Southern Gentlemen Interview 5/22/2000

Interview by Fernando Filho from Rock Brigade Magazine (Brazil)

Fernando: 1. To start, the question that fans are asking: why did you choose this name Southern Gentlemen?

David: I was born in Atlanta but I lived for about 10 years in the northern United States. While up north everyone said I was "so polite" and I just told them it was my Southern Gentlemen upbringing. When I did this band I wanted a name that would give people a general idea of what the music sounded like. At least I didn't want them to think they were going to be hearing a typical heavy metal band. Later I found it was also the name of a big motorcycle gang so I hope they dig the CD! Generally speaking people in the southern United States are more polite in their day to day lives than northerners. Southern Hospitality is a known fact. I would like to also think of myself as a gentlemen. So it just worked out to be a good fit on numerous fronts and angles.

2. The name Southern Gentlemen also sounds like "southern rock" and we can realize some "touches" of this style here and there in this album. Does it really exist this connection?

David: As I mentioned before the SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN sound is definitely southern slanted musically. We describe the music as very heavy blues rock with a metal edge. We were trying to make it sound like heavier versions of the classic bands of the era such as Trower, Free, earlier ZZ Top and stuff like that. This is not a blues Cd in the vein of BB King. It is a heavy rock Cd with blues influences from time to time. When I first started playing guitar this type of music was a big influence personally. Especially the Allman Brothers and their extended jams on the Cd 'Live at the Fillmore.' I love freeform jamming styles of music. That is where I play my best lead guitar. I have been recording this type of stuff on the side since my first Chastain Cd. It is just I never had the time to really produce the Cd. I literally have 100s of songs recorded as demos of this type of music. Plus in the last year I have written another 100 songs to choose from for the next SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN Cd.

3. You have played from hard rock to heavy metal with no problems --- we know your versatility since ages. Why did you decide to invest in a blues/rhythm'n'blues project?

David: As I mentioned earlier it is something that has always been in my blood and I had been recording it on the side for years. Since Kate was out of commission with the new baby the other guys in the band wanted to record something new so I felt this was the perfect time to bring the SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN music out. Dennis actually plays drums in a blues band from time to time during the Chastain downtime so he was ready to do the Cd. Kevin Kekes is always open to new types of music. It was a big change of pace for all of us. It was more of a fun Cd to record as opposed to another big serious metal Cd where we talk about world hunger or the end of mankind. This Cd we mainly talk about women! Also since the music is simpler it wasn't like taking a big test every time the record light was on. It was just go for it and have some fun. A little more laid back atmosphere. The response worldwide has made this the most critically acclaimed Cd of my career. The reviews have been overwhelming so far!!!!!

4. "Give Me Your Lust" is an extremely sexy song with some AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" similarities. Coincidence or influence?

David: Originally I thought the song was too commercial to put on the Cd. However Dennis, the drummer, and some of the record labels wanted it on the Cd so I finally said OK! Whole Lotta Rosie is one of the classic hard rock/metal songs of all time and a personal favorite so I would say there has to be some influence. Just a fun song about when I was 29 and there was this very sexy 17 year old young lady who insisted she was very willing and able to "Do anything a 25 year old woman could do." She use to show up at more door at all hours of the day and night basically begging to have sex. I resisted for awhile but then I gave in to her offer! She was right. She could do and did anything a 25 year old woman could do...and more!

5. As far as I know you have never sang in any of your previous work (please correct me if I'm wrong). Were you waiting for a bluesy project once our voice is extremey bluesy?

David: I use to sing a couple of songs live in CJSS but never on Cd. Me and a couple of guys did a tour of Mexico where I did all the vocals in 94 and that went over pretty well. I was always a little shy with my voice but I think it fits perfectly for this band. Originally I wasn't planning on being the singer. We had quite a few "name" singers demo the material but for some reason my voice just sounded the "most real" for the material. I am happy with the vocals on the Cd and have been very surprised with the incredible positive reviews from the critics and the comparison to some of the my vocal idols of this style such as James Dewar (Trower), Hagar(Montrose), Paul Rodgers, Hendrix and the like. A big confidence boost.

6. A power trio it's not an usual line-up for rock'n'roll bands nowadays. Do you feel more confortable working with a power trio for a blues project or there's nothing to do with the music style --- it just hapenned to be a trio?

David: As I said previously we had intended to have 4 people but it just evolved into a 3 piece. I had always envisioned playing in a trio but I thought that it would probably have been the bass player singing. The less people in a band the less you have to deal with personalities. I have always loved playing with just a bass player and a drummer. It opens up a lot of doors for the guitar player to try different things without clashing with the sound of the other guitar. Some of the greatest bands of all time where just 3 guys. The amount of people in the band really has no bearing on the final result of the music. Either it works or it doesn't. I believe SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN definitely works.

7. The lyrics in this album are more into love/sex/sadness style. Is this because of the bluesy vibe in the album?

David: I wanted to write about stuff that was easy to relate to. Women/sex being the center of most men's lives is easy for most to relate. Also we wanted to have fun and talk about Hot women instead of World War 3 or some similar situation. I do that with my metal bands. Also we wanted the music to sound like it would on a Saturday night in a club somewhere. A smaller smoke filled room with numerous women strutting their stuff. The guys in the band deciding which one to take home. No big worries, just jamming and having a good time. I miss that type of vibe. In my metal bands it was just concert after concert. A very serious attitude. That is cool to, but it is more stringent and less likely to be a "fun" situation.

8. The beauty on cover is HER, we know... Why did you choose her to be on cover?

David: Well let's face it Kate French is hot. She sent me that photo awhile back and I always loved it. When it came time for the cover art I knew that picture was available. I had a few a little more revealing pictures but we couldn't put those on the cover. Kate can take a hell of a picture. Obviously the title Exotic Dancer Blues lended itself to a naked looking woman. So Leviathan Records bought the rights to the picture from her and we have received 95% positive response. A few people said "we were out of step with the times" for having that cover. That was exactly what were trying to do, "Be out of step with the times."

9. Is there any chance to have HER working with you again in the future? (she's a mother now, right?)

David: I hope so but at this moment it doesn't look good. I have sent Kate about 3 Cds worth of material over the last few years and she never has the time to do anything with it. For the first year she was pregnant and then the next year she was taking care of the baby. I wish she would get in gear because she is a great singer and songwriter. However motherhood is her most important priority which I understand. No big rush as I have 3 other bands putting out new Cds; SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN, CJSS and ZANISTER.

10. In the booklet, you've asked to exotic dancers from all over the world to send you pics. Is this a sort of joke or you really plan to use this in the upcoming works?

David: Absolutely. We hope to have scantily clad women on all future SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN Cds. So any sexy women out there who would like to be considered for the next Cd cover send your photos by mail to:
Southern Gentlemen Cover
c/o Leviathan Records
P.O. Box 745
Tyrone, GA. 30290
or send your computer pictures/files to
They don't have to be nude photos but you have to show enough to let us know you got what it takes when it comes time. Not a lot of money involved but your face and body will be seen worldwide. Also when we tour we hope to take 3 hot women on the road to be part of the show. Strutting around in sexy attire and bringing us guitars and drinks and similar stuff on stage. Dance a little. But mostly just look damn fine! If we help bring back sex into the music scene then our job will be accomplished. The 90s was the decade of ugly and bad hair days for women. I am sorry but I would much rather wake up in the morning with Pamela Anderson lookalikes than Alanis lookalikes.

11. What are your plans for your other projects such as CJSS, Chastain and Zanister?

David: CJSS has a new Cd coming out on Pavement Music in June or July called KINGS OF THE WORLD. It is the original members (Chastain, Jinkens, Skimmerhorn and Sharp). It is definitely a continuation of the old sounding material. We tried to replicate the old sound by using the same amps, guitars, drums that we used on the old Cds. When I released Sick Society as the new Chastain Cd after a long layoff we got a lot of complaints that we changed the sound too much so on this one we went the opposite direction and tried for the identical sound. We will see how it works. Zanister is currently recording a new Cd with the same band members. Everything is written and we just need to record the drums and vocals and we will be ready for a late 2000 release. Same general style as Symphonica Millennia but I will be producing this Cd so I guarantee the sound quality will be an upgrade. Symphonica Millennia got some great reviews. One even calling it "the best heavy metal album ever released." I wouldn't go that far but I think it served its' purpose. Chastain is in limbo at this time until Kate can find time to get back into music.

12. Internet became an atractive media for independent labels and bands. Are you "exploring" these new media possibilities with your label and with your projects?

David: We have had an online site since 95 or so and are probably one of the most exposed metal labels on the net in regards to music downloads at all of the sites that sells downloads. I think the internet has great potential but at this point in time it is not a great generator of income. But it is a great publicity outlet. We try to keep the fans updated and we have monthly specials at our site. Plus some never before seen photos and the like. We also have tons of interviews from around the world with our artists. Guitar set ups and tablature of some of our guitarists. It would take you all day to go through everything at our site

13. Do you sell merchandise thru the Web? If so, please let us know the URLs (label, bands etc.) and we'll put in the story.

David: We sell Cds, Cassettes, Lps and videos at this time. We use to sell T shirts but currently those are all sold out. Plus at the Southern Gentlemen site we have a store called the The Gentlemen's Shop that sells "Hot music and naughty videos!" There are numerous sites to check out for my music and related artists:


Southern Gentlemen photo

Mp3 Sound Sample

On-line Review 2/16/2000