Hi why dont you tell me a
little bit about yourself and how you got into the metal scene.
a guy I sat beside in algebra class, and we used to talk about
the bands out at the time. AEROSMITH, LED ZEPPELIN, LYNYRD SKYNYRD,
BLUE OYSTER CULT.
How old are you?
36. He heard
me singing in the hallway with my boom box and he asked me if
I was interested in singing in a band. I had just gone to see
AEROSMITH and I was impressed enough by that that I didnt
hesitate. We started practicing and that band turned out to be
pretty good. We were 15 year old rock stars. That was a band called
SWEET DESTRUCTION, we changed the name later on to OVERBOARD.
This was about 1979.
I wouldnt have any comprehension
of what the music scene was like back then.
of the people coming up were still shitting yellow when I was
What happened with all of that?
The employment situation in Pittsburgh was really bad. The mills
were all shutting down and all the training I had in school was
no good. There were all these guys in their 30's and 40's released
from their jobs at the mills. They were all retrained in the same
fields I was. What jobs there were were crap. I moved down to
Orlando to get into construction down there. I took a little break,
played with a few bands down there. That was the longest I was
out of a band, about 6 months.
I lived there for a few years.
years later I run into Chuck and hes living in Altamonte
Springs at the time when we first did the demos. Thats right
down the road from where I was living.
The first I heard of your name
was in PSYCHO SCREAM. How did you get involved in that and when
I met Jim
Dofka around 15 years ago. He had a band at the time called SCREAMER.
Hes from Wheeling, West Virginia, I was living in Pittsburgh.
What we would do is share shows. Wed go down and open a
show for them, theyd come up and open a show for us. We
got to be friends that way. Years later I was singing for a band
called TRIPLE X, which was a pretty popular band up here, the
most popular band in town for about 5 years. We had a sponsorship
from Budweiser. The thing about TRIPLE X is it wasnt heavy
enough for me. It was just too happy. I wanted metal! Jim had
called me when he started doing his DOFKA album Toxic Wasteland.
I had to pass on that. I regretted it. I wish I could have sang
on that album but Scott did great. Jim went on to Dofka, BRICK
MISTRESS (?), 1369 was the other band. Mostly the same guys, there
are only so many good musicians and you have to recycle them.
So theres maybe 10 or 12 guys that make up 5 bands. I hooked
up with Jim when I got tired of TRIPLE X. He had the music ready
for me, I didnt have to do anything except rehearse and
get ready. We got the band out and it got over well. The album
got out in Europe, Japan, South America, Micronesia, weird places.
Places we didnt expect it to go to. One of the people who
got ahold of it was Chuck Schuldiner [shul-dinner, by the way].
He called Dofka and asked to borrow me. I was working with another
band at the time. It was a side project of NARITA and ROYAL HUNT,
there were international players involved. It didnt work
out because I went over there and got bronchitis. When I got back,
Jim said Guess where youre going now? Youre
going to Florida to work with Chuck Schuldiner. That was
late 96. Thats when we did the first demo. That was awesome!
The first demos went great. I got down there and Chuck and I immediately
clicked. I wasnt worried about that, Chuck is a great guy.
Wed have our coffee and bagels in the morning, play a little
basketball to warm up and then go slam out a couple songs. We
spent about 4 or 5 days and we did all the demos for 3 songs.
That was Believe, Cut Down, and one other one. The police showed
up for the first official CONTROL DENIED practice.
How familiar were you with Death
at that point?
not a huge fan of death metal, but Chucks stuff is so progressive
I cant help but like it. Im into all kinds of jazz
and classical stuff and a lot of fast technical metal. Theres
other technical things out there besides metal. Jim Dofka used
to drive home from band practice and listen to Chucks stuff
and laugh our asses off. Not that there was anything wrong with
it, we werent laughing at the music, we were laughing hysterically
because he had to have been beating his drummer over the head
with something to make him play so hard and so fast!
Hes had the good drummers
over the years. Then there was the drama after the demos that
Chuck wasnt getting any bites.
think thats true. Its not that he wasnt getting
any bites, its that he was getting stronger offers to put
Death back together. When youre shopping CONTROL DENIED
around and you say Im Chuck Schuldiner of DEATH and
weve done 7 albums, heres the sales records
they say Why dont you do a DEATH album then?
Nobody wants to try anything new these days.
With the deal with Nuclear Blast,
it is my gut feeling that CONTROL DENIED was only going to happen
if there was a Death album first. A proven commodity for them
not sure. Ive kept my nose out of the business end of things.
I was called in to work on this project. This is Chucks
baby. Its his band, his dream. I can respect that. He hired
me to do a job, which was to sing on this record. As far as handling
the business, its up to him. I dont poke into it too
much. Im concerned that there have been delays but thats
mainly to do with his health. What they would like to do is release
the album around the time Chuck recovers. But theres no
telling when he will so they postponed it and postponed it. Theyve
had personnel changes at the label too. That makes things interesting
too. You think you have this great deal set up airtight and something
like that happens.
I know one of the publicity people
hes worked a lot with before took off. And then they just
changed the publicity department again which has to be great for
people releasing records right now. Considering the material is
similar to the last DEATH album, Chuck in interviews has been
going on about how theres been absolutely no mixing of material
between the two projects. Thats a little hard for me to
swallow because again they are very alike as it is.
some differences. But were not going to cheapen CONTROL
DENIED by doing covers of DEATH or vice versa. Chuck did use a
couple of the songs but theyre his songs. He wrote them.
If he wants to sing them and use them for DEATH thats fine.
He did catch some flak for putting some songs on the last DEATH
album that were on the CONTROL DENIED demos. But he wrote them!
What gets done with them is his business!
I dont have a problem with
it, I love his writing style. Its all intellectually stimulating
to me with the progressive writing. It doesnt make a difference
to me, I can deal with the melodic vocals, I can deal with Chucks
growling. Whichever. There are people out there that have a problem
and I dont get it. If there are differences, its the
same style anyway, its not like hes gone off and done
a GAMMA RAY.
How much control did you have over
the vocal patterns and melodies?
all those lyrics and he sent me demos of himself singing. I had
to really work hard to pick up on the way he phrases things. Totally
back asswards from the way I do things. Which was cool. I dont
think Ill have writers block for a long time after doing
this album after seeing all these little tricks. I didnt
write the lyrics, I didnt write the melodies. Just some
of the backup vocals and I tweaked some of the melodies here and
there, pinched a word here and there. Its 99.9% Chuck.
I did notice at least some of the
stuff, you could tell it was his style and in my mind I could
hear him growling those parts!
The way he
explained it, the melodies are things hes had in mind all
along since the early days of DEATH. Hes always wanted to
be melodic but he didnt sing well that way. Thats
not his strong suit.
PHARAOH, where does that fit into
all of this.
I did a couple
songs with them for the IRON MAIDEN tribute album. Were
planning on doing their first album and from what I heard from
Matt, hes got all the music ready for me and well
get started recording the vocals now.
How did you get in touch with them?
Dofka. He seems to be the gateway to the outside world here.
I remember emailing Chris Maycock
and he had this grand master plan of releasing the PHARAOH album
at the same time as the CONTROL DENIED album to get the publicity
rub but obviously thats not happening. Whats the holdup?
even know. Thats just something Im doing on the side
to help those guys out. Im not concerned with a timetable
for that. And I just hooked up with PSYCHO SCREAM again to do
their second album. You can hear my voice is a little bit tired
Whats the timetable for that?
going to take our time. Theres no rush here. What Im
tired of is hurrying up and getting things done. Ive never
been able to do what Im able to do. The label always gives
this deadline and it has to be sent to them Tuesday. Well my vocals
get started Monday night. How long does it take to mix this thing?
I would like to take my time with PSYCHO SCREAM.
The one thing about CONTROL DENIED
that everyone is unfortunately focusing in on is Chucks
health problems. The title The Fragile Art of Existence, was that
created before or after he was diagnosed.
other part of it is my brother died during this album. I had to
fly back to Pittsburgh and bury my brother and then come back
and record the album with the guys. He title meant a hell of a
lot more to me when I came back. A month after the sessions I
get a call from Chuck. I was down in Jacksonville and I had been
trying to get ahold of him. Nobody would answer the phone. When
I got back to Pittsburgh there was a message, six of them, from
him. I have to talk to you. Tim, where are you,
I really have to talk to you. Tim, when you get in
call me, I really have to talk to you. The last message
was OK, Im going to have to tell you this way because
Im going to New York and you wont hear from me for
six weeks. The headaches Ive been having, I got diagnosed
with a brain stem tumor and Ill be in radiation treatment.
I about hit the floor. I just lost my mother, my aunt, my grandmother,
and my brother in within 5 month. In the past year Ive lost
5 family members and 2 friends of the family. That title means
a hell of a lot more to me than anyone right now. And to Chuck.
He has to deal with. Its really hard. I wanted to be there
for him, but at the time I just couldnt. Things were just
so screwed up here from the family tragedies. On the same group
of answering machine messages as Chuck telling me about his brain
stem tumor, I think it was one or two messages after that, it
was my father telling me his friend had committed suicide. That
wasnt a very fun weekend. Im still trying to hang
And here I thought I was having
a crap few weeks.
who thinks their lifes tough can come talk to me for a few
minutes. Ill play my little violin for you. What can you
do? Life is life. All you can do in this situation is go on! Chuck
might have a long time left. He might not. Either way he has to
get the most out of it. He cant be worried about CONTROL
DENIED and all these stupid little details. Whatevers going
on here, he doesnt need to be bothered with that right now.
Hes focused on getting better. The fans need to realize
that. I know everybody wants to be out touring but he has to get
How is Chuck doing?
Last I heard
things were looking pretty positive. What I heard from Shannon
is that the doctors gave him his checkup a few weeks ago. It was
positive, it looks like the radiation is doing its thing,
the tumor is receding or whatever they do. Hes going to
have another checkup in December.
Even if he does make a recovery,
will he be in good enough health where down the road he can tour
see. Thats what he wants. It has to be killing him to not
be able to play these songs. Your whole life, your whole identity,
youre that guitar player. Then one day you pick it up and
then you cant play it. Who are you now? His whole identity
is messed up. No, its not. This experience has made him
see things hes never seen before and to take the time to
appreciate things hes never appreciated before or had the
time because hes had his career. Now he has the time to
spend with his family, time to talk walks and just be Chuck. He
doesnt have to be Evil Chuck the heavy metal guitar player,
he can just be Chuck.
I work in an office and there have
been people who have worked in offices their entire lives and
theyre nearing retirement, and its the same with putting
the career before families. Everybody thinks musicians have these
glamorous lives and when it comes down to it they have the same
concerns with their lives doing their music.
wrong with giving that kind of attention or that kind of respect
to an ordinary person anyway? Nothing. Face it, when that magic
is there, everything is a lot more fun. If youre just Bernie
Schwartz and his Band in regular clothes, if you dont have
that image, it would be silly. Imagine a baseball team, the Pittsburgh
Pirates coming out without uniforms and playing baseball. There
is an image, there is a uniform we wear to be amongst the ranks
of the heavy metal guys.
This is the most exposure youve
had on a record. Do you think this will help PSYCHO SCREAM in
getting their stuff out?
Its one of the benefits for all of us. Shannon has a band,
Richard has one going on, we all do. Thats one of the great
thing about this project is its brought all these musicians
together. There will be offshoots of this project.
The tagline from Chuck is always
trend free heavy metal. Which I agree with and I can
hear hes still doing his own thing. But of course coming
out on Nuclear Blast in this musical climate, hes been going
on about CONTROL DENIED for years now, and then of course now
this is coming out and some journalists are already complaining
Oh, this is another Nuclear Blast power metal thing!
If you could say a few words to that
never intended to be power metal. Whoever is saying that must
not know much about music. They dont know their ass from
a hole in the ground if theyre saying this is a power metal
band. Ive been a metal vocalist for god knows how many years.
Im a melodic singer, Im not going to stop being melodic
for anybody! I can sound awful damn ugly at times, when its
appropriate, when its called for in the music, but Im
not limited to that like a lot of these frogs are. Oh, was that
a derogatory remark? Thats what I dont like about
death metal is the vocals. It turns me off, and it turns a lot
of people off. They love the music, but when the vocals kick in
they say Ah, Ill listen to something else. The
whole Satanic thing has gone out. It was cool when SABBATH was
doing it, I was a fan of ANGEL WITCH, a lot of Satanic bands.
But its gotten absolutely stupid! Barney for Satan or something!
DIMMU BORGIR, dressed up in makeup, they cant even play!
What is this, a puppet show? And then theyll knock guys
who are busting their ass like Chuck just for doing something
different. Theyre mocking everyone but themselves. Where
did they get the idea for the makeup? Its already been done.
The ideas with the blood and everything. I dont know what
makes them think theyre so original and say Oh, CONTROL
DENIEDs not a metal band! They tried to make this
out like its an alternative band! Imagine Chuck Schuldiner
playing ALICE IN CHAINS songs. I dont think that would work.
And if he made me sing that Id blow my brains out!
<needless to say Im been
laughing my ass off since the word frog> I got
the CONTROL DENIED promo about the same time my friend got the
new DREAM THEATER
came to me after he heard that and said Im in love!
The last couple have really sucked and have been stale and boring.
Theyre getting very clinical. He said there was a lot of
soul in this new one. I have the new MARK BOALS CD, did you hear
Mark Boals, he sang for Yngwie?
Hes on Yngwies new
one, its good. Whats the solo album like?
weak. Extremely poser metal. A sad attempt at metal.
Where would one go about getting
a MARK BOALS CD? It sounds like one of those you pay $30 for to
get from Japan.
I got it
from Dofka. Hes a record store manager. Its very bad
Life being what it is, PSYCHO SCREAM
is going to go into full gear and start doing stuff and youre
going to get a call from Chuck saying Im ready.
What will you do?
Im doing and go. Hopefully I wont be in the middle
of anything. I have some things to do to keep my life going. The
release was supposed to be in July. Ive been just hanging
in there waiting to do this. It is my job, I get paid to do this.
When something happens, I have to change my plans instead of waking
up and not having a job.
So why are you not on the list
of people in the band Nuclear Blast is offering up interviews
for? [He wasnt at first, so I called him, but right around
press time, sure enough, theyre offering him up
know. Maybe I made enemies with them in a past life. I will tell
you this, theres one person at the label that does not get
along with Chuck and thats the person in charge right now.
Theres a lot of bad things happening simply because this
person doesnt like Chuck. And if you dont like Chuck
you wont like me much either!
Dont you love politics in
great. Youre busting your ass to put out this great music
somebodys plotting to ruin your whole career. Great fun!
And if you went to the web, to
go straight to the people instead of having a deal, even if there
was this utopia of everybody having equal promotion, that means
nobody would sell more than 50-75,000 records because there would
be no trends or proven market strategies to breeze by on.
record business started, there wasnt a whole lot of competition.
The music world was so small at the time. When Elvis Presley came
out, how many white blues singers were there out there? None.
Theres a rumor that Roy Orbison was a candidate to do the
same thing they picked Elvis to do. Roy is a much better singer
but Elvis had that image.
I guess I dont have to ask
if theres any new material in the works
pulls through whatever he does next will be the greatest thing
hes ever done.
You might be out of a job. I can
imagine Chuck might want to be screaming his head off again after
all of this.
want to sing for joy, you never know! He seems to change colors
with every new album.
He can get together and tour with
MORTIFICATION! [We go off on a HUGE tangent about lion surfing,
lymph node donor survival, and DARK FUNERAL before getting back
] The one thing I like about DEATH and CONTROL
DENIED is that the lyrics are so real.
You have to put your own mind into it to get something out.
But at the same time you can tell
something really fucked happened to Chuck over the years.
to everybody! If it doesnt youre not really living!
But that kind of thing is a lot
more real than elves in the forest or Satan and hell.
about something else! Im a big DIO fan. DIO has touched
some pretty demonic subjects along his way that were really cool,
but he wasnt taking it that seriously.
Lets start some controversy.
Ozzy vs Dio, your opinion.
like Superman vs Batman! Uh, god bless them both. Ozzy kicks ass,
and look at the players hes had!
Thats my thing, Im
not an Ozzy fan so I say look at the players hes hidden
But he writes
the music. He can sing! [uhh
. ed] And he has the character
to play. Which is cool. He cant be the same Ozzy offstage
as he is onstage. You cant survive that way. If I was the
same idiot offstage that I am onstage, trying to live a normal
life around normal people, it just wouldnt work!
What was your reaction when you
saw The Sound of Perseverance and in the thanks list Chuck lists
Tim Aymar (I lost your number)?
I just saw
that the other day! Jim Dofka has a BLACK SABBATH tribute band.
The singer in that looks and acts like Ozzy, totally uncanny.
I mix their sound. I stuck the DEATH CD in and a friend says Did
you see the liner notes? No, Id never picked it up
and read it! And he shows me
I move around so much from
one end of town to the other its hard to keep track of me.
Hows the local scene there?
been involved lately. Its really tough for heavy metal shows.
Some bands do well, some bands come over from Cleveland and do
good. MUSHROOM HEAD has a really good sound SLIPKNOT really stole
that whole MUSHROOM HEAD image. Scott Edgel, who sang on Jim Dofkas
Toxic Wasteland album, hes with MUSHROOM HEAD now. Small
To really wrap this up, what are
your top five favorite metal albums of all time?
Order [by QUEENSRYCHE] is my all time favorite. Heaven and Hell
[Dio era SABBATH], CRIMSON GLORYs Transcendence. Master
of Puppets by METALLICA. AC/DC For Those About to Rock. Those
are the albums as far as the writing and playing and production
that have really influenced the way we look at heavy metal now.
Favorite newer bands?
X, MUNDANUS IMPERIUM, CLAWFINGER..