DAVID T. CHASTAIN 4/20/99
WHIPLASH Interview by Mario Del Nunzio
1- Through the years, you had many projects, like CJSS, Chastain, solo
albums, an album with Michael Harris, etc. What gave you more pleasure
doing and what was the most sucessufull commercially ?
David T. Chastain:Probably the biggest worldwide single selling Cd was
"Instrumental Variations." However in each country it is a different
story. My personal favorite would probably be "Next Planet Please." I
prefer playing live with Chastain or CJSS. It is easier to play live
with vocals and more enjoyable.
2- Last year you released an album that differs very much from the rest
of your albums, "Acoustic Visions." How did you have the idea to record
an album with just an acoustic guitar and did the final result satisfied
DTC:People had always commented how much they liked the acoustic pieces
on my previous Cds so I had always considered doing an all acoustic Cd.
One month in 98 I just played acoustic guitar for about a month and I
thought I was coming up with some pretty original and cool music so I
decided to record a Cd. I am pretty happy with the results. Of course it
is a live album so there are more mistakes than I would have liked but
it great for what it is.
3- Many of your earlier albums are out of catalog now and are very hard
find. Do you have any plans of re-releasing them (maybe with bonus
DTC:The Voice of the Cult was just rereleased after being remastered and
repackaged. We have just got back the rights to Within The Heat and
Leather's Cd. We are currently in production to remaster and repackage
the 2 CJSS records that will be on one Cd. So the answer is Yes we are
working on rereleasing many of the older titles.
4- Talking about Chastain, how would you compare Kate French to Leather
DTC:They both are great singers. Leather is a little more professional
and Kate is a little more creative. Leather tried to come off more
powerful and Kate has the sex image down.
5- In the 80's Chastain released an album every year, from 85 to 90, but
then, when Leather Leone left you stayed 5 years to find a new singer
release a new album. Why so much time ? And why did Leather Leone leave
the band ?
DTC:Leather never quit the band. We just never recorded again. It was my
choice to find a male singer for a new project but I never found one. In
94 I decided to do the vocals and actually did a tour of Mexico with me
doing the vocals. The next week I met Kate and I brought her out to my
house for a couple of weeks and we just worked well together and decided
to do some recording.
6- How was your first contact with Kate French ? Were you first
by her voice or by something else ?
DTC:I met her at Foundations Forum out in LA in 94. She gave me a demo
tape and I went to my room and listened to it and was impressed. At the
time I thought she was cute but that wasn't the main reason. I knew if I
worked with her I could never been involved with her romantically as
that would just not work.
She does take a helluva of a picture. I have her on the cover of another
of my projects, check it out Southern Gentlemen.
7- Kate French is one of the prettiest woman in the Heavy Metal/ Hard
scene. Do you think this can attract more people to listen Chastain ? Or
do you think still there are people biased against women in Heavy Metal
DTC:In the US we caught a lot of flack because she was so good looking.
The press said she was a blonde bimbo. They never gave her a chance.
They thought she was too pretty and sexy to actually sing. They were
The rest of the world accepted her as talented and sexy!
8- When do you plan to record a new Chastain album ?
DTC:We are always working on material but time will tell when something
is available for the public.
9- You have a new, 70's influenced project called Souther Gentlemen,
When are you going to record an album with this project ? Please,
DTC:We have already finished recording the Cd it is called Exotic Dancer
Blues and we are currently shopping the band. There are a few samples if anyone wants to check it out at
10- I heard about another project with you, an 80's traditional metal
with Michael Harris playing too. I read in an interview that it would be
"with better musicianship and more complex HammerFall". Is it true ?
are you going to record an album ? Please, comment about it too.
DTC:The name of the band is Zanister. It is also finished and being
It is a pretty happening band and hopefully will be in the stores before
11- You always were a "cult musician", never had much success,
speaking, but alywas had true fans around the world. Are you satisfied
this condition ? Did sometime you wanted to be more successful
DTC:We have been more successful than some would imagine. In one year I
sold more than 100,000 units worldwide. The 90s have been harder for
most people in metal and we have not been the exception. With all of
that said I make music for art not money. In the late 80s I was offered
jobs or auditions for larger more commercial bands but I wasn't
interested. I would never want to be too famous. I pity people like
Michael Jordan who will never be able to go anywhere privately for the
rest of his life.
12- Still regarding this question, when you started to release albums,
the mid of the 80's there was a kind of explosion of virtuous guitarists
(all the Shrapnel cast, etc.). Many of them joined more commercial
famous bands (like Jason Becker joining Dave Lee Roth band, Paul Gilbert
Mr. Big, Marty Friedman with Megadeth, Steve Vai with Whitesnake, etc.).
you have any opportunity like that ? If not, would you like to have ?
DTC:As I said previously I talked with many people but the only job I
was really interested in was when Adrian Smith left Maiden but they
already had someone lined up.
13- I remember reading a Guitar Magazine from more than 10 years ago,
there was a report with you saying something like this: "David T.
The American Yngwie." What do you think about this kind of comparison ?
DTC:It was totally inaccurate. They thought just because someone played
fast they sounded alike. Actually he comes more from a classical
background and I come more from a fusion background. Plus his music
never gets as heavy as the Chastain stuff. With that said, I think he is
a great guitarist.
14- About your solo albums... your first albums, like "Instrumental
Variations" are more classical and more metal than some of your later
stuff, like "Next Planet Please", which is very fusion influenced, and
latest album is all acoustic. Do you plan to keep this diversity in solo
albums ? Do you have any plan for a new album ?
DTC:I like different things and I am never sure what is coming next.
There was plans for Instrumental Variations 2K, but you never know.
There was a Japanese only Cd of one of my projects, The Cincinnati
Improvisational Group that actually has my best lead guitar playing. It
is basically a free form metal jam.
15- If you had to chose one album from your career to show your work to
someone who never heard anything from you, what would it be ? Why ?
DTC:Probably Movement Thru Time, because it is a best of release. Of
course that is an easy way out. If it was just one album it would be
Elegant Seduction for the instrumental stuff since it has a little bit
of everything. In Dementia would be the Chastain lp.
16- I heard about a CJSS reunion. Is it true ? Is it for just some
or a new album is planned ?
DTC:CJSS never officially broke up we just quit making music together.
As far as I know this is a one time reunion weekend. We were considering
doing a live recording but the labels we talked with said a live album
would not be good but maybe a new studio recording. However nothing is
planned in regards to that but you never know.
17- Talking about reunions, recently are happening many reunions in the
heavy metal scene, like Metal Church, Armored Saint, Iron Maiden with B.
Dickinson and A. Smith, Black Sabbath, etc. What do you think about it ?
DTC:In regards to Maiden it is a great idea. They have never been the
same since Adrian Smith left. I think some reunion bands are good ideas
while others such as Black Sabbath are just to make a quick buck.
18- What have you been listening to recently ? And, could you say some
your all time favorite albums ?
DTC:I don't have a lot of time to listen to other metal stuff. The new
Angel Dust, Vanden Plas and Gamma Ray(Powerplant) Cds were all great. I
usually spend my time listening to all of the Leviathan Records artists.
In regards to my all time favorites, Iron Maiden's, Somewhere in Time,
Seventh Son, Heaven and Hell-Sabbath, Let There be Rock-AC/DC, First Van
Halen, Ozzy/Rhoads Cds, Metallica with Clint Barlow, Scorpions/Uli Roth
era are all classics in my mind.
Check out Dave's Faves for
some groups I think highly of.
19- How old did you start to play ? Is there any artist/record that was
important when you started ?
DTC:There was always a guitar around my house for as long as I remember.
Early Sabbath, Zeppelin, Hendrix were big early influences. Then the
Mahavishnu Orchestra hit me.
20- What do you think about today's Heavy Metal/ Hard Rock/ Instrumental
music scene in USA ? What do you think about bands which mix Techno and
Heavy Metal ? And what do you think about bands like Korn, Deftones, etc
DTC:The scene in the US has sucked during the 90s but I think it will
change within the year. The majors are signing up a lot of the 80s metal
bands such as Priest, Whitesnake, Great White and others. MTV suppose to
be bringing back Headbangers Ball or something similar. I am not a fan
of bastardize metal such as techno, rap and industrial metal.
21- From all the musicians who worked with you, if you had to chose a
band", who would they be ? And is there anyone with who you didn't work
you would like to ?
Drums:Scott Travis/Deen Castronova
Other guitar:Michael Harris
Vocals:Me if I could handle it! That way I wouldn't have to deal with a
singer on a 24/7 basis. If not me probably Shania Twain!!!
22- A curiosity, what does the "T." of "David T. Chastain" stand for ?
DTC:Taylor. Believe it or not there is another guitarist in the US that
has a David Chastain Band!! That is why I put in my initial T. I have
never had anyone come up to me and think I am him but he says people
come into places he plays and brings my Cds for autographs and is pissed
to find out it is not me.
23- After "In Dementia" was released I heard rumours that you would play
in Brazil for the first time, but nothing happened. Do you have plans to
play here in Brazil someday (soon) ?
DTC:I would give anything to play in Brazil. Tell any promoter you know
to bring us down!!!!!
24- Please, tell us a little about Leviathan Records... Do you chose the
bands to be signed by your taste ? Please, make a brief commentary with
opinion about some of the bands of the label (Kenziner, Joe Stump,
Arch Rival, Masi, etc).
DTC:In the past few years only bands that I personally like get signed
to Leviathan. In the earlier days I did not have quite so much power. I
can not work with a band who I don't like their music no matter how much
money I could make. I would not sign Nirvana if they knocked on my door
KenZiner-Jarno is a great composer. Like a modern day Mozart. They are
currently recording a new Cd as we speak. The singer Stephen Fredrick is
a great singer with feeling.
Joe Stump-blows Yngwie away in that style of music. Unfortunately for
Joe Yngwie did it first. However Joe is recording a new Cd and maybe he
can break big with this vocal recording.
Event-really great band. What made me excited about the band was that
they sounded so much like UK. I was stunned that they had never heard
the band. When I sent them UK's material they said, "Those guys sound
Arch Rival-Michael Harris and band are a great commercial hard
rock/heavy metal band.MICHAEL HARRIS
Masi-Alex has just finished a new Cd called "In The Name of Bach" which
is him doing arrangements of Bach pieces. It will be released in Japan
in July. It is very impressive!
25- Please, comment about these 80's virtuous guitarists:
a) Yngwie J. Malmsteen:
Great guitarist. Not the greatest songwriter. Speaks before he thinks.
Should be huge but has ruined his career with his comments.
b) Jason Becker:
His composition Air is one of my favorite tracks.
c) Paul Gilbert:
In Racer X he was great. Unfortunately he sold out. Maybe one day he
will get back on track and kick ass again.
d) Greg Howe:
A great player but I am not that familiar with most of his stuff.
e) Tony MacAlpine:
I like his earlier stuff a lot. I haven't heard much of the newer stuff.
26- If you want to say some other thing, the space is yours... and, if
possible, leave a message to your Brazilian fans.
DTC:Keep the faith and raise the roof and bring Chastain to Brazil for