Magazine: Metal Hammer / Spain
Article: El Miedo a la Guadana

Written by: Neil Aldis
Translated by: Fernando Cheppe
Published: July 1993


Death is blowing our minds these days. Neil Aldis talks to "Evil" Chuck Schuldiner about Kiss, the scythe, death, Kiss, Kiss and his own band. I suppose you know everything about DEATH. The band's career is well documented and Chuck's reputation for being a tyrant, and a difficult person to work with, has been following him everywhere. I found Chuck very excited after ending the tour across the USA, ready to get some rest before going to England to start the European tour. In the USA the band had great success.


"It was fantastic. We just finished it three days ago… It was an awesome tour, we had an excellent crew, everything was controlled professionally. Everybody left a very good impression on us. Unfortunately, we had to cancel a couple of shows because of bad weather conditions, there were some floods in America, almost impossible to stop. Also, our bus's air-conditioning system broke down in the middle of the desert. Anyways, the tour went fine and we had a great time playing in our country. Besides, we hadn't played for a long time. I think all the fans enjoyed it as much as the band."

An anecdotal thing to mention is that during their first trip to Europe this year, the band came together with a very special guest, Mr. Scott Burns, the extraordinary producer.

"We brought him for the Eastern festivals. Scott is a very good friend of ours. How many bands can have their producers to help them with the sound at their shows? The soundmen are crucial, especially with this kind of music, which is fast. I'm very sorry for our soundmen in The States, they had quite a hard job because the amps were terribly bad and the concert promoters or club owners didn't care at all. We even played at venues where half of the gear didn't work, so we had to sit down for hours to wait the arrival of other gear. Can you believe that they wanted us to solve the sound and gear problems? They said: 'you guys are the band, you know how to deal with all this'. Fortunately, we had it all under control. However, we shouldn't have had all these problems. In Europe it is different, everything is much better."

What would you ask to your favorite band? Imagine it, the band you have dreamt of your whole life, you have all their records, singles, videos, hundreds of t-shirts.

"That's a good question. Firstly, I guess I'd kneel before them. Before who? KISS! Kiss is my all time favorite band. You know, I've been thinking about it, the other day I was talking to some friends about what we'd do if he ran into Gene or Paul. I guess I'd ask them lots of questions about the past, like what or who inspired you to sing they way you do, Gene was too brutal for the seventies. Probably I'd also ask him why they treated Ace in a bad way, because I'm sick and tired of their talking bullshit about Ace. Hey! Kiss would have never worked out without Ace. I would have never been the same without him 'cause I play the guitar thanks to him."

What is Chuck's most terrifying fear?

"Death itself! When you are on tour you face many situations and you don't know what could happen. I'm the kind of person who thinks about life and my worst fear is to die without saying good bye to the people I truly love back home. For example, Cliff Burton. I'm sure he didn't expect to die in the middle of a tour. I'm also afraid that something bad comes up at home. IF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS TO ME, I WOULD LIKE THE PEOPLE TO KEEP UNITED. Like when Cliff died, I mean everybody still remembers him. We don't think something bad will happen to you until it happens to someone you know. That is the most terrible about human's nature, one does not appreciate important things in life because we all think nothing will happen to us, but to the others. There are many things that could happen in a tour that you may deal with. It's sometimes a frantic way of life, you wake up and you are in a new state or in a different country. You have to be conscientious and know your limits. I like to party wildly, although I'm not a big drinker. I smoke pot but it's not a drug problem or anything… it's more like when you have a drink at the end of the day. Well there are many things to make a tour fun and some others which really could spoil it. Definitely, it's up to the kind of person that you are. If you're the kind of person who loves the wild rock and roll life style you can enjoy it. After a gig I prefer to relax, take a shower, have a chat with my friends and cool off. Each person is different."

What do you do before a concert starts?

"Normally I meet with some friends, we smoke and wait anxiously until the gig begins. That's exactly what makes touring tedious, I mean one has to wait and there's not much to do until a gig starts. Normally, in the States, we get on the stage at 1 or 2 o' clock that is the only time when we can have fun. I'm not used to reading; that's why I usually chat with my friends 'til the long-waited moment."

You have been playing in gigs since 1993, are you afraid of getting on the stage?

"There are always big expectations before any gig. One waits too long and when you are already up there, I only expect that everything will turn out well. I'm not afraid at all. There are some people who still have that sensation. This reminds me of an interview with Barbara Streisand I watched on TV, she's been on the road for a long time and still feels goose bumps."

How do you describe the sensation of being on a stage?

"It's unbelievable, 'cause you hear all the people screaming "DEATH" and it's cool and wild. Honestly, I don't care about success or the albums we sell. The fans mean everything to me. I enjoy signing recordings. It's funny when you look back and remember when just 10 people showed up in the shows, so the fact that I now see more people means that we are working very well. I'm glad to see them all enjoying our shows because I know what being a fan feels like. I also buy LPs, tickets for shows, wear my favorite bands' t-shirts. I am fan in a band lucky enough to have gotten signed to release albums."

I suppose that many bands would like to know what their fans think about them and it doesn't matter how much you think about it, you can finally feel it when you are playing live.

"Yes. We are really excited with our new recording 'cause many people are talking and getting interested in it, so I believe that a tour is the right thing to get to know what they think about it. We wanted to play some new stuff in Europe but the album hadn't been released yet, so we had to play songs people knew already. On this tour we are going to play our new stuff. We love to play live because the response of the crowd is awesome."

When I ask Chuck to describe Death's music to people who have never heard it, he said…

"Their worst nightmare!"

What does Chuck do to keep that amazing voice?

"The main thing is to sing live constantly, believe it or not when I spend many days resting I lose control of my voice."

As you have noticed, Chuck is a metal fan!

"Heavy Metal sometimes needs a kick in the ass. There are many people supporting it, but sometimes the music they hear is still the same. If people spend quite a lot of money on one of my recordings, I want them to take it home, enjoy it and finally say it's really worthwhile. I know what it feels like, I'm still getting interested in bands which offer fresh and original stuff."

It's clear that there are some people who really care about this kind of music and the people who buy it. They are motivated to put out high quality albums. I'm proud that DEATH cares about us and have opted to give us the best album possible.


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Translated by FC/MM for EmptyWords-Published on November 23 2002