Interview with Chuck Schuldiner
Chuck Schuldiner is known to be among the creators of death metal as we know it. He's been writing excellent influential music for years now, and has stayed true to what he believes in. "The Sound of Perseverance" quite certainly validates this statement, as it is just as amazing as previous releases, while more technical and matured. He IS metal, and he has given himself to feed our brutal hunger. Now, as he battles a brain tumor, it is our turn to give something back to him, by keeping him in our prayers and/or morbid blessings.
Enslain: How is the scene out there in Florida?
Schuldiner: The scene sucks! (laughs) It's pretty bad, except for Tampa's got like a decent scene, they've got like a real club. Orlando's not very good at all; there's no clubs to really play at, very little local support. All the bands sound like Pantera, and there's not much original coming up. Very trendy, I should say.
Enslain: Where in the U.S. do you usually get the best turnouts?
Schuldiner: Los Angeles, New York, you know, those are our very strong markets. Texas used to be really strong, their scene kinda died down, you know, it's the same story as Orlando, a lot of clubs, they close down. There's nowhere for bands to come to, so no one can come to play. You know, it's like, no clubs, no show. So it sucks.
Enslain: Are you happy with Nuclear Blast?
Schuldiner: They're kicking ass, they're doing really good, they've been very supportive, they believe in heavy metal, you know, point number one, they believe in metal, so that's really, you know, being a label that believes in what they are signing...
Enslain: What is Control Denied like?
Schuldiner: Control Denied is basically, it's an extension of what Death is doing: it's very aggressive, very melodic, very very heavy, except I am not singing. I have a singer who is more along the lines of, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford type of singer, very aggressive though, very very heavy, very aggressive, but very melodic. It's an extension to what Death is, I think any Death fan will be pleased, and I think it's going to reach a lot more people as well. It has all the same members of Death... I'm very psyched, it's going to really crush, it's going to surprise a lot of people.
Enslain: Do you ever have any trouble deciding which band you should give a certain riff to?
Schuldiner: Um, it is kinda hard, 'cause it could go either way, really, and that's what really has happened, basically there are riffs on Control Denied that were written for Death like three years ago, that I intended to be on the new Death album, but just decided to move it to Control Denied... They are like relatives, you could say, very connected.
Enslain: How do you feel about your current line-up?
Schuldiner: I feel great! This is a great line-up, that's why I wanted them to be a part of Control Denied as well, because the musical standards are high right now, so I got a great line-up, really great guys, great musicians, we get along great, so it's a good feeling.
Enslain: Was it usually musical or personal differences that made your other members move on?
Schuldiner: A mixture of both... you know, it's like anything, being in a band is like having a girlfriend, you have to get along, you have to just, you know, have the same focus or else it's not going to work. You have to have the same goal, and you don't want to be with someone who has a different goal than what you have. I believe in what I am doing, strongly, and why people are in bands, because they're just in a band, not because that's been their dream since they were 9 years old, 8 years old, whatever it was, when I got into rock and roll, you know. So it's a relationship, you have to share the same feelings.
Enslain: I noticed that in the thanks lists of the past few albums you wrote "Support music, not rumors"... what rumors was this referring to?
Schuldiner: Anything, for anyone, not just myself, just for anyone, you know, I hate hearing stuff about other bands and this person, and that person, and who gives a shit! Who cares? I don't have time to worry about what other people are like, and I don't think people should worry what they're supposed to be like. When I buy a record, I buy a record for the music, I don't buy a record judged upon whether a person's supposed to be cool, or whether they're supposed to be hard to get along with, or whatever, it just really doesn't matter to me, and I think that whole thing is just out of control, the whole gossip thing, the whole internet, you know, garbage, that whole thing is just garbage to me. People have so very little to do that they could sit in front of a computer and gossip about other people, it's like, that's pretty pathetic.
Enslain: What bands are you currently into?
Schuldiner: I'm into a lot of stuff, I listen to a lot of records still, I listen to a lot of stuff I grew up on, like Kiss and Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Queensryche, Crimson Glory, Primal Fear, just all sorts of stuff... King Diamond, just a lot of metal. I like some hard rock stuff from the 70's as well, like Kiss, and old Van Halen, and Rush, stuff like that is killer.
Enslain: How about newer bands?
Schuldiner: We had a great time touring with Hammerfall, they're another really good band... newer bands, Primal Fear is another good one. There just isn't a lot of new stuff out there... The new Riot is really good, and uh... you know, I'm just really picky. I think there is a lot of stuff out there that is trendy right now, there's a lot of stuff that is good; you just have to sort through it. It gets expensive going out and buying records, and hoping you get something good.
Enslain: Tell me a little about your background.
Schuldiner: Well, I grew up most of my life in Florida, my parents were both teachers, a very normal, middle-class family, I was very lucky I've got great parents who are very supportive of my music, you know, that meant a lot, naturally. I started out young, I formed Death when I was 16 years old, and they were very very positive, I was lucky. I grew up listening to rock and roll, just like any other kid at the time, being into music, and doing things that teenagers were doing. I wanted to form a band, so I formed a band, and you know, I wanted to record a demo, so we recorded a demo in my mom's garage, (laughs), that was back in the day, before bands had CDs out. Now people put demo tapes on CDs, it's like all hi-tech, like back then you just made a cassette, and passed it around, it's totally different, it's a very different scene. It was a great time period of my life; I really look back on my early band years with a lot of very, very fond memories. I was a lot more innocent, that's one thing I miss is the innocence, you know, not being weary of everyone and everything, you know, now you have to worry more about different situations, being in this business. It can ruin you, it can really make you a very angry person, but you really have to know how to just not let it ruin who you are. It's like anything in life, it's easy to get consumed
by something you're in, and you have to learn how to be normal. I have a very normal lifestyle, you know, I have two dogs, I have a cat, I have a yard, I have a little car, you know, I like to do things, I like to go to the beach, I like to barbecue, rent a flik, hang out, eat popcorn (laughs), you know, it's good to stay normal, you know, I'm very... I'm probably boring! (chuckles), I mean really, I don't go out a lot, I don't go to bars very often, once in a while, I'll go out and have a drink, usually I'll end up staying home and, you know, watching fliks with the band, and drinking at home, you know, normal stuff.
Enslain: Are you still just as excited being in a band and everything?
Schuldiner: Yeah, I am, I'm very, like on the new Death album, I was never happier. I was in the studio for that record on my birthday, which was really cool. I was thinking to myself, what better present is there, than to be recording a record, it's like the ultimate present. I was really lucky, very grateful to be where I was at, and I'm grateful to be where I'm at now.
Enslain: Is there anything you'd like to end this off with?
Schuldiner: Well, you know, just thanks to everyone out there for supporting the music, you know, and I urge everyone to go out there, and burn their computers, and protest the whole evil-net thing, and have a nice day!
-- Lady Enslain