Posts Tagged chuck schuldiner
Heavy metal artists and fans alike consider death frontman Chuck Schuldiner as the most significant force in the genre that came to be known as “Death Metal”. From the sheer brutality of “Scream Bloody Gore” to the technical wizardry of “Symbolic”, Schuldiner constantly took metal in directions it had never been before. However, what few headbangers realize is that Schuldiner is a legend of equal or even greater status in the Southern hip-hop scene.
Rapper Juicy J, seen wearing a 1991 era Spiritual Healing tour shirt in the video for his song “That What A Pimp Does”, recently recalled how Death’s music was a major influence on his decision to begin his musical career with several of his friends.
“Paul (DJ Paul), Richard (Lord Infamous) and I were sitting around discussing the merits of Keynesian economics. Richard was really into the whole Austrian, invisible hand scene at the time and was going on and on about methodological individualism. Now, Paul and myself were strictly Frankfurt School guys and had been reading heavy amounts of Marcuse and Horkheimer at the time, so we weren’t hearing it. As you an probably imagine, things were starting to get heated.”
“Anyway, we had on Death ‘Leprosy’ in the background and the song ‘Pull The Plug’ came on. The whole conversation stopped and we were mesmerized. A week later, we started Three 6 Mafia.”
According to Paste magazine editor Atticus Flinch, Three 6 Mafia is hardly the only rap group that was inspired by Death. “It’s hard to not hear a little bit of Schuldiner’s work on nearly every record that’s come out of the so-called “Dirty South” over the past twenty some odd years. Be it the 808 kick drums, the auto-tune vocals, the gritty, nihilistic lyrics about the everyday struggles associated with urban life or the frantically-paced, melodic guitar solos. Pick up anything from Waka Flaka Flame to Souljah Boy and you’ll see Schuldiner’s fingerprints all over it.”
The tribute record was put together by Chicago based rapper Chief Keef, but will feature some of the top names in hip hop as guest artists including the man some have taken to calling “Evil Chuck Jr.”, producing icon Shawty Redd. Shawty, whose name in real life is Preternatural Transmogrifyer, was 10 years old when “Individual Thought Patterns” first came out.
“I remember asking my parents over and over again to take me to the store to buy that album. At the time, I was deeply interested in gardening. I used to play ‘Cosmic Sea’ off of ‘Human’ to my begonias at night to help them grow. I remember running into my bedroom when we got back from Sam Goody and hearing that crazy opening from ‘Overactive Imagination’ and knowing, at that moment, the true meaning of love.”
“Trappin’ Da Corner” is due to drop on June 12th. If you see it on the floor, please pick it up and place it back on the shelf or, better, find a customer service person to help you find the correct place to put it.
Back in June of 1995, I was lucky enough to have met and spoken with Chuck Schuldiner. Myself and several friends were at a Death concert at The Roxy in Long Island and through a bizarre series of events we ended up on their tour bus.
Meeting Death was, for me, the equivalent of what I imagine Christians might feel having been in the presence of Christ. Seriously. For me, Death albums were transcendental experiences that explained most of the mysteries of the universe. Chuck was a mystic to me, Gautama with a guitar, The Great One sent down the mountain to help us see the invisible boundaries that we have created to lock away the most creative, life-affirming aspects of our being.
I’m sure I made a total fool of myself. I was your average 13-year-old girl getting backstage to meet Justin Beiber. I was stumbling around for words. Saying anything that came to mind to try to prolong the time we were in the man’s presence.
It was actually an uncomfortable feeling in retrospect. I didn’t want to mess up my one shot at actually asking the man the questions that had plagued me for the entirety of my being. This man had answers. No one could create like he did and not hold the key within him.
Finally, I worked up to asking him the meaning of the song “Vacant Planets” off of the album “Human”. I had somehow worked up a theory in my mind that this song was a comment on the nature of reality and life itself. I had pondered this song for hours and hours. Understanding its meaning consumed me.
There was something to the urgency of this song. It demanded to be understood. There was something deeper to it. Beyond meaning. Beyond rational thought. If he could just explain it to me, I’d have found the missing piece that explained this demented jigsaw puzzle I was living in.
I ambushed him out of nowhere with a rambling, semi-incoherent question about the song. “Chuck…I need to know about the song Vacant Planets. I mean, that song…that song. There is something within that song, you know. The planets around us are so empty. But, ‘in a realm so vast, we sit among the Vacant Planets’. They are vacant and without life. So is our planet, you know.”
“There is nothing to us. We are empty vessels. We eat, we sleep, we decay, we die. Over and over. And it all amounts to nothing. We want endless life, but for no reason. We don’t want to discover the universe around us, we simply want to not die. There is so much possibility wasted. This place is a void. No different than the emptiness on Mars or Mercury. We are a Vacant Planet! There is no meaning to any of it.”
During this whole disjointed explanation he regarded me with a great deal of kindness. He had a very empathetic expression. He was listening. He understood.
“Chuck, I need to know, am I right? Is this it? Is this what Vacant Planets means?”
He looked composed his thoughts for a second and looked away. I felt embarrassed. Had I said too much? Had I wasted my moment?
Then, he looked back at me. Stared directly into my eyes with a half smile on his face.
“Man…the song is about outer space.”
If there ever was a testimony to his genius, it was that answer.