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 Haunting Chapel” podcast, Possessed frontman Jeff Becerra shared his thoughts on the debate saying that Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner “was like [his] protégé.”
Becerra said the following:
“We [POSSESSED] were selling ourselves as a death metal band, and that was what we went with. And to this day, it’s both a blessing and a curse because it’s highly debated and contested. And we literally, after I got shot, certain revisionists tried to block me out of history. The POSSESSED Wiki is the most vandalized page of Wikipedia. There was a certain person — he recently passed away — that was just relentlessly retitling our YouTube, moving our dates forward, messing with the timeline. It was like a battle. When I left, we were the death metal guys. When I came back, it was no more. So I had to fight for my own history back, which was weird. ‘Cause there’s no cool way to do that, because it sounds like you’re tooting your own horn.
I’m not saying I created death metal; I’m saying POSSESSED was the first death metal band. And it’s a bone of contention with many DEATH fans. And because of the way that their management spun it and the way that the magazines spun it… Remember, me and Chuck were friends. He literally was like my protégé. He moved out to Antioch; he lived at the [house of the then-]POSSESSED fan club [president Krystal Mahoney]. He was pen paling for a while and tape trading. And he very much modeled himself after me. I was so honored because, remember, I’m just a young teenager. But he was the first person to really get what we were doing, what I was doing, and he was the first person that really understood what it was about. And he was so smart that way because it was undefined and so hard to explain what it is, without putting rules on it, because the last thing you wanna do is put rules on anything and stifle it. But he would just grasp it; he loved it. He said, ‘Listen, Jeff. I sound just like you.’ And he was proud of that. And I was proud of him. And there was a bromance going there. It was a respect.
I’ve never been jealous of another band. I’ve never claimed anything that wasn’t mine. And it’s just so obscure to see people trying to claim what they know they wouldn’t do in front of me. They know what they didn’t do; I was fucking there. And I’m not hating on anybody, but it’s a very coveted position.
What makes me mad is when the magazines spin this ‘DEATH or POSSESSED, DEATH versus POSSESSED.’ And it even tainted the relationship between DEATH and POSSESSED, and that pisses me off, because we were friends.
I realize that metal is supposed to be fun, but there’s also something very valid about true history and not revising stuff — not just with POSSESSED but any band. And the way it’s spun is, like, bands will exaggerate what they did and the writers will be eager to impress who they’re writing about, because the last thing a writer wants is for the band to go, ‘This is fucking fucked up.’
In the old days, it was very truthful. People did their research. They didn’t have clickbait. There was no ‘POSSESSED versus DEATH.’ I hate that shit. Because if Chuck was alive today, I’d like [us to] collaborate. And I don’t like it fucking with my remembrance of what it really was. I like the history. Maybe I’m being weird about it, but I think that the truth is so much better than the tale.”
This news comes after ex-Death drummer Kam Lee made headlines for saying Schuldiner “ripped off Possessed.”