Jane Schuldiner: The Unpublished Interview
GW Would you say that Chuck was obsessive about his guitar playing?
SCHULDINER I don’t think he was obsessive, it was just something he loved to do to relax. Some people’s passion is a computer, some television, Chuck’ passion was his guitar. He was fortunate that it was also his career.
GW Chuck was still in school while he was getting Death off the ground.
SCHULDINER Yes, but his music never interfered with his school work. We had rules from the first that he followed without question; he knew that school work came first. He left school shortly before graduation to pursue his search to be contracted to a label. We talked with his school counselor who urged us to let Chuck pursue his dream, which we did after getting his promise that if, after a year, he did not get that contract, he would finish school and go to college. He got the contract before the year was over.
GW Did you stay involved with Chuck’s career once it got going?
SCHULDINER Of course his father and I were involved the first year, from afar mostly. After that, Chuck discussed his plans but his decisions were always his own. We trusted him to do what was best for the band with the inferred promise that it would above all be the best for himself also.
GW Did you see Chuck often before he contracted his illness?
SCHULDINER Chuck moved out on his own to a town near us and saw us when he wasn’t touring, inviting us over for dinner and visiting us often.
GW Chuck played with so many different musicians during his career. Some have said he was a perfectionist in that regard.
SCHULDINER Chuck never let anything interfere with his quest for the best musicians for his band. I don’t think he ever had any problem finding musicians, and I believe his success time after time with his albums made people realize that he did the right thing in his decisions to do what was best for the band.
GW Chuck was never a big fan of the music industry.
SCHULDINER The biggest frustration with the music business for Chuck were the labels. He told me that if he could bypass the labels and just play for the fans he would be a happy man. The joy Chuck had in playing for those fans were what made it all worthwhile for him.
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