Magazine: Rock Hard / Germany
Article: Chuck Schuldiner /
Alle Sympathien verspielt?

Written by: Arno Polster
Published: March 1991

Every Death fan knows that guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner didn't start the European tour with Kreator again. Louis Carrisalez, who initially would go on tour as Bill's drum technician, had to pay for it as vocalist. Bass player Terry Butler and drummer Bill Andrews abandoned DEATH just shortly before the tour started. The two are planning to get things going together with Bill's former band Massacre. What's the matter with Chuck? How does the future of DEATH look like? Those questions were personally answered by Chuck. After several requests I finally got to speak to a very talkative Mr. Schuldiner on the phone.......

Chuck, tell me, how are you doing? Here in Germany everybody is very worried about you.

"I'm fine, I've almost finished making some new songs. Besides, I am trying to clear my name. I don't think the Death fans know at the moment what is going on between me and the band. I am still here. I just came back from Miami where I played some stuff together with the drummer of Cynic (Sean Reinert/YK). He will help me out on the next album because, unfortunately, I don't have a band at the moment.
Thank God I still have some friends in this business standing by me and helping me. It's been a while since "Spiritual Healing" was released so it's about time to make a new album. The new CD will be more sensitive and personal.... yet very hard. At the end of February I will start recording it."

So DEATH will continue to exist?

"Oh, yes!!! DEATH is the only name I can come up with. I gave birth to that name in 1984 and I have every right to it. As long as I make the songs I will continue under this name."

Tell us why you didn't come to Europe.

"A lot went wrong back then. It seemed the whole world was turning against me. Still, as the tour was going for three weeks, I tried to come over. However, Bill and Terry weren't too happy about that. It really hurt me. After all, DEATH is still my band. I really would have loved to come to Europe. At that time I wasn't able to and those two knew. I thought they were my best friends, but I was wrong. At all times musicians are replaceable, friends are not. I am getting sick and tired of the whole matter. Besides, it bothers me the way people look at musicians. When you're in a band you are expected not to have any personal problems. You have to be perfect, without mistakes. However there's a life outside the band. I've been through a lot in the past years and now I hope I've learned from it."

Which personal problems did you have?

"No drugproblems! I had some troubles with some people in the business and some personal problems as well. I came to a point on which I thought everything was doomed to fail. As if the devil was in it! I needed distance to get things in perspective again. The moment however was more than inconvenient."

Your fans were quite irritated you didn't come. After all it wasn't the first time you cancelled.......

"As I said; a few things I see different now and I don't expect my fans to understand me. Thank goodness I still have some friends that do care about me and try to understand my situation. I received some nice letters of people wanting to support me. That helped me! I can expect from the majority of the fans that they shall hate me for it and they shall not understand me. Understanding that I am just a human being like them. People shouldn't try to create an image, a perfect one because you play in a band. We are not rich, you don't make much money with this kind of music. Not enough by far to be financially undependant. Of course I know I have lost a lot of fans, I don't expect them to understand me and if they hate me for it and destroy all my albums, let it be. I merely can tell what happened and when they do understand that's cool, when not, quite rightly as well. I am not a spoiled Rock Star. However some people for unexplainable reasons, do think that way about me. I am a normal, friendly kind a guy. Not a complex personality and not at all "evil". You can get along great with me as long as I am not having a million problems....... I think I am just misunderstood because of everything that happened. Regrettable!!! I remember the times the death metal scene was a lot smaller and everybody knew each other. From that time I still have friends left, real friends, who stand by me at the moment. However, I've lost some too. I have learned to value friendship a lot more."

Speaking of friendship, how's the current relationship with your former band mates?

"I have no idea what the guys think at all. I heard they left some bad words about me on stage though....."

Terry told me you're at home mowing the grass.....

"That's pathetic and pretty unadult behaviour. I just don't get it why he has to react this way. I have done a lot for the band, it amazes me how easily that's been forgotten. They have to start all over again now. They will learn what it takes to survive in this business. Anyway, I won't be the one helping them financially, because I have done that often enough. If I would have gone to Europe, I would have probably lost it. I was at the end of my rope. The US tour was very stressful. Because we don't have a manager, I am always the one being saddled with the problems. Another reason why people look at me as the bad guy, because I take care of the comercial side of the band. When somebody takes advantage of us I am the one to get things back in order again. Then it's always: "what a windbag!". That's always being pinned on me. "Chuck this, Chuck that!" However, I am just asking things normally a manager of the band would do. Like I said, all of a sudden it just became too much for me."

How long have you been touring the States?

"Exactly 2½ months, and we came home very stressed and disappointed. Disappointed because we came across a scene we didn't like at all. I think for a lot of kids nowadays music isn't the most important anymore. They just go to a concert to let go of their aggression. Many of them aren't interested at all in the band and the music. When I go to a gig it wouldn't even occure to me to destroy the bands equipment, let alone disturb the show in any way. At some gigs of our US tour the kids were totally out of control and spitted at us on stage. As a professional musician I just can't appreciate that, I take the music seriously."

Do you know already which musicians will be playing on your next CD?

"Guitar and vox I will do myself of course. I am going to try to get the bassist of Sadus (Steve DiGiorgio/YK). Anyway, it will be a very heavy album with good melodies. A dignified succesor of "Spiritual Healing" and the Death sound will be recognizeable immediately."

I am glad for it because I think a lot of Death fans were disappointed by the December tour. It just was not DEATH on stage!!!

"That's understandable. They probably sounded more like some cover band. After all the vocals are a bands trademark. Still I wish Terry and Bill all the best with Massacre even though I regret the fact I lost the both as musicians as well as good friends."

Arno Polster

to talks

Translated by YK/CM for EmptyWords-Published on October 14 1999