Jane Schuldiner: The Unpublished Interview
An interview with Jane Schuldiner, mother of Death guitarist Chuck Schuldiner, for Guitar World magazine. Conducted via email on November 8, 2006.
GUITAR WORLD How would you describe Chuck’s childhood?
JANE SCHULDINER Chuck’s childhood was what has been called a Leave It to Beaver. life. When Chuck was a year old we moved to Florida in an area that was largely undeveloped at that time, with woods surrounding us. Chuck and his brother, Frank, and sister, Beth, grew up playing in those woods, building forts in the trees and seeing quite a lot of wildlife there also. Chuck and Frank, his brother, camped out in the backyard with flashlights and snacks lots of times and there were many of the children in the neighborhood at the house most days. At the end he thanked me for the golden memories of his childhood.
GW Was there religion in the house during Chuck’s childhood?
SCHULDINER Although Chuck’s father is Jewish and I’m Christian, we did not raise our children to be either, instead exposing them to each, including the holidays. They ended up being the best of both.
GW Did Chuck have artistic interests when he was young?
SCHULDINER Chuck was interested in art and sculpture from a young age and loved both equally and, as mothers do, I saved everything he did. That interest continued throughout his life and he and his nephew, Christopher, did sculptures together as late as early in 2001.
GW When Chuck was nine, his older brother Frank was killed in a car accident.
SCHULDINER Frank and Chuck were very close. That closeness is surely why the devastation Chuck felt at the tragic death of his brother, and the consequences following it, were so great that he never really came to terms with it. He always missed Frank. The death of Frank brought this family very close together and that closeness has continued always. There is always fear involved when a child dies and I watched diligently, afraid it could happen again. Chuck’s father worked and had tennis and other hobbies, so I was more involved with Chuck and his interests, as I was with my other children. As Chuck grew older he would go with me antiquing and he would frequently call me to just go out for a cup of coffee, or to lunch, or the doorbell would ring and there he would be for a visit. He never forgot my birthday or any other special occasion. He was a wonderful son and friend and we were close, as were his sister and nephew. He took us to the beach on weekends when he was home and met his nephew at the bus stop after school to take him to the mall or to play basketball. His sister fought for his life for three years and he acknowledged that in an interview, saying that his sister was a warrior. They were really close friends as well as brother and sister. Is it any wonder that we infinitely love and miss him in so many ways?