DAVID T. CHASTAIN 8/14/01
interviewer: ANTONIO CARLOS MONTEIRO (TONY)
ROCK BRIGADE MAGAZINE
YOU'VE PLAYED LONG AND DIFFICULT SOLOS IN YOUR SONGS, AS WE CAN HEAR IN "ROCK SOLID GUITAR." DO YOU RECORD THESE SOLOS IN ONE TAKE OR WERE NECESSARY SEVERAL TAKES TO PUT EACH ONE OF THEM?
David T. Chastain: On Rock Solid Guitar there were a few punch-ins here and there but mainly it was the same take all the way through the track. Since none of the solos were mapped out I didn't have to follow a script and I was free to just go wherever and whenever. I really enjoy that type of music when there are no boundaries. A bass and drum setting is perfect for an adventurous guitarist to explore new ideas without the confines of a rhythm guitar or keyboard limiting the format with chord patterns.
ON "ROCK SOLID GUITAR'S" BOOKLET YOU SAY THAT IT WAS A "SPONTANEOUS EFFORT FROM ALL OF THE MUSICIANS INVOLVED." HOW DOES IT WORK? ARE THERE A LOT OF IMPROVISATION ON THE RECORD?
David T. Chastain: This Cd was basically total improvisation on my part. There were no planned ideas as to how the tracks would evolve. The whole Cd was recorded over a weekend's time and mixed the following week. Mike Haid, the drummer, was the most limited in what he could or could not do as he provided the foundation. Once he did that then the bass and guitar were added on top of his tracks.
ANOTHER THING THAT YOU SAY ON THE BOOKLET IS ABOUT THE DIFFERENT POINT OF ATTACK IN SONGS IN THE KEY OF F# COMPARED TO OTHER KEYS. COULD YOU EXPLAIN THIS DIFFERENCE?
David T. Chastain: Every key has its own sound and feel as far as I am concerned. Most metal is in E with A being a distant second. That is of course with standard tuning and not using 7 string guitars. The Key of F# is a key that provides a good basis for metal as it allows for the low 7th of E to be used in the low end. As far as soloing goes it also gives more fret power in the first position as opposed to E where you have to use a lot of open strings in the first position. A fun and powerful key.
WERE THE RECORDING SESSIONS DONE WITH ALL MUSICIANS PLAYING TOGETHER?
David T. Chastain: No, everything was done at a different time but right after one another. In other words as soon as the drums went down, the bass was quickly added and then the guitar. All over the same weekend.
YOU MUST BE VERY INFLUENCED BY BLUES AS WE CAN HEAR IN "NEVER TOO MUCH." IS IT TRUE? WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE BLUESMEN?
David T. Chastain: Well I am more influenced by modern and heavy styled blues such as old Page, Clapton, Winter, Beck and some of the newer guys such as Stevie Ray. I was never into the real blues guys such as BB King, Buddy Guy, Hooker, etc., as while they are great singers their guitars were just a little too clean and simple for my tastes.
"HATS OFF TO ANGUS AND MALCOLM" IS AN OBVIOUS TRIBUTE TO AC/DC. USUALLY, VIRTUOUS GUITARISTS -- AS YOU ARE -- DON'T LIKE VERY MUCH AC/DC STYLE BECAUSE IT IS VERY SIMPLE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS?
David T. Chastain: While it is true that Angus and Malcolm are not technically the greatest guitarist in the world they still have put out some of the best hard rock/metal in history. The Cds "Let There Be Rock" and "Highway to Hell" are 2 of the best Cds of all time. I was once in a band with Stephen Fredrick (Formerly of Kenziner) called Spike and we actually had original tracks similar to AC/DC. The Bon Scott era AC/DC still puts a smile on my face!!
YOU HAVE A LOT OF PROJECTS: CJSS, CHASTAIN, DAVID T. CHASTAIN, ZANISTER, SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN. WHICH ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM? DOES ALL OF THESE PROJECTS STILL EXIST?
David T. Chastain: CJSS came first and plays US metal. The band put out 2 Cds in 86 and again a new Cd last year. The band is around but never plays and most likely will never release a new Cd. However my on line company Diginet Music (http://www.diginetmusic.com) has released 2 old Cds from the band that were never available before. Diginet will also probably put another one out at some point.
CHASTAIN has 7 Cds and we are currently working on a new Cd that should be ready either later this year or early next. Current line up is myself, Kate French Howe on vocals and the old rhythm section from Vicious Rumors, bassist Dave Starr and drummer Larry Howe (Kate's husband). DAVID T. CHASTAIN, the instrumentalist, is always doing something. Obviously "Rock Solid Guitar" is the most recent. ZANISTER has released 2 Cds including this year's "FEAR NO MAN." I would say there is a good chance for another Cd at some point in the future. SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Exotic Dancer Blues" Cd was my best reviewed Cd I have ever released. There should be a new Cd from the band in 2002. I actually have another somewhat similar band called The Georgia Blues Dawgs who are like the Gents but only more blues oriented. The band's first Cd "Hard Times" is due out this month in Europe.
There are differences in each band but also some similarities. All of my bands are important to me but none is totally #1 in my time or energies. Of course if one of them took off in a big way then that might change things. However I am very happy having many projects to put out my endless supply of music. It is like having a lot of different girl friends. Variety is the spice of life!
HOW MANY AND WHICH RECORDS DID YOU RELEASE WITH EACH ONE OF THESE PROJECTS? WHICH OF THEM DO YOU LIKE THE MOST? AND WHICH (IF THERE IS ONE) THAT YOU REALLY DON'T LIKE?
David T. Chastain: I have a very long discography as you can see below. I have been involved with over 20 releases in 2001 alone!
2001-(As the bassist) Corbin King "Guitar Master"
2001-(As the bassist) Gus G "Guitar Master"
2001-(As the bassist) John Hahn "Guitar Master"
2001-(As the bassist) Dr. Frankenshred "Guitar Master
2001-(As the bassist) Chris Hattingh "Guitar Master"
2001-Cincinnati Improvisational Group 'zfunkdabunk'
2001-Cincinnati Improvisational Group 'Freeform Free For All' (remastered/repackaged)
2001-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Rock Solid Guitar'
2001-SPIKE-'The Price of Pleasure' (remastered/repackaged)
2001-CJSS 'Sands of Time'
2001-Diginet Music 'Guitar Avengers 2' (Compilation CD)
2001-CHASTAIN 'The 7th of Never' (remastered/repackaged)
2001-SPIKE 'The Forum Sessions'
2001-CJSS 'Embryonic Animation'
2001-Diginet Music 'Guitar Avengers' (Compilation CD)
2001-David T. Chastain 'Within The Heat' (remastered/repackaged)
2001-ZANISTER 'Fear No Man''
2001-The Cincinnati Improvisational Group 'Aberration'
2001-Georgia Blues Dawgs 'Hard Times'
2001-David T. Chastain's D-Daze 'A New Day
2001-David T. Chastain's No Voices 'Instatreasures'
2001-David T. Chastain's Riffology 'Wicked Riffs'
2000-CJSS 'Kings of the World' (Pavement Music)
2000-SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN 'Exotic Dancer Blues'
1999-ZANISTER 'Symphonica Millennia'
1998-VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Metal Guitars'(Europe)
1998-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Acoustic Visions'
1997-CHASTAIN 'In Dementia'
1996-The Cincinnati Improvisational Group 'Freeform Free For All'
1995-CHASTAIN 'Sick Society'
1995-VARIOUS ARTISTS 'In Your Face' Massacre Records (1 Track) (Europe)
1995-CHONO MASAHIRO (Japan, 3 tracks)
1995-CJSS 'Best Of' (Japan)
1994-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Next Planet Please'
1993-VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Dangerous Women' Sony Records (1 Track)
1992-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Movements Thru Time'
1992-CHASTAIN HARRIS 'Live! Wild and Truly Diminished!!'
1991-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Elegant Seduction'
1990-CJSS 'Retrospect' (Europe)
1990-CHASTAIN 'For Those Who Dare'
1989-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Within The Heat'
1989-VARIOUS ARTISTS 'Heavy Hammer Hits' Roadrunner Records (1 Track) (Europe)
1988-CHASTAIN 'Voice of the Cult'
1987-DAVID T. CHASTAIN 'Instrumental Variations'
1987-CHASTAIN 'The 7th of Never' (Re released on Massacre Records in 1995)
1986-CJSS 'Praise The Loud'
1986-CHASTAIN 'Ruler of the Wasteland'
1986-CJSS 'World Gone Mad'
1985-CHASTAIN 'Mystery of Illusion'
1983-SPIKE 'The Price of Pleasure'
As far as which do I enjoy the most it is a hard question but right now I enjoy the music of SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN just because it is simple and fun to play. It is not like a math test to play the song as some of the more complicated material I play in the other groups. However I enjoy listening to the instrumental stuff at most anytime. None of the Cds am I ashamed of but I would say CJSS would be the least likely to put on my Cd player.
IS CORRECT TO SAY THAT YOU ARE MORE SPONTANEOUS WHEN YOU PLAY UNDER THE NAME "DAVID T. CHASTAIN" -- BECAUSE IT IS WHEN YOU REALLY CAN SHOW ALL OF YOUR INFLUENCES?
David T. Chastain: In the case of "Rock Solid Guitar" that would be the case but not on some of the older instrumental Cds such as "Instrumental Variations" and "Elegant Seduction." Those were pretty well structured to say the least. Actually my most improvisational playing is in my side group "The Cincinnati Improvisational Group." That stuff gets way out there and is not for just anyone to listen. You have to be pretty open and attentive to follow what is going on with the music. SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN is also pretty free during the solo sections but the songs on the whole are pretty structured.
IN YOUR WEB SITE YOU MENTION YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS. AMONG THEM YOU PUT BRAZILIAN BAND ANGRA. WHICH ARE THE MAIN QUALITIES OF THE BAND, IN YOUR POINT OF VIEW? AND WHICH ARE THE OTHER BRAZILIAN BANDS THAT YOU LIKE?
David T. Chastain: I always thought that Angra was a classy metal band with great vocals and music. I am really only familiar with Sepultura and Soulfly as other big name bands from Brazil. Both of those bands are quite good at what they do but their vocals have no melody as far as I can tell and that makes them difficult for me to listen. I am not a fan of the very heavy vocal style that seems to be prevalent in many of the heavier bands.
YOU ARE ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF VIRTUOUS GUITAR PARTS ORIENTED TO RAW ROCK'N'ROLL. AFTER YOU A LOT OF ANOTHER VERY GOOD ROCK GUITAR PLAYERS CAME UP. WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST?
David T. Chastain: I can not say that anyone is the absolute best. However Joe Stump is probably the most technically amazing guitarist out there. Of course there are many others such as Corbin King (Vainglory), Gus G (Firewind), Vai, Satch, Yngwie who all play some cool stuff for sure. I receive demos from new players all the time that are brilliant. Unfortunately they don't know how to write songs and that makes them hard to comprehend. So a player needs to be able to play and write great songs as well as just being a guitar monster.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT PEOPLE THAT SAY THAT VIRTUOSO GUITARISTS MAKE MUSIC JUST FOR THEIR OWN EGOS?
David T. Chastain: Some of the players probably do. For some guys it has to be a challenge or the music is no fun. I have always tried to be a songwriter first and a guitarist second. As time goes on I am less interested in super speed playing and more interested in the whole picture when I listen to other guys. Lets face it there are many great players in the world. Unfortunately many of them will never find success.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHO ARE THE BEST GUITARIST IN THE HISTORY OF ROCK?
David T. Chastain: That is a tough one. Of course Rhoads comes to mind with his 2 great Cds with Ozzy. Iommi is the king of the riffs. Van Halen was exciting for a few years. Yngwie brought neoclassical guitar to success. Hendrix is probably considered the king although he was not the greatest technically he was a true original. However I can't say who the greatest in history is but I think the general consensus would be Hendrix as the most dominant throughout time.
Amazingly he sells more albums now than he did when he was alive 30 years ago.
IS LEVIATHAN RECORDS RELEASING ONLY YOUR OWN RECORDS? IF NOT, WHO ARE THE OTHER ARTISTS THAT HAD SIGNED TO YOU?
David T. Chastain: Leviathan Records is not just for me. Other bands on Leviathan Records include Vainglory, Kenziner, Firewind, Michael Harris and Joe Stump released in the last few years. However my stuff is about 50% of the entire Leviathan Records catalog in one way or another. I enjoy helping other artists get their music out into the world. I am never going to get rich at it but "More music has always been more important to me than more money!"