Webzine: Unchain The Underground
Article: Interview with Chuck

Written by: Al Kikuras
Commentary and transcribtion: Piston Rod
Published: summer 1998

If you don't know who Death is you should be ashamed of yourself. It was an absolute honor to talk to Chuck Schuldiner for me, so much of an honor that I don't want to ruin it by writing a long, stupid intro. We were supposed to have 30 minutes, but it actually ended up being around 45... we got off the beaten path for a bit and just started talking about metal as two fans rather than interviewer and interviewee. That was, as Chuck is so fond of saying as you will find out, "killer." Thanks to Maria from Nuclear Blast for hooking this up... read on and enjoy!


Al Kikuras: The new album is amazing, I just wanted to tell you that starting off.
Chuck Schuldiner: Thank you! You got it?
A: Yeah. I got it about a month ago.
C: Great!
A: I don't have the lyrics, unfortunately.
C: Unfortunately, they couldn't put the lyrics in at that point, which I was a little disappointed in, but as long as people have the music.
A: Yeah, it's absolutely phenomenal.
C: Cool, thank you very much!
A: Let's just get started. Is it true that the album has a completely different line-up than the demo of the new material?
C: Well, the only difference in the demo is that Steve was on the demo that we had for the songs that we sent out. Other than that the drummer, guitar player, Shannon, Richard. Scott wasn't in at that point, who I had performed with in Control Denied. Basically, as soon as me and Steve knew that our schedules weren't going to work, between ours and Sadus and a bunch of stuff he had going on out there, I called Scott up, like I said who plays bass in Control Denied, and said, "Look. The position is open. Before I look elsewhere, it's yours if you want it." Scott was like, "Hell, yeah." So, he jumped right in and basically kicked ass, and every things been going killer ever since. It worked out really cool. Like I said, I've worked with Scott before. That was like the ultimate situation, totally. Unfortunately, Steve's schedule is just... he's a busy guy, and unfortunately it didn't work. We still keep in contact, and he's still a great friend.
A: That's great. It seems you always manage to find musicians that are absolutely top notch, especially in the metal genre. What is the process you go through when you are auditioning people? I guess you are extremely selective. That much is apparent.
C: Yeah, uh, I tell you, I have been very blessed with just letting metal take it's course. Not to sound cliche, but let life take its own course. I hook up with these guys in Florida, basically through other people. You know, people knowing these people and knowing other people. Just, I am very selective, definitely, and luckily I didn't have to go through a bunch of line-ups, or a bunch of auditions I should say, for Control Denied or Death. It worked out great, that's why I brought Scott, Shannon, and Richard also, who is going to be part of Control Denied into Death.
A: All three?
C: Yeah, because basically these are killer, killer people to work with. Top notch musicians as well as people that are all from Florida. Instead of flying in people from 5000 miles away like I've done in the past. It feels really good to have that home base lineup going. It makes such a difference. For this record we got to rehearse normally, every week. We get to hang out. We get to go out and drink beers and raise hell just like everyone else does. It feels killer, its like a really, really good feeling.
A: You have stated in the past that you felt good about the line-ups on the albums... Symbolic and stuff like that, but it didn't work out. Do you feel the same way about this group?
C: Yeah, but even more so, because those line-ups were very... it's very hard to keep bands like Individual Thought Patterns or that mode going when everyone basically lived outside of Florida. It's just very difficult to keep that going, it's very expensive. It's very difficult to rehearse. We'd go months without rehearsing, which is insane. It's very hard to maintain that, to keep the machine oiled, the musicians being the machine. With this it's just been killer. I've been jamming with Scott and Shannon for over two years now, like I said, in the Control Denied era into the Death. Richard has only been in the Death line-up, but I also recruited him as well for the Control Denied album which we are going to record after we are done touring for Death. So basically, it's been killer. I've been very lucky. I believe, like I said, in life taking its course, and meeting the right people in the right time. That's basically how this line-up came together. I didn't put out ads. I didn't even want to go that route.
A: Well, word of mouth probably spreads like wildfire when you are looking for members.
C: Yeah, exactly. As soon as Richard heard I was looking for a drummer, he was the first drummer and the last one I auditioned. He came in, crushed, and I was like that's it, its done. It was actually that easy. It's all been good. I'm so psyched. I think the record speaks for itself. I think that people were surprised that I didn't get big named people. Big names have nothing to do with being talented.
A: That much is obvious.
C: Yeah, you know. So, for me it didn't matter. I didn't think twice about it. About looking for people that were from Florida that were never on records. I could have cared less, really. What matters to me are that people are good as people and good as musicians. If you get those two combinations, then you are set.
A: Yeah, one of my concerns was filling Gene Hoglan's shoes, because he is phenomenal, but the first tune, "Scavenger Of Human Sorrow," with just the beginning... my worries were gone. Just the way you started it off.
C: Yeah, I specifically knew when we got that song done, I knew. I told everyone, "This is going to be the first track." I knew that spoke an immense amount of conviction. If there were any doubts, they would be resolved within a few seconds if not, a minute or two. By the time you are in the chorus of that one there is no doubt, as far as I'm concerned. That's what I felt anyway. I knew basically that if I was feeling that, the fans would hear it too.
A: Absolutely. Is Control Denied going to be on Nuclear Blast as well, do you know?
C: Ahh, yes. That is what we are talking about right now. We are finally getting to that. Death has been such a full time thing. As soon as I got that together. I haven't had a chance to talk to them about anything else, but now I'm starting do discuss that, which they are extremely interested in. I'm really psyched about that, that's gonna crush as well. Control Denied, the best way to describe that is: taking off exactly where Death is, what Death is about musically. Extreme metal, extreme as far as extremely melodic, extremely aggressive. The biggest difference is the vocals and the name change. I recruited a killer singer, Ken Amar from America; a great singer in the lines of a Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford type of vocals. That's the fifth element that is missing from Death. That's why I formed Control Denied, because in Death people expect a certain vocal style, so they are going to get that, but at the same time for the past three records, at least, I have wanted and kept hearing the other melody that is in my head and that is with the vocals. Like I said, I didn't want to do that with Death, because it wouldn't be Death. That's basically the big line that I cross over for Control Denied, was bringing that fifth element in. It's gonna crush, that's a promise.
A: I believe it. You did it somewhat on "Painkiller" as well, with your vocals there.
C: Yeah, you see, I got to get away with it on that one. For one thing I think it shocked a lot of people, but basically that's what I prefer singing. To sing melodic you can express yourself in so many different ways, it's endless. It's like an instrument at that point; like a guitar. That's where a lot of the melodies come in for Death, through the guitar work, because it kinda makes up for a lot of the vocals that I am not hearing. A lot of the melodies in Death are actually vocal lines that I am hearing. So, the guitar has been a very important link into the melodic direction that the music has been takin for years and years. But, yeah, "Painkiller" I got away with it. It wasn't a Death song so I got to bust it out and have a great time.
A: Were you like singing in the shower when you realized you could hit those notes; like walking around the house singing "Painkiller?"
C: (laughs) Well, basically for Control Denied, when I was presenting the material to Tim and stuff, I would demo stuff off for him, so I got a lot of practice singing with Control Denied. Yeah, basically all my life I grew up listening to traditional metal. Just like anyone else, being in the car singing along. I've always had that side, but I could never put it into Death and get away with it. So this is like my chance to say, "Okay, here it is." And it's great. I had a blast doing it!
A: Is Control Denied going to be your new direction now, or are you still going to continue with Death as well?
C: Death will always be a part of my musical heritage and future as well, but for me Control Denied is the best of both worlds. I get the musical approach of Death, because musically I am extremely thrilled with where Death has moved to throughout the years. I am totally satisfied with that, but Control Denied is that whole other realm of just... man for years now it's been very frustrating because I am hearing something that I am not able to put down on top of music. So, for me Death will always naturally be, no pun intended, alive because the music is always going to continue no matter what band, whether it's Death or Control Denied. People are always going to hear the standards that they expect from Death in whatever I'm involved in, because the way I write is the way I write. It's very difficult to simplify writing, because if you simplify things for me it's compromising, and there is no compromising when it comes to whatever music I'm involved in. It's against my religion, basically.
A: Well, you seem obviously excited about the new Death, but it seems like Control Denied is almost your passion as far as the vocals. If Control Denied takes off, and does as well as Death does or better, do you think you might stick with Control Denied? It seems like you are expressing something there that you couldn't express in Death and it's almost frustrating you.
C: Yeah, it's very frustrating. I don't think people expected this band to last almost 14 years now. The thing is, the music has really, really evolved massively from the first record, if you put Scream Bloody Gore on and The Sound of Perseverance on.
A: Yeah, that's obvious. It seems each album, it almost reminds me of Voivod in that sense, if you take the Voivod stuff until they kind of regressed back to simpler times. Each album you could hear that progression, you could hear that growth, you could hear the new ideas.
C: Yeah, absolutely, and it's very frustrating to have that one element holding it back. My whole attitude with music is to not be held back. That's why it was so frustrating.
A: Provided Control Denied does as well, and you still feel Death is holding you back will you ever lay Death to rest? No pun intended...
A: (laughs) It could possibly happen sure. I've got material written for Death beyond this album, you know, riffs and stuff on tape. So, who knows. There could definitely be another Death album somewhere in the future. I definitely never say never. I have to say that right now, but Control Denied has massive potential to definitely go beyond what Death is doing. Music wise, especially because I won't be singing, has enabled me when I wrote that music to not worry abut having to sing. It gave me freedom. I wouldn't take anything back as far as my time away from this whole Death thing, because it improved me as a guitar player, I feel immensely. Just concentrating on playing guitar for Control Denied, just working on that material. The time off was extremely valuable to me.
A: Is there a unifying concept between the songs on the new album?
C: Uh, well basically, in a way, yeah. You know, reality linking everything together, every song is about things we can all relate to, personal things I've gone through that other people I know, for a fact, go through out there. That's what links it all together. The pure reality of it all. I think that is what is so real about this record. It's real, musically and lyrically. There is no bullshit on this album, there is no trend following. It is all on the traditional path with respect to real issues and real music, and I think they go hand in hand. There are a lot of different emotions put into the music and lyrics on this album. Everyday emotions: pain, happiness, sadness, challenges, aggression...
A: Definitely anger.
C: All that is part of being a person, and dealing with reality.
A: Are you still in touch with any of Death's former members, aside from Steve as you mentioned earlier?
C: Just basically Steve and Gene. I'll run into Bobby every once and a while, off of Symbolic, but that's basically it. Everyone else, I have no idea what's going on.
A: What do you think of Gene's work with Strapping Young Lad?
C: I think it's killer. I was disappointed with the Testament. I read an article, they told him to hold back, they didn't want someone going crazy. In my opinion, why have someone as killer as Gene if you're not going to let him go crazy? That's what people expect, Gene is killer. I think it was a shame to hear him held back. They could have gotten any drummer to do that record, but I think they kinda wanted a name. As a fan of Gene's, I think what he is doing in Strapping Young Lad is far more fitting, and I think Devin is a great artist, a great song writer and singer. I think Gene hooked up with a real cool person.
A: Yeah, I agree. Are you able to make a living from music at this point?
C: Ahhh, barely. I pay my bills, I live a normal lifestyle, a non-extravagant lifestyle. I have a modest house, a Toyota. (laughs) I have two dogs, two cats. A normal lifestyle, you know what I mean. I go out once or twice a week. Nothing outrageous.
A: Are you able to sit home and play all day?
C: Well, other than taking care of business, yeah.
A: That's nice.
C: I usually end up playing at night, other than the day, because daytime I have to deal with phone calls, and all the...
A: Interviews.
C: Yeah, (laughs) stuff like that. So, night is my music time. Other than listening to metal all day long, I take care of business, like I'm doing now. I wake up, drink coffee, eat a bagel, and just plunge into the day.
A: At what point in Death's career were you able to quit your crappy day job, if you had one?
C: Basically umm, around the Human era. I was able to have an apartment. There is definitely struggling involved, barely making it at times. Still, it fluctuates. In the music business people think, "Wow, when you got records out... ." I hear people saying, "Man, when our record comes out, I'm quitting my job."
(note: The other phone in Al's house rings at this point, really loud. You hear Al pick it up and slide it across the floor and out of the room, "RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRing!!!.")
A: Yeah, fat chance.
C: I don't want to laugh in front of them, because I don't want to crush their dreams, but I just kinda laugh inside and go, "Oh my god!"
A: You should forewarn them.
(note: At this point, the answering machine kicks in, and in the background, Big Tittie Car Wash, one of our writers, can be heard singing "Shalom Alehem," a traditional Jewish favorite, and yelling at the top of his lungs. You can't hear them talking all you can hear is Big Tittie singing. It is very funny and I give Al a lot of credit for keeping it together and not breaking down laughing in Chuck's face. Well, not really in his face as they are on the phone, but you know what I mean. - Piston Rod)
C: They are just in for such a shock. I am open to people, and I basically do tell people that when you are starting out, prepare for the ride to hell and back. This is not a fun business. The only fun is writing and playing music, and being a fan. That's the fun I get out of it. There are a lot of elements that will go against you. Elements that you thought aren't there or wouldn't be there.
A: Well, you said you listen to metal 24 hours a day. What's your all time favorite metal album?
C: My all time favorite metal album? That's a tough one. For me a very crucial album, not just one being a fan, but also a guitar player was probably Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden. That is absolutely a bible of metal for me. That whole time period, 1983 - 84, were two absolutely crucial years of metal for me. As being a fan, and also as being a guitar player starting out at that point. That's basically where my inspiration lies is from the early 80's. Definitely some of the most outrageous crushing records were released. Kill 'Em All, Show No Mercy, Melissa by Mercyfyl Fate.
A: Yeah, I just saw them the night before last.
C: You saw Melissa?
A: No King Diamond. No! I mean Mercyfyl Fate, that is... I'm sorry. Still good, still a great band.
C: Yeah, killer stuff man, and for me a lot of people ask what influences me in today's scene, and nothing, absolutely nothing influences me. My inspiration and influences are all conceived from the early 80's. Absolutely, and that's where it will always be from.
A: Are there metal bands today that you enjoy listening to or admire?
C: Oh, yeah. There are bands I enjoy listening to, absolutely. There is some good stuff going on out there. For one thing, King Diamond, Mercyfyl Fate, new bands like Primal Fear, Hammerfall, Nocturnal Rites, the new Bruce Dickinson solo album is killer. I just picked up a CD by a band called Elegy who I think are from Finland, they are really killer. Good band. I got the new Sinner album, that's a really good album. So, there are some real good records coming out, man. Thank god, because for a while the scene was lagging for a while in my opinion, for real metal.
A: It was pretty dry there.
C: Yeah, it's picking up now. In America it'll pick up real soon. This year is going to be a very big year for the reemergence of true metal. Real metal, not this "Yo motherfucker, jump up and down" shit. Fuck all that.
A: Back to tight pants, instead of baggy pants.
C: Yeah, exactly. Definitely, I think it would be nice to get a tight pants endorsement in there. I'm from that school, man, not this baggy shit.
A: Well, you talk about true metal. I take it you are a Manowar fan as well?
C: Absolutely. A: Who is your favorite guitarist that they have had?
C: Well, I... naturally their new guy is really good. He's real technical and all that. I really enjoy some of the early years. Battle Hymns is a masterpiece.
A: Yeah. (like a lovesick puppy)
C: Into Glory Ride, killer album.
A: That's the Ross The Boss era.
C: Yeah, you know, Ross The Boss was definitely classic. There was something magical about that, but at the same time I think one of the greatest albums that they released also is Triumph Of Steel.
A: Oh yeah, absolutely.
C: Rhino, that drummer, if fucking godly. I freaked out when I bought that album, because I lost hope for Manowar for a little while, and I saw that album and I was like, "You know these song titles sound really good." I was basically going back to the fan way of buying a record, the titles looked cool, the album cover looked metal, and I bought it, and I could not fucking believe what I heard. That record is so heavy, and I really think unfortunately a lot of people didn't get a chance to really be exposed to it. And now they got their old drummer back, which I don't know how that guy is going to pull off the stuff Rhino did.
A: Yeah, he doesn't. I've seen them live twice since they got him back, and...
C: Really, did you? (sounding a little jealous)
A: Yeah, absolutely.
C: Where did you see them at, up north?
A: New York City.
C: Wow. (now he is sounding really jealous)
A: I have been listening to Manowar probably since I was about 8, and the first time I got to see them was twice in one week. Once in New York and once in Jersey, and it was a religious experience.



C: Wow. How did he play that Triumph Of Steel stuff? Did they at all?
A: Um, they did "Metal Warriors."
C: Really?
A: But as far the really fast double bass and technical stuff, he just stayed away from it.
C: Fuck.
A: He doesn't even... in a song like "Blackwind Fire and Steel", you know the double bass in that?
C: Right.
A: He just does kick-snare-kick-snare-kick-snare-kick-snare.
C: No way!
A: Yeah.
C: Man!A: I mean, I'm never gonna badmouth a member of Manowar, because it's Manowar.
C: Yeah, I know. Same here. Scott [Columbus] played on some of the greatest albums they did, but on that album they definitely touched on an element that they were, I thought, missing in a way. But, that's cool. I'm the same way, if I got to see them one day...
A: You still haven't seen them?
C: No.
A: Ahh, wow.
C: Never. Nuclear Blast just signed them for Europe.
A: They signed Manowar? (surprised)
C: Yeah.
A: Ohhhhhhh.
C: So, I've got a connection now!
A: That's good!
C: Like, I'd be happy to sit down and have a beer with those guys. They are fucking awesome man. Definitely.
A: Absolute gods.
C: We are probably two of the very few Manowar fans in America unfortunately.
A: Yeah, there are others. I saw them in New York and they broke the record for attendance at the club.
C: Really?? Killer!
A: And before the show there was a crowd of like 50 people just singing their songs.
C: Excellent!
A: Like just all together as a group. It was phenomenal.
C: That's awesome!
A: So, do you think you might get to tour Europe with Manowar?
C: Oh man, that would crush!
A: I would freak out, I would love to have Manowar bust out a tour in America.
C: Oh yeah, absolutely. Basically, what I would like to see happen in America is for a metal festival to tour. You know, being real metal. Manowar, Death, bring over Primal Fear, Hammerfall, have Maiden get Bruce back in and tour.
(both laugh)
C: I wouldn't mind having Bruce come out, because his new album is killer.
A: You're not a fan of Maiden's new vocalist either?
C: Pfffffffs!!
A: Yeah, it seems no one that was an old school Maiden fan likes them. I'm with ya.
C: I'll tell you what, I'm open minded but, Whoooooo! That guys hurtin'! There's just no getting around it, but actually just to get Bruce out on tour for a big festival, US tour, would be killer, because his new album is killer, man. Very crushing.
A: I better check it out.
C: Yeah, it's coming out September 15th.
A: I hadn't cared for Tattooed Millionaire and the other solo stuff I'd heard, so...
C: Have you heard Accident Of Birth yet?
A: No, I haven't
C: Oh, whooo, you gotta get it man.
A: Alright. I definitely will.
C: Killer fucking record, very heavy. I mean heavier and better then anything Maiden has done in a long time. I was not a big fan of Tattooed Millionaire also, I just basically bought it because I was a fan.
A: Yeah, same thing.
C: Yeah, it's just in my collection. You gotta get Accident Of Birth. Balls To Picasso is also a killer record, and the album is also really killer. If you are a Bruce fan, and a fan of that heavy stuff...
A: I am.
C: Then get it. I met him when I was in Europe recently, and I was completely honored. Being a major fan, I was like, "Whooo", it was killer man. A really nice guy too. Really, really nice. Down to earth. So, I was stoked.
A: Okay, we should probably talk about Death some more.
C: Yeah, probably!
(both laugh)
A: What Death song do you feel most accurately represents what the band is about? Your overall concept, both lyrically and musically.
C: Right now, my favorite song off the new record is "The Flesh And The Power It Holds."
A: Exactly what I was thinking, it's my favorite tune as well.
C: Yeah, I just think that song basically says it all for this band. It's got every element that this band is a part of. As well as "Scavenger Of Human Sorrow," also. That's why I put that song first on the record.
(Al's doorbell rings loudly, twice, completely drowining out what Chuck was saying. Yep, it's Big Tittie Car Wash, tired of waiting for Al to call him back.)
A: Sorry about that!
C: That's OK, what was that, a clock?
A: No, it's the doorbell.
A: Oh, okay. Yeah, so definitely, "Flesh" is... if I was going to pick one song, it would be either "Flesh" or "Scavenger.
A: That song, "Flesh And The Power," especially makes me wish I had the lyrics.
C: Yeah, definitely. Pick up the album when it comes out.
A: I'm gonna.
C: It'll have the lyrics for one thing, plus there is a lot of really good artwork in the record, the cover looks a lot better on the actual proper version. The promo copies that went out look really fucking dark, and they shouldn't look like that. Something in the printing went kinda weird.
A: Yeah, I saw a copy of the cover on the Nuclear Blast web site. It was a lot lighter.
C: Yeah, it's a lot better, a lot lighter.
A: If you don't look really closely at the promo copy, you don't see the guys climbing.
C: Yeah, exactly. I was kinda disappointed about that, but luckily it's just the promo. But yeah, the lyrics are very important man, because especially "Flesh And The Power." That song, for me, was very important.
A: Are their any Death songs from your back catalogue that you will absolutely never play anymore?
A: Oh yeah sure, there is just stuff that will be forever on vinyl or CD that people can listen to. There is too many to try and fit into a set list now. Naturally we have to cater to the newer album. That's just inevitable with any band. This is our seventh record so. There are still songs that we have to play, I feel. Stuff like...
A & C (at the same time): "Pull The Plug."
C: Crucial. That's our "Living After Midnight" song.
A: Will you ever reconsider reworking the parts? It's a good way to get away with it if you are unhappy with the way the music goes.
C: Yeah, that's a good question because, you know, we are going to start busting out "Evil Dead" and "Zombie Ritual" again, and we've updated it. In a good way.
A: You probably get tired of people screaming it.
C: Yeah, you have to play it! Exactly. If people are screaming it that much!
A: I remember I saw you on the Symbolic tour, and there was this one guy who was screaming, (Al goes into a death metal voice) "Zombie Ritualll!!" the whole time.
C: Yeah, and you have to stay true to those people. I'm a fan. I know what it's like going to a show wanting to hear that one killer old song. So, yeah. We're going to bust it out, but it's also ten years later do naturally we want to update it with respect to giving it a little edge of today. We put in some killer double bass and some stuff. Kinda giving it a push.
A: Are you prepared to hear people screaming "Zombie Ritual" at Control Denied shows?
C: Yeah, of course. Unfortunately they will be "Zombie Denied" though. (laughs) It's not gonna happen. When we tour for Control Denied, we will play the whole record of Control Denied, maybe bust out a couple of fun songs. Cover tunes or something just for fun. But basically that album is going to be pretty lengthy so we are going to have enough material to play live. Yeah, but no Death. It's inevitable.
A: The song "Regurgitated Guts" off the first album, was it inspired by the movie The Gates Of Hell?
C: Totally. Basically every song on that album was a gore flick.
A: Are you still into horror and gore?
C: Ahh yeah, but there just isn't a lot of good movies coming out these days. I'm into the more traditional horror movies, like The Exorcist. Stuff like from that era. Stuff that came out in the 80's was killer. These days, I've kinda lost hope as far as bigger scary movies and all that. Everything is Hollywood now. Too computerized, I like traditional effects.
A: I saw The Gates Of Hell when I was extremely young and I got the first Death album when I was really young as well and hearing the lyrics to "Regurgitated Guts", the first line. My reaction to that scene in The Gates Of Hell was really bad when I was younger, and When I heard the lyrics I was really young and it kind of made my stomach queze, because I remember that scene of the people puking up the guts.
C: I guess we did something good then.
A: Yeah, the music has the effect.
C: There we go.
A: Are you a fan of pornography at all?
C: Ahh, somewhat... sure, you know. I definitely can enjoy good porn.
A: We do interviews with porn stars as well, so we always ask.
C: Really?? So you've got the connections, huh?
A: We worked, we worked. Any favorite movies or stars?
C: Uhh, god. I haven't been able to keep up with a lot of the newer stars, like Jenna Jameson and all that.
A: Well, we are old school freaks actually.
C: Yeah, well, I'm more from the Ginger Lynn era (that is Ginger at left). Definitely there are some crushing women from that time period.
A: You describe them the same way as a metal album: "crushing."
C: Yeah. (laughs) The traditional porn. Yeah, I'm from that era as well. I've seen a lot more from back then, then of the newer ones, to tell the truth.
A: You're better off sticking with the ones back then for the most part, unfortunately.
C: Yeah, there were some crushing stuff going on back then. I remember that was part of my heritage of being 15, 16. Definitely, that was a good time period to start watching porn.
A: Early 80's.
C: Yeah, early 80's!
A: It was a golden era. How was the Metalfest this year for you guys?
C: Crushing, one of the best ones we've played as far as the response and the vibe in the air was fucking crushing man. It was killer. To play with Mercyful Fate was also... what can I say? They are one of my favorite bands. So that was like a dream come true. I've been lucky. The first Metalfest we ever played was with King Diamond back in the Scream Bloody Gore times...
A: That's going back!
C: Yeah, the Abigail tour. It was killer. So, to be able to play with Mercyful Fate and the response that we got from people was killer. I think it really said a lot for the state of metal in America, that it is in demand. There are people ready for real metal, and we're out here and we're ready to give it to them.
A: Was the response to the new material as strong as to "Pull The Plug" and the old stuff?
C: Well, basically we didn't get a chance to play anything new at the Metalfest because we were limited on time. In Europe we were playing three songs we were playing "Flesh And The Power It Holds," "Spirit Crusher," and "Scavenger Of Human Sorrow," and it was pretty mind blowing for people, and they were like, "Wow!" They hadn't heard the album yet so that was the first time. That was big songs to play of someone who hasn't heard them before. I think people were very taken back, like in a good way.
A: If you had a choice would you rather have a tiny dick, or huge unsightly balls?
C: (laughs) What a question!! Jeez!! Both are tortured concepts.
A: Well, we like to challenge you.
C: That's a nightmare thought. Jesus. Ahh, god. I'd rather have a well balance of both genitalia. (laughing)
A: (laughing) That's no fun! That's not allowed. You can't weasel out of that one. That's the hardest question of the interview!
C: Cool, awesome. I'll probably have nightmares about that tonight!
A: I'm gonna give the guy who wrote "Regurgitated Guts" nightmares??
C: Exactly!
A: How do you feel the metal scene has grown of changed since you first started Death? I know you feel that it went through rough periods, but do you feel the strengths coming out now are as strong as when you first started?
C: I feel like it's gonna come back in a very vengeful way, with a vengeance, because people are so fucking pissed off man, right now. In America I'm talking. In Europe and everywhere else it's huge. I'm America people are so ready to embrace real metal. They are sick of this stuff going around being called metal in America. It's not metal. If corporate America thinks that, then of course if they think that then they are a bunch of idiots. They are a bunch of corporate morons running around, not even listening to metal, going to shows... they don't even know what's going on. Corporate America is a very powerful, dangerous thing. Luckily, there are metal-freaks, like you and me, and probably everyone that's going to read this. People I hang out with, my friends, we all are ready to see it come back. It's going to be a beautiful day when it does.
A: Yeah, we'll all sit down and have a beer.
C: Yeah, exactly. We'll all toast to it!
A: Do you have an opinion on black metal?
C: Umm, it's OK. It's not my favorite thing to listen to basically. For one thing, I don't know who's who because they all look the same.
A: They look kinda like King Diamond.
C: Yeah. They are all sounding the same There is a lot of copying going on in that genre. Everyone is an originator, and everyone can't be an originator. No matter what kind of music, you know. It's OK for what it is, I have nothing against it. I just can't keep up with a lot of that stuff. There is so much of it out there. I hear stuff every once and a while through compilation tapes. I don't know, I just prefer more melodic stuff. to be honest.
A: It seems the singing one the new album is a lot higher pitched then in the past releases. Was that a conscious decision?
C: Ahhhh, on Symbolic they got a little higher, a little more varied. On this album they just kinda went from that vibe to a little bit more... not really conscious, but that is where my throat is at right now, my throat basically evolved into whatever it is right now. That is basically what came out, what happened. I'm lucky to have a thoat still, so...
A: Yeah, after 14 years!
C: Yeah, I'm happy if something comes out!
A: I played the album for a lot of people and watched their reaction. And usually it's the drummer, they get taken back, and then go, "Wow, his vocals are a lot higher."
C: Yeah, it's a fresh album, so people are going to definitely hear things that are going to hit them as new, or a little different, and I think once people listen to it, just like with Symbolic, it will be second nature as far as what they are hearing.
A: It seems the production has an almost... dirtier sound than Symbolic, or a lot more raw.
C: With Symbolic, we definitely captured the real essence, I thought. That was our goal, as well as Jim Morris. That is the direction of producing he comes from, having an album that sounds like real musicians played on it. We went with that direction as well [with The Sound...], trying to capture the real sound of drums being recording in a big, killer drum room. The guitars being recorded in a big room... I hate that closet production that a lot of bands are getting... that a lot of producers are GETTING bands, I should say. I am into things sounding real and we went in and just did what we do on this album. We worked with Jim Morrison again which is crushing! We're going to continue working with him throughout Control Denied as well. Absolutely.
A: I am going to name some guitarists. Just give me the first word that comes to mind when you hear each name.
C: Uh oh... that's trouble! (laughs) Go for it!
A: Jeff Beck.
C: Killer! Killer traditional important rock player of the 70's. Big time!
A: Frank Zappa.
C: Killer! Total freak, and I say that in a good way... he did his own thing, didn't care about what anyone thought.
A: Absolutely. I think he could have been a metal player in this day and age...
C: (laughs) Yeah!! There's some crazy stuff going on with them!
A: How about John Cougar Mellencamp?
C: (pauses) Uhhhhh... Yngwie ripoff!! (laughs)
A: (laughing) That wasn't the response I expected, but it was a good one! Steve Vai?
C: Killer player! Definitely original.
A: Mick Mars.
C: Too technical!! (both laugh) Naaaah, I used to like some old Motley Crue. The first couple of albums. Mick's traditional. He's got that traditional rock approach. Not the most technical player, but perfect for what Crue does.... you know!
A: How about Trey Azagthoth from Morbid Angel?
C: Good guitar player. Really killer... has his own style, his own approach... I can definitely respect him for what he does.
A: Okay. Just one last question: Do you have any male friends with girly names that you make fun of?
C: (laughs hard) Not really! That's an interesting question! I've never been asked that one before... I do have one guy. His name is Trudy.
A: (laughs)
C: No, I'm kidding... (laughing), no I don't...
A: Trudy would have been a good one!
C: Yeah!
A: I really appreciate you taking the time for the interview!
C: No problem, man! My pleasure!
A: I am definitely going to see you guys on tour.
C: Definitely! We'll be up there... probably... around the 20th of November.
A: Yeah... you're playing, I think, the Bank...
C: Yeah.
A: No, no no, wait... Coney Island High! That's it!
C: That's it!
A: I got the date... I'll be there!
C: Killer, man! Keep the metal faith!
A: I will!
C: Awesome!!
A: Good talking to you!
C: Talk to you, man!
A: Bye bye.
C: Bye!


to talks

EmptyWords-Published on February 16 2002