Former Death Drummer Richard Christy on Chuck Schuldiner: “He Lives On in His Music”
If you’re a metal fan, chances are you’re in complete awe of Death — you should be! And that being the case, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss the latest episode of The MetalSucks Podcast with Chuck and Godless, ’cause their guest this week is none other than Death’s esteemed former drummer, Richard Christy! In addition to giving us the low down on Creatures Watching Over the Dead, the new album from his Charred Walls of the Damned project, Richard shared some fascinating stories about his Death days, too.
Here are some highlights…
On meeting Death founder/guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner:
“I would see him every once in awhile at parties and at shows and things like that. I was always really nervous around him. So I don’t know that we were… I mean, were friends, but we weren’t really close [at first], ’cause I was kinda, just, like, a fan, and I might have freaked him out a little bit by asking him too many questions about Death.”
On working with Chuck:
“Chuck was always so open to everybody’s ideas… Chuck would just kinda play the riff, and he would either say ‘Maybe do something a little more straightforward,’ or ‘Go crazy’ on certain riffs. I remember on ‘Scavenger of Human Sorrow’ [from 1998’s The Sound of Perseverance], he just said, ‘Do something really insane at the beginning of this song,’ and I just worked for a few minutes during our practice to come up with something nutty that went along with that opening riff, and he loved it. He was always very diplomatic as far as letting everybody come in with their own ideas.”
On Chuck’s cancer diagnosis:
“I remember he was having I think some issues with neck and I think he maybe thought it was a pinched a nerve or something. But… it was a total shock to me. I remember he called to tell me and I just, I couldn’t talk for a minute. I didn’t know what to say. And when somebody tells you that they have cancer, you don’t even know what to say. There’s really nothing you can say that’s gonna make them feel better… [so] I let him know that whatever he needs, I’m there for him, and… I told him once he gets better we’ll get right back to playing metal… It’s just an awful, awful thing to see your best friend having to go through something like that… He was only thirty-four… I even have a hard time talking about it now. [But] he lived a lot of life in his thirty-four years, and gave us a lot of great music. He lives on in his music.”
There’s tons more in the interview itself, including a discussion of what it was like to practice with Chuck, the pressures of following other revered Death drummers such as Gene Hoglan and Sean Reinert, and Control Denied. Listen here or stream below!
Charred Walls of the Damned’s Creatures Watching Over the Dead drops September 23 on Metal Blade. Pre-order it here.