13th of December


Chuck for Guitar School Magazine in 1993

Pardon me that this post will be a bit of emotional. I wasnt sure If I wanted to make this entry in general. But then again, life is short, sometimes you have to do what feels right.

On this blog I have stated many times, that music is probably the most powerful force that drives both me and Rita `s creativity. We listen to a lot of stuff, all possible genres and combinations. From Abba to ZZ Top, from Snap! to Canibal Corpse, from Samael to Jars of Clay (that last one being black metal to christian rock, seriously). Music not only inspired us from day one but also helped us through some really hard time: the high school, our mother`s long ilness, incredibly stressful studies. 

Despite our enourmous knowledge of bands, there is perhaps a handful of artists that really mean a world to us. Their art was played in the darkest hours, I am not trying to be melancholic now. One of them was Alice in Chains, another such band was Death. Both Layne and Chuck will never grace the stage again. December 13th is actually the 9th anniversary of Chuck Schuldiner`s passing away.

I wasnt so much into Death in the beginning. I knew Rita was mad about them because at that time she must have had half of the Tampa scene on her bedroom wall. And since we shared a room together, I`d see Morbid Angel, Cynic or Death first thing in the morning. I used to tease her that she had created a Morrisound Wall (named after the studio where all the bands would record). Not like I was any better, since she was waking up to a collage of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Type of Negative posters. The poster war ended around our 16th birthday. That day my sister would receive a stake of cassettes (back then Cds were extremly expensive, I know prehistoric times), among them Whitney Houston “Whitney” and Death “Human” As far as I remember they both came in the same box. Before you will think I am lying: it was considered perfectly normal. My presents included Mother Love Bone and My Dying Bride albums respectively.

Photo by Rita


Few weeks after, I`d start to listen secretly to Death. I had to admit I began to like the band.

But it wasnt until one day at school that I truly appreciated Death. My high school years were made in hell: drug abuse among students and intensive bullying were monstrous. I had a share of the latter one particular day. It may sound trivial after the years, but I had to withstand a session of verbal abuse in front of just about everybody while being on stage and performing for a school drama. I faced the people and finished my part but right afterwards just ran away to the darkest corner of the building. Then it was me and the music Chuck created. And the incredible lyrics he wrote. I still know some of them by heart.

Chuck`s music was later with me when my mom nearly died and years had to pass before she would be better. They say a friend in need is a friend indeed. You can guess not many friends we had at that time. But the music remained. I have never meet Chuck in person, but what he had created, his music allowed both Rita and I to survivre draconian period. And for that I will always consider Chuck a friend.

On December 13th 2001, Id come home from university and find Rita sitting in total silence watching the walls in our old room. There would be no more Morrisound bands there but I knew what she was thinking. We heard Chuck was ill but we had hoped for the best. It had to get worse to get better again, it was like that with our mom, it would be the same with Chuck. He was young he had so much to do.

But there was announcement on Roadrunner Records (I remember a friend later calling in to confirm it as well). It was over. Chuck was gone at the age of 34 due to brain turmor.

Nine years had already gone, in a blink of an eye. I still find it hard to believe sometimes.

 In 2009 Rita made a painting which she entitled Altamonte. Its named after a place where Chuck resided. It is said to be really beautiful, full of bright colours. So is the painting. She had put a quote on it and dedicated it to Chuck`s mom Jane who does a hell of a great job protecting and representing her son`s work. I always tell her its a beautiful piece and once suggested to send it to Jane, but Rita is afraid that Jane perhaps wouldn`t like it.

I have recently framed it, so I want to share some photos of it right now:

Artwork by Rita Dabrowicz
Photo by Mal
Photo by Mal

If somebody wishes to see it on Rita`s Deviant Art page, heres the link:


Silly thing, a week ago, I was asked to participate in the Christmas Ruffles lottery at the office. The funds will be donated to a house that helps children, it acts both as a home and a hospice, unfortunately. I thought I`d buy one ticket, but when when I was asked to choose a number I couldnt think of any “lucky” one.  Then just under the impulse I decided to take number 13. My group leader gave me a strange look as it is considered to be opposite to any lucky number one can think of. But I didnt care. 13th December was just around a corner and If I could do even a smallest thing to turn that bad day into something positive, then I was for it. You can see the ticket on the box of Christmas Cards I am about to start sending out. Crazy small thing, but makes a big difference, believe me.

Photo by Mal

It turned out to be a long post and very personal. Perhaps nobody will read it, but then if I didnt put up a personal piece once in a while, it wouldnt be my blog;)

There is a beautiful line from a song by Sentenced called “Lower the flags”. “Farewell my friend, you will be missed” – if I could say anything to Chuck, I guess that`s what Id say. Perhaps, a good old “Keep on rocking in the free world” to it as well.



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