or someone where our music would reach a lot more people. I think that's really the next step for a band like Control Denied. That's what I'd really like to see happen.

I saw you with Hammerfall in L.A. last year, I think heavy metal is coming back in a big way.
I do, too. The L.A. show was proof of that. Actually, I think that was probably one of the best shows of the tour.

How did people react to Hammerfall during the tour?
Excellent, every show was a success for Hammerfall. I really think that tour was very important for America, because there just aren't a lot metal shows touring America right now, or last year for that matter, and I think that there's a lot of fake music out there that corporate America is calling metal, like Korn, Limp Bizkit, and all that crap. It's not metal at all. So for Death and Hammerfall to tour together last year was more like a wake-up call just to let people know this is metal, here we are, like it or not.

How are you feeling nowadays? Are you up for touring, or do you have to wait for a while?
Actually, I have to wait awhile. It's very hard because now I would normally be getting ready for a tour. I have to go back to New York in December to get X-rays and to see how thing are going with this tumor. Right now, I'm just doing press and waiting for the record to come out. I'm just at home right now and will continue writing music for the next one.

With the way you feel right now, do you feel like your health has an impact on your songwriting?
It definitely has an impact. We'll just have to wait for the next record to see what kind of an impact it has on me. I am very happy with the new songs and I think they are very strong. They definitely have a certain feel to them. Hopefully that will come across. I'm hoping if anything, that stuff like that will make certain things in life stronger.

What do you think metal will be like in the new millennium?
I hope a hell of a lot better than the last one. (laughs) Metal basically went through hell in America. The trends really hurt metal. People need to be educated in America as to what metal is. Metal is not Korn, or Limp Bizkit. It's just not metal. People will disagree with that, but I have been playing and listening to heavy metal for 14-15 years now, which is a long time, and I think it's up to the bands who have been fans for a long time to start trying to do as much as we can. I'm lucky to be in a band and that I can play music to help make a difference.

Do you think Control Denied or Death will start being the leaders of heavy metal?
If any of those bands can do it, I hope Control Denied can. Hopefully Death can keep things going but I think Control Denied will reach a lot more people. I think it will keep Death fans in there at the same time. I'm hoping for really good things for this record, hopefully a lot of people
will hear it.


to talks

EmptyWords-Published on February 16 2002