DAVID T. CHASTAIN 11/18/2000
interviewer: House of Shred
* How old were you when you first picked up a guitar? Who or what inspired you to start playing?
David T. Chastain: In high school is when I started getting serious. I was always attracted to the sound of the lead guitar on records for some reason.
No one person or band made me pick up the guitar.
* Who were your main influences then, and who influences your music these days?
David T. Chastain: Hendrix, Page, Clapton were early influences but I was soon turned on to John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and shortly after that Alan Holdsworth. So fortunately I had good music to check out from the beginning.
* What made you decide to do a Blues-Rock record (Southern Gentlemen)?
David T. Chastain: Enjoyment. That Cd was the most fun Cd I have ever recorded. It is also the best reviewed Cd of my career. Check out
On that Cd there was no pressure to show off. Just jam with the groove.
* How much of the CD was recorded "live" in the studio, or do you prefer to layer tracks?
David T. Chastain: On most songs there is only one guitar recorded. I wanted to make it sound as live as possible. Usually on the metal Cds everything is layered to hell and back.
* As a guitar player, you have your own "sound." Tell me a little about it. What kind of equipment do you prefer to use? Is there one particular piece that you can't live without?
David T. Chastain: I use Kramer and Yamaha electric guitars and mainly play through a Marshall Valvestate and/or a POD. In the old days I used a Lab amp which I might bring back out of retirement. All the effects are usually added during mixdown. There is no piece of gear or guitar I could not live without.
* How many guitars do you own? Name a few of your favorites.
David T. Chastain:
I have 4 Kramer electric guitars, 1 Kramer Bass, 1 Yamaha Electric, 1 Yamaha Acoustic, 1 BC Rich acoustic and more or less a couple of older Gibson Les Pauls.
* If you could add ANY guitar to your collection, what would it be?
David T. Chastain: Well I guess it would have to be one of the very old Les Pauls or Strats. I have never been a guitar nut or collector.
* As a musician and songwriter, what inspires you?
David T. Chastain: I just pick up the guitar and the music flows. I can write when I am down or up. It does not matter in the least. I purposely do not listen to any one band a lot to avoid having their music come out in my songwriting.
* Do you write your solos after the rest of the song is completed or do you build songs or passages within a song around a solo?
David T. Chastain: Solos are always last. Rhythm guitar is always first and everything is built up from that.
* There seems to be a lack of musicality, musical virtuosity and melody in the current mainstream rock acts. What's your opinion on that? What do you attest that to?
David T. Chastain: Well, unfortunately the Seattle movement killed the music. Especially in terms of commercial success for anyone who could play their instrument beyond a beginners ability, but there is still great music out there you just have to look for it.
* I've been on several guitar message boards where the mention of your name as a serious shredder brings much criticism, some of it rather harsh. How would you respond to such criticisms?
David T. Chastain: Well that's kind of funny. I have never been to a chat room so I don't know the format. However everyone is allowed their opinion. I surely don't like everything I hear. With that said, I have put out over 30 Cds, toured most of the major markets of the world, been reviewed positively in almost every major music publication in the world, played many major arenas in the US, been on MTV and written well over 200 pretty damn good songs that have been published worldwide.
So somebody somewhere must like the music. In any case I make music mainly for my own enjoyment and I hope others like it. Is it for everyone? No! It is not my goal to be the fastest guitar player in the world. To me that goal is silly. Music is art not a foot race.
* Who would you like to work with in the future?
David T. Chastain: I always wanted to do a Cd with Dio but at this point that is not really a high priority. I am happy with the musicians I am surrounded by and I really don't pursue other opportunities. As time goes on I become less and less dependent on other musicians.
* What lies ahead for David Chastain?
David T. Chastain: Michael Harris and I have just finished recording a new ZANISTER Cd called "Fear No Man." I am also recording an even more bluesy project called Georgia Blues Dawgs.
Due to the very positive response to SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN I should begin recording another Cd in January. 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.
There is talk of another CHASTAIN band Cd for next year.
* According to David Chastain, where do you see David Chastain in 10 years?
David T. Chastain: Who knows. I know I should still be recording music if only for my own enjoyment. We will see if there is still demand. Of course running Leviathan Records is a full time job. I hope to hit the lottery so I don't have to worry about it.
* If we were to look in your CD player right now, what would we find? What are you listening to these days?
David T. Chastain: The new Zanister, ABRM, Gus Karamitroudis a great new guitarist from Greece I am working with, the 3rd Kenziner demo, Joe Stump's new Cd by The Reign of Terror. As you can see, mainly Leviathan Records artists. I just ordered the new Hammerfall which I should receive in a day or two.
* And the hardest question, the one that we ALWAYS ask (resistance is futile). If you were stranded on a desert island, and could only have 5 CD's to listen to for the rest of eternity, what would they be?
David T. Chastain: David T. Chastain-Next Planet Please & Acoustic Visions,
SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Exotic Dancer Blues", David Shew-The Gathering and for the 5th release some Holdsworth Cd.