Answered by Jane Schuldiner
for EmptyWords

The Man | The Music | The Gear | The Band | Miscellaneous | Notes






Is it possible to visit Chuck's gravesite?
[Jacky & Alain]
Many people all over the world ask that question. Chuck wanted to be cremated and we followed his wishes. A final resting place has not been chosen at this time, but when we do choose it, I will let the fans know at the emptywords site.

What do you think Chuck is looking at now?
For myself, I think Chuck is all around the places and people he loved so dearly.


Did Chuck ever talk about God?
Yes, he did, frequently. [Note: that's all Chuck's mom wants to say on this subject, EW]

What was Chuck, like, religion wise? Was he spiritual at all?

Yes, Chuck was spiritual. [Note: that's all Chuck's mom wants to say on this subject, EW]

What about that Chuck´s amulet he used in his neck. What does it mean? [Schmidt]
I know that the amulet comes from the sea and that it was his favorite since he was wearing it in almost every picture, but I don't know the significance of that. I wish I had asked him. I'm trying to find more information on it.


Hello. Did Chuck have any girlfriend that he was really close to? He probably had lots of girlfriends but were there any important women in his life besides you and his sister? Thanks. [Ivusa]
Chuck had in his life a lovely lady by the name of Kim whom he loved very much.

Can you name some jobs that Chuck had before he made a living as a musician? I am curious to know what things in his life had an impact on his music writing. [Doug]
In his early teens Chuck worked at a place by the name of Dell Taco, at least I think that was the name. He worked there for just a few months. He hated it with a passion! Since he was very involved with his music by that time, we asked him to just concentrate on that.

What were Chuck's other hobbies besides guitar?
[Victor Hugo]
Chuck collected memorbilia concerning his favorite bands, and he also collected records. He had over a thousand of them. Also he collected guitars and antique violins.

What are Chuck s favorite books, especially in music and philosophy? [Mahyar]

Hello Mahyar. I looked at Chuck's collection of books and here are some of the authors, he had a wide range of interest, I found. Maurice Sendak (Chuck's all time favorite from childhood on) Joseph Murphy, Leo Buscaglia, James Herriot, official biographies of bands he liked, such as Iron Maiden and Kiss, among others, Caroline Knapp, Aristole, Socrates, Nietzsche, and Steven Baker. I have to look further for his books on music. There are still rooms in his house I have not gone through.

Many metal musicians have gone through struggles and addictions with drugs. What did Chuck think of this, and what did he think of drug users? Thanks. [Andrew]
Chuck was not judgmental in any way of anybody's choices, and he was sorry when he heard of such struggles. He did not think it belonged in his music.




At what age did Chuck start playing guitar? Did he take lessons or teach himself?
[Victor Hugo]
Chuck started playing at the age of 9 years old. His 16 year old brother had just been killed in an accident and we bought him a guitar, thinking it would help with his grief. He took classical lessons for less than a year, but didn't like it, so he stopped. Then we saw an electric guitar at a yard sale and I bought that for him and he absolutely loved it. After getting him amps, he never stopped playing, writing and teaching himself.

How many hours a day did Chuck play guitar as a teenager? [Jan Nalaskowski]
Chuck was in the garage or his room playing his guitar just about all day on Saturday and Sunday but was limited to three hours on weekdays when school was in session.

I wanted to know so much about Chuck. He's played a role in my guitar life that I just can't explain. He's truly one of the greatest and most creative guitarist's to compose music. Still being a teen, I would like to know if you could tell me how old Chuck was when he started playing gig's (in bars or other places)? [Kresho]
Chuck first played in public in his early teens, I think about 15 or 16 years old. It was not with his later bandmates, though.

Did Chuck always plan on being a heavy metal musician?
[Victor Hugo]
Yes, though he loved all music, from the time he was 12 or 13, heavy metal was his passion. He formed his first band and they practiced in my garage shortly after that. Chuck's earliest music influences were Billy Idol and Kiss. I used to take him and his friends to their concerts before he was old enough to go by himself. I had to stay in the back of the room, I understood it wasn't "cool" to have your mom there.

Hey emptywords team... greetings "metal mom". Here's just a point of view/idea that I thought I would share. Frankly... I believe I saw history repeating itself with chuck's passing and I honestly don't know whether to feel honored or saddened to have witnessed this. Amadeus Mozart is arguably the greatest muscian to have ever lived... right? (This realization came much more after his death, of course)... however... when his time came... he died a shameful death... sick, weak and broke. His body was tossed in a hole dug in the ground for beggars and the sick. Most people do not know his exact burial site to this day. Now we have a man called Chuck Schuldiner who was definitely beyond the average musician... a pioneer breaking limit after limit as an artist and musician... a genius in his own right... passes away in a hospital bed very much in the same vein as Mozart... weakened by disease, financial assets taken away, abandoned by the world... left only with his family, his fans and his music. Of course the world either denies or dismisses Chuck's achievements at this time because it hasn't realized... or better yet... it hasn't BEEN TOLD what has been lost. I believe that in the future Chuck's memory will receive its proper dues and respect from everyone who claims to know anything about metal, music or guitar. There is a difference here though that cannot be overlooked. Despite the battle against Chuck's illness... he fought till the end, never giving up... Mozart did not put up such a struggle... Comparing Chuck vs. Mozart is not really fair because they definitely were two different sides of the same coin. However... more >> 19

As an artist, what advice do you think Chuck would give to musicians and other creative people about following their dreams? [Victor Hugo]
I know Chuck would first tell them it is a very hard life, to be aware there are many vultures out there waiting to cheat you, to get a good manager you can trust, and then know that it is rare that a lot of money will ever come your way, and especially, ignore rumors. Be aware, always. Knowing all that, Chuck persevered and followed his dream. He dearly loved to play for his fans, for the sheer joy of it. Chuck talked about this a lot, and he told me it was all worth it, but if he could have skipped the record labels and just played for the fans, he would have been a happy man.

As a huge fan of Death/Control Denied, I have taken great inspiration from Chuck’s music, his guitar playing and vocal style. I wonder whether there any Death tribute bands that you know of, because I am interested in starting one. What do you think Chuck would have thought of people garnering such inspiration from his music? [Gareth Piper]
There are many tribute bands out there. I know Chuck would be very pleased for being such an inspiration from his music. When fans wrote to tell him that, he was so pleased, and really in awe that his music was the cause of that inspiration. Chuck really was a humble person in that way.

I have a very deeply felt question about Chucks music as it has changed my life in such a spiritual way. In the song "See Through Dreams" Chuck says in one part "Through dreams I obtain The ability to connect sight with sound". I was wondering if Chuck had quite literally mastered the abiliy to 'See' his music as well as hear it in his imagination. I have had similar experiences where I have been awake while dreaming (lucid dreams) and composed music, and 'told' my subconscious to 'see' the music as colours whilst hearing in my head. I'm sorry to be asking such a deep question, But I think if this is what Chuck meant in the lyrics it would shed some light on why Chuck's music feels so dreamy and surreal. It feels to me like it was quite literally created straight from his subconscious mind/his soul.
I don't know the answer to this question, I wish I did. I do know Chuck was a philosopher and a spiritual person, he felt things very deeply and his feelings and concerns about life, tragedy, wrongs done to him and other people were all in his lyrics. We talked quite a lot about those concerns and when I read his lyrics now, I see it clearly.

Have you ever considered to make a compilation of Chucks lyrics (not repeating several times the chorus) or some other stuff he wrote, as a book? [Lisandro Ramos]
It was mentioned to me several times but I didn't have the time to pursue it. Maybe in the near future I'll see how to go about it.


It is my belief that Chuck was a modern Mozart EVOLVED... sharper, faster, stronger with never ending perseverance in his life, goals and dreams. ...And so... history repeated itself before our very eyes... taking away yet another incredible person/artist/musician in a most bitter fashion. So my question is... what do you think of all this??? Much love, respect and always keeping the spirit alive!!! [Carlos Delgado]
Yes, comparing the two really is not fair. I have gotten many letters telling me that Chuck is remeniscent of philosophers and poets as well as Mozart. The differences are, of course, great. Chuck was a fighter, and yes, his financial assets were depleted by the illness, but he was not broke and he met death in his own house with his family around him and with as much courage and dignity as he had met the illness. He was not abandoned by the world because his friends, family and fans were there for him every step of the way and Chuck considered himself fortunate because of that. Chuck reaped many rewards when he was still here to realize them, that of the acknowledgement of his worth as a musician and writer by the people named above.

Just by listening to Chuck's music from Death/Control Denied, he had to have loved other musical-styles besides metal (classical perhaps?). Chuck understood melody, as well as harmony, perfectly in his song-writing abilities. So I was wondering if he also enjoyed writing and recording songs that weren't in the "metal" genre? [Paul]
Yes, Chuck did like other musical styles. In his studio he recorded classical as well as jazz for his own enjoyment, I have those CDs. Chuck really liked all music except country and rap. He also wrote and recorded for his father and I a beautiful instrumental piece, with only the guitar. I treasure it.

Looking back on your life with your son, did you ever have a special moment where you've all of a sudden realized how important music was to him? Like a special expression while he played his guitar or the way he talked about his music? [Ben]
Towards the end of guitar lessons that Chuck took when he was 9 years old I knew Chuck had begun to have more than a casual interest in music. His brother Frank had a variety of interest, also Beth, his sister, but Chuck was focused almost entirely on music and began collecting albums at that time. That collection grew to over a thousand. If you know the story, I bought Chuck his first electric guitar at that time, surprised he even knew what one was. Chuck kept that special guitar always and I now have it.



I have been playing guitar for a few years, and I'm trying to learn Chuck's songs. I hope that one day I will be able to achieve his sound. My question springs from this objective. What kind of guitar did Chuck play? [Andrea]
Chuck's nephew, Christopher, said Chuck's guitar specifications were: BC Rich Stealth, one volumn and one pickup.I hope this answers your question. [Editor's Note: Chuck describes his gear a little more in depth in an interview with Pit Magazine.]

Sorry if I'm a bit behind on this one but I would like to ask anyway. What happened to Chuck's black B.C. Rich Stealth guitar? Thanks! [Micheal]
In his will Chuck left all his musical instruments to his nephew, including his beloved Stealth, which Christopher especially cherishes. Chuck taught him to play on the Stealth.

Thank you for the answers to my previous questions. I have one more, this time about Chucks guitar. I know that he had a B.C. Rich "Stealth" which is only available on B.C. Rich Custom Shop. Those guitars are quite expensive and as I know he's had his Stealth since the days of Leprosy (maybe earlier). Did he have enough money to buy that guitar? As I know the cheapest version of it cost at least 1700 dollars, so I think that's a lot of money. Did Chuck order his guitar personally at B.C. Rich's Custom? Or maybe he bought it from another guitarist? [Igor]
Chuck was sponsored by B.C. Rich and most of his guitars were custom made to his specifications, including his much loved Stealth. Chuck's father and I bought his first two guitars and after that he bought his own.

Chuck had an extremely piercing and distinct voice, yet still musical and very talented, especially in his last album, "The Sound Of Perserverance." Did Chuck's singing voice naturally sound that way or did he have to work at it and adapt to that type of voice? [Brian]
Chuck told me once that singing that way was sometimes hard on his voice, but I know that when he started out with his band in his teen years he sang that way. I don't know that he ever consciously thought to sing that way, it just came naturally when he started singing and playing that kind of music.



I was just wondering what the origin of the band name "Death" is. Is there any specific reason why Chuck chose it? [Brian]
Chuck had first chosen the name Mantas but when he went to have it copywrited, it was taken already. It was just a few years after we had lost his older brother in an accident, and I have always thought that was why Death was chosen. Open Casket was written with the memory of Chuck's brother in mind.

I am becoming a very big fan of Death. I play and sing myself and I understand Chuck's indescribable talent and devotion to his life as a musician. I was wondering why Chuck continued if he felt it was so hard dealing with some people? Thank you for giving birth to one of the truly phenomenal legends this dull world has had the privalige of seeing and hearing. Peace and respect to you. [Ollie Ducie]
Thank you for your kind words. Although Chuck had to fight hard and long in the music business from the age of 18, it was worth the struggle to him. He said to me and in countless interviews that if he could only bypass everything and just play for the fans and his sheer love for his music, he would be a happy man.

I've been trying in vain to find out the sales figures for Death's albums. What were the best/worst sellers? How many etc etc. I'm ideally after approx. worldwide figs, and sales in the UK and USA.
I have no idea what the sales figures are. Chuck never kept up with the business side of things, but his sister, Beth, is in the process of locating that information. All Chuck's albums did well, the early ones are the favorites of some and the later ones are preferred by others, some collect them all. I know Symbolic was very popular and one of Chuck's favorites, mine also.


Do you know how much money Chuck earned from Death? From an earlier interview I remember him saying it wasn't much, but do you know how much someone as successful as him made in a largely underground scene? [Hobo]
No, I do not. I will say his greatest rewards in his career were not financial, though he lived very comfortably.

In one of the official newsletters from the Death fan club, it was stated that Chuck would release an instructional video through Star Licks. This appeared in the issue where Chuck announced the creation of Control Denied (which, of course, was postponed until after the release of The Sound of Perserverence). My question is did Chuck ever make that instructional video? If so, where can I purchase it?
That was one of the things Chuck was looking forward to, and he mentioned it often. He expressed his regrets that he never got to do it.


I want to know more about the videos Chuck made, like The Philosopher, and I want to know where I can get them. [Bryan]
I am in the process of locating them and will let Yvonne at EmptyWords know when I succeed. Perhaps I can make them available for you.

Will the Demo's ever be released on CD? Also, were there any song that was never put on an album(s)?
There are unreleased songs that Chuck wrote, I discovered them while going through Chuck's personal papers. Many people ask me about the demos. Chuck had said at one time that he did not want them released, he may have changed his mind later on, but there was not that chance. I am sorry to say that fans writing me frequently telling me there are demos of very poor quality on the internet for sale, so be very careful of ordering them that way.

I'd like to buy some Death and Control Denied demos, is this possible? [anonymous]
It is not possible at this time to buy legitimate demos, there probably will be in the future.


I wonder if theres a lot of unreleased stuff that Chuck recorded but never released, such as the Control Denied demos where he did the vocals, or any other live recordings. Is there any possibility that stuff like that ever will be released?
Yes Patrik, there are unreleased lyrics and music, I found some more just yesterday concerning Control Denied. Chuck was always in his studio, writing and recording and he carefully saved and preserved everything. I think someday in the future it will be released.

I have all of the Death cd's, dvd's and the Control Denied disc. The only thing missing from my collection are the Death t-shirts. Will there ever be any Death t-shirts reissued so fans like me can collect and wear them? [James]
Yes, I will have more very soon, I am having designs from old favorites made up and a special memorial shirt was designed and will be offered also. This will be announced on the emptywords site as soon as I get them.

Is there a Death tribute album, or will there ever be? [Doug]
There is certain to be many unauthorized Death tribute albums. James Murphy is going to release the first authorized tribute. Beth gave permission because it will help James with medical expenses in treating his brain tumor. James has our support and I hope everyone goes to buy it when it comes out. I sure will.

I am quite a new fan of Death/Control Denied I only got into Chuck's music shortly after I heard that Chuck was ill and my question? Is their a Death/Control Denied fan club still, if so I would like to know how much it is to join and the fan club's address.
No, Chuck was just too busy to continue the fan club. I wish I had the time and I would. As soon as I learn how to operate my scanner, I'm going to send Yvonne a picture of one of those fan club cards. I found quite a few of them. I told some of you that Chuck kept everything!

Hello, I am a very recent fan of Death and Chuck Schuldiner's music. I am currently in a band that is very greatly influenced by the music of Death and numerous other bands of the genre (although none of them are comparable to the music of Death). I was wondering why there was such a changing line-up with Death and if Chuck ever actually talked about why he did that so much. Don't get me wrong, because I think that every album is a masterpiece and the quality of the musicians is some of the best I have heard. Also, what genre did Chuck consider Death to be in, I know it is metal, but I have also heard it refered to as melodic metal, jazz metal, etc. Well I hope this mail doesnt take too much time, because I am sure you still have many left to answer. Thanks. [Justin]
Yes, Chuck did talk about that and he didn't understand why it was questioned. It was simply a professional decision made to get the best musician for that particular album. He was always striving to get the very best for his albums, he was a perfectionist in his music. I know he was very much looking forward to working for a long time with his latest band members, and I know he remained friends with most of his former band members. Chuck considered Death to be in the heavy metal genre, period. He would have laughed at the other discriptions.

We can discuss which was the best Death album, but my question is, what was Chuck's opinion? Which Death album was his favourite? Was he proud especially about one of his songs? Maybe there was some Death songs which Chuck didn't like? I wrote to you once at, but I didn't get answer yet.
I'm so sorry I didn't answer you, Igor. I have almost 400 emails to answer and since I answer all letters personally, I am quite behind in my mail. I thought it was a good idea to answer questions about the album on a seperate site, but didn't know it would be so huge a task. Chuck liked Symbolic very much, it had deep personal meaning to him, and Perseverance also. We talked about those. There were no songs he did not like, although he did have his favorites, I'm sure. Except for his very early albums, all of them were part of his thoughts and feelings.

On the 15th of November 2002 you had written that there were some problems with releasing the new Control Denied album, and my question is: Is there any possibility of the album being released? If so, when will it appear in shops? [Igor]
Yes, the album is very definitely going to be released. The legal problems I spoke about are in the courts soon and after they are taken care of, we will be able to go ahead with it. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most important album ever. When I pleaded with Chuck to not play so long and hard, to rest more, he told me how important it was for him to keep on, to do his very best, and at times he struggled but he kept going. Remembering that, we are going through our own struggle to make sure that album is not only released, but that it be done correctly.

Mrs. Schuldiner. Did Chuck actually record some guitar parts for the new Control Denied album before he passed away? Will the fans be really able to hear Chuck playing on the new album? With all due respect it is not my intention to be rude, but IF Chuck's playing is not included, there will be something very important missing from the album. Moreover, I am sure that many fans would not like it at all. Yours sincerely. [Fernando Cheppe]
Hello Fernando, nice to hear from you again. Remember, Chuck started working on the last Control Denied album months before the tumor recurred. Even when it came back Chuck worked in his studio very long and hard during very difficult times towards the end of his life. When I would worry and say a particular piece of music was good enough, he said good enough was unacceptable, and would keep at it until HE felt it was the very best he had in him to do. Thinking of it all, that makes this Chuck's most important album ever. You are not rude at all, but if it were not Chuck's work, then it would not be Control Denied and it would never be released as such. When the new album is finally ready to record, an interview will be given, (not by me!) to discuss all that.



How does it feel to be the best known "metal mother" around? [anonymous]
As Chuck's mom, I have been a very supportive of him always, and now I correspond with many of his fans, but I never thought of it that way. I am honored if it is so.

I was wondering if you found the themes of Chuck's early music disturbing and, if so, were you ever concerned about any "path" he was taking? [Robert Williams]
No, I really wasn't ever disturbed. I felt it was because of the death of his brother that his lyrics and music was so aggressive and he later confirmed that. It really was a way for him to let his emotions out, and I felt good about him having that outlet. He never gave his father and I a bit of anxiety and I give credit to his music for that. Chuck took the path he did because of his music, and I couldn't be more proud of him.

Were you ever surprised/uneasy about Chuck being as popular or famous as he was?
[Victor Hugo]
I was concerned at first, but soon got to know all the guys he worked with and wasn't worried after that. I saw that they took very good care of each other.

Hello, I was on a Death messsage board and posted a message on how to say Chuck’s last name Schuldiner. They think it’s Shul-Din-Er. I thought the "Sch" would make a hard "c" sound like in school, so it would be Skoo-Din-Er. Can you please spell Schuldiner phonetically because I have been battling with his last name for a while now. Thanks. [Paul]
It's definitely like this: the "Sch" pronounced like the "sh" in shame, the "u" pronounced like the "u" in mud, and the "i" pronounced like the "ea" in dear. So in the end Schuldiner would be sounding like Shul-dea-ner and not like Skul-dinner. The origin lies in the German language. Chuck's family originally came from Austria, which is a German speaking country, hence the German pronounciation. [Yvonne]

Hi Jane, I'd like to know if Chuck's father was/is as supportive towards Chuck as you were/are, what his opinion on Chuck's music is - this is just out of curiosity, I've rarely seen his father mentioned. [Christoph]
Although Chuck's father did not support his choice of music, he was and is very proud of Chuck's accomplishments. While I choose to do all I can to keep Chuck's memory alive with the help of Kees and Yvonne and Chuck's fans and friends, he chooses not to be involved.

Were you actually a fan of Chuck and Death's music or did you just support it? I know most parents of bands don't actually like the music, but support it (certainly the case with me anyway!). Also, what has happened to all Chuck's gear? Cheers. [Leon]
I did love much of Chuck's music, especially the later music. At first, when he left home and began touring we would listen to his albums and listened especially to Chuck's guitar because it made us feel closer to him. That grew into an appreciation for the music itself. I was probably always Chuck's biggest fan in many ways. Chuck's nephew gave Richard his drums and I have here in my computer room the equipment Chuck used to record in his studio. It just comforts me to have it near. As I said, his nephew has all his guitars except the very first one I bought when Chuck was 9 years old. I also have that in the computer room. Most we will keep because of the connection to Chuck. There has been no decision as to the rest, it's too soon to think about that.

Imagine you have a friend whose young son/daughter has just discovered this "noisy" type of music and is desperately asking you for an advice: how to react, since it is her opinion that only listening to this music implies something abnormal going on within her son/daughter's head, not to talk about being forced to face him/her playing it sometime? How did you react the first time you got familiar with Chuck's creation? How often did he ask you for a review/opinion of some of his work? What's your relation with music as an art form? What do you think about "Human", from that aspect? [Nedim Dedic]
I think back to when I was young and Rock&Roll music and the noise level was always a problem to the older geneation back then. I always thought Chuck was absolutely amazing from the very beginning with his talent. It never occured to me that Chuck should not have the right to play any music he chose.I have had mothers ask for advice and I tell them that Chuck's music was never a problem to me, I am always open to all music, as all people should be. The important thing was not if I liked it, he did and that was all that mattered. I tell them to make a place within their home if at all possible so their son can practice with his band, to encourage him and welcome all the wonderful young people and give them lots of food and soda to drink. They will never be sorry and will reap many, many rewards in the future, as I have. I loved those days. Chuck at times brought his work to me and discussed it, but never for an opinion/review. He was an artist alsolutely sure of his work, after all it was based on his own thoughts, beliefs and experiences. How could he be wrong?

Where can I report fraud of Chuck's material? People are making lots of money off of Chuck's talent through bootlegs and unofficial copies of his work. I want it to stop. [Doug]
Please send me any information you have about the person committing the fraud and I will send it to the two attorneys who are prosecuting these people when possible and at the very least reporting them to the proper authorities. I encourage anyone to report these disgusting parasites to me. We want it to stop also and will do all possible to make it so. Remember, anybody who buys unauthorized merchandise lines the pockets of these people.

If Chuck had to say something to everyone in the world before he passed on, what do you think he would have said? [Aladaris]
That is a very profound question. He was so philosophic, I remember him saying to me to look past a friend's transgressions. Towards the end of 2001 Chuck said to me that all the irritations and feuds of the past did not matter in the long run. The only thing that really matters is your family. I think he would have have said to live your life as well as possible and ignore all the negativity around you to the best of your ability, to be at peace as much as possible. That's how Chuck thought and how he tried to live.


NOTES (from the editor)

Please read existing posts before sending yours, other people may have asked your question already. Your question may be edited. If questions are "being processed", then that's only a small lag, compared to asking stuff that was on there since the first day. If I was going to ask a question that was slightly different than one there, I would ask it, because I would think the current question doesn't answer MY question, so it can't hurt. Also a lot of answers to your questions probably can be found in the following four interviews:

Deep Look Inside - a very personal interview with Chuck
The Simple Technique Behind a Technical Death Metal Band - an interview with Chuck about his gear
Guitar Corner - an interview with Chuck
Memories of the Master Chuck Schuldiner - an interview with Chuck's mom


Chuck's mom would love to answer your questions,
so send your 'ultimate' question to