DAVID T. CHASTAIN 11/16/2000
interviewer: Mason-Metal Nightmare
1) Having been in the Metal scene for nearly two decades now, what are your most memorable positive and negative experiences thus far?
David T. Chastain: Well time flies that is for sure. I have always enjoyed creating music but the business of music is a very negative experience. A lot of dishonest people in the business. I really enjoy recording demos most of all. That is when the music is fresh. Usually by the time a Cd comes out I have heard the song at least 100 times. A few years later I will hear an old Cd of mine and go "That was pretty damn good!" Just at the time it was recorded, I was burnt on it.
2) What motivates you to stay so incredibly prolific and constantly busy with different projects? Do you ever foresee a day when you'll decided "that's enough!" and retire?
David T. Chastain: Who knows. I have a creative river that will not stop. Every time I pick up the guitar I write a song or two. I will probably always write and record songs for my own enjoyment. However at some point I may stop fighting the war.
3) Was it difficult for you personally, as you were really beginning to enjoy praise and recognition by some of the major guitar publications in the early 90's (very favorable reviews by Guitar School, GFTPM, etc.), to then basically witness a complete mutiny by practically everyone in the mainstream music media when the Seattle explosion happened?
David T. Chastain: Not really. People like what they like. It has never been my main goal to be commercially successful. I have over 30 Cds available with many more to come. That is my driving force. To create as much quality music as possible whether one person or one million people buy it. The Seattle explosion was actually humorous to me in many ways. I still put out a boatload of Cds in the 90s.
Actually my newest release SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Exotic Dancer Blues" is the best reviewed Cd of my career.
4) What has been the proudest moment of your music career so far? And what goals have you set that you still hope to accomplish?
David T. Chastain: That is a good question. I guess my proudest moment was the other day when I went to the BMI website and looked up my songs
and there were over 300 songs I had written and I didn't see a bad one in the bunch! That made me appreciate what I had done over these years.
Goals yet to accomplish... Well I have always wanted to play Madison Square Garden for some reason and that has yet to happen. I guess my most reasonable goal is to be happy with what I create.
5) Between being a co-owner of a record label, involvement in multiple projects, and producing other bands, do you have time for actually having "a life"? What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
David T. Chastain: I do have a very busy schedule but I am pretty efficient and I get a lot done. I guess I am a jack of all trades. Fortunately I have a girl friend who works nights so I have a lot of free time. We usually spend our free time laying on the couch, relaxing and watching movies on my 55 inch TV.
6) Could you let us in on a few of your favorite books and movies?
David T. Chastain: Well I actually read a lot, and I have also written one book and currently finishing up the second. Once I do a little more editing then I will release the first one, tentatively called, Saint Savage. It is about the struggles of a musician and all that goes with it. It is not a story about me but more or less from my experiences wrapped into a fictitious story line. I read a lot of different things from murder mysteries, books on Egypt and history, sports books and whatever strikes my fancy. Movies I usually prefer comedies for no other reason to change the mood of my life. The music business is usually a very stressful business so a little levity helps.
7) Is it difficult for you, a disciplined and talented player, to walk into a bookstore or 7-11 and see a copy of "Guitar World" with one of the talentless goons from Korn or Sugar Ray on the cover?
David T. Chastain: Not really. Guitar World is forced to put people like that on the cover to sell magazines. I know the writers know those people shouldn't be on the cover but the publisher only cares about selling magazines. Unfortunately this breeds a generation of musical idiots who think that if someone is on the cover of Guitar World they must be a great guitarist. Most of the time it is the opposite. It is just another causality of music capitalism.
8) Some guitar questions now, if you don't mind! First off, what kind of gear do you currently use?
David T. Chastain: I play mainly Kramer guitars. They recently have started making new guitars and they are actually very good. I also have an old Yamaha that comes into play occasionally. For amps I either use a Marshall or POD.
9) Do you have a daily practice regime? If you were giving advice to a novice player in regards to a good daily work-out, what would you recommend?
David T. Chastain: I never have really ever had too much regiment to my practicing. My main goal in practicing is coming up with song ideas so exercises are not at the top of my list at this point in time. Maybe in the old days. My suggestions to guitarist is to practice with a drum machine and keep a tape recorder close by to get your ideas down. Also try to learn as much as you can about music theory. Also try to be an original not a copycat.
10) What players had the greatest impact on your own growth as a guitarist? Are there any players who help you maintain your motivation to continue working/improving as an artist?
David T. Chastain: Alan Holdsworth was always a favorite of mine. Later on Rhoads, Van Halen, Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth all come to mind as people who could play. There are a lot of technical monsters out there but most of them are a one trick pony. Playing fast for the sake of a race to me now just seems silly.
11) On your new release "Southern Gentlemen," apparently you've adopted a bluesy feel to your playing - after so many years of basing your playing on a more neo-classical style, how odd was it to suddenly start implementing more straight pentatonic work into your playing?
David T. Chastain: SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Exotic Dancer Blues" was a very natural Cd for me to make. A lot of fun and an attitude of just let it rip and not worry about trying to impress music majors. I originally started out, as most players use to, playing rock and blues so I guess I was going back to my roots.
I have also just finished a new Metal Cd with Michael Harris called ZANISTER 'Fear No Man." That was a cool Cd to make and should be out after the first of the year.
12) Having introduced both Leather and Kate French in Chastain (both of them amazing vocalists), what do you think appeals to you in having a female vocalist accompany your playing? Why do you think, with so many talented female vocalists and musicians around, there haven't been too many examples of successful (in sales, at least) women artists in Metal?
David T. Chastain: Female vocalists just appeal to me more. Even the pop singers touch me. Their voices are more sensual than any males and then when they can also belt out metal with the best of them it makes for a perfect package.
The metal community on the whole has not accepted female vocalist due to the fact that most of the clean voices just don't fit the style needed to make metal come across. Fortunately both Kate and Leather kick any man's ass in that regards.
13) Thank you so much for your time, David! Please feel free to include any final words here!
David T. Chastain: Thanks for the interview. I also want to announce that sometime in January I will have a new site that will feature a lot of my unreleased music. The site will be http://www.diginetmusic.com
It will also have some rare tracks from other musicians.