In Jonathan Montenegro’s “My 3 Questions To” series, drummer Gene Hoglan (TESTAMENT, DARK ANGEL, DETHKLOK, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD) shared his experiences from his time in the legendary metal band DEATH, which he was a part of from 1993 to 1995.
He also spoke about DEATH mastermind Chuck Schuldiner and said: “Chuck was, at heart, a very… He was a very peaceful person. He loved animals. He loved gardening. [He was] not a big fan of people or the music industry, but he liked his friends; he liked his animals. That was Chuck.
“As well as being one of the godfathers of death metal. He was a great chef as well. There you go. He was a great cook. Boy, he cooked us up a bunch of amazing stuff when we spent those few years together. So that was pretty cool. His legacy will always live on.
“Myself and [fellow former DEATH members] Bobby Koelble and Steve DiGiorgio, we have [the tribute band] DEATH TO ALL going, and we start a DEATH TO ALL run starting next week here in the States. So, there you go there. And it’s always a super blast to play Chuck‘s material and make it sound cool.”
In a 2019 conversation with Andrew McKaysmith of the “Scars And Guitars” podcast, Hoglan discussed his period working with DEATH. He said at the time: “Chuck was very open-minded, and he was into having his musicians that were playing with him just reach out for the best stuff that they had. Every time I’d come up with some crazy beat, he’d be like, ‘ I’m good. I can play my riffs over your beats, so if that’s the one you want, go with it. Go sick; go nuts. I’m good over here, so you keep doing your thing.’ In that regard, Chuck was always a real pleasure to work with in that way. You had no handcuffing whatsoever — and it was pretty apparent [that] nobody handcuffed me on the drums.
“I played everything on Symbolic. There definitely is some overplaying, [but] he never said, ‘Hey, don’t play that,’ or, ‘That’s not working.’ The only time I remember anything like that happening was two different times. One was in the Individual Thought Patterns sessions, and that’s where [producer] Scott Burns, while I was tracking ‘Jealousy,’, I remember Scott saying, ‘Hey, man. I’m not feeling that beat. Maybe can you simplify it?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, no problem.’
“Then on ‘Symbolic’, [producer] Jim Morris had pretty much said the same thing — like, ‘I’m not sure about that one.’ What was funny was, on the beat that Jim Morris said ‘That’s not happening,’ it was a beat I robbed from Sean Reinert. It was something off of Human… as for Chuck, he was always real gracious, like, ‘Yeah, man. Do your thing. It’s going to be great.
“Chuck was a pretty complex guy. Some days, certain things would affect him that might not affect you or I… Chuck did not have a lot of trust for the music industry. I understand that — I get that, totally… He was generally real cool to work with, and we had a good time up until he had to make the moves that he had to make in order to keep himself sane. When he had to put DEATH aside after the Symbolic album, he broke DEATH up, and he had to move forward. The best way for Chuck to move forward was the statement that was CONTROL DENIED.”