Brian Harris: How long has Death
been together, and who was the original lineup?
Chuck: Death has been together since
late 1983. We started it, actually, under the name Mantas, and broke
up about 4 months after that. I wanted to reform a new band with
a new lineup called Death. I unfortunately had to resort to my old
members once more, Kam Lee and Rick Rozz. We put out a few demos-about
four actually. I got rid of that lineup. It was a mutual split.
Let's put it that way. I then went out to California about late
'85 and got signed to Combat Records with a friend of mine, Chris
Reifert, on drums. That pretty much kicked things off as far as
Brian Harris: Is there any reason
for all the lineup changes?
Chuck: Not including Chris in this,
'cause Chris is a great guy, but as far as the other members? Unfortunately
I have bad luck getting people who are just lame or have some sort
of problem in one way or another. You know, it's hard to find the
correct people who are going to be professional and that are gonna
be true to the sound. This band has a certain sound, and I can't
deal with anyone who's gonna keep us back from improving. It's definitely
a tough business to be in. You get judged because of things like
that. With lineup problems people automatically assume you're some
kind of egomaniac. That's just not how it is. You know, there are
a lot of people that go through lineup problems. I always like to
refer to King Diamond, who I have a lot of respect for. Naturally,
I like when a band keeps a lineup, but as long as they keep the
same sound, then I'm just concerned with that. And then putting
out good music. I think Death has always stayed true to the music,
and I think that's what it really comes down to.
Brian Harris: What was the reason
you chose the musicians you did for Human over anybody else?
Chuck: Well, it just worked out great
because after the falling out of the previous lineup-I've known
Sean (on drums) and Paul (on guitar) for quite a few years. They
play in the band Cynic. They still have Cynic going actually. They
took time out to help me on Human along with Steve DiGiorgio from
Sadus. We had a really good time. It was great. We are all friends,
and we had a great time partying, rehearsing, and recording with
Scott Burns. It was a really great situation to be in. We got a
new bassist, Skott Carino, 'cause Steve is full-time in Sadus. So,
it worked out just fine. I'm really grateful to the people who have
helped me get this out and stuff.
Brian Harris: Is there any reason
for the change in lyric writing from the gory stuff on Scream Bloody
Gore to now?
Chuck: Defintely. When I wrote those
early lyrics, especially on Scream Bloody Gore, I was 18 and thought
a lot differently. And the gore was really the thing I wanted to
get across. I always wanted to avoid the Satanic deal, 'cause I'm
not into that. So, gore was cool for a couple of albums, but to
be taken on a serious level, I think you need to write stuff that
people can relate to. People can't relate to a zombie eating somebody's
arm off or something. It just doesn't happen in real life. So, I
like dealing with real life situations.
Brian Harris: How long have you
been playing guitar, and have you had any private lessons?
Chuck: I've been playing for 8 years,
and I'm self taught. I took lessons for about a week. It got kinda
boring. I just wanted to go my own direction. I didn't want to learn
someone else's style. I wanted to hopefully try to achieve my own,
which I think is definitely important.
Brian Harris: How's the tour going?
Chuck: It's going cool. We're having
a good time. The bands get along great. No problems whatsoever.
Brian Harris: When did it start?
Chuck: It started about 2-1/2 weeks
ago. This is our ninth or tenth show. Our next show is in Chicago,
and we're gonna play a couple of shows in Milwaukee. So, all these
are gonna be really big, cool shows.
Brian Harris: How come there were
no t-shirts last year? You came back and there were still none!
Chuck: Our merchandiser screwed us
over. We didn't get our merch when we were supposed to. It was unfortunate
for the fans and for us, 'cause that's what we survive on. It definitely
Randy Gaines: What prompted the
Chuck: Combat, In-Effect...several
division of Relativity joined. Combat was the metal one, In-Effect
was the trippy-dippy alternative type stuff. I guess Relativity
decided it was time to clean house, get rid of all the side labels
and just become one label with different types of music rather than
trying to cater each side label to each type. It's just more organized
this way. Hopefully it's for the best. I don't know. We'll find
Randy Gaines: How are they treating
Chuck: We've got a lot of complaints.
You know, no label treats anyone decently it seems these days other
than our label in Europe, Roadrunner. They're gods. I mean they're
treating us great. I totally worship those people. They've been
really helpful, and I think that's what a label should be-and not
Brian Harris: Being you're one
of the originators of death metal, what influenced you to write
that type of music?
Chuck: Bands from the early 80's
such as Anvil, Mercyful Fate, Exciter, Raven, Venom, Hellhammer,
Celtic Frost. All the early stuff that I feel lucky to have been
a part of 'cause these days people are growing up on a lot of crap.
I'm sorry, but it's true. Nothing against anyone. It's just that
there's too much generic stuff out there right now. There are bands
out there that think you're wimpy if you put talent into your music.
That you have to be noisy almost. That doesn't make any sense. I'm
sorry, I hate to break it to those bands, but they're never gonna
get anywhere on their own. I want to keep improving, but yet remain
sincere to what we started out with. And that is an aggressive form
of music, yet put in talent and melody. That's what I want to get
across-what we are able to do, and hopefully what we're able to
improve on from one album to the next.
Brian Harris: What do you listen
Chuck: A lot of different stuff.
Queensryche to Watchtower to Kiss-older metal still, which I worship.
Brian Harris: Classical?
Chuck: I like some classical. I'm
really open minded to a lot of stuff. The band Lush I really like,
and Spandau Ballet. Whatever... Possessed, Slayer. I like heaviness
and I like stuff I can relax to. 'Cause you know I'm always in a
different mood, which everyone is. And I think it's a good habit
to have different types of music to break away to.
Brian Harris: You had Pestilence
on tour with you last time. What made you take them out again?
Chuck: We're labelmates in Europe,
and that worked out really cool. Their album was kind of put out
at the same time. They're really cool guys. We get along great.
We had a good time last tour. It works out good. I like them and
Brian Harris: Why the album title
Human? Is there a concept behind it?
Chuck: It definitely deals with things
everyone has to relate to or deal with, being human. I think a lot
of times people forget that people in bands are human. You know
we all are capable of making mistakes. And unfortunately, when we
do, we're looked down upon in a weird way by the public. I've made
mistakes. I've done things I had to do that don't make sense to
people, but instead of people assuming I'm a jerk for doing it they
should think "Well, maybe he has his reasons." So, really
it ties in with that. How I've been totally misperceived by the
business, the public eye I should say. It really has a lot of different
meanings. I think I speak on behalf of a lot of bands when I say
we have problems we have to deal with, just like anyone else. I'm
not rich just 'cause I've got albums out. I'm still struggling to
survive. Right now I'm living at home temporarily. It's just a normal
life. Not the business part, but we all lead normal lives just like
Brian Harris: Any problems from
the PMRC or anything like that?
Chuck: No, not yet really. It's amazing,
I thought in the beginning...I guess it really wasn't that popular,
so it didn't get brought up in the public eye.
Brian Harris: What did you mean
when you said in your liner notes "This is more than a record
to me. It's a statement. It's revenge"?
Chuck: Just referring back to how
I have such a bad rap within the public it seems. Or as far as people
automatically assuming that 'cause there are lineup problems I'm
a jerk. And ex-members being asked to leave the band-all say that
in a nice way-and then seeking revenge by lying about me. And unfortunately
people want to believe the worst. They don't say "I doubt that's
true. I should just wait and find out for myself." They don't
say that. They're just like "Wow, really? He's an ego monster?"
You know? That's a drag. There were so many people before Human
came out that said I was no longer in the music business. Or I was
gonna form a glam band, or I was in a mental institution. These
are all lies, vicious lies. It's scary, 'cause people believe them.
So this album is a big slap in the face to all the people out there
who really tried to bring me down.
Randy Gaines: Any closing comments?
Chuck: Support music, not rumors!