Metalheads have often argued about the origins of death metal and whether Possessed, who released “Seven Churches” in 1985, or Death, who released “Scream Bloody Gore” in 1987, deserve the credit for its creation. Now, during a recent appearance on the “That Metal Interview” podcast, ex-Death drummer Kam Lee offered his thoughts on the debate, saying that he believes Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner “ripped off Possessed.”
Lee said the following [via Blabbermouth]:
“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 [Becerra] 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. 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 has passed, he’s deceased, but this is stuff that he didn’t want me to tell people. 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.”
Unsurprisingly, some have already taken issue with Lee’s comments including former Death guitarist Rick Rozz, who said the following on social media:
“SORRY CAN’T LET THIS ONE SLIDE MY FRIENDS, HMMM… BELITTLING THE DEAD, HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? SO… LET ME BE BLUNT, THE REASON THIS P.O.S. NARCISSISTIC, REVISIONIST WASN’T INCLUDED IN THE DEATH BY METAL DOCUMENTARY IS… IN A PRINTED INTERVIEW HE WARNS CHUCK THAT HE BETTER WATCH OUT OR HIS MOM WILL BE SONLESS ONCE AGAIN, REASON ENOUGH? OH… YEAH… AND AT LEAST CHUCK DIDN’T GET ON STAGE AT SHOWBIZ PIZZA IN WHITE SPANDEX WITH LEPPARD SPOTTED LEG WARMERS LIP SINKING TO I WANNA BE SOMEBODY BY W.A.S.P. THAT’S REALLY DEATH METAL BARNEY, TRUE COLORS UNTIL THE END. CHEERS & PEACE”