KAM LEE Claims CHUCK SCHULDINER 'Ripped Off POSSESSED', Says He Was 'Denied' Opportunity To Appear In DEATH Documentary Wednesday June 15 2022, 10:27 AM
KAM LEE Claims CHUCK SCHULDINER 'Ripped Off POSSESSED', Says He Was 'Denied' Opportunity To Appear In DEATH Documentary

Although   DEATH   is considered to be one of the most important and influential death metal acts of all time, the Florida-based band did not release its debut album,   "Scream Bloody Gore" , until 1987 — two years after the arrival of   "Seven Churches"   by California's   POSSESSED , whose bassist/vocalist,   Jeff Becerra , is credited by some with initially creating the term "death metal" in 1983.

In a new interview with the   "That Metal Interview"   podcast,   Kam Lee , who was a member of an early version of   DEATH   as well as the pre- DEATH   band   MANTAS   alongside guitarist/vocalist   Chuck Schuldiner   and guitarist   Rick Rozz , weighed in on the never-ending debate on who can lay claim to being the first "true" death metal band:   DEATH   or   POSSESSED . He said in part (as transcribed by   BLABBERMOUTH.NET ): "I'll admit this, and I'll say this straight out, 'cause I know there's an argument all the time, who was first — was it   DEATH   or was it   POSSESSED ? Well, I will tell you   POSSESSED   was first, and I will tell you why. Because   Chuck   heard what   Jeff   was doing and   Chuck   wanted to emulate   Jeff . I was there — I was there in the beginning.

"There was times when we were living here in Florida before   Chuck   moved to California, and   Chuck   and I both started off as tapetraders back in the day,"   Kam   continued. "And I remember, if you go back to before we were   DEATH , we were called   MANTAS . If you look at some of the hand-drawn logos of   MANTAS , the   MANTAS   logo, there's the logo with the devil's tail on it, on the 'M'. That's completely stolen from the original   POSSESSED   logo, the devil's tail.

"I'll say this now, 'cause [former   DEATH   manager]   Eric Greif   is passed, he's deceased, but this is stuff that he didn't want me to tell people,"   Lee   added. "That's why I was denied ever being interviewed for the   DEATH   movie, the   DEATH   documentary [ 'Death By Metal' ]. They denied me, because they didn't want me to say these certain things, because how are you gonna sell a documentary about   DEATH   if I come on and tell everybody, 'Nah, that's not really how it was'? So they didn't want me on there — they absolutely refused to talk to me on there. They didn't want me to come up and say, 'Oh, yeah,   I   was the one that drew the   DEATH   logo, not   Chuck .' They didn't want   me   to tell everybody   I'm   the one that created that. And they didn't want me to tell everybody, 'Oh, well,   Chuck   ripped off   POSSESSED .' They wanted to sell it like   Chuck   created it, because they were selling a product. And if you've got somebody come and say, 'Well, that's not exactly how that product works.' Kind of like the [fast food chicken restaurant chain]   KFC . I'm sorry, but it wasn't [ KFC   founder]   Colonel Sanders   that came up with a special recipe; some other guy came up with it. So that's really what it was."

Becerra   told   Antihero   in 2017 that   Schuldiner   cited   POSSESSED   as a "primary influence" in "countless" magazine interviews. But even though   DEATH   was inspired by   POSSESSED , "they ran with it and went in their own direction and created their own vibe,"   Jeff   said. "To go a step further:   Chuck   used ['80s death/thrash producer]   Randy Burns , who did   'Seven Churches'   to do   'Scream Bloody Gore' , his first album. He also did a cover of [ POSSESSED 's]   'The Exorcist' ."

Back in 2008,   Lee   was toying around with the idea of re-recording some of the earliest classics from   DEATH   and   MANTAS   with various guest musicians. At the time, he wrote in a social media post: "Like it or not... I'm as much a part of that history as   Chuck   was, and I wouldn't think to do anything to down play his involvement in these songs. The simple truth is that most of the songs on   MANTAS / DEATH 's   'Death by Metal'   demo '83/'84,   DEATH 's   'Reign of Terror'   demo '84 and   DEATH 's   'Infernal Death'   demo '85 — and many rehersal tapes released during this time — we're both lyrically written be me, and sung by me. Yes, both   Chuck   and   Rick   wrote the guitar riffs, but I wrote the drum patterns to these songs and the lyrics to most of these tracks. That's the simple truth to it!"

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