Answered by Jane Schuldiner
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Is it possible to visit Chuck's gravesite? [Jacky
Many people all over the
world ask that question. Chuck wanted to be cremated and we followed
his wishes. A final resting place has not been chosen at this
time, but when we do choose it, I will let the fans know at the
What do you think Chuck is looking at now? [Davide]
myself, I think Chuck is all around the places and people he loved
Did Chuck ever talk about God? [Greg]
Yes, he did, frequently.
[Note: that's all Chuck's mom wants to say on this subject, EW]
What was Chuck, like, religion wise? Was he spiritual at all?
Yes, Chuck was spiritual. [Note: that's all Chuck's mom wants
to say on this subject, EW]
What about that Chuck´s amulet he
used in his neck. What does it mean? [Schmidt]
I know that the amulet comes
from the sea and that it was his favorite since he was wearing
it in almost every picture, but I don't know the significance
of that. I wish I had asked him. I'm trying to find more information
Hello. Did Chuck have any girlfriend that
he was really close to? He probably had lots of girlfriends but
were there any important women in his life besides you and his
sister? Thanks. [Ivusa]
Chuck had in his life a lovely lady by the name of Kim whom he
loved very much.
Can you name some jobs that Chuck had before
he made a living as a musician? I am curious to know what things
in his life had an impact on his music writing. [Doug]
In his early teens Chuck worked at a place by the name of Dell
Taco, at least I think that was the name. He worked there for
just a few months. He hated it with a passion! Since he was very
involved with his music by that time, we asked him to just concentrate
What were Chuck's other hobbies besides guitar? [Victor
Chuck collected memorbilia
concerning his favorite bands, and he also collected records.
He had over a thousand of them. Also he collected guitars and
What are Chuck s favorite books, especially
in music and philosophy? [Mahyar]
Hello Mahyar. I looked at Chuck's collection of books and here
are some of the authors, he had a wide range of interest, I found.
Maurice Sendak (Chuck's all time favorite from childhood on) Joseph
Murphy, Leo Buscaglia, James Herriot, official biographies of
bands he liked, such as Iron Maiden and Kiss, among others, Caroline
Knapp, Aristole, Socrates, Nietzsche, and Steven Baker. I have
to look further for his books on music. There are still rooms
in his house I have not gone through.
Many metal musicians have gone through struggles
and addictions with drugs. What did Chuck think of this, and what
did he think of drug users? Thanks. [Andrew]
Chuck was not judgmental in any way of anybody's choices, and
he was sorry when he heard of such struggles. He did not think
it belonged in his music.
At what age did Chuck start playing guitar? Did he take lessons
or teach himself? [Victor
Chuck started playing at
the age of 9 years old. His 16 year old brother had just been
killed in an accident and we bought him a guitar, thinking it
would help with his grief. He took classical lessons for less
than a year, but didn't like it, so he stopped. Then we saw an
electric guitar at a yard sale and I bought that for him and he
absolutely loved it. After getting him amps, he never stopped
playing, writing and teaching himself.
How many hours a day did Chuck play guitar
as a teenager? [Jan Nalaskowski]
Chuck was in the garage or his room playing his guitar
just about all day on Saturday and Sunday but was limited to three
hours on weekdays when school was in session.
I wanted to know so much about Chuck. He's
played a role in my guitar life that I just can't explain. He's
truly one of the greatest and most creative guitarist's to compose
music. Still being a teen, I would like to know if you could tell
me how old Chuck was when he started playing gig's (in bars or
other places)? [Kresho]
Chuck first played in public in his early teens, I think about
15 or 16 years old. It was not with his later bandmates, though.
Did Chuck always plan on being a heavy metal musician? [Victor
Yes, though he loved all
music, from the time he was 12 or 13, heavy metal was his passion.
He formed his first band and they practiced in my garage shortly
after that. Chuck's earliest music influences were Billy Idol
and Kiss. I used to take him and his friends to their concerts
before he was old enough to go by himself. I had to stay in the
back of the room, I understood it wasn't "cool" to have
your mom there.
artist, what advice do you think Chuck would give to musicians
and other creative people about following their dreams? [Victor
I know Chuck would first
tell them it is a very hard life, to be aware there are many vultures
out there waiting to cheat you, to get a good manager you can
trust, and then know that it is rare that a lot of money will
ever come your way, and especially, ignore rumors. Be aware, always.
Knowing all that, Chuck persevered and followed his dream. He
dearly loved to play for his fans, for the sheer joy of it. Chuck
talked about this a lot, and he told me it was all worth it, but
if he could have skipped the record labels and just played for
the fans, he would have been a happy man.
As a huge fan of Death/Control Denied, I
have taken great inspiration from Chuck’s music, his guitar
playing and vocal style. I wonder whether there any Death tribute
bands that you know of, because I am interested in starting one.
What do you think Chuck would have thought of people garnering
such inspiration from his music? [Gareth Piper]
There are many tribute bands out there. I know Chuck would be
very pleased for being such an inspiration from his music. When
fans wrote to tell him that, he was so pleased, and really in
awe that his music was the cause of that inspiration. Chuck really
was a humble person in that way.
I have a very deeply felt question about Chucks music as it has
changed my life in such a spiritual way. In the song "See
Through Dreams" Chuck says in one part "Through dreams
I obtain The ability to connect sight with sound". I was
wondering if Chuck had quite literally mastered the abiliy to
'See' his music as well as hear it in his imagination. I have
had similar experiences where I have been awake while dreaming
(lucid dreams) and composed music, and 'told' my subconscious
to 'see' the music as colours whilst hearing in my head. I'm sorry
to be asking such a deep question, But I think if this is what
Chuck meant in the lyrics it would shed some light on why Chuck's
music feels so dreamy and surreal. It feels to me like it was
quite literally created straight from his subconscious mind/his
I don't know the answer to this question,
I wish I did. I do know Chuck was a philosopher and a spiritual
person, he felt things very deeply and his feelings and concerns
about life, tragedy, wrongs done to him and other people were
all in his lyrics. We talked quite a lot about those concerns
and when I read his lyrics now, I see it clearly.
Have you ever considered to make a compilation
of Chucks lyrics (not repeating several times the chorus) or some
other stuff he wrote, as a book? [Lisandro Ramos]
It was mentioned to
me several times but I didn't have the time to pursue it. Maybe
in the near future I'll see how to go about it.
It is my belief that Chuck was
a modern Mozart EVOLVED... sharper, faster, stronger with never
ending perseverance in his life, goals and dreams. ...And so...
history repeated itself before our very eyes... taking away yet
another incredible person/artist/musician in a most bitter fashion.
So my question is... what do you think of all this??? Much love,
respect and always keeping the spirit alive!!! [Carlos Delgado]
Yes, comparing the two really is not fair. I have gotten many
letters telling me that Chuck is remeniscent of philosophers and
poets as well as Mozart. The differences are, of course, great.
Chuck was a fighter, and yes, his financial assets were depleted
by the illness, but he was not broke and he met death in his own
house with his family around him and with as much courage and
dignity as he had met the illness. He was not abandoned by the
world because his friends, family and fans were there for him
every step of the way and Chuck considered himself fortunate because
of that. Chuck reaped many rewards when he was still here to realize
them, that of the acknowledgement of his worth as a musician and
writer by the people named above.
Just by listening to Chuck's music from
Death/Control Denied, he had to have loved other musical-styles
besides metal (classical perhaps?). Chuck understood melody, as
well as harmony, perfectly in his song-writing abilities. So I
was wondering if he also enjoyed writing and recording songs that
weren't in the "metal" genre? [Paul]
Yes, Chuck did like other musical styles. In his studio
he recorded classical as well as jazz for his own enjoyment, I
have those CDs. Chuck really liked all music except country and
rap. He also wrote and recorded for his father and I a beautiful
instrumental piece, with only the guitar. I treasure it.
Looking back on your life with your son,
did you ever have a special moment where you've all of a sudden
realized how important music was to him? Like a special expression
while he played his guitar or the way he talked about his music?
Towards the end of guitar lessons that Chuck took when
he was 9 years old I knew Chuck had begun to have more than a
casual interest in music. His brother Frank had a variety of interest,
also Beth, his sister, but Chuck was focused almost entirely on
music and began collecting albums at that time. That collection
grew to over a thousand. If you know the story, I bought Chuck
his first electric guitar at that time, surprised he even knew
what one was. Chuck kept that special guitar always and I now
have been playing guitar for a few years, and I'm trying to learn
Chuck's songs. I hope that one day I will be able to achieve his
sound. My question springs from this objective. What kind of guitar
did Chuck play? [Andrea]
nephew, Christopher, said Chuck's guitar specifications were:
BC Rich Stealth, one volumn and one pickup.I hope this answers
your question. [Editor's Note: Chuck describes his gear a little
more in depth in an interview with
Sorry if I'm a bit behind on this one but
I would like to ask anyway. What happened to Chuck's black B.C.
Rich Stealth guitar? Thanks! [Micheal]
In his will Chuck left all his musical instruments to his nephew,
including his beloved Stealth, which Christopher especially cherishes.
Chuck taught him to play on the Stealth.
Thank you for the answers to my previous
questions. I have one more, this time about Chucks guitar. I know
that he had a B.C. Rich "Stealth" which is only available
on B.C. Rich Custom Shop. Those guitars are quite expensive and
as I know he's had his Stealth since the days of Leprosy (maybe
earlier). Did he have enough money to buy that guitar? As I know
the cheapest version of it cost at least 1700 dollars, so I think
that's a lot of money. Did Chuck order his guitar personally at
B.C. Rich's Custom? Or maybe he bought it from another guitarist?
Chuck was sponsored by B.C. Rich and most of his guitars were
custom made to his specifications, including his much loved Stealth.
Chuck's father and I bought his first two guitars and after that
he bought his own.
Chuck had an extremely piercing and distinct
voice, yet still musical and very talented, especially in his
last album, "The Sound Of Perserverance." Did Chuck's
singing voice naturally sound that way or did he have to work
at it and adapt to that type of voice? [Brian]
Chuck told me once that singing that way was sometimes hard on
his voice, but I know that when he started out with his band in
his teen years he sang that way. I don't know that he ever consciously
thought to sing that way, it just came naturally when he started
singing and playing that kind of music.
I was just
wondering what the origin of the band name "Death" is.
Is there any specific reason why Chuck chose it? [Brian]
Chuck had first chosen the name Mantas but when he went to have
it copywrited, it was taken already. It was just a few years after
we had lost his older brother in an accident, and I have always
thought that was why Death was chosen. Open Casket was written
with the memory of Chuck's brother in mind.
I am becoming
a very big fan of Death. I play and sing myself and I understand
Chuck's indescribable talent and devotion to his life as a musician.
I was wondering why Chuck continued if he felt it was so hard
dealing with some people? Thank you for giving birth to one of
the truly phenomenal legends this dull world has had the privalige
of seeing and hearing. Peace and respect to you. [Ollie Ducie]
you for your kind words. Although Chuck had to fight hard and
long in the music business from the age of 18, it was worth the
struggle to him. He said to me and in countless interviews that
if he could only bypass everything and just play for the fans
and his sheer love for his music, he would be a happy man.
I've been trying in vain to find out the sales figures for Death's
albums. What were the best/worst sellers? How many etc etc. I'm
ideally after approx. worldwide figs, and sales in the UK and
I have no idea what the sales
figures are. Chuck never kept up with the business side of things,
but his sister, Beth, is in the process of locating that information.
All Chuck's albums did well, the early ones are the favorites
of some and the later ones are preferred by others, some collect
them all. I know Symbolic was very popular and one of Chuck's
favorites, mine also.
Do you know how much money Chuck earned
from Death? From an earlier interview I remember him saying it
wasn't much, but do you know how much someone as successful as
him made in a largely underground scene? [Hobo]
No, I do not. I will say his greatest rewards in his career were
not financial, though he lived very comfortably.
In one of the official newsletters from the Death fan club, it
was stated that Chuck would release an instructional video through
Star Licks. This appeared in the issue where Chuck announced the
creation of Control Denied (which, of course, was postponed until
after the release of The Sound of Perserverence). My question
is did Chuck ever make that instructional video? If so, where
can I purchase it? [Philippe]
That was one of the things
Chuck was looking forward to, and he mentioned it often. He expressed
his regrets that he never got to do it.
I want to know more about the videos Chuck
made, like The Philosopher, and I want to know where I can get
I am in the process of locating them and will let Yvonne at EmptyWords
know when I succeed. Perhaps I can make them available for you.
Will the Demo's ever be released on CD? Also, were there any song
that was never put on an album(s)? [Jess]
There are unreleased songs
that Chuck wrote, I discovered them while going through Chuck's
personal papers. Many people ask me about the demos. Chuck had
said at one time that he did not want them released, he may have
changed his mind later on, but there was not that chance. I am
sorry to say that fans writing me frequently telling me there
are demos of very poor quality on the internet for sale, so be
very careful of ordering them that way.
to buy some Death and Control Denied demos, is this possible?
It is not possible at this time to buy legitimate
demos, there probably will be in the future.
I wonder if theres a lot of unreleased stuff that Chuck recorded
but never released, such as the Control Denied demos where he
did the vocals, or any other live recordings. Is there any possibility
that stuff like that ever will be released? [Patrik]
Yes Patrik, there are unreleased
lyrics and music, I found some more just yesterday concerning
Control Denied. Chuck was always in his studio, writing and recording
and he carefully saved and preserved everything. I think someday
in the future it will be released.
I have all of the Death cd's, dvd's and
the Control Denied disc. The only thing missing from my collection
are the Death t-shirts. Will there ever be any Death t-shirts
reissued so fans like me can collect and wear them? [James]
Yes, I will have more very soon, I am having designs from
old favorites made up and a special memorial shirt was designed
and will be offered also. This will be announced on the emptywords
site as soon as I get them.
Is there a Death tribute album, or will
there ever be? [Doug]
There is certain to be many unauthorized Death tribute albums.
James Murphy is going to release the first authorized tribute.
Beth gave permission because it will help James with medical expenses
in treating his brain tumor. James has our support and I hope
everyone goes to buy it when it comes out. I sure will.
I am quite a new fan of Death/Control Denied I only got into Chuck's
music shortly after I heard that Chuck was ill and my question?
Is their a Death/Control Denied fan club still, if so I would
like to know how much it is to join and the fan club's address.
No, Chuck was just too busy to continue
the fan club. I wish I had the time and I would. As soon as I
learn how to operate my scanner, I'm going to send Yvonne a picture
of one of those fan club cards. I found quite a few of them. I
told some of you that Chuck kept everything!
Hello, I am a very recent fan of Death and
Chuck Schuldiner's music. I am currently in a band that is very
greatly influenced by the music of Death and numerous other bands
of the genre (although none of them are comparable to the music
of Death). I was wondering why there was such a changing line-up
with Death and if Chuck ever actually talked about why he did
that so much. Don't get me wrong, because I think that every album
is a masterpiece and the quality of the musicians is some of the
best I have heard. Also, what genre did Chuck consider Death to
be in, I know it is metal, but I have also heard it refered to
as melodic metal, jazz metal, etc. Well I hope this mail doesnt
take too much time, because I am sure you still have many left
to answer. Thanks. [Justin]
Yes, Chuck did talk about that and he didn't understand why it
was questioned. It was simply a professional decision made to
get the best musician for that particular album. He was always
striving to get the very best for his albums, he was a perfectionist
in his music. I know he was very much looking forward to working
for a long time with his latest band members, and I know he remained
friends with most of his former band members. Chuck considered
Death to be in the heavy metal genre, period. He would have laughed
at the other discriptions.
We can discuss which was the best Death album, but my question
is, what was Chuck's opinion? Which Death album was his favourite?
Was he proud especially about one of his songs? Maybe there was
some Death songs which Chuck didn't like? I wrote to you once
at email@example.com, but I didn't get answer yet.
I'm so sorry I didn't answer you, Igor.
I have almost 400 emails to answer and since I answer all letters
personally, I am quite behind in my mail. I thought it was a good
idea to answer questions about the album on a seperate site, but
didn't know it would be so huge a task. Chuck liked Symbolic very
much, it had deep personal meaning to him, and Perseverance also.
We talked about those. There were no songs he did not like, although
he did have his favorites, I'm sure. Except for his very early
albums, all of them were part of his thoughts and feelings.
On the 15th
of November 2002 you had written that there were some problems
with releasing the new Control Denied album, and my question is:
Is there any possibility of the album being released? If so, when
will it appear in shops? [Igor]
Yes, the album is very definitely going
to be released. The legal problems I spoke about are in the courts
soon and after they are taken care of, we will be able to go ahead
with it. As far as I'm concerned, this is the most important album
ever. When I pleaded with Chuck to not play so long and hard,
to rest more, he told me how important it was for him to keep
on, to do his very best, and at times he struggled but he kept
going. Remembering that, we are going through our own struggle
to make sure that album is not only released, but that it be done
Mrs. Schuldiner. Did Chuck actually record
some guitar parts for the new Control Denied album before he passed
away? Will the fans be really able to hear Chuck playing on the
new album? With all due respect it is not my intention to be rude,
but IF Chuck's playing is not included, there will be something
very important missing from the album. Moreover, I am sure that
many fans would not like it at all. Yours sincerely. [Fernando
Hello Fernando, nice to hear from you again. Remember, Chuck started
working on the last Control Denied album months before the tumor
recurred. Even when it came back Chuck worked in his studio very
long and hard during very difficult times towards the end of his
life. When I would worry and say a particular piece of music was
good enough, he said good enough was unacceptable, and would keep
at it until HE felt it was the very best he had in him to do.
Thinking of it all, that makes this Chuck's most important album
ever. You are not rude at all, but if it were not Chuck's work,
then it would not be Control Denied and it would never be released
as such. When the new album is finally ready to record, an interview
will be given, (not by me!) to discuss all that.
does it feel to be the best known "metal mother" around?
As Chuck's mom, I have been
a very supportive of him always, and now I correspond with many
of his fans, but I never thought of it that way. I am honored
if it is so.
I was wondering if you found the themes
of Chuck's early music disturbing and, if so, were you ever concerned
about any "path" he was taking? [Robert Williams]
No, I really wasn't ever disturbed. I felt it was because
of the death of his brother that his lyrics and music was so aggressive
and he later confirmed that. It really was a way for him to let
his emotions out, and I felt good about him having that outlet.
He never gave his father and I a bit of anxiety and I give credit
to his music for that. Chuck took the path he did because of his
music, and I couldn't be more proud of him.
Were you ever surprised/uneasy about Chuck being as popular or
famous as he was? [Victor
I was concerned at first,
but soon got to know all the guys he worked with and wasn't worried
after that. I saw that they took very good care of each other.
Hello, I was on a Death messsage board and
posted a message on how to say Chuck’s last name Schuldiner.
They think it’s Shul-Din-Er. I thought the "Sch"
would make a hard "c" sound like in school, so it would
be Skoo-Din-Er. Can you please spell Schuldiner phonetically because
I have been battling with his last name for a while now. Thanks.
It's definitely like this: the "Sch" pronounced like
the "sh" in shame, the "u" pronounced like
the "u" in mud, and the "i" pronounced like
the "ea" in dear. So in the end Schuldiner would be
sounding like Shul-dea-ner and not like Skul-dinner. The origin
lies in the German language. Chuck's family originally came from
Austria, which is a German speaking country, hence the German
Hi Jane, I'd like to know if Chuck's father
was/is as supportive towards Chuck as you were/are, what his opinion
on Chuck's music is - this is just out of curiosity, I've rarely
seen his father mentioned. [Christoph]
Although Chuck's father did not support his choice of music, he
was and is very proud of Chuck's accomplishments. While I choose
to do all I can to keep Chuck's memory alive with the help of
Kees and Yvonne and Chuck's fans and friends, he chooses not to
Were you actually a fan of Chuck and Death's
music or did you just support it? I know most parents of bands
don't actually like the music, but support it (certainly the case
with me anyway!). Also, what has happened to all Chuck's gear?
I did love much of Chuck's music, especially the later music.
At first, when he left home and began touring we would listen
to his albums and listened especially to Chuck's guitar because
it made us feel closer to him. That grew into an appreciation
for the music itself. I was probably always Chuck's biggest fan
in many ways. Chuck's nephew gave Richard his drums and I have
here in my computer room the equipment Chuck used to record in
his studio. It just comforts me to have it near. As I said, his
nephew has all his guitars except the very first one I bought
when Chuck was 9 years old. I also have that in the computer room.
Most we will keep because of the connection to Chuck. There has
been no decision as to the rest, it's too soon to think about
have a friend whose young son/daughter has just discovered this
"noisy" type of music and is desperately asking you
for an advice: how to react, since it is her opinion that only
listening to this music implies something abnormal going on within
her son/daughter's head, not to talk about being forced to face
him/her playing it sometime? How did you react the first time
you got familiar with Chuck's creation? How often did he ask you
for a review/opinion of some of his work? What's your relation
with music as an art form? What do you think about "Human",
from that aspect? [Nedim Dedic]
I think back to when I was young and Rock&Roll music and the
noise level was always a problem to the older geneation back then.
I always thought Chuck was absolutely amazing from the very beginning
with his talent. It never occured to me that Chuck should not
have the right to play any music he chose.I have had mothers ask
for advice and I tell them that Chuck's music was never a problem
to me, I am always open to all music, as all people should be.
The important thing was not if I liked it, he did and that was
all that mattered. I tell them to make a place within their home
if at all possible so their son can practice with his band, to
encourage him and welcome all the wonderful young people and give
them lots of food and soda to drink. They will never be sorry
and will reap many, many rewards in the future, as I have. I loved
those days. Chuck at times brought his work to me and discussed
it, but never for an opinion/review. He was an artist alsolutely
sure of his work, after all it was based on his own thoughts,
beliefs and experiences. How could he be wrong?
Where can I report fraud of Chuck's material?
People are making lots of money off of Chuck's talent through
bootlegs and unofficial copies of his work. I want it to stop.
Please send me any information you have about the person committing
the fraud and I will send it to the two attorneys who are prosecuting
these people when possible and at the very least reporting them
to the proper authorities. I encourage anyone to report these
disgusting parasites to me. We want it to stop also and will do
all possible to make it so. Remember, anybody who buys unauthorized
merchandise lines the pockets of these people.
If Chuck had to say something to everyone
in the world before he passed on, what do you think he would have
That is a very profound question. He was so philosophic, I remember
him saying to me to look past a friend's transgressions. Towards
the end of 2001 Chuck said to me that all the irritations and
feuds of the past did not matter in the long run. The only thing
that really matters is your family. I think he would have have
said to live your life as well as possible and ignore all the
negativity around you to the best of your ability, to be at peace
as much as possible. That's how Chuck thought and how he tried
(from the editor)
Please read existing
posts before sending yours, other people may have asked your
question already. Your question may be edited. If questions
are "being processed", then that's only a small lag,
compared to asking stuff that was on there since the first day.
If I was going to ask a question that was slightly different
than one there, I would ask it, because I would think the current
question doesn't answer MY question, so it can't hurt. Also
a lot of answers to your questions probably can be found in
the following four interviews:
Deep Look Inside - a very
personal interview with Chuck
The Simple Technique Behind a Technical
Death Metal Band - an interview with Chuck about his gear
Guitar Corner - an interview with
Memories of the Master Chuck
Schuldiner - an interview with Chuck's mom
mom would love to answer your questions,
so send your 'ultimate' question to firstname.lastname@example.org