TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This internet interview with vocalist Kate French of Chastain was done by Vincent Eldefors in February 2005.
In 1984 Chastain, the band built up around guitar virtuoso David T. Chastain, released their debut album "Mystery Of Illusion". Twenty years later they are still alive and with front woman Kate French's raspy vocals and David's song writing skills they can always be relied on. Kate was kind enough to discuss the album and the current status of the band and other things.
Hello, how are you doing?
Kate French: Fine, thanks
It has passed some time now since the release of your latest album "In An Outrage" last year, what has the response to it been like?
Kate French: Awesome, people have dubbed this CD as "the return of real metal" I'm very proud of it.
This is your third album with Chastain, is it the one you are most happy with? How is it different from the previous two "Sick Society" and "In Dementia"?
Kate French: Each CD I've done has been special. It's pretty cool to go back to that time in my life and remember what I was doing when a particular CD was recorded. In an Outrage is the CD that has most of my personal thoughts in the songs. I would have to say it's the most straight forward Metal and as a whole the one I think is the best.....However.......vocally, in my opinion.......In Dementia is the best.
The title reflects on the 9/11 tragedy, can you tell us a little about your view on this event and what has happened since then, the war in Iraq etc.?
Kate French: I woke up one morning and thought it was the end of life the way we knew it. I pictured holocaust and no future for my son.......but after a few months.......I realized that what our country had been through...just makes us kick ass even more. In an Outrage basically relates to that or on a more personal level........when someone shits on you......come back kicking bootie, and use it to your benefit.......screw'em.....let every put down and burn make you stronger by making you fight harder to prove them wrong. That's what we did......that's what I do.
What inspires you when writing lyrics? Books, everyday life, TV, movies...?
Kate French: Mostly what I'm going through at the time or the sound of the music.....I write from me.....I find it very hard to write about mystical things or Dragons or something that I can't relate to........I just want the listener to get something out of listening to my lyrics. Strength or a common thread.. I write about life's passions and dramas, and what we all go through.
After "In Dementia" was released in 1997 you took time off to devote your attention to your son, when did you start working on the new album?
Kate French: I started working on the new CD in 2001 I believe?? It was a long time in the making. I was under a lot of stress. I got really sick after taking diet pills for a while to try and loose weight in the middle of the recording process. Thought I was checking out. Went from 130 to 102 lbs within a matter of three months and I couldn't gain the weight back, couldn't sing, couldn't function. Finally I started gaining weight back and became strong enough to finish. Weird time in my life. Glad it's over.
Is it possible for fathers to continue with their bands while having young kids at home but not for mothers do you think?
Kate French: When you grow a life inside you.....for myself at least......it becomes a part of you forever. From the moment it looks at you, you are devoted instinctively to protect, and nurture that life at all cost. I think that if a Man actually grew a fetus inside of them they would understand the bond that happens with this process. It's such a natural instinct. I think that the natural instinct for a man is to hunt. I think that's what they do.....they hunt (weather it be for money, food, or whatever they need). I think this makes it easier for a man to leave. It's all an individual choice however.....some men don't like to be away form their children ....and some have no problem, same goes for Moms.....I have just chosen to be there for my son.....I don't want him EVER looking back at his life and saying I wasn't there for him.
Will you be taking Trevor to see shows and festivals or have you already done so?
Kate French: He's rocked out a few times at shows....he really enjoys it. As he gets older, I will get him more involved. He and I started a band a little band......he plays drums and I play guitar.......he's a great drummer. He has been playing and singing at the same time since the ripe old age of four.
Chastain is pretty much a solo project, how much time do you spend together as a band?
Kate French: None.....Chastain is a recording project. The time that we spend together is for rehearsals and tours.
As far as I know you have done very few live shows in support of this album, was this a conscious decision? Will fans be able to see you on stage this summer at any festivals?
Kate French: Man I hope so.....I'm DYING to get out there!! The choice is David's to play shows or not. I have a band on the same label I'm singing for now VAINGLORY. I hope to do some festivals with one of the two bands!!!
How did you end up joining the band? What were you doing at that time? Did you know David from before?
Kate French: I joined the band in 94. I met David at Foundations Forum, and he hired me after listening to a demo I handed him. I was in a band called Machine Gunn Kelly kicking some bootie in the Northern California club scene. I knew of David from all the CDs he had recorded previous. I had always LOVED Chastain the band. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to sing for David.
Female fronted metal bands have become very popular during the last few years. Are there any of those that you like?
Kate French: I knew Evanessence was going to be huge. I wrote about them in an interview I did back even before they where known.....But I don't think I've heard one new female vocalist that sings what I would consider to be true Metal.........Metal to me is not Barbara Streisand singing over heavy guitars.......someone yelling over heavy guitars.......or a cross between the cookie monster meets heavy guitars...I wanna hear a woman Dio, Halford, Hetfield, or just a woman with some balls and range behind true METAL music...Nothing new to rave about.
Which singers have influenced you more than others throughout the years? How did you first start out with music?
Kate French: It's ironic that the singer that influenced me the most is David's previous vocalist, Leather. I tend to really be influenced by the super ballsy metal singers like Gram Bonnet, Halford or Hetfield. Love that vocal distortion, range, control and power over Metals heavy guitar tone......It just fits.
I have read that you have also played lead guitars for a band, can you tell us a little about that? Have you always played the guitar as well?
Kate French: I have been playing guitar since I was eighteen......so I'm relatively new to the instrument........I love it. Its so much different to have a toy to throw around on stage to entertain with then just a mic. I love that power you get from playing and the heavy shank ank tone. I am mostly a rhythm guitarist. I started playing to get the ideas for songs I had in my head out. I play lead, and have performed playing lead.......but I still need A LOT of work before I'm at the level I'd like to be.
Are you involved with any other musical projects except for Chastain at the moment?
Kate French: Chastain hooked me up with guitar virtuoso Corbin King, also on Leviathan records. I am now also singing for his band VAINGLORY, due to release the first CD with myself singing on it this summer. We have a new site going up by the same web designer that works for Zakk Wylde......HEY CHAD....he does an awesome job.......it will be at www.vainglorymusic.com for now if anyone wants to check out some sound clips from the upcoming CD they can go to www.corbinking.com.
That was about it I think, do you have any final words for the fans?
Kate French: Always remember to treat others as you would have them treat you, keep the people that are destructive to your soul at an arms length. Forgive, but learn from the past. Remember how fortunate you are to have your health and how time is of the essence, and most of all, enjoy your time exactly the way YOU want to, because ya never know when your time is up. Thanks for your time with me (; Kate
Thanks a lot for this interview and good luck with everything in the future!
Kate French: Thanks for your interest!!
CHASTAIN "In An Outrage" Cd $9.99
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In An Outrage Reviews!!