I am pleased to bring you an
in-depth interview with the legendary singer/songwriter, Chuck Schuldiner
of Death and now the current Control Denied. Regardless of his chemotheropy
and cancer treatment (for a brainstem tumor he was diagnosed with
in May 99) he was very spirited and upbeat about both bands.
Not only is Schuldiner a strong person, both emotionaly and physcially,
but he always wants to please his fans no matter what his circumstances
may be. He not only has the will to fight for his life, but he has
the will to fight for metal.
What's the story behind your new
band Control Denied?
Basically, Control Denied is something I started writing for back
in 1996, way before I even started really writing for the last Death
album, The Sound Of Perseverance. After I was done writing this
record, I decided to finished writing the Sounds... record, cause
I already had material going for that as well, so it was really
just a matter of deciding what album to put out first. So, I decided
to put out the Death record first and then switch back over and
finish Control Denied, which includes Shannon Hamm, my guitar player
and Richard Christy, my drummer from Death, and recruiting Steve
DiGiorgio, bass, back into the band who I haven't performed with
since Individual Thought Patterns back in 1994. So, it was very
exciting to finally be able to put this together and to get it going.
Since it was such a long delay,
did you think you would ever finish the album?
It took a long time to finally see it happen. I have been wanting
to do this record for a long time, and I think good things are worth
waiting for. I feel it's definitely worth the wait and hopefully
the fans will think it's worth the wait as well. I know people have
been very patiently waiting for this record to finally come out.
What was the intention of the music when you went to write the
Basically, my main focus was to keep the attitude that I had with
Death, which was being melodic and aggressive; you know, all the
elements that were part of the music with Death. I also wanted to
keep some of those elements as part of the music for Control Denied.
I knew that I wanted to get a singer who can scream his head off,
but I also wanted to have someone that could sing melodically as
Wasn't it odd for you not to sing
on the record?
It actually felt really good and natural.. I just had to worry about
playing guitar and didn't have to worry about the microphone which
was a really good change of pace.
How did you find Tim Aymar to
be your vocalist?
I had gotten this demo tape in the mail from his band Psycho Scream,
and I was blown away by the vocals and thought, God, this
guy is just a great singer. So, I actually got his number
and I called Tim and told him I was putting the band together and
was really impressed by his vocals. I asked him to come out to Florida
to make a demo tape to see how it goes, so he came down, and we
recorded a 3-song demo and it just clicked. We knew that this would
be a very good thing once it started happening. We felt really good
Orignally, when Control Denied
started, I think you had wanted Warrel Dane of Nevemore to do the
We were talking at one point. We never got together to jam or rehearse
or anything. Warrel is another one of my favorite singers. I think
Nevermore are incredible, but it just didn't happen, which was unfortunate.
What's funny is after hearing Tim, you realize that he almost has
the same style. Yeah they're both very, very strong singers, and
both are very original, they definitely both have their distinct
Did you write the entire album
yourself or did the band members chip in?
Basically, I wrote in the same process as the Death albums. I come
up with the music and give tapes to everyone and then we get together
and go over stuff. It's just a very nice process that we have. Everyone
is really proud of the project, and it just came together really
easily for us.
How long did it take for you guys
to finish the record?
We recorded the new record in probably about four weeks.
Did the album come out the way
you had hoped?
Oh yes, I am very, very happy with it. I think Jim Morris did a
fabulous job with the production. Jim is just incredible and is
one of the best out there.
Do you think that you could have
done anything differently on the album that you didn't?
There are always those things that you wished you would have done
differently but you can't think about it too much or else it would
drive you crazy. But, I'm very happy with the way it turned out.
Was there any pressure when you
went in to record with Control Denied?
I didn't feel any pressure. More or less it was just anticipation.
Anticipation of waiting to record this for so long. Anticipation
is just a good word. A lot of people say that they hear a lot of
Sounds Of Perserverance on it.
What are your thoughts?
I have no problem with that and I'm very happy that people are hearing
connections between Death and Control Denied because it is very
connected. The thing is with Death, it's a matter of outgrowing
the confinements of what Death had gotten trapped in as far as the
vocals because they are very limited in what you can do with those
type of vocals. Musically, I felt there was a lot of freedom in
Death; guitar-wise, drum-wise and everything else. The big difference
between the two bands are the vocals. I think that's what people
are finally hearing. They're hearing the music that they've been
embracing and now they're hearing the vocals that I wanted to hear.
I think it starts to make sense once you hear it, like, "Oh,
ok, that's what he wanted to do."
Musically, what's the difference
between the two bands?
The vocals are the biggest difference, and obviously the name of
the band. I really like the name Control Denied because it's a strong
name and it's something that I think everyone can relate to. No
one likes to be controlled. It's a nice, wide open type of name.
I think the vocals are going to reach a lot more people that were
turned off by those of Death. At the same time I think it's going
to please a lot of people that are Death fans.
You worked with Richard and Shannon
on the album. Did you want to work with anyone else or were they
They were always involved and were the first people I wanted to
have involved. We perform really well together and they are really
good people to be around. I really wouldn't want it any other way.
Where did you come up with the
title The Fragile Art Of Existence?
That was actually going to be the name of the last Death record.
I came up with that title back in 95. I decided to hold off
and call it The Sound Of Perseverance.
One of my favorite songs is "When
The Link Becomes Missing". What's the story behind that one?
That song is actually about the Internet. I just feel people are
really obsessed with the Internet. People are always talking shit,
and there's just a lot of garbage on there. People just spend too
much time on there. Basically, if the whole computer thing goes
down, or a big virus takes over, that link will be missing that
people will be a part of now. People are obsessed with being on
there and talking. I think a lot of people's lives revolve around
that now and if something were to happen, I think people would be
in a state of limbo. That's when the link becomes missing.
Do you feel like the Internet
plays any type of role for heavy metal?
I think it's good that the record labels have stuff on there that
people can read. There is naturally a good side to it, but the not-so-good
side is very powerful as well. There's too much power in too many
peoples hands, and unfortunately, the problem is if people
believe everything they read on the Internet whether it's part of
a record labels website or just any Joe Blow putting their
own website on there.
The songs seem to tie in together
lyrically. It's just all about reality, all about life. Do you think
Control Denied will play an impact on Death in the future?
Well, I'm definitely concentrating on Control Denied now. In fact,
I'm already writing for the next Control Denied record right now.
Death is on hold so Control Denied is definitely my priority right
now as far as music goes.
Really? Do you think you might
not do another Death album?
That's actually a really good question. I'd like to say never
say never, but I can't say it's gone for good right now. What
I can say is that I am only concentrating on one band at a time
right now and Control Denied is definitely that band.
So youd like to tour with
I definitely hope so. That would be really nice.
Any ideas who you'd like to take
on tour with you again?
I would really like to get on a big tour with a band like Iron Maiden
or someone where our music would reach a lot more people. I think
that's really the next step for a band like Control Denied. That's
what I'd really like to see happen.
I saw you with Hammerfall in L.A.
last year, I think heavy metal is coming back in a big way.
I do, too. The L.A. show was proof of that. Actually, I think that
was probably one of the best shows of the tour.
How did people react to Hammerfall
during the tour?
Excellent, every show was a success for Hammerfall. I really think
that tour was very important for America, because there just aren't
a lot metal shows touring America right now, or last year for that
matter, and I think that there's a lot of fake music out there that
corporate America is calling metal, like Korn, Limp Bizkit, and
all that crap. It's not metal at all. So for Death and Hammerfall
to tour together last year was more like a wake-up call just to
let people know this is metal, here we are, like it or not.
How are you feeling nowadays?
Are you up for touring, or do you have to wait for a while?
Actually, I have to wait awhile. It's very hard because now I would
normally be getting ready for a tour. I have to go back to New York
in December to get X-rays and to see how thing are going with this
tumor. Right now, I'm just doing press and waiting for the record
to come out. I'm just at home right now and will continue writing
music for the next one.
With the way you feel right now,
do you feel like your health has an impact on your songwriting?
It definitely has an impact. We'll just have to wait for the next
record to see what kind of an impact it has on me. I am very happy
with the new songs and I think they are very strong. They definitely
have a certain feel to them. Hopefully that will come across. I'm
hoping if anything, that stuff like that will make certain things
in life stronger.
What do you think metal will be
like in the new millennium?
I hope a hell of a lot better than the last one. (laughs) Metal
basically went through hell in America. The trends really hurt metal.
People need to be educated in America as to what metal is. Metal
is not Korn, or Limp Bizkit. It's just not metal. People will disagree
with that, but I have been playing and listening to heavy metal
for 14-15 years now, which is a long time, and I think it's up to
the bands who have been fans for a long time to start trying to
do as much as we can. I'm lucky to be in a band and that I can play
music to help make a difference.
Do you think Control Denied or
Death will start being the leaders of heavy metal?
If any of those bands can do it, I hope Control Denied can. Hopefully
Death can keep things going but I think Control Denied will reach
a lot more people. I think it will keep Death fans in there at the
same time. I'm hoping for really good things for this record, hopefully
a lot of people
will hear it.