We all remember December 13th 2001 as the day death metal lost its greatest influence. Two years after his death, Jane Schuldiner gave us a few minutes to reflect on her son’s career. Here is an interview out of the ordinary… for a musician that was also out of the ordinary.


Magazine: Metallian / France
Article: In Memorium... Chuck Schuldiner

Written by: Fred Pichot
Published: December 2003


Chuck's legend says that he started in music early. How did he start and at what age?
Chuck became interested in music shortly after his 16 year old brother, Frank, was fatally injured in an accident. It had a tremendous impact on Chuck and we were searching for a way to keep his mind occupied. We decided guitar lessons would be good for him that way, and he went for lessons about 6 months or so. He then decided he didn't want to go anymore and that was fine with us, and shortly after that we were driving by a house sale and he saw what turned out to be an electric guitar and asked me if I would buy it for him. I did and discovered it needed amps and we had a good time shopping for those. It became almost a part of Chuck, he played and practiced constantly, getting better all the time. He could listen to a song and play it, it was just amazing to us. Soon he began to write his own, recording it and eventually sharing it with other people who shared his love for his kind of music. Chuck's father and I always listened to current music but also listened to a lot of Elvis, and Chuck liked him also.

When did you realize that Chuck was going to devote his life to the music and what was your reaction?
I knew early in his teen years that as Chuck progressed in his music it was natural that he wanted to start his own band, which we supported 100%. He and his friends and the band spent most of their time for years in my garage with people from all over the state coming to listen. It was a wonderful time for Chuck and he was a man with a mission from then on. He absolutely lived for his music.

Did you know at this period the metal field and what was your judgement about it?
I was not aware of the music put into any particular category, but if I had, it was still Chuck's choice of music and that was fine with us. I grew to like much of it myself, listening to Chuck's albums when he was on tour. We were very proud parents!

Thinking back after that Chuck has left us, how do you analyse the music scene, starting from the support reactions, to the business behaviors wanting to take advantage of this tragedy?
The support from the media and the fans were overwhelmingly wonderful for Chuck's family. It really helped me through the darkest days of my life. As for the businesses and the unscrupulous people out there who have profited off this tragedy, there are no words for the outrage and contempt I have for them. Chuck believed in karma, and hopefully it will work in this situation. If so, there are a lot of people all over the world in big trouble. I do have one last thing to say, if fans and friends did not buy this merchandise, it would not be the unfortunate success it is.

What are the events that have shocked you and which ones really touched you?
The sales of the merchandise by people who profess to be fans and friends are what shocked me the most. The thing that really touched me, and still does, is how much Chuck was loved by so many different people. And that they let me know.

A foundation was created during Chuck's illness. What was its role and what is its objective at this time? Does it still exist?
The Chuck Schuldiner Medical Account was created when so many donations came in from fans after hearing of the denial of a hospital in New York to do Chuck's surgery. They wanted to help and they surely did, spiritually as well as financially. It was erroneously reported in a magazine that the Schuldiner family solicited donations. We did not, it was done by the fans because they loved Chuck and wanted to help, and was much appreciated by Chuck and his family. Yes, it still exists.

Chuck was a perfectionist, working hard and passionately for his music. How was his way of working?
Chuck was a perfectionist up to the very last note he played in his studio near the end of his struggle. He could not be satisfied with less. I know I pleaded with him to please rest at the end, that the music was good enough, and he said good enough was not acceptable for him. He preferred to go into his studio and close the door, no telephones, no interruptions, and he would stay in the studio for many hours at a time, sometimes all night and into the next day. Especially when he was writing for a new album.

Did Chuck analyse his career and manage to share this with the persons who were close to him?
Chuck talked frequently about his career. There were things he would change if he could, of course, but mostly he was proud of his perseverance through the years in doing things his way. He stood up for his individuality and took responsibility for his own music, creating music his own way. That is a direct quote from Tim Aymar, the singer in Control Denied and a very good friend of Chuck. I wrote and told Tim that he indeed knew Chuck very well, I could not say it better myself.

By the way, for taking important decisions, was he the only one, or did he also share this with the persons close to him?
Chuck would talk over decisions with his friends and family but would make his decisions solely in the end on what he felt was the right thing for the band, and that is what he did.

While the Control Denied album was out, this effort seemed to be a self-portrait. Did he speak about this with you and how was his approach to this album?
When Chuck wrote that first Control Denied album he did not know about his illness. A lot of people think he did because of the lyrics, but he did not. Chuck was always what is called a deep thinker, a ponderer, and his lyrics came from his feelings about life happenings and in his own life also, and things he felt was wrong in the world and man's inhumanity towards man. He was a very concerned person for the wronged people in this world, and it saddened him.

For the musicians, friends and metal fans, Chuck career is exemplary. What is your personal view about the Man and the Artist?
I think the man and the artist merged to make the finest person I have ever known. I have never met anyone, before or since Chuck was born and in my life, who cared so much about people, who hurt when others hurt and who stepped in to right the wrongs he saw when he could, who loved his family and friends unconditionally and with total loyalty. In his whole life he never was disrespectful to us, he was our best friend as well as our son. He was a good and sensitive person and the world is a poorer place without him in it. I have boxes of letters from all over the world that tell me of his kindnesses.

What is going to happen with "When Machine and Man Collide", will it take life someday?
That album will be done as Chuck requested or not at all. That music was done at the end of Chuck's life with a struggle nobody else can possibly comprehend. I was there to see that struggle, I know. The promise Chuck asked and his sister made will be kept. This music is a piece of Chuck's heart and soul and his wishes will be honored. This is not about me, the label or the fans or anybody else. It is about Chuck.

Would you like to Share with the metal fans, and readers what you have in your heart and mind, and that you would wish to be published to let people know.....
It is almost two years since Chuck lost his battle against that tumor and he would feel honored, I know, that he is remembered so long by so many. He would be so pleased to know that through my correspondence with his loyal fans and the visits from his friends I have been comforted. They write me and share their thoughts and I answer with mine. Chuck made a comment while he was ill and reading the many emails that came every day. He said they all were like an extended family, and so they are. When Chuck was very ill sometimes the unthinkable thought would come to me of how desolate a world without Chuck in it would be. And that is how it is. He is very much missed and loved each and every day, in many ways.








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Translated by FP/MM for EmptyWords-Published on March 28 2004