Magazine: RIP / USA
Article: Interview with Chuck

Written by: John Sutherland
Published: post ITP



Chuck Schuldiner is readily acknowledged as the true founder of the U.S. death metal scene and for good reason. His original band Mantas, self-produced a demo called 'Death By Metal', and it was a warning cry for what was to come. Slayer had touched on death as subject matter but was intent on incorporating the speed element in their music at all times. By contrast, Chuck decided to explore a form of music that was loathed by the industry and barely had a foothold at all in the U.S., but make it more diverse while still retaining the intensity. There was more of a death movement taking hold abroad, however thanks to Venom.

"If you listen to my early demos", Chuck told RIP, "you can hear the Venom influence". Chuck only used his influences, which also included more traditional interests like Kiss and classic metal, as a launching pad to start his own sound. He inspired a myriad of bands that would share his same surroundings in Florida as residence, the now legendary Morrisound Studios and producer Scott Burns. The Death catalog is a blue-print for the development of modern death metal, with each release - Scream Bloody Gore (1987), Leprosy (1988), Spiritual Healing (1990), Human (1991) and Individual Thought Patterns (1993) - reaching new listeners. Chuck's influence on the scene caused respected journalist Mike Gitter to confess in the pages of RIP in 1992: "Chuck Schuldiner has turned Death's ugly disease into a ghastly art. The grunt of a generation. Death, whose grungy bombast made Slayer seem hygienic by comparison. They're the Led Zeppelin of death metal, with mainman Schuldiner as both Plant and Page. He's the super-tuned-down, polyp-shredding, 24-year-old godfather of the genre". Chuck has held fast his vision despite a parade of musicians who passed through the band over many years. Many agree to join or help Chuck out because of their reverence for what he helped establish.

"Making death metal is not about getting out of a limousine. It's crucial to stay down to earth to get your message across", believes Chuck. "I know some people will think I'm an angry person, because of the nature of the music and the business, but I've learned to separate two". When extreme forms of entertainment are criticized, it is generally when someone tries to live out these horrific stories in real life instead of appreciating the art form.

"I know the lyrics do effect people", Chuck admits, "and as the band has advanced, I've tried to sing more about reality and be more understandable sonically. I want to stay fresh and be able to keep growing".

"When the death bands started out, a lot of bands got screwed and that really bothered me. Music is such a big part of my life and many other people's lives that to see good bands brought down really bothers me. It took us three years between the last two albums and that was too a long time. It definitely inspired some of the new lyrics". Certainly the legacy of death metal would be nowhere near what is today without the genius singing, songwriting, guitar playing and fertile imagination of Chuck Schuldiner. Every album that Death has birthed has been another step forward for the entire genre.


to talks

Edited for Empty©Words 04-01-07