In the beginning of November, Nuclear
Blast, for the first time, sheds some light on the darkness. In
the meantime, Chuck should be recovered enough, to do some interviews
with some magazines. Aardschok is one of the happy few. However,
the phone isn't ringing at the spoken time.... On inquiry it appears
"new complications occured of which it is not clear whether they
are caused by the illness itself or by the treatment". Eventually,
the Control Denied interview takes place weeks later. Conversation
partner isn't Chuck Schuldiner, but Steve DiGiorgio. The Control
Denied bassplayer can talk, from experience, about the wild rumors
going around. His email-box was flooded the last months with mail
from worried fans, asking about the state of Chuck's health.
"From one day on
the other, I suddenly became "Chuck-Central" and got hundreds
of emails. I do understand the concern, if there would have been
something like this happening to Ozzy of Geddy Lee, I probably
would have reacted likewise. However, I found the most bizarre
questions in my email-box: "Is Chuck still alive?", "Is he dead?".
I tried to answer all questions as honestly as I possibly could.
Although I had a lot of problems with people thinking Chuck was
pulling this off merely for the publicity."
"Yeah, you won't
believe it...... Statements like: "Chuck is faking it!" or humiliating
remarks like: "hahaha, how appropriate, somebody wrting songs
for the band Death, will die himself!" This kind of mail made
me far more sick than Chuck's call telling me he had a tumor in
Ironically, of all people, the
singer of Death is in this situation. After all Chuck used to
sing about several severe diseases in a less respectful way (?/YK).
Remarkably, even some of his nowadays lyrics and titles are applicable
on his current situation. For example, the album title "The Fragile
Art Of Existence", unmistakably pointing at the mortality of men.
Through what happened, even the band's name got an extra meaning.
After all, humans have no control over their lives.
"Well, I think
that's a bit far-fetched. After all these things can happen to
all of us. Of course it's ironic when your band is called "Death"
and you're all of a sudden in a situation in which death becomes
closer. I know for sure Chuck would never sing about these things.
In my opinion, he always keeps his lyrics rather vague, so they
can be interpreted in different ways. If there should be a link
at all between his lyrics and his personal situation, the next
album title for sure would be: "I'm a fucking true warrior", for
the fighting spirit with which Chuck is heading the recent set
backs, it truely is impressive."
How are things with him at the
"Let me put first
that I don't get a daily update. I'm regularly on the phone with
Chuck. It seems the radiation he underwent in New York was succesful.
The tumor slowly is falling apart, although things are going slower
than they wish. Unfortunately, his physical condition is leaving
little to be desired. He is not paralysed, yet his arm and his
leg aren't doing exactly what he wants them to do. Which of course
is very depressing. Chuck always has been very healthy and very
active, and all of a sudden he is being hampered in his doings.
I am expecting he will recover though, but how long it's gonna
take, nobody knows.
Hence a Control Denied tour
isn't gonna happen soon?
"No, I don't think
so. Besides, it wasn't certain from the beginning whether we would
tour after the release of "The Fragile Art Of Existence". Chuck
wanted to await the reactions on the album first. It would have
been difficult to tour anyway, with only one album. It would have
been impossible not to play Death songs, which we all didn't want
Chuck was clear the past
years, Control Denied was the successor of Death. A band with
which he finally could escape from the musical "straitjacket"
-- although created by himself, and above all he would be delivered
from his obliging task as a singer. I believe the last Death album
would never have been released if Control Denied would have been
a success right away in 1996.
is a point. Far before 1996, Chuck already had plans about founding
a new metal band, in which he only would play guitar. It already
was an issue when "Individual Though Patterns" was recorded. I
still remember how enthusiastic Chuck was about his new material,
and how depressed he got when the vocals had to be recorded."
Sounding quite logical, yet the
knowledge that Chuck doens't experience much fun with Death, will
come as a cold shower for many die-hard fans.
"Chuck does like
the Death music, he just hates the singing part. Of course the
success of Death made it extra hard for him to cut the knot. "The
Sound Of Perseverance" fortified his self-confidence. After the
release of that album he was sure there was an interest for his
music no matter with what band name. Personally, I believe most
Death fans will see the quality of Control Denied."
What's the main difference between both bands for you personally?
is much more, musically considered, closer to my favorite kind
of music. I have a big metal collection. But I prefer the more
traditional, melodic bands. Bands like Solitude, Symphony X, Psychotic
Waltz, they all play very good and they all have a great singer.
As far as the vocals, I really like Control Denied. The first
time I heard Tim Aymar, I was sold right away. Actually, Control
Denied is the best of both worlds. Chuck still writes awesome
riffs, but now has a great singer on top of them!"
I was somewhat surprised when I
heard you were gonna play on the Control Denied album. Although
you were a part of Death during "Human" and "Individual Though
Patterns" , you went your own way afterwards.
"It may have seemed
that way, yet I participated on 6 of the 8 Death albums Chuck
wrote until now. For the last two albums I was involved during
the pre-production, but wasn't able to play on the actual CD.
Which I regret deeply, because especially "The Sound Of Perseverance"
is an awesome CD. Normally, Chuck always was so kind to attune
his schedule around me. But there were all sorts of deadlines
with TSOP, like the Dynamo gig. Chuck always wants to tour with
the album line-up and therefore prefered Scott at that time."
What was your part in creating
the Control Denied album?
"Actually the CD
was all finished when I was called by Chuck. He wasn't satisfied
about Scott's parts and wanted me to play them again. I had less
than a week to rehearse the material, but Jim Morris gave me all
the space I needed in the studio to experiment. It was very luxurious
for me during the recordings. Mostly as a bass player , you play
your parts only when the drums are recorded. This time everything,
even the vocals, were recorded already. Very inspiring."
Is Control Denied a band? You are
living in California, Tim has his own studio in Pennsylvania and
the rest of the band is living in Florida.
"In the meantime
Chuck got used to flying people in, and seems to attache mainly
value to the quality of the music. Chuck knows Tim and I really
like playing with him, but when we're not around he still has
a great base with Richard Christy and Shannon Hamm on drums and
guitar, to work with."
What's your schedule looking like
the upcoming time? Does Sadus still exist?
"The upcoming weeks
I'm gonna play some American shows with Testament and after that
I'll try to take up the thread of Sadus again. The band still
exists, but due to my absence all the time, the plans we make
mostly don't work out. Darren & Jon got used to that in the
meantime. They just wait till I come home again and then we will
fanatically work again right away."