Magazine: Rock Station / Turkey
Article: Interview with Richard Christy

Written and translated by: Deniz Özbilgin
Published: January 2003


Chuck Shuldiner is a very important name for most of us, musically, historically, but also emotionally. Now, a year after his departure to the other side, we take a moment to acknowledge his memory. Our cover used to say, "Some just listen to music… some make music… however, there are some… they create music…" We are adding one more line, to Rock Station's 8th issue, dedicated to Chuck Schuldiner (RIP): "Some will never die…"

It is now almost a year since his departure. Well what has happened in that year? How was this year for Death and Control Denied? We discuss these questions with the drum master Richard Christy, one of the men that felt the pain, the absence and the friendship the most…


Hi Richard. I'm Deniz from Rock Station Magazine - Turkey. What's going on? I hope everything is well.
Hello Deniz, I am doing well, thank you for the opportunity to do this interview!

Lets start our interview. Almost a year has passed since Chuck's (RIP) passing. I know it will be a bit special and personal but how was this year for you, his friend?
It has been very sad, every day I think of my dear friend Chuck. It is hard to say in words how I feel because Chuck was my best friend. We had many great times together and I wish that we could have many more. I listen to his music very often and I think of how lucky I am that I was able to know Chuck and to have made music with him. I miss Chuck very much.


Do you have anything special planned for his first anniversary? A memorial?
I will probably spend the day with Chuck's family. They are very nice people and I talk to them often.

Well, it will be hard for you... Again I will have some personal questions if you don't mind. How did you get the news about Chuck's passing? What was your reaction to the situation? I'm asking these 'cause you are closer than the fans. What did you talk with the other band members? Could you please tell us?
Chuck's sister called me and told me about his passing. I couldn't speak for a moment because I couldn't believe it. Soon after I heard, I called Shannon, Steve and Tim. It was a very sad time and it was very hard to talk with the other band members about it.

After a long and painful mourning period, we came to believe that his passing was a salvation from his pain, and this became a consolation for us. Did you think or feel anything like this?
No, because Chuck wanted very much to live and to make music for many more years. He also loved his family very much and I know that he fought very hard to live. I think Chuck would have fought many more years of pain so that he could live and be with his family and make music. Chuck was a very strong person.


Oh, we were wrong and now after hearing this I'm absolutely upset... We were not as lucky as you are. Unfortunately we didn't meet him so thinking that it was salvation was just a consolation for us...
No, don't be upset. I don't think you're wrong, A lot of other people said the same words also, and it does console us to think that he is no longer suffering, but I know he wanted very much to make music for many more years and that is very sad for me to think about.

Then, have you ever had an idea about what you would do in the future? I mean how your plans with your bands have been affected?
I always hoped that I would be in a band with Chuck and now that he is gone, I would like to see that the new Control Denied album is released, I know Chuck would have wanted that very much.

Yeah, unfortunately this will be without him... We will talk about the new Control Denied album but first of all, Death... What will happen next? As you imagine, fans are really interested in.
I think some of the early Death demos will be released, but I'm not sure.


The name "Death" must be kept alive. Do you have any works related with this now or do you know if there will be any in the future?
Chuck was the founder of Death, so now that he's gone I do not think any works from Death will come out in the future except maybe demos or live recordings.

And, what about Control Denied? We heard that Chuck had finished his guitar recordings before his death and the other members finished their parts as well. Is it true?
Chuck's parts are finished and my drum parts are finished for the new album. Steve, Shannon and Tim's parts still need to be finished. Chuck and I recorded our parts in 2000.

Could you talk about the new album? What will it sound like? Will it be parallel to the first one or will we listen something different?
The music is very melodic and technical. I had a lot of fun playing on the album. Chuck's music is very complex and heavy, I know the fans will love it.

What is its concept?
The title of the album is When Man And Machine Collide. It is a concept of how humans and computers could collide in the future.


Ohh, I'm waiting for it as an impatient fan. What will the lyrics be about?
I haven't read any of the lyrics yet but I think they will probably be about how humans rely on computers and the interaction between humans and computers.

Have you thought about a new or a session member for the tour after new album?
We haven't talked about it yet.

Well, actually we have talked to fans here. Altough they want to see Control Denied on stage, everyone around us said that "nobody can play like Chuck"...
I think that it wouldn't be the same without Chuck, so we probably will not tour.

There is some speculation about some unreleased Death tracks. If it's true, are you planning on releasing them?
I have not heard about any unreleased Death songs, so I don't know if any will be released.


Hmmm... Do you get together with other band members without Chuck? What are you talking about? I mean, what are you saying about Chuck and his memory?
I talk with the other band members often. We share many great memories of Chuck and of the tours we did together. I saw Scott Clendenin, the bass player from The Sound Of Perseverance, last weekend at a bar here in Orlando, Florida. We shared many stories of our tours together and our many great times with Chuck.

We know that Chuck's medical expenses are still paid and Mrs. Schuldiner is in trouble. Would you like to say anything to the fans? How can we help her about this?
You can visit for information on how to get money to the Schuldiner family. There are still many bills to be paid and any help would be greatly appreciated.


We have some projects related to this. The band Solitude and some other well-known Turkish bands who are all die hard Death fans have come together and created a band called DEATH TRIBUTE BAND (featuring: Cidesphere, Cenotaph, Suicide, Bayt Gadol, Lost Infinity, Raven Woods). This two bands will play Death covers...
I would like to say thank you for taking the time to learn Death songs and for keeping the metal flowing! Great!...

On the 13th of December, the first anniversary of his passing this concert will be organized. The important point is that, the profit of this gig will be sent to Jane Schuldiner...
Thank you for helping Chuck's family, I know they appreciate it very much that you are taking the time to help them. I hope the concert goes well, I look forward to hearing about it...

Have you ever heard about gigs like this?
Yes, I have read in many magazines about tribute shows for Chuck. It is very nice to know that the metal community is coming together to help Chuck's family.

If you have a chance to come here, do you want to play with this band in a concert or in studio?
Thank you very much for the invitation, but right now I am extremely busy writing the new Burning Inside album, helping to finish the new Control Denied album, and getting ready to record a new Iced Earth album. But maybe sometime in the future I will see you on tour.


Be sure that they are dying to play with you... Lets turn back to Death again, Live In LA (Death & Raw) and Live In Einhoven were released recently. What do you want to say about these live albums?
I am very glad that people now have a chance to see these shows. It brings back a lot of great memories for me to watch these shows. I had a lot of fun at the Eindhoven festival and I met many nice people there. The Eindhoven show is still the biggest show I have ever played, it was 35,000 people. The LA show was very fun also, the show was sold out and the crowd was amazing, it was probably our best show on the US tour.

And, what do you think about Death, band members and live performance when you listen them in your home or in studio?
I have been a fan of Death since the 1980's. I listen to the Human album a lot. That is my favorite Death album. It is an honor for me to have played in the same band with my favorite drummers, Gene Hoglan and Sean Reinert.

Then, what did you think about your own performance in both of the live albums?
I am very critical of myself, I notice my mistakes and think about how I can practice more to avoid my mistakes. I also notice that on the Live In LA performance I unintentionally play much faster than the albums. I think after we tour for a while the band starts to play the songs faster.


Actually, we think that there are two drummers playing while we are listening to Death or Control Denied. Richard plays kicks and drums, Christy plays cymbals...
Thank you very much! I try to play all of my drums and cymbals as many times as I can.

Have you ever thought like us? If not, it means you have 4 legs and 8 arms...
I wish that I had 4 legs and 8 arms, maybe someday I'll have an operation to attach more arms and legs to me!!! That would be crazy!

Yeah, it will be really crazy! Amazing and incredible! Did you write your own drum parts or was it team work in Death and Control Denied?
Chuck and I practiced a lot together so we both had ideas on drum parts. A couple of songs had drum parts programmed to them before I joined the band so I kind of stuck to some of those parts, but mostly I came up with my own parts.

Now, I have some special questions besides Death and Control Denied. We know that you play in Iced Earth. Do you have any other projects?
Yes, I play in a band in Orlando, Florida where I live called Burning Inside. I have played with them since 1995. The music is very melodic and technical with very heavy vocals. I also practice guitar and write some of the guitar riffs and lyrics for Burning Inside. We have two albums out on Pavement Records. The first album is also available on Stilldead Productions and is also available on the internet at websites like

What are you planing for Burning Inside's future?
We have just finished writing nine new songs for the next album. We are recording demos at my home studio right now and hopefully we will record the new album early next year. The new songs are extremely melodic, fast and technical. I'm very excited about the album. Hopefully Burning Inside will tour after the new album comes out also.


I'm curious about Burning Inside... We couldn't see the technique in Iced Earth "Horror Show," which we saw on The Sound Of Perseverance. Although the sounds are quite different, are you planning on adding progressive elements to the Iced Earth sound?
Iced Earth has been around for a long time, just like Death, so when I joined the band I wanted to play something similar to what the band had done before. Death had been technical and Iced Earth had been more straightforward, so I will probably continue to play in the Iced Earth style.

Besides Iced Earth and Burning Inside, you have also played with Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) and Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) in Demons & Wizards. Recently, we heard about a new album from the band. Are you going to be in the band during the recording session or for the tour?
Yes, I will be recording and touring with Demons and Wizards in the future. I am also flying to Atlanta next weekend to see Blind Guardian. They are doing their first U.S. tour and I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Are there any other bands in which you have been a session member or a tour guest?
In July I recorded the drums for Rick Renstrom's solo album. He is the guitar player for Rob Rock, who used to sing for Impelliteri. The album will be released on Mascot records. In 2000 I toured with my very good friends Incantation. The tour was great and I had a lot of fun hanging out with them.


Richard, we are accepting you as a drummaster. You became an idol for young musicians with your technique. Do you have any special name for your style?
I don't have a name for it but I would maybe call it extreme technical metal drumming.

I mean, many writers define your style as Jazz-Death-Grind crossover. Do you agree with them?
Yes, that sounds like a very nice complement!

We are also interested in your drum education. Do you have any special education like Jazz or do you practice own your own?
Yes, I studied Jazz when I was in school. My music teacher was a great jazz drummer and he taught me many great things and introduced me to many drum instruction books and videos. His name is Willie Abati, I still talk to him when I go back to Uniontown, Kansas where I grew up. He always encouraged me to play drums and follow my dreams.

You have told about your Jazz education and as we know, you are a real metal fan. Do you have any plans about playing jazz in order to play metal?
I like to listen to all kinds of music, but I much prefer to play metal. Playing drums in a metal band is very physical and challenging, and that's what I like about it, because it forces me to practice a lot to keep my stamina up. So I probably will just play metal for now.


And, will you release an educational video about playing drums? There are a lot of people who do that.
If many people ask me for an educational video, then I will maybe make one someday. I would be honored if people would want to learn about my drumming.

That's all for me. Thanx for accepting the interview.
Thank you very much for interviewing me. It was an honor.

An honor for you? Well I'll be damned... Would you like to say anything for our readers, the Turkish fans?
I would like to say thanks for your interest in my bands and my playing. It is very nice to think that people all over the world have heard my music, because I grew up in a very small town of 50 people in Kansas and I never thought that I would be able to tour the world in a heavy metal band. I hope someday to play in Turkey and to meet the fans there. Thank you very much for your support!

All the best of luck in your work. Hope to meet one day. Take care...
Hope to meet you too, thank you very much. Take Care!


to talks

Translated by DÖ/MM for EmptyWords-Published on March 1 2003