BIOGRAPHY – Chuck Schuldiner

Charles “Chuck” Schuldiner was born May 13, 1967 in Long Island, New York, and was the founder, guitarist, and vocalist of the death metal band Death. Chuck started playing guitar at the age of 9 after his parents bought him a guitar hoping that it would help with his grief after his 16 year old brother died. He took classical lessons for less than a year, but he did not like the music he was being taught. After nearly quitting, his parents bought him an electric guitar from a yard sale. Schuldiner immediately took to the instrument and after getting amps, he never stopped playing, writing and teaching himself.

In 1983, when Schuldiner was 16, he formed Mantas (the name was soon changed to Death). In 1986, he left New York and moved to Toronto, Canada where he joined the band Slaughter. He soon rejoined his band mates in Death. After some line up changes, Death released their debut, “Scream Bloody Gore,” in 1987. The next year “Leprosy” was released with the old Mantas line up. After the 1990 album “Spiritual Healing” was released, Chuck quit working full time with Death, mainly working with studio and live venue musicians, because of the strained relationship between him and the other band members. With the albums after “Spiritual Healing,” starting at “Human,” Death began to employ a more progressive style after Chuck rejoined Death with a new line up. In 1996, Chuck formed Control Denied and they released their debut, “The Fragile Art of Existence,” in 1999.

In May of that same year, Chuck started to feel pain in his upper neck. He consulted a chiropractor and a massage therapist about this pain. The massage therapist recommended that Chuck get an MRI. After having the MRI they discovered that what he thought was just a pinched nerve was being caused by a tumor. On his 32nd birthday, he was diagnosed with high grade pontine glioma, which is malignant brain cancer. Chuck immediately underwent radiation therapy. In October, it was revealed that his tumor had died and that he was recovering. In January of the next year, he had what was left of the cancer removed. The cost of the operations was too much for the Schuldiner family to afford, so the metal community pitched in with various fundraiser to raise sufficient funds for Chuck’s bills. Over this period of time, he continued working with Control Denied.

Two years after his original diagnoses, Chuck’s cancer returned. He was denied surgery because, again, he lacked funds to pay for it. Different musicians supported Chuck in raising money for this surgery. He was prescribed a drug to help with therapy, but it weakened him greatly. Chuck became ill with pneumonia in late October of 2001 and on December 13th, 4 p.m E.S.T, Chuck succumbed to his illness.

Chuck’s main guitar was the B.C. Rich Stealth model. He also used a B.C. Rich Mockingbird. He has also used Marshall and Randall amps.