DAVID T. CHASTAIN 2/19/99
SEBEK Heavy Metal Magazine (Turkey)
Arda Turac-You have made 7 studio albums with CHASTAIN and, 7 albums in your solo
career. Generally musicians make a choice in solo career and group. You
are still working with two kinds of them with full-powered. And you fit
14 albums in 16 years. What is the secret of this energy?
*David T. Chastain-I have a creative river that never stops. I use to write about an
album's worth of material every month. I have been fortunate in having
great musicians at my disposal to perform the music.
-There is a two kind guitar virtuosos in Heavy Metal scene in my
opinion. One of them is playing melodic and soft metal music (like Joe
Satriani, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker ect.) and one of that two kind is
making hard music and they have their bands (like Chastain, Axel Rudi
Pell band, Malmsteen band, Joe Stump's Reign Of terror, Vinnie Moore
ect.). But you're including of two kinds. I think you don't want to
remembering by H.M. listeners as a monotonous virtuoso. Isn't it? Or
what is the reason?
*I like all styles of music and I get bored if I play the same thing
over and over again.
-Let's go to the past little bit. May I learn your story of beginning to
*I was always drawn to the sound of the lead guitar and I wanted to
learn how to play that exciting style.
-Did you begun with guitar? And which model it was, acoustic or electric
*There was always some sort of cheap acoustic guitar around the house
when I was growing up but it was very difficult to play and I probably
would have trouble playing it today if it was still around. I don't
consider that I really started playing until I got a cheap electric
guitar in high school.
-When did you recognize with piano?
*My older sister took piano lessons and I banged on it from time to time
but I really can't say that I play very well. I can put backing
keyboards and intros on our cds.
-May I learn your musical education?
*Pretty much all self taught in that I had no lessons. I did study many
music theory books and of course listening to other players. I also
jammed extensively when I first started which helped develop my
-You 're playing guitar and keyboard. There is no many musicians who are
playing guitar and keyboard since time in H.M. scene. I can remember
only Tony MacAlpine and Vitalij Kuprij. Isn't it hard to keep both of
*As I mentioned before I can't really play keyboards very well and I
only use them on recordings as I don't really have time to practice
them. Actually I am a much better flute player than keyboardist in regards
to a second instrument.
-In studio of course you play them one by one. But in concerts what are
*We use tape intros for some songs, but basically no live keyboards.
-Would you explain to me a interest of play more than one instrument?
May musicians, especially guitar virtuosos want to play all instruments
(bass, guitar, keyboard, back vocal, vocal etc.). What is the reason of
unsatisfaction? (as a joke of course)
*Most guitar virtuosos are perfectionists and we can't handle people who
are not into our music as much as we are. Also by the time you show
someone the part you could already have recorded it yourself
-Which guitarist or musicians are your favorites?
*Allan Holdsworth has always been very inspirational as far as a lead
guitarist goes. I have been into the sound of heavy metal bands with
very progressive guitarists. I can enjoy something in most players.
-You proud to say "I've influenced by..... ...... ......". And nowadays
some guitarist are proud to say "I've influenced by David T. Chastain".
How this feeling?
*It is an extreme compliment. I always made music that I enjoyed with no
worry about the commercial aspects and if people are influenced by it in
a positive way then I am very happy.
-Which trade-mark guitars are you playing? Have you got any deal with
*I mainly use old Kramer Pacer guitars that have not been made in a long
-Which trade-mark are making great guitars in your opinion?
*I really don't go into music stores so I can't really say what are the
great new guitars.
-Do you want to give any advice to teenager guitarist who are reading
you now in
*Practice hard and learn as much about music theory as possible.
Decide what you want from the guitar and make the effort in that
-What kind of difference could be between the guitars (From different
trademarks). Would you explain it little bit?
*I personally can get any guitar to sound good thru an amp. It is the
fretboard that makes all the difference to me. I am happy with the feel
of my old Kramer guitars and I am not out looking for anything to
replace them. I am not a gear head as I feel that "It is a poor worker
who blames his tools." Too many players worry about their equipment and
not about their playing.
-You have recorded a concert album with Michael Harris in 1992. Would
you little talk about from that concert?
*Actually we did a couple of concert tours and it was very fun. We
recently recorded a new studio album together but this one has vocals.
The name of the band is ZANISTER and hopefully that will be out in
Europe in 99.
-Who have planned to give a gig with M. Harris and to record this
concert? Why M. Harris have chosen?
*Michael and I have been friends for years and we play in the same
general style so it was a good match. Plus there were no big ego
problems and we enjoy each others work.
-Album's name was "Live! Wild and Truly Diminished!". Diminished has a
various meanings, what did you wanted to hint?
*I have a song on Instrumental Variations that is called Wild and Truly
Diminished. The reason I called it Truly Diminished as it was based on
the full diminished scale and not the scale that most neo-classical
guitarist call diminished. In A it would A,B,C, D, D#, F, F#, G#, A.
The name of the album was just a play on words of that song title.
-What mind of differences are you making when you decide to record a
*We had to figure out which songs we thought would translate with two
guitar players and which songs we could pull off live. Actually some
worked better than others.
-Have you got any concert video?
*There are tons of bootleg stuff out there but only one real quality
multi camera video and that was a live CJSS video.
-(If yes---) So what kind of extra preparations you're making before
concert video? (as in backstage, as on stage)
*We had to bring in a video crew, a live sound engineer, plus a
recording crew and sync everyone up so that we were all on the same
-Let's talk about last Chastain album IN DEMENTIA. I'm a listener of
classical H.M., melodic power metal and guitar virtuoso albums. I've
recognize you with your 1987 album which is called THE SEVENTH OF NEVER.
And it has sound which is one of my favorite musical kind preference.
But nowadays you have different musical style in IN DEMENTIA. What is
the reason of this changing or variation?
*The times have changed and sounds of today's music are engineered
differently. On In Dementia, the rhythm guitar is much heavier sounding
than in the 80s. Kate brought a newer sound ideology to the group. If
you like the sound of the 7th of Never then you will be very happy with
ZANISTER as we have gone back to more of the 80s sounding style for this
-Your line-up have passed reform with SICK SOCIETY album. Already your
line-up is all changing but isn't it making to you any problem?
*The guitar has remained the same thru all of the cds and there has only
been one vocalist change and that is the most important for the
continuation of the sound.
Plus both of the vocalists, Leather and Kate French sound remarkably
-In heavy metal scenes a few bands include female vocalist or musician.
And Chastain band is one of them. Why do you prefer female vocalist to
*Female vocalists just touch me more emotionally. Plus they have a
higher range which helps to sing some of my songs. I didn't start out
CHASTAIN to have a female vocalist, it just happened that way. Both Kate
and Leather can kick any man's ass in the vocal department.
-You have worked with Leather Leone for a 7 years and 5 albums. Why
Leather switch-off with Kate? What was the problem with Leather?
*There was no problem with Leather, we just needed a change. I did not
record a CHASTAIN cd between 90-95 as I wanted to try a few other
things. Kate came up to me in late 94 and gave me a tape and I thought
she was a great so I decided to do another Chastain cd with her on
-Leather was with you for a 5 albums, Did you lived any problem after
Leather's leaving? For example, did your fans give bad reaction?
*Of course some people like Leather better and some people like Kate
better. I think they sound pretty much a like and each has their strong
-Let's talk about your last solo album, which is called ACOUSTIC VISIONS.
Can you present it to Turkey's H.M. listeners?
*Acoustic Visions is an all acoustic solo heavy metal guitar recording.
No overdubs just straight guitar to tape. I don't believe anyone has
ever done a recording like this. It is a very good cd for background
music and has a lot of moods and color to it.
-Would You explain your emotional situation while you're writing songs?
*Nothing special, I write songs everyday and I have written songs in
every frame of mind. I do not have to be sad or anything to write songs.
-Have the songs any history? Would you talk about a little?
*A lot of the lyrics have a lot of personal meaning to me. Too many to
go into detail and I don't want to tell the listener what the songs are
about. It is up to each person to evaluate each song for themselves and
draw from them what they think they are about.
-I guess ACOUSTIC VISIONS is your first acoustic album. Why did you feel
the necessity to make an acoustic album?
*I had been practicing a lot on the acoustic guitar and was coming up
with some pretty cool ideas. So I decided let's do it.
-May I learn your future projects? (as Leviathan Records, as musician
*I have 2 new cds already recorded and hopefully they will be released
ZANISTER Symphonica Millennia is a traditional heavy metal cd with both
Michael Harris and I on guitars. More in the style of Hammerfall,
I also have recorded a very heavy blues rock cd. The name of the group
SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN and cd will be called Exotic Dancer Blues. It is my
first time as the lead vocalist and the music brings to mind the sound
of the early 70s blues rock of ZZ TOP, Trower, Hendrix, etc.
-We know that you've influenced by classical music. Would you make an
album which is include Metal. versions of these works?
*I am not sure what you are asking but I would love to hear some of my
music performed by a symphony. I have also written some string quartets
that I would love to hear performed in that setting.
-What is the most thing would someday love to study? (It could be a
*I would like to travel to a lot of the exotic locations of the world
that I have not visited such as the Pyramids at Giza and then I would
like to see what kind of inspiration that brings to my music.
-You have made 14 children (as a albums of course) until now. Which work is
your favorite and why?
*If I could only take one cd to another planet I guess it would be NEXT
PLANET PLEASE because I feel that the cd will still sound very fresh in
-What do you think about anti-christ or brutal metal music which are
making nowadays more and more?
*I can't handle the death metal vocals no matter if they were singing
about Pamela Anderson. All religious propaganda both dark and light is
I do not believe in fairy tales from either side.
-Do you feel any sorrow from H.M.'s that kind of going to unesthetics
*I am not effected too much by the masses as I have always made music
more for myself and I just hoped everyone else liked it. It is too bad
that Heavy Metal is not as popular as it once was but things seem to be
moving back in that direction if only a little bit at a time.
-What can we do against of these formation as a keepers of true and
*Support metal bands by buying their cds and spreading the word to the
non believers about the power and greatness of the music.
-Finally Have You got any message to Turkish heavy metal listeners?
Don't forget Turkey's active H.M. fans are generally read this lines.
*Keep the faith and spread the word. Real Heavy Metal Music will never