SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 11/7/2003
by Antonio Carlos Monteiro from Rock Brigade Magazine
1. HOW COULD YOU DEFINE THE GENRE OF SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN'S WORK? IT SEEMS TO ME SOUTHERN ROCK ORIENTED (AS THE GROUP'S NAME POINTS TO). IS IT CORRECT?
David T. Chastain: We consider the music to be "Very Hard and Heavy Blues Rock." As far as the Southern Rock influences, since I am from Atlanta, which is the deep south, I am sure some of that has come out from time to time in all of my music at one point or another. I heard a lot of Allman Brothers, Skynyrd, ZZ Top and others growing up. SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN's music is more old school hard rock but with a much heavier modern attack. Sort of like if ZZ Top, Trower, Bad Company or others from that era really cranked up their amps and attitudes. We play SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN music to have a good time and not take things too seriously. I have enough bands/Cds that I write heavy, serious lyrics so it is a good change of pace for me to not have to "think" too hard and just let what comes naturally surface.
2. AS YOU TOLD ME ON OUR LATEST CHAT THE FIRST SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN ALBUM, "EXOTIC DANCER BLUES", GOT THE BEST REVIEWS OF YOUR ENTIRE CAREER. DID "DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE" BREAK THIS MARK?
David T. Chastain: The album is still just getting released in some places so it is hard to say which will get the best reviews. The most important thing is that the band enjoys it, then that the fans enjoy it, and then we hope the press enjoys it. In any case the response has been very positive so far. With that said, I am somewhat jaded by reviews since I have had so many of them over the years. I understood a long time ago reviews, many times, depends on the critic who gets to review the Cd at the magazine. He may be the only one who loves it or hates it on the entire staff. So I take everything in stride and the final critic in all of my works is myself. I understand that not everyone likes everything. I certainly don't like everything I hear out in the music world. Music is subjective and what is great for some people is noise to others. I have a few close "musical advisors" whose opinions I value but at the end of the day it is my own that I have to live with.
To check out some of the press go to:
3. WAS IT HARD TO MAKE AN ALBUM CONSIDERING THAT THE PREVIOUS WAS VERY WELL SUCCEED?
David T. Chastain: Well I didn't really consider that when recording the new Cd. If we would have had a big international hit song on the first Cd then obviously I would have tried to create something similar but as it was people seemed to like the entire Cd and didn't single out any specific song as the focal point. We took a slightly different approach on Double Your Pleasure. "Exotic Dancer Blues" was more of a straight forward Cd. The new Cd has more extended jams and more improvisational sections. I never have a problem writing SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN style songs and had no problem coming up with something that I thought would work for the band.
4. DID THE NEW ALBUM BECOME A HUGE SUCCESS ONLY IN THE U.S. OR IT HAPPENED ON OTHER COUNTRIES TOO?
David T. Chastain: The US has been the best market for the SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN up to this point. We hope to spread the music worldwide. I believe there are many fans looking for something new that has a touch of something old that they can be somewhat familiar but still be original enough to call their own. Some labels are a little sacred of the band's name and style in the current metal marketplace. I think the stuff has great potential to reach many different kinds of music fans. On "Exotic Dancer Blues" we were somewhat surprised that the metal community was the one that embraced the release the most. The so called "blues purists" couldn't relate to it. It was too heavy for their tastes. Therefore we purposely made "Double Your Pleasure" a heavier recording.
5. WHICH WAS THE HARDEST PHASE OF RECORDING THIS ALBUM: TO WRITE THE SONGS, TO REHEARSE THEM, TO RECORD THE ALBUM OR TO MIX IT?
David T. Chastain: Well none of it was very stressful as Leviathan Records has our own studio. Therefore we are not under the gun like many bands are when trying to record a Cd. I just went in when I felt like it and laid down whatever moved me. Once it got stale I would go watch TV and come back later. No pressure at all in reality. With that said, I guess personally the vocals are the most difficult for me. That is still something new for me. However after all of the positive feedback on the first Cd, it helped my confidence and in the end made that part a little easier. It was all a lot of fun and I don't consider any of it "work." On "Double Your Pleasure" I just sat down and played whatever "felt" right at the time. The solos are what brings fire to my playing. I find that the first thing I play is usually the best. The more I go over something the less inspired I become. Mixing a Cd is always subjective but it seemed to flow pretty well.
6. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT "DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE" WAS RECORDED UNDER A GOOD VIBE AMONG THE MUSICIANS. IS IT CORRECT?
David T. Chastain: Yes, we are all longtime friends and there are no personality conflicts. Only having 3 guys in the band is very good for interband relations. Drummer Mike Haid has played on quite a few of my releases over the last 10 years and always does a bang up job. Bassist Kevin Kekes has been playing with me since the later 90s and once again we see eye to eye on mast everything. So many young bands really don't have a clue on what it takes to make a career. Too many flash and burn for numerous reasons. You see so many successful bands break up and try to go onto other things only to realize what a horrible mistake they made in destroying their bands. Unfortunately for most, lightening only strikes once. Kind of like an old girl friend you dumped but years down the road you go, "Boy I should have keep that one around!" You try to hook back up with her but the magic just isn't there anymore.
7. THE ALBUM HAVE SONGS WITH TITLES LIKE "I LANGUISH FOR YOU", "YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED" AND "LOVE AFFAIR GONE BAD", AND THE NAME'S ALBUM IS "DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE". DO YOU THINK THAT THIS KIND OF ROCK HAS SOME KIND OF A SEXUAL VIBE?
David T. Chastain: This music is made to be played in a smokey rock club on a Saturday night when the place is rocking. Nothing too serious. Music to try to find a great looking women for a night of whatever happens. Music that is fun to play, easy to relate and that women also like! I usually write "heavy" themes for Chastain, Zanister, CJSS, Hammerfall, Kenziner and Firewind. SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN music is just a necessary change of pace for me so as to not have to delve that deep into my soul to write about war, world hunger, greed, animal rights, political ideology and other serious topics. EVERYONE can relate to sexual topics with usually the same views. Everyone wants sex, everyone knows a temptress, everyone has had a woman break their heart, everyone knows of the loose girl who acts like she is a virgin, everyone knows of women who manipulate sex for profit. But in the end "everyone believes in love!"
8. AS FAR AS WE KNOW, SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN BECAME YOUR MAIN PROJECT. DID IT REALLY HAPPEN? IF SO, WHY?
David T. Chastain: I have many bands that I work with in one way or another. SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN is one of my top 2 bands. The other is the new CHASTAIN band that will have a new Cd out in 2004 called "In An Outrage." Since I try to keep touring to a minimum at this point, I have time to record and produce with everyone that I have commitments. I have other side projects that I record that may or may not come out officially. Some of this stuff comes out on my Diginet Music label. http://www.diginetmusic.com
9. YOU USE TO WORK ON A LOT OF PROJECTS OF DIFFERENT STYLES. WHY? AND, AMONG ALL OF THEM, WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ROCK GENRE?
David T. Chastain: I have always enjoyed many different styles of music. I like all my bands that I have recorded with or produced. There is nothing in my over 50 Cds that I have been a part of that I don't think has artistic value. I don't like to sit around and worry about a Cd. I like to record them, get them out, let them stand on their own and move on to the next Cd. My theory has always been "More Music is more important that More Money." As far as my favorite Cd, that is a hard question and if you asked me tomorrow I might give you a different answer. Depends on the mood and time of day.
To check out all of my releases go to
(When I read the list, it helps me remember some of them I had forgotten!!)
10. BY THE WAY, HOW ARE YOUR OTHER PROJECTS?
David T. Chastain: As I mentioned the new Chastain is finished. It will be called "In An Outrage." The band features new drummer Larry Howe and bassist Dave Starr both formerly of Vicious Rumours. The new Cd is extra heavy!! This is definitely vocalist Kate French's best work to date. We are really excited about this Cd and we will be announcing the release date soon. I also have a new instrumental Cd finished that could come out in the next year or two. There may or may not be another Zanister. There will be another SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN out in late 2004 or early 2005. I have been producing other acts such as Firewind and Vainglory. I have a creative river that continues to flow and I always am recording stuff. Right now I have a list of about 6 different projects I want to record. If not for commercial release, then just for my own personal music library. I understand a lot of it is not for the masses but that is OK with me. I am foremost a songwriter.
But with that said, SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN and CHASTAIN are my main focus in regards to the real music world.
11. ARE YOU TOURING TO PROMOTE "DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE"? IS THERE A CHANCE FOR A (FINALLY...) BRAZILIAN SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN TOUR IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
David T. Chastain: Right now we are not touring in the states. I am extremely busy with all that I am responsible for on a daily basis. Besides being I musician I also run 2 record labels, Leviathan Records and Diginet Music. Occasionally I will make a short tour in Japan, Mexico or in the states. But I just don't have the time like I did 10 years ago to go out on tour for months at a time. With that said, we would love to play down there given half a chance. I look forward to the day we play some shows in Brazil with any of my bands. I have talked to a few bands who have played down there and they always say it is a great time.
12. ZAKK WYLDE HAS SHOWN A BIG EVALUATION ON THE LAST FEW YEARS AND SO MANY ROCK FANS SAY THAT HE IS THE MAIN GUITARIST NOWADAYS. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?
David T. Chastain: Well I am not real familiar with his Black Label stuff but he is one of the few guitarist out there who still says "I am a rock star, I can play and I am not ashamed to say it." He is one of the few who can make a legitimate claim as a "Guitar Hero." So many guys have tried to retreat from being a guitar hero that it is good someone is getting the notice. He definitely gets a lot of press in the US. I wish him and all like him the best!! However his avocation of drinking all of the time is pretty silly and dangerous for impressionable fans.
13. WE WERE INFORMED THAT YOU GOT MARRIED AND EVERYBODY HERE AT ROCK BRIGADE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST! IS YOUR WIFE A MUSICIAN TOO?
David T. Chastain: Thanks! I got married back in September to my long time girl friend, Peggy Ryan. You can view pictures of the wedding and stuff at http://www.chastainwedding.com
It was fun. She is very understanding of my musical ambitions. She makes me keep my hair long!! She is not a musician but enjoys heavy music. We have many of the same interests and have never had a fight in our years together.
14. Is it true you are looking for a new model for the next SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN Cd?
David T. Chastain: Yes we are looking for a South American beauty for the next Cd cover. It is a tradition on SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN Cds to have a very scantily dressed sexy woman on the cover. Ladies if you are hot, send photos to
Rock Brigade Magazine or to the band at:
P.O. Box 745
Tyrone, GA 30290
We will be touch!!
Larger front cover art!!
Southern Gentlemen photos
News on Southern Gentlemen
David T. Chastain's Kramer Guitar Ad!