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 you ?

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 to find. Do you have any plans of re-releasing them (maybe with bonus tracks, etc.) ?

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 Leone ?

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 and 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 impressed 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 Rock 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 sadly mistaken. 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, right ?

When are you going to record an album with this project ? Please, comment about it. 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 Mp3 files!!

10- I heard about another project with you, an 80's traditional metal band, with Michael Harris playing too. I read in an interview that it would be a "with better musicianship and more complex HammerFall". Is it true ? When 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 shopped. It is a pretty happening band and hopefully will be in the stores before too long.

11- You always were a "cult musician", never had much success, commercially speaking, but alywas had true fans around the world. Are you satisfied with this condition ? Did sometime you wanted to be more successful commercially?

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, in 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 oriented/ famous bands (like Jason Becker joining Dave Lee Roth band, Paul Gilbert with Mr. Big, Marty Friedman with Megadeth, Steve Vai with Whitesnake, etc.). Did 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, and there was a report with you saying something like this: "David T. Chastain - 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 your 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 concerts 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 of 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 "dream band", who would they be ? And is there anyone with who you didn't work that you would like to ?

Drums:Scott Travis/Deen Castronova
Bass:Steve Harris
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, Event, 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 today.

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. KENZINER

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. JOE STUMP!!

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 like us!" EVENT

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 some concerts!

The Band

Solo and other assorted bands