Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interview with Steve Digorgio and Max Phelps of Death To All

Monday night, magic was in the air. I was guided down to the Death tour bus to interview one of my favorite bassists of all time and Max Phelps, the frontman of the latest edition of the Death to All tour. We discussed what their touring experience has been like and the music in general. I hope you guys enjoy this interview as much I did! Video to come soon!

Find the Death to All tour on Facebook!

So how has the tour been going so far?

Max (M): Pretty good, (laughs) shows have been going well.
Steve (S) : It's been excellent, we've been filling every room we come through. People seem to like it, that's what it's all about.

You played on the Death to all tour in the States right Steve? What is it like playing these in Europe? Is it the same vibe? 

S: Death fans are Death fans man. All the songs are pretty old so they sound the same no matter where you play them I guess.

Max, what was it like learning the songs and becoming Chuck?
M: It's not too hard. This time around we only did a few new songs so I knew the stuff from the run we did in April. I just tried to learn everything as accurately as possible. I put a little bit of my own interpretation here and there for the solos but I tried to play the key lines and stuff as he would have done them.

This tour is mostly focused on the Human album, is it possible that you would do tours based around other albums with the relevant line up?
S: I don't think so, you've got the Human line up here, its natural to use the people who were in the creation process of that record. But with a different group of guys I suppose for a couple albums its possible for others it might not be a clean sweep. We expanded our set this time to include songs from all the records to touch on each time period. Its obviously focused on the album that three out of four of us helped create.

What have some of your favorite aspects been of the tour?
M: I guess just playing. The shows themselves. I like the whole thing I think its a cool production. As far as what happens in between songs and how they are presented.
S: I like to play the mid era songs. The older ones are cool for what they were and the newer ones seem to be a little rough around the edges. But the middle ones seem to be the strong point of what we do.

For you Steve, what was it like working with Chuck?
Each ex-member is going to give you a completely unique answer as to what they experienced. I knew Chuck since we were teenagers. It's not like anything in particular. I just worked with him in different phases of his career. Obviously it worked pretty good for me to stick around for so long. He was very open minded, maybe he didn't have the greatest set of tools in his tool box and what he did have he used to his fullest ability and he would expand on it. In that regard he had a very open ear towards his music and creativity. He pushed the people around him to play better. That's the best way to describe working with him.

Was there a key lesson he taught you?
Basically don't hold back and every idea held back could be wasted. You've got to try it all out. You don't know until you try?

What has it been like for you Max, working with Cynic?
It's been fun. They're my buddies, its a good gig definitely They're one of my favorite bands. Most people don't get to play with musicians that they listen to that heavily. It's been a good experience. It's kind of like a session thing because I go in and play the parts and thats the extent of it, but I'm a fan so its cool.

What is your advice to young musicians?
S: Quit (Laughter) I don't have any good advice though sorry. Max teaches though, ask him!
M: I have different advice for different people so it depends on your goals. Do it because it's what you like to do  not because you're trying to get attention. Try to do what you really like and it's going to be different for everybody of course.
S: Please do something different! There's plenty of the same out there!
M: Or do something for yourself, some people are going to want to do something that has already been done.
S: What if they like boring stuff?
M: Then they do boring stuff, its okay. Chase your muse!

What do you think the future of the Death to All tour will be?
M: I think it's one of those things that has a limited time on it. All this is, is a tribute. We're just going out there and playing the songs and trying to play them so the crowd has a good experience maybe replicating what a death show would have been like. It's not something that should be dragged out to long. It's just a memory.

Final comments?
S: We're just happy to be doing it, its a great experience. No one in this band thought to do this thing it was brought by other people who wanted to do it. For the future, if other people ask I suppose it could still go on, we don't really make plans to far in the future. We're just doing it right now and having fun with it and its cool that people give it attention. It's a little treat to be doing this.

M: What he said (Laughs)

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