Chuck Schuldiner

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Chuck Schuldiner

Charles Michael «Chuck» Schuldiner (May 13, 1967, Long Island, New York, USA-December 13, 2001) was an American musician known for being the singer, guitarist and composer of the band Death. He is considered one of the most influential personalities in the history of death metal, and heavy metal in general, as well as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of the genre itself. Schuldiner died from the complications caused by a brainstem glioma (cancer) on December 13, 2001.

Chuck_Schuldiner’s Biography

Early life

He was born on May 13, 1967 in Long Island, New York, in a family of Jewish origin. He had two older brothers, Frank and Bethann. The family moved to Florida in 1968.

When his brother Frank died in an accident at age 16, Chuck’s parents bought him an acoustic guitar at age 9 to help him cope with the loss. He took classical guitar lessons but did not like them and abandoned them in less than a year. Then, his parents bought him an electric guitar and Chuck from that moment did not stop practicing, day and night, in his room or in the garage, limited only by school activities.

His first influences were Kiss and Billy Idol, as well as others. Then he became interested in the movement of the «New Wave Of British Heavy Metal» (NWOBHM) with bands like Iron Maiden, Venom, Diamond Head, etc. His last influences that marked his final style were thrash metal groups from the “Bay Area” scene such as Slayer and Possessed. His mother said that Chuck liked all kinds of music except country and rap. In addition, he was a fan of Jazz, progressive rock and classical music, styles that he would later implement in Death.

Apparently Chuck did well in school, but it bored him and he preferred to leave, something he regretted in the future.

Chuck was known to be openly opposed to hard drugs. This was reflected in several interviews and some of his songs (as in “Living Monstrosity”, which is about an addicted child born to a cocaine-addicted mother).

Musical career

Death in Mexico (1989), leftist Terry Butler, Paul Masvidal, manager Eric Greif, Bill Andrews and Chuck Schuldiner .

Mille Petrozza, leader of Kreator, participated in the VoodooCult project, together with Schuldiner and Dave Lombardo de Slayer.

Chuck formed his first group in 1983, called Mantas and later changed his name to Death. There he played the cover «Black Magic» of the American band Slayer.

In January 1986, Chuck temporarily joined the Canadian band Slaughter as a guitarist. However, he quickly returned to his original group.

In that period, Death underwent several changes in its formation, still with Chris Reifert they published its first album, titled Scream Bloody Gore, in 1987. This disc is considered one of the first albums of death metal. Later, he pitched Leprosy with rhythm guitarist Rick Rozz, Terry Butler on bass (Terry did not really play the bass on the record, but Chuck himself, who for reasons of friendship left him in the credits) and Bill Andrews in the battery. In 1990 Spiritual Healing is published, where Rozz. is replaced by James Murphy.

After Spiritual Healing, Chuck Schuldiner stopped working with a whole group, to move on to working with session musicians, after the bad relationships between guitarists. This caused him to be considered a perfectionist within the metal community. Chuck also fired his manager Eric Greif, but he rehired him after the release of his next album.

Death would release an innovative album, Human, where you could see a band that had evolved into a more technical and more progressive style, in which Chuck’s great musical skills could be seen. Death maintained and deepened this style, as can be seen in the later albums Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance.

Chuck Schuldiner played the guitar in the Voodoocult project (which included other legends of the genre such as Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Mille Petrozza de Kreator) on the album Jesus Killing Machine.

Chuck founded a heavy metal band called Control Denied and released The Fragile Art of Existence in 1999. Control Denied was the project that used to satisfy Chuck’s need to be just the lead guitarist, as well as composing and writing. < / p>

The release of his posthumous album When Man and Machines Collide is Still Expected, of which Chuck recorded demos with his last drummer, Richard Christy (Album Zero Tolerance).

Fight against cancer

In May of 1999, Schuldiner had pains in the upper part of the neck. Believing that this pain was the product of a compressed nerve, he went to see a chiropractor and after acupuncture and massage therapies, he recommended an MRI exam. The examination determined that the cause of the compressed nerve was a tumor. On the day of his birthday, May 13 of that year, Schuldiner was diagnosed, probably by the interpretation of magnetic resonance, Glioma brainstem. This is a type of intracranial tumor that, due to its deep and anatomically delicate location, is not usually operated as it does not change the patient’s life prognosis. For this reason Schuldiner begins treatment with radiotherapy. Surely because of the clinic that presented Schuldiner’s tumor was in the lower part of his brainstem (neck pain, pain of a nerve, which surely would have been a low cranial nerve) unfortunately these have worse prognosis than the gliomas of the trunk in superior location.

In October 1999, Schuldiner’s family announced that the tumor had subsided and that Chuck was soon recovering. In January 2000, Schuldiner required surgery to remove the remains of the tumor. The operation was successful. However, the family acquired financial problems, since the total costs of the operation and treatments bordered on $ 70,000, an amount that the family could not afford. Fundraisers and charity concerts were organized to help pay for the treatment. The metal community realized that Chuck’s life was in danger and he and his family were aware that Chuck could lose his life due to lack of funds. Meanwhile, the medical staff, after surgery, manages to obtain a biopsy of the tumor and confirm that the diagnosis was indeed correct; trunk glioma with its known and unfavorable prognosis.

Schuldiner continued working on his music, continuing his work with Control Denied. In May 2001 the cancer returned and Schuldiner fell ill again. He was denied surgery (which he urgently needed) due to lack of financial funds. Media reports made calls to support him, including fellow artists on the scene. Chuck’s mother, Jane Schuldiner, on the subject of her son’s illness, recommended that everyone have health insurance, since Chuck did not have it, which showed her frustration with the insurance system in her country. Given the family ‘s desperation due to the lack of financial resources to intervene Chuck, it would be necessary to analyze from the cost – benefit point of view if the operation had changed his prognosis somewhat since the evolution of this type of tumors does not vary between patients they suffer from it and it always leads to its death within a few months of its diagnosis.


Schuldiner received chemotherapy based on a drug that at that time was in a clinical trial called vincristine to help with his therapy. The side effects further weakened Chuck’s health and despite that, he continued the fight. In early November of that year, Schuldiner contracted pneumonia. Chuck died at four in the afternoon of December 13, 2001 at age 34.


Chuck considered himself “a lover of life, animals, beer.” In an interview, he commented «I want to live forever if possible». He also stated that he did not write satanic songs because he said he did not want people to have bad thoughts and do stupid things like hurt themselves.

Equipment used

Chuck from his youth, opted for the use of B.C. Rich. One of the most used models was the Stealth, which we can see in most of his photographs, although he was also seen using Jackson Warrior guitars several times. Its characteristic sound, apart from its guitar and technique, is due to its Dimarzio X2N microphones, the use of Marshall amps Valvestate model and the rejection of processors of effects, as stated in certain magazines (although live used a chorus). The sound of Chuck is dark and heavy, that’s why he, like other death metal guitarists, used a tuning in Re.

Media figure

Currently, he is one of the best known figures in Death Metal, being highly recognized for his work in Death, the band that established him as a musician and composer.

More Facts about Chuck Schuldiner

The Chuck Schuldiner’s statistics like age, body measurements, height, weight, bio, wiki, net worth posted above have been gathered from a lot of credible websites and online sources. But, there are a few factors that will affect the statistics, so, the above figures may not be 100% accurate.

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