Death for sure can be called
one of the most extreme bands of the thrash scene at the present
time. Death isn't the most speedy band, certainly not the slowest
and it's neither their purpose to put as many songs in a minute
as possible. No, the extremeness lies somewhere else. Main culprit
is guitarist/vocalist/founder Chuck Schuldiner (also known as
"evil" Chuck). With his horrifying rasping "death grunt" as his
trademark, he became one of the most outstanding figures of the,
not too gentle, thrash scene. His lyrics? Well, titles like "Torn
To Pieces", "Regurgitated Guts" and "Leprosy" speak for themselves.
His evil helpers are: Rick Rozz on guitar, Terry Butler on bass
and Bill Andrews on drums. After a very intense gig in the Melkweg
(Amsterdam/YK) the four are, all sweaty but satisfied, answering
some questions. "Evil" Chuck appears to be a cheerful, sunburned
guy, sipping away at his his mineral water. Look, that's what
I call extreme!!!
Chuck some years ago you left Florida to come back again
via Canada and San Fransisco. Why did you leave?
CHUCK: "When I left
there was no metal scene in Florida. Wherever I went, I couldn't
bring about a permanent line up. Something that teased me from
the very start. All the time I kept one main goal: a record deal
! Eventually I returned to Florida because it's where my family
lives, it's home."
Then the reunion
with Rick Rozz, who was a part of the first Death line up.
RICK: "I heard Chuck
was back and went to his house. Terry, Bill and I were in Kam
Lee's Massacre and things were not going well. I told Chuck about
our problems, we talked a while, practiced together and started
the new Death. Initially Chris Reifert, drummer on "Scream Bloody
Gore" would move back to Florida with Chuck, but in the end he
decided to finish school first. Understandable, moving is a big
The left behind Massacre
member Kam Lee must not have been that happy as Chuck snatched
away the entire band.
Kam Lee is shit! He wasn't even happy on the day he was born."
TERRY: "He steals, he lies
and he's terribly lazy. That's all there's to say to it (explaining
why he wasn't in the thanks of the album/RH). If you knew him
the way we do you definitely would understand."
Once Chuck and Rick
seperated. No hard feelings?
CHUCK: "No, everything
came together real smooth. We now have four people that can let
rest old discords. That's why we can work well together and "Leprosy"
turned out to be very well despite of us being together for only
18 months. Rick and me play together in a natural way, we have
very different ways of playing solo's, so we complement each other
very well and in this way provide a lot of variation. With the
new line up we have a solid sound. On the first album it mainly
was about me and Chris Reifert, which also can work all right,
but things always can be better."
Which not at the
least is to owe to top producer Dan Johnson.
CHUCK: "Dan is divine!
We'll try to work with him again next time. I hate shit productions.
We want a clean sound yet one that smashes you right off your
Bands such as Crimson
Glory and Savatage did not have good words to say about Dan. According
to them he's pretty lazy.
RICK: "Crimson Glory
wear silver masks you know......
CHUCK: "What's to be expected
from a band playing Halloween every day?"
TERRY: "Dan brought Crimson
Glory as well as Savatage their sound, they should honor him for
that. Those two bands have a bad attitude."
The gig tonight just
took about one hour due to the voice problems of Chuck. I think
you're straining it a lot every night.
it isn't this bad, but at the first show of this tour in Belgium
the sound was so awful that I indeed strained it too much. In
fact I ruin my voice this way, using it exact the opposite way
a melodic singer does. But giving it just the little extra is
worth the effort. I get complimented a lot for it."
Listening to the
lyrics (as far as we can hear them) one could easy get the impression
Chuck is a sick guy.....
CHUCK: "Hahahaha, I know
there are people taking the lyrics way too seriously. On the first
album I liked it because nobody was using this filthy stuff. The
inspiration came from all the nasty horror movies: beautiful!
But on "Leprosy" the lyrics are more serious and on the next they
will get even more realistic. Now my ideas come from newspaper
articles. The world is full of shit which is in our advantage."
In the meantime the
horror approach of the "old Death" became an example for a lot
RICK: "I think it
became a trend, that's why we will rush forward with our new music
as well as the lyrics so quick that nobody can ever sound as us.
It will be very complex, but so heavy it can blow your head off
of your trunk. Recordings will start in August and hopefully the
release will be in January. They say you can't be progressive
and heavy at the same time, we are going to prove they are wrong,
they all will freak out!"
But first there's
an American tour with.......
TERRY: "We are going
to do 35 shows together with Dark Angel, then some gigs in Mexico
and then we will head for the studio, we will try to do some festivals
in the summer.
You might say the
future is looking bright, but a break through like Megadeth's
doesn't seem to be anticipated.
CHUCK: "We never
think that negative. We just go full speed ahead, doing what we
want to do and we'll just see where it'll lead to. What happens
to others doesn't really bother me, we only think about Death."
Despite the optimism
this European tour halfway through Germany had to be canceled.
Not because of Chuck's throat, but because of arguments between
Death and the German and Belgium promoters. Death refused touring
with Exodus just to be able to headline in Europe. Looking back
this might have been the wrong choice. Next year hopefully better.