Metal Mania video show / Ohio U.S.A.
Conducted by: Brian Harris & Randy Gaines - November 1991

Transcribed from videotape & edited by:
Perry M. Grayson in 2001




Brian Harris: How long has Death been together, and who was the original lineup?

Chuck: Death has been together since late 1983. We started it, actually, under the name Mantas, and broke up about 4 months after that. I wanted to reform a new band with a new lineup called Death. I unfortunately had to resort to my old members once more, Kam Lee and Rick Rozz. We put out a few demos-about four actually. I got rid of that lineup. It was a mutual split. Let's put it that way. I then went out to California about late '85 and got signed to Combat Records with a friend of mine, Chris Reifert, on drums. That pretty much kicked things off as far as the records.

Brian Harris: Is there any reason for all the lineup changes?

Chuck: Not including Chris in this, 'cause Chris is a great guy, but as far as the other members? Unfortunately I have bad luck getting people who are just lame or have some sort of problem in one way or another. You know, it's hard to find the correct people who are going to be professional and that are gonna be true to the sound. This band has a certain sound, and I can't deal with anyone who's gonna keep us back from improving. It's definitely a tough business to be in. You get judged because of things like that. With lineup problems people automatically assume you're some kind of egomaniac. That's just not how it is. You know, there are a lot of people that go through lineup problems. I always like to refer to King Diamond, who I have a lot of respect for. Naturally, I like when a band keeps a lineup, but as long as they keep the same sound, then I'm just concerned with that. And then putting out good music. I think Death has always stayed true to the music, and I think that's what it really comes down to.

Brian Harris: What was the reason you chose the musicians you did for Human over anybody else?

Chuck: Well, it just worked out great because after the falling out of the previous lineup-I've known Sean (on drums) and Paul (on guitar) for quite a few years. They play in the band Cynic. They still have Cynic going actually. They took time out to help me on Human along with Steve DiGiorgio from Sadus. We had a really good time. It was great. We are all friends, and we had a great time partying, rehearsing, and recording with Scott Burns. It was a really great situation to be in. We got a new bassist, Skott Carino, 'cause Steve is full-time in Sadus. So, it worked out just fine. I'm really grateful to the people who have helped me get this out and stuff.

Brian Harris: Is there any reason for the change in lyric writing from the gory stuff on Scream Bloody Gore to now?

Chuck: Defintely. When I wrote those early lyrics, especially on Scream Bloody Gore, I was 18 and thought a lot differently. And the gore was really the thing I wanted to get across. I always wanted to avoid the Satanic deal, 'cause I'm not into that. So, gore was cool for a couple of albums, but to be taken on a serious level, I think you need to write stuff that people can relate to. People can't relate to a zombie eating somebody's arm off or something. It just doesn't happen in real life. So, I like dealing with real life situations.

Brian Harris: How long have you been playing guitar, and have you had any private lessons?

Chuck: I've been playing for 8 years, and I'm self taught. I took lessons for about a week. It got kinda boring. I just wanted to go my own direction. I didn't want to learn someone else's style. I wanted to hopefully try to achieve my own, which I think is definitely important.

Brian Harris: How's the tour going?

Chuck: It's going cool. We're having a good time. The bands get along great. No problems whatsoever.

Brian Harris: When did it start?

Chuck: It started about 2-1/2 weeks ago. This is our ninth or tenth show. Our next show is in Chicago, and we're gonna play a couple of shows in Milwaukee. So, all these are gonna be really big, cool shows.

Brian Harris: How come there were no t-shirts last year? You came back and there were still none!

Chuck: Our merchandiser screwed us over. We didn't get our merch when we were supposed to. It was unfortunate for the fans and for us, 'cause that's what we survive on. It definitely hurt.

Randy Gaines: What prompted the label change?

Chuck: Combat, In-Effect...several division of Relativity joined. Combat was the metal one, In-Effect was the trippy-dippy alternative type stuff. I guess Relativity decided it was time to clean house, get rid of all the side labels and just become one label with different types of music rather than trying to cater each side label to each type. It's just more organized this way. Hopefully it's for the best. I don't know. We'll find out.

Randy Gaines: How are they treating you?

Chuck: We've got a lot of complaints. You know, no label treats anyone decently it seems these days other than our label in Europe, Roadrunner. They're gods. I mean they're treating us great. I totally worship those people. They've been really helpful, and I think that's what a label should be-and not cheap.

Brian Harris: Being you're one of the originators of death metal, what influenced you to write that type of music?

Chuck: Bands from the early 80's such as Anvil, Mercyful Fate, Exciter, Raven, Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost. All the early stuff that I feel lucky to have been a part of 'cause these days people are growing up on a lot of crap. I'm sorry, but it's true. Nothing against anyone. It's just that there's too much generic stuff out there right now. There are bands out there that think you're wimpy if you put talent into your music. That you have to be noisy almost. That doesn't make any sense. I'm sorry, I hate to break it to those bands, but they're never gonna get anywhere on their own. I want to keep improving, but yet remain sincere to what we started out with. And that is an aggressive form of music, yet put in talent and melody. That's what I want to get across-what we are able to do, and hopefully what we're able to improve on from one album to the next.

Brian Harris: What do you listen to nowadays?

Chuck: A lot of different stuff. Queensryche to Watchtower to Kiss-older metal still, which I worship.

Brian Harris: Classical?

Chuck: I like some classical. I'm really open minded to a lot of stuff. The band Lush I really like, and Spandau Ballet. Whatever... Possessed, Slayer. I like heaviness and I like stuff I can relax to. 'Cause you know I'm always in a different mood, which everyone is. And I think it's a good habit to have different types of music to break away to.

Brian Harris: You had Pestilence on tour with you last time. What made you take them out again?

Chuck: We're labelmates in Europe, and that worked out really cool. Their album was kind of put out at the same time. They're really cool guys. We get along great. We had a good time last tour. It works out good. I like them and their music.

Brian Harris: Why the album title Human? Is there a concept behind it?

Chuck: It definitely deals with things everyone has to relate to or deal with, being human. I think a lot of times people forget that people in bands are human. You know we all are capable of making mistakes. And unfortunately, when we do, we're looked down upon in a weird way by the public. I've made mistakes. I've done things I had to do that don't make sense to people, but instead of people assuming I'm a jerk for doing it they should think "Well, maybe he has his reasons." So, really it ties in with that. How I've been totally misperceived by the business, the public eye I should say. It really has a lot of different meanings. I think I speak on behalf of a lot of bands when I say we have problems we have to deal with, just like anyone else. I'm not rich just 'cause I've got albums out. I'm still struggling to survive. Right now I'm living at home temporarily. It's just a normal life. Not the business part, but we all lead normal lives just like everyone else.

Brian Harris: Any problems from the PMRC or anything like that?

Chuck: No, not yet really. It's amazing, I thought in the beginning...I guess it really wasn't that popular, so it didn't get brought up in the public eye.

Brian Harris: What did you mean when you said in your liner notes "This is more than a record to me. It's a statement. It's revenge"?

Chuck: Just referring back to how I have such a bad rap within the public it seems. Or as far as people automatically assuming that 'cause there are lineup problems I'm a jerk. And ex-members being asked to leave the band-all say that in a nice way-and then seeking revenge by lying about me. And unfortunately people want to believe the worst. They don't say "I doubt that's true. I should just wait and find out for myself." They don't say that. They're just like "Wow, really? He's an ego monster?" You know? That's a drag. There were so many people before Human came out that said I was no longer in the music business. Or I was gonna form a glam band, or I was in a mental institution. These are all lies, vicious lies. It's scary, 'cause people believe them. So this album is a big slap in the face to all the people out there who really tried to bring me down.

Randy Gaines: Any closing comments?

Chuck: Support music, not rumors!


to talks

EmptyWords-Published on February 16 2002