Magazine: Rock Hard / Germany
Article: Gegenfeuer

Written by: Frank Albrecht
Published: December 1991


What words can I still use in an introduction about Death? "Human" is written all about in the CD reviews, and the reasons for the cancelled tour was told by Chuck in issue 54 (Only Human / YK). Yet, I wanted to seize the opportunity as Mr. Schuldiner himself payed a visist to our editorial office. Maybe there were still some things left unsaid, I thought. I put him in front of a microphone and here you can read what came out of that......


>>Chuck your new album will appear in the US at Relativity Records and would, just as its predecessor, in Europe be released at Music For Nations. But on our degree of latitude "Human" is going to be released by Roadrunner. Why?<<

"Our deal with MFN, thank God, was ended. I've never been satisfied about their work, that's the reason why we searched another company. Roadrunner can push their bands, and is not afraid to invest some money. The breaking point in this business, you know, is first you have to invest money in a product in order to make money out of it one day. This is a rule that's not known at MFN."

>>I think with "Human" you succeed to build a bridge between "Leprosy" and "Spiritual Healing". On the one hand unbelievably progressive and on the other hand the songs are a bit more straight.....<<

"Do you think so? I think we got a lot more progressive. The drums are far more technical and a lot more is happening with the riffs. The whole thing sounds more aggressive, especially the vocals. I wanted to come back with an album that surprised people. The amazing drum work accents the riffs a lot different than it used to do and yet everything on this album just fits perfectly."

>>As far as I know, the musicians from Cynic, who worked with you on this album, are also going to tour with you. What will happen to their own project? Cynic is a great band and should have had a deal long ago!<<

"You're absolutely right! As far as I know they want to, as soon as all the Death tour activities come to an end, devote themselves to their own band again. I am glad that they want to accompany me on this tour, so we can play all over the world, it's about time people get to see the real Death instead of some coverband."

>>Now you're dealing with the problem you have to search for musicians that can play this awefully difficult music flawless....<<

"That's right, but I don't worry about that yet. When we return from this tour, I probably will have the next album completely ready and I hope they will want to play it again for me. But if they choose not to for Cynic, I understand, and will support them as much as I can."

>>Let's talk about the lyrics of the new album again."Suicide Machine" strikes me especially. What's the story behind it?<<

"In America, there's a doctor who invented a machine with which he can deliver people, being sick to death, from their suffering. There's a lot of exitement about it and the press baptized the appliance "Suicide Machine". I think this machine is a great invention. When somebody really is incureably ill, suffering for example from Allzheimer's disease, and it's his wish to die, then we must allow him that choice before an endless suffering takes place. When a dog or a horse is badly injured or severe ill, we put them asleep so they won't have to suffer. Why don't people have that same right? We also have feelings. When you prick a dog with a needle it will bark or yelp, I would also. Why do people have to suffer if they could pass away peacefully?"

>>Let's talk about the upcoming Rock Hard Festivals, where you'll be playing hopefully. Getting Death to play as well as Morbid Angel seemed to be a problem. All tried requests from the side of the tour promotors and also from our side failed. Result: instead of Morbid Angel, Napalm Death will be playing. What's your opinion on this case?<<

"The case is that Morbid Angel as well as Death have a headliner deal. So we had to seek a solution. Our proposal was to let MA headline twice and us three times. That was as far as we could go, even a bit too far, but I wanted to play in Europe. All of a sudden MA demanded headlining three times and that's what we couldn't accept. The tour promotor realized it and dismissed MA. Look, it may sound arrogant but after all Death was one of the founders of the death metal. We released four albums, MA just two. Besides we sell a lot more than them, actually we should headline every show. I have nothing against MA, I am not afraid of them and I don't give a shit of what they'll do. I just won't let them put any pressure on me. We're gonna tour here and nobody's gonna tell us how to do it. Our fans in Europe deserve to see a full Death gig and they are going to indeed."

>>Interesting point you just mentioned. Death absolutely was one of the first death metal bands on this planet. Now all of a sudden this guy, Paul Speckmann and his band Master, are claiming that they played death metal way before you and you could have stolen his ideas. How do you see this?<<

"Our first demo "Death By Metal" was taped in January 1984, and at that time I never heard of the name Paul Speckmann. It's just one of those people who can't deal with the fact they haven't accomplished a thing in their musical career. When he thinks that he influenced me and it makes him feel better, then just let him. The case is, I was influenced by Venom back then. Besides, Venom and Black Sabbath are the main bands responsible for the death metal scene and not one of those mediocre bands, merely following, that claim to have been playing death metal from the cradle!"

>>Your ex-bassist, Terry Butler, said in an interview that I did with him, that he and Bill Andrews never got a dime for their work, is that so?<<

"Oh, my God! That is at least lie number 200 about me that I heard in the three days I am in Europe, unbelieveable! Look, we haven't always been treated fair by our record company. I wrote EVERY song of Death's, so all royalties were for me. Unfortunately I was so stupid, that if there was any royalty check at all, to divide it between the three of us although they couldn't make any claim on it. I always thought Terry and Bill were my best friends, I made a very big mistake by thinking so. I am not the rich Rock star a lot take me for. I am a normal human being that made mistakes and now am bearing the consequences. One of those consequences was my name being dragged through the mud by some, on the other hand they used that same name to make money out of it. I made this stuff since I was 16 years old and never made much money with it. I am one of the many musicians who barely can hold his head above the water financially. For 8 years I put all my energy into Death and when I got caught up by problems more and more I decided to take a break. It's like your house being on fire and you act in panic not reacting the way you actually should. That's what happend to me. For some, it's a reason to speak evil about me, that's why I am here at the first place, to explain a few things. I could sit here for an hour and tell stories, true stories, about people who slander about me, and this truth would destroy them.
Above all Terry Butler should watch his words. He couldn't even play the bass parts on the "Leprosy" album, I did them myself because he just couldn't pull them off. It's the naked truth. Would I lie? I would fall off to their level, and that's the least I want to do. Eventually it's the music that matters, people should worry about the music and not about what is happening in the private life of the musicians. This time DEATH will be coming, the real one, and not some fools trying to play stuff they even can't play. I heard a live tape of this fake tour, it sounded terrible!! It's a shame that the fans even had to hear this."

>>Is it true that you wanted to, while the tour with Kreator already was going, to follow?<<

"Yes, that's true. The tour was going on for three weeks already when I wanted to fly in. But I was told the other guys didn't want to play with me anymore, but still wanted to tour on under the name of DEATH. The good side of the matter is that I now know who my real friends are. Some people turned their back at me and others stood right beside me as things were going bad with me. I always gave 100% of myself for the band and now others are taking advantage of it with their "ex-Death-members" stickers on their albums, while I stay behind with the mess. I am glad "Human" turned out to be so good. I didn't use 5 year old songs, all compositions are brand new. They express MY feelings at the beginning of 1991!"

>>I think I judged this man too soon before. They say there's always some truth in a rumor, but in the meantime it became clear Terry Butler and Bill Andrews aren't the nice guys I took them for. It was confirmed from other sides also.

So let's give Chuck and DEATH another chance because indeed eventually it's the music that matters.But let him come this time...........<<

Frank Albrecht


to talks

Translated by YK/CM for EmptyWords-Published on October 3 1999