Ex-DEATH Guitarist JAMES MURPHY Explains Why He Isn't Involved In DEATH TO ALL Project

January 6, 2024

During a recent appearance on the "Die By The Click" podcast, guitarist James Murphy (ex-DEATH, TESTAMENT, OBITUARY) was asked if he has ever been approached to take part in the DEATH TO ALL (DTA) touring project, which features former members of DEATH celebrating the life and music of late DEATH leader Chuck Schuldiner. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No, I never was. And without going into any details, I'm gonna chalk that up to a couple of things. Number one, I think they've got their lineup. I think they've slowed down on the floating different people in and out of it. I think they've kind of settled into a thing, and that's Bobby [Koelble, guitar] and Max's [Phelps, guitar/vocals] gig now. And I'm cool with that — that's their gig."

He continued: "Back when they were floating people in and out of it a lot, having different people on different tours — because I'm not really up on the history of exactly what all has happened, lineup-wise and everything with that project… In addition to the feeling that they've sort of settled on their lineup, somebody involved with it who's not involved with it anymore, but back when they were cycling through different people, there was someone who did not want me — at all. And so I suspect that that's initially why I never got a call. This is also part of the reason why a particular project that I was working on years ago got put on a shelf, because of the same individual. There's no point in naming names. It's no longer an issue on either front, but at some point there's damage done."

In addition to Koelble and Phelps, the current lineup of DEATH TO ALL includes Gene Hoglan (TESTAMENT, DARK ANGEL, DETHKLOK) on drums and Steve DiGiorgio (TESTAMENT, CONTROL DENIED, SADUS) on bass.

Two years ago, Murphy joined former DEATH bassist Terry Butler to play two shows commemorating the 20th anniversary of Schuldiner's passing at Brass Mug in Tampa, Florida. Murphy and Butler performed DEATH's classic third album, "Spiritual Healing" (1990),in its entirety under the LIVING MONSTROSITY banner.

In October 2021, Eric Greif, former manager of DEATH and president of Perseverance Holdings Ltd., which manages Chuck Schuldiner's (DEATH, CONTROL DENIED) legacy, died. Greif also worked as an entertainment lawyer, representing bands like OBITUARY and MASSACRE. He was 59 years old.

In a December 2022 interview with Pod Scum, Murphy spoke about his plans to complete the long-awaited DEATH tribute album "Within The Mind - In Homage To The Musical Legacy Of Chuck Schuldiner" which he had started work on two decades ago. He said: "I still have all those tracks in the can. The bottom line is I stopped working on it for a number of reasons, one of them which was pretty pernicious but which has… that problem has gone away; it's resolved. Now, obviously, the moving parts that were in place to get that behemoth of a project moving forward and rolling when it did, those have all been at rest for a long time. So now it's a matter of getting the proper lubrication and fuel and impetus back into those moving parts so that it can roll again. And that's what I'm figuring out, if that's still wanted, desired and needed by everyone involved. And if it is, then I will get it done — now that the main hindrance and problem has resolved itself. I'm not gonna go into what that is — it wouldn't be fair to everyone involved — but a major hindrance came to a resolution. So that sort of leaves it open for the beast to be revived."

Murphy went on to say that the tribute LP is still a long way from being finished. "It's not as simple as flicking a switch; there's a lot of things to get done to make it happen," he explained. "So perhaps it will get done; I certainly hope so. But it was put to bed — it was put to bed quite some time ago. There's still a lot left to do. There's still some recording to do and there's all the mixing and mastering to do. There's some re-recording that will need to be done. And there's also a lot of clearances and permissions and stuff like that that will have to get done, because paperwork and clearances and permissions that were in place back in the day when we started are no longer valid. We've gotta redo a lot of that work, and we will."

"Within The Mind - In Homage To The Musical Legacy Of Chuck Schuldiner" was originally conceived by then-CKY guitarist/vocalist Deron Miller as a means to help Murphy raise money for his medical bills (Murphy was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor in August 2001).

Among the musicians who were scheduled to appear on "Within The Mind" when it was first announced were Miller, Murphy, Dave Culross (MALEVOLENT CREATION, SUFFOCATION),Richard Christy (ICED EARTH, DEATH, CONTROL DENIED),Matt Thompson (KING DIAMOND),Luc Lemay (GORGUTS),Patrick Mameli (PESTILENCE),Jean-Francois Dagenais (KATAKLYSM),Mick Thomson (SLIPKNOT),Paul Gray (SLIPKNOT),Brett Hoffmann (MALEVOLENT CREATION),Ross Dolan (IMMOLATION),Mike Chlasciak (PAINMUSEUM, HALFORD),Matt DiFabio (PISSING RAZORS, SINGLE BULLET THEORY) and Terry Butler (OBITUARY, DEATH, MASSACRE).

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