The family of late DEATH/CONTROL DENIED mastermind Chuck Schuldiner is moving ahead with plans to complete and eventually release the long-awaited second CONTROL DENIED album.
Chuck — who passed away in December 2001 after a battle with pontine glioma, a rare type of brain tumor — began work on the CD, tentatively titled "When Machine And Man Collide", but never managed to finish the effort before his health quickly deteriorated in the months leading up to his tragic death. The remaining members of the group — bassist Steve DiGiorgio, vocalist Tim Aymar, guitarist Shannon Hamm, and drummer Richard Christy — subsequently announced their desire to complete the album and release it in Chuck's memory, but legal hassles between Schuldiner's family and Hammerheart Records (to whom Chuck was signed at the time of his death) put the entire project on hold. (Karmageddon Media — formerly Hammerheart Records — has since issued various incomplete demo recordings as two separate low-quality albums, "Zero Tolerance" and "Zero Tolerance II".)
Chuck's mother, Jane Schuldiner, previously stated about the unfinished recordings: "[Chuck's] last masterpiece deserves more than to be released as unfinished bits of rehearsal room recordings on CD, or to be grabbed for free on the Internet. It deserves to be finished by the rest of the band and to be released on a full-length album, titled: 'When Machine And Man Collide'."
In a new posting on Chuck's official web site, Empty Words, Aymar had the following to say regarding the forthcoming CONTROL DENIED album:
"Those who know Chuck's music from DEATH and CONTROL DENIED have faithfully and patiently awaited the announcement of the completion of Chuck's dying wish, which is to get the final CONTROL DENIED record out to you , and along with my other bandmates, I am extremely happy to be here to fulfill the promise I made a decade ago.
"When I first talked to Chuck about auditioning for a new band he was working on, an extension of his former band DEATH which he called CONTROL DENIED. We first talked over the telephone, and he was not at all like what I had expected him to be. My bandmate, co-writer and dear friend Jimmy Dofka from PSYCHO SCREAM had turned me on to DEATH a few months before, and the picture I had in my mind of Chuck, judging only by how precise and beautifully violent that music is, was of a brutal tyrant. I mean, after all, just listen to Gene Hoglan's drumming and the command of Chuck's blood-soaked screaming, and you'll know what I mean.
"Well, I was delightfully wrong. The voice on the phone was just a guy like me, an easy-going, slow-talking hippie with a burning passion for metal. We both understood the seriousness of the business at hand, but neither of made it seem anything but exciting and fun, and that was awesome. That's just what professionals do. We talked about our tastes in music and inspirations and our idols.
"We were definitely on the same page. He said he wanted me to audition because from what he'd heard already from PSYCHO SCREAM, my voice had all the qualities he had been looking for since he began his journey into metal. There's a bit of everyone we both liked in there, a bit of Dio, Halford, Tyler, Gillan, Bonnet, all the best screamers in the biz. With that in mind, we set a date and I flew down to meet him and do the audition. I thought maybe there was a chance he was blowing a bit of smoke up my ass, because that's just what some people do. But no, as it turns out, he was one of the few people in this biz that didn't.
"I arrived at Orlando international [airport] and just grabbed my stuff at the luggage return, when Chuck, Scott, Chris and Shannon came running and screaming through the hallway like pack of wild dogs yelling, 'Tim Scream, Tim Scream,' my new nickname which later, at the house I found inscribed on a half gallon bottle of Jim Beam. They mugged me of my luggage, lifted me up and threw me in the air like a rag doll.
"I knew this was gonna be a hell of a week already.
"Surprisingly, we jumped into the car and they had the PSYCHO SCREAM tape in the player, and they were singing along like they'd known it forever. We got to the house and there it was... the ominous bottle with the letters J and B scratched out and the rest of the letters Sharpied in to spell out Tim Scream.
"We got to work right away...on the booze, and then we listened to a bunch of stuff from Chuck's vinyl collection.
"Once we got rolling in the studio, the work went smooth as buttermilk. We knocked out three songs in two-and-a-half days rather than the five we expected, so Chuck mixed down the tunes and when he was finished he called me into the kitchen. He poured us each a shot of Tim Scream, handed me one and said, 'We're all very happy about this, and if you want the job, I won't even call Halford back.'
"I could not believe what I had just heard. He not only wanted a voice like one of my all time greatest idols, he had planned on auditioning him after me. But that's how he said it. That's just what bosses do.
"The police showed up at our first practice as a band. Chuck was polite, but firm in his conviction when he said, 'You might think you know who you came here to hassle, but you don't know I'm probably the only person on this street whose house is paid for and my taxes are paid as well, I've been all over the world with my band and that's how I bought this place and not how these people who called you tell their children who say shit to my nephew at school and send him home crying. I just paid like 10 grand to soundproof my home so these people would not hear us, and now you're telling me it's too loud? What is the law? I'll abide [by] it.' He wanted to know because that's just what good neighbors do.
"So, at the end of the week it was time to say goodbye and I waited for the call from Chuck to find out the progress on his soliciting the demos. I waited, and worked my engineering job at Soundscape, and my management job at a home-improvement company sales office. Several family members had passed away, including my mom, and I was laid off from work, and Chuck did find a record deal with Nuclear Blast America, but it was for DEATH. I wasn't sure why he didn't contact me, but finally I got an email from Liz at Nuclear Blast and she told me Chuck lost my number and needed to talk with me about CONTROL DENIED. Then a friend brought over a copy of [DEATH's] 'The Sound Of Perseverance' and showed me the liner notes. Chuck had written to me through the liner notes that he lost my number. This is immortalized. Then when I went to pick up the phone to call him, it rang, I answered and it was him. It wasn't the first time it happened; it happened before and several times after this. It happens with other friends, too. That's just what spiritual connections do.
"I met up with the whole DEATH lineup when they finally hit Pittsburgh, and hung out with them for the rest of the night. This was my first time meeting Richard Christy, our drummer. Chris had already decided to move on, and that was OK, because we all knew how much he loved CONTROL DENIED, but he just couldn't hang around waiting and he joined up with another project. Richard I had already heard with his previous band BURNING INSIDE, because they are on the same compilation CD as PSYCHO SCREAM, so technically we were already on the same record together, although in separate bands.
"Well, Richard and I couldn't have hit it off any better. We're both practical jokers. Richard devised a plan to mess with the tour manager. He took a candy circus peanut, stuffed it into the neck of a Heineken bottle and popped the lid back on, and handed it to me. He said, put this in the cooler and when I tell you, grab it and give it to this guy. So the tour manager jumps on the bus and says, 'Somebody get me a beer,' and I handed him the Heiney. He popped off the top and tried to take a swig. Upon further inspection, he noticed something odd and that was my cue. 'Oh my god, there's a fucking mouse in it. Holy shit, it's a fucking mouse.' He just about vomited when we let him in on the joke. I showed them down the street to the 'O' to get some greasy-but-good-greasy pizza and we joked and talked some more and later, Richard said to me, 'You got a lot of balls fucking with the tour manager the first time we've met.' I waited for the punch line... 'So you're gonna fit right in with this bunch.' Yep, I already knew it.
"So I went back home again, and a month or so later , I packed my bags for Orlando. This time, it was to demo some new tunes since a few of the ones on the CONTROL DENIED tapes had been 'DEATH-ized' and recorded on 'The Sound Of Perseverance'. We demoed and wrote and re-demoed and re-wrote and we rehearsed with the band and.. barbequed. AAAAAAh yeah, carnivores, all of us. We love carnage, and Chuck was our master chef.
"Being a former chef by trade, I was impressed. He loved coffee and bagels too, so it became our morning ritual. Gourmet coffee, bagels and cream cheese, Jerry Springer and Southern rock. To get fired up before we hit the studio, we had our breakfast watching Jerry Springer to laugh at the stupidity, and we ordered up MOLLY HATCHET from the local radio station. When HATCHET came on, we'd crank it up and sing along at the top of our lungs like complete idiots. It was such a blast, so... not what you'd expect from such a prominent figure in the music business, yet that's why it all worked. How could anyone in the world have an ego tantrum or a pissing contest after behaving in such a manner? Impossible.
"Wait, I haven't even mentioned catfish sandwiches or Bethanne [Chuck's sister] yet. This story gets better.
"I met Chuck's sister at the country club she worked at. I had mentioned that I loved catfish, so they highly recommended the catfish sandwich. OH MY God! Good catfish, but I mean Bethanne. It took maybe five minutes to realize how awesome a gal she is. Not only is she a sight for sore eyes, she's sharp as a whip, funny as hell, a practical joker as well, and did I mention whip? Later on I saw another side of Bethanne I admire even more. DO NOT TRY TO HURT HER. I swear to that thing people swear to, if you try to hurt Bethanne, we're all gonna step aside and let her loose on you. I mean, I'd rather go toe to toe with Chuck Norris than piss her off. But seriously, when it comes down to it, she's the best sister in the world.
"OK, back to the barbequing.
"So, it was Valentine's Day. Chuck and I are two bachelors spending the day together because we're two weeks into rehearsals and still wrapping up the demos. Chuck bought chickens and steaks and I bought prawns and lobster tails and we're preparing a feast for ourselves and the rest of the cast of carnivores who were en route. Just as they rolled in for dinner and practice, Chuck brought me the phone. 'It's your dad,' he said. I almost swallowed my tongue. 'Huh?' My dad only calls me when bad things happen like when someone dies. 'You have to come home,' my dad said. 'Little Danny died.'
"My youngest brother was Chuck's age; this could NOT be real. The guys heard what just happened and they huddled around me and kept me from falling apart; that's just what brothers do. Chuck yelled, 'What bag do you want to take?' Oh fuck, this IS real. 'Don't worry, Bethanne and mom are gonna book you a flight and I'll get you to the airport right away.' It seemed like maybe three seconds but it must have been an hour or so, that she had the flight booked. That's just what sisters do. Chuck got me to the airport, and explained the story of his brother Frank, and why he named his band DEATH in order to turn such a horrible, negative feeling into something positive. 'Take your time, as long as you need, and when you get back, I want you to put everything you're feeling right now into this record, for yourself, for your brother and for mine, and from now on we have each other, we are brothers in pain, and it's our obligation to the fans to give them what we honestly feel.' I did, because that's just what singers do.
"Midway through recording, Chuck started having a problem with severe headaches and neck pain. Well, he'd been a guitarist for half his life and a headbanger at that, and he'd just come home a month before from a long-ass tour and had been spending more time than I would want to screaming at the record company about how they planned on launching this band. So I recommended he see a chiropractor to adjust his neck and get the blood flowing and that should have taken care of the headaches, too. Well, it would have, if the problem hadn't been a malignant brain-stem tumor that took his life two years later. That's just what cancers do. I know survivors, but I'm sure their survival were inevitable and were not recovery or a cure from any sort of treatment. These are people who had so much money that the doctors tried to kill them slower in order to get all their money, and the 'treatments' weren't strong enough to kill them, so their cancers probably went away on their own. That is also just what cancers do. And don't try to tell me otherwise, because I'm sure you don't know how to fucking cure cancer.
"So here comes the fun part. Before Chuck passed away, shortly after his first surgery he was well enough to write and track his parts, Richard's drums, Shannon's solos and a vocal template for me to go by for each of the songs. He called me shortly after he'd worked on getting the band off of Nuclear Blast because they did not execute several key factors of the contract such as advertising, and small things like FORGETTING TO PUT A FUCKING BARCODE ON THE FIRST 10,000 UNITS??? I've explained all this in great detail time and time again on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, so stop by sometime, search my name or CONTROL DENIED and you'll find plenty from back then. There was a war of words between myself, the new label Hammerheart, who was not financially stable enough to back any promises they had made, and Chuck tried to get that bogus deal settled, and get off that suicide rig, but he died first. leaving his grieving family to contend with the legal battle for nine grueling years. The company was finally forced to admit the deal was fraudulent, but they took the Schuldiners through hell first. That's just what record companies do. A lot of them anyway, but I think we've finally found a home that Chuck would be very proud of at Relapse.
"Enter Eric Greif. He is formerly Chuck's attorney, and considered a brother just like we brothers in the band, and like all brothers sometimes it meant arguments and fighting, and sometimes it meant making up and being best friends again. That's just what brother do, too. Well, Eric has been around the block, so to speak, as far as representing musicians, and he has made great progress on behalf of CONTROL DENIED, DEATH and the Schuldiner legacy. He's now the president of Perseverance Holdings Ltd. and Mutilation Music (BMI) which means basically that he is on board in Chuck's stead, to make sure his intellectual property is managed and his wishes are carried out. He's really kicking some ass since he's come on board. Both DEATH and CONTROL DENIED are now signed with Relapse, one of metal's most respected record companies. There are reissues of several DEATH records and is working to get most of DEATH's records reassigned to Relapse. The CONTROL DENIED CD 'The Fragile Art Of Existence' is re-released as a three- CD set, and a two-CD set, both with loads of special tracks and pictures and notes from the band. It just gets better and better every time I talk with him. That is just what good attorneys do!
"Eric gave me a call yesterday to let me know the time has come. Did you hear that? No, you probably can't believe I just said it. THE TIME HAS COME!!! Our producer, Jim Morris at Morrisound in Tampa, Florida who brought to life notable albums by DEATH, CONTROL DENIED, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, SAVATAGE, ICED EARTH, SEVEN MARY THREE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, DEMONS AND WIZARDS, END-TIME ILLUSION, and OBITUARY, just to name a fraction of the killer artists on their roster, has contacted Eric Greif, informing the members of CONTROL DENIED that he is ready to begin laying out the planning and scheduling to complete Chuck Schuldiner's legacy, 'When Machine And Man Collide'. You heard it right, and you heard it straight from the horse's (hey, wait a minute) mouth. This record will see the light of day and be in your hands sometime in 2011 and Jim will make certain it's every bit as awesome as Chuck ever wanted and then some!!! That's what the Morrises do."
"Go now and carry this message to the metal masses and keep the metal flowing! That's what metal crusaders do. And we love you for it!!!
To coincide with what would have been Chuck Schuldiner's 40th birthday (Chuck was born on May 13, 1967), the official DEATH web site Empty Words posted the Schuldiner tribute article (entitled "Lust for Life") which was published in Guitar World magazine's April 2007 issue. Check it out at this location.
Chuck Schuldiner memorial video made by his mother (and which was shown at his funeral):