David T. Chastain interview

by Dark Angel Records 4/16/01

1. Please tell something about the profile of Zanister. How did Michael Harris join this project and tell something about your friendship with Michael. How did this project was born?

Michael Harris and I go back a long time. We did a Cd together back in the earlier 90s called Live! Wild and Truly Diminished! When I decided I wanted another guitarist in Zanister Michael was my first choice. I wanted to create a more traditional sounding metal band in the vein of older Maiden, Priest, etc

2. How did you get an idea of the name "Zanister" What is the real meaning and concept in your mind?

It is just a word a made up a few years ago and I always thought it had a cool sound to it. I define the word as Sophisticated Intensity.

3. Who are paint the cover (Symphonica Millennia) and create an idea?

I gave the artist Rainer Kalwitz an idea I was thinking of and he can or ran with it and created his interpretation of the "Symphony for the new Millennium."

4. Please let me know the feedback of Zanister project. What about in U.S.A. and Europe? Do you satisfy?

The response has been very positive to the release as well as the brand new Zanister "Fear No Man." The US is not overly metal at this time but we get reviewed in most of the real magazines in the states that cover this type of music.

5. Please tell something about the other bands that you play with such as Chastain, CJSS, Southern Gentlemen. What about all these bands now?

Chastain is currently working on a new Cd as we speak with Kate French once again on vocals. CJSS had a new Cd out last year called Kings of the World. SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN will record a new Cd sometime this year but it probably won't come out until 2002. I have started a new company and please find below the press release on it:

David T. Chastain, long time general manager of Leviathan Records, has started a new on line music company called Diginet Music and the site is located at http://www.diginetmusic.com and http://www.raretracks.net Diginet Music prides itself on being the home of the best in rare and/or never before released music. When music lovers come to Diginet Music we want them to know that the music will always be top notch. Diginet Music will be looking for the best music in numerous formats; Metal, Fusion, Blues, Rock, Improvisational Music, Guitar Hero stuff and anything else that is quality and strikes our fancy. We will also feature some acts' "Out of Print" Cds. That is music no longer available through normal commercial outlets. Plus we will also feature music that was not released in the United States but only in countries such as Japan and/or Europe. We plan to showcase established artists who would like to get out their own rare music for their fans to hear. Music such as high quality demos, live recordings, jams and other special projects. The music will be available through streaming audio, direct downloads or through custom Cds. Diginet Music is the creation of David T. Chastain who wanted a place to get all of his music out that he had accumulated through time. Music that for one reason or another never made it to commercial release. David states, "For many years I was demo recording up one CD's worth of material per month. Obviously I could not release a Cd a month so a lot of very good material got left behind. Some of my favorite music is on demos and jam sessions. That is when the music is fresh and alive. With Diginet Music I plan on releasing quite a few demos, jam sessions and studio out takes to give the fans a chance to checkout and enjoy this rare and sometimes raw but nevertheless excellent music. I have already released tons of stuff on Diginet so far in 2001!" Occasionally Diginet Music will sign artists to new recordings contracts. Our first direct signing is the Georgia Blues Dawgs http://www.diginetmusic.com/gabluesdawgs.htm . This band is even more blues oriented than SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN and showcases David's fine playing. Joining David in the band is Mike Haid on drums and Steven Taylor on bass. Look for more direct signings to Diginet Music in 2001. Musicians already on board Diginet Music include Joe Stump, David T. Chastain, John Hahn's Thick As Thieves, The Cincinnati Improvisational Group, Mike Haid, Mike Skimmerhorn, Joe Stump's Reign of Terror, CJSS, Spike!, Firewind featuring Gus G and Shooting Hemlock. Look for more announcements to come in the very near future. "I do not plan to leave or shut down Leviathan Records." David states "Leviathan Records will continue to release new product into the retail marketplace. We currently have just began working the new ZANISTER title "Fear No Man." There are other releases planned in the not too distant future through Leviathan Records. Each company should compliment each other's purpose and goals."

6. Tell something about your profile such as how old when you play the guitar, influence, cover song when you was young, training (how many hours in each day for training), education, etc., (this question please tell as much as you can, this kind of questions very important for young guitarist in Thailand because there are some few guitarists who play Metal music in my country).

I consider that I officially started playing in high school. Even though there was a guitar around the house previously I didn't really start practicing until high school. I played bass for awhile then went back to guitar full time. Once I started I became very serious. I went nearly 20 years without missing a single day where I did not play guitar for at least one hour. The streak was broken due to bad weather and my flight being diverted to another airport where I had to spend the night in the airport without a guitar.

7. Who are the guitarist that you get influence from? Let me know 10 guitarist albums in your mind all time and say something about them. And which bands or guitarist albums that you are always listen?

That is a very hard question to answer. I have been influenced by so many different people in different styles of music but no single individual or band has been extensively emulated. I will list some here but there are many more; Allan Holdsworth, Allman Brothers, Black Sabbath, Tommy Bolin, Kansas, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Van Halen, Uli Roth, early ZZ Top, Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Yngwie, Dio, Di Meola, Hendrix, Cream, early Zeppelin, AC/DC. With that said I don't think my music really sounds like any of them.

8. What do you think about US Power Metal scene in nowadays? I notice there are many Rap Metal and Hardcore band in U.S.A. It's a fashion or Power Metal not popular anymore in U.S.A.

Unfortunately the US is dominated by Rap Metal but it seems that Power metal is getting bigger year by year. Europe is the power metal capital of the world.

9. Please tell something about your project "Southern Gentlemen". I'm very surprise that you play Blues, your image with Metal music as a long time. How did this project was born? What about the feedback of this project?

SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Exotic Dancer Blues" was the best reviewed Cd of my career. It is a very heavy blues rock band that is just out to have some fun playing good time music with no pretensions. I really love this type of material.

10. Let me know Blues guitarists and Blues albums that in your mind. What do you think about Blues Rock scene in nowadays?

Stevie Ray was cool. Kenny Wayne is fair. Gary Moore is usually very good. Blues and blues rock is a type of music that never goes away. It is like metal in that regards. It never gets massively popular but it has hardcore fans.

11. In my opinion when I listen the album "Southern Gentlemen" I miss and think to many guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower (Bride of Sighs album), Eric Clapton (Cream), Uli John Roth, Frank Marino. Please say something about them and what do you think?

Yes that was the point of the Cd to play music that would be compared to those guitarists music made in the early 70s era. I think all of those guitarists you mentioned played great stuff during the periods you mentioned. Clapton in Cream was great but never again did he play great guitar after Cream. All of those guys are icons and for me to be mentioned in the same sentence is a great compliment.

12. Who are create the cover of "Southern Gentlemen" album and who is the model?

The model is Chastain vocalist Kate French. We wanted a hot looking blonde and you can't get much hotter than Kate. I already have a couple of amazing models for the next SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN album cover.

13. Do you have any plan for new project such as Jazz album, instrumental that make the listener surprise like the project Southern Gentlemen?

Actually I have a couple of projects that touch on jazz. My solo instrumental Cd "Next Planet Please" is pretty much a fusion release. My band the Cincinnati Improvisational Group is a freeform improvisational group that touches on Jazz from time to time. Heavy jazz mind you nothing light and fluffy. My next Cd is an all instrumental Cd called "Rock Solid Guitar" that is not the normal shred metal Cd.

14. Please let me know more details about Leviathan Records that you running on. Why did you choose to release your album through own label instead to release or sign with some label? Or you don't want to sign with the label anymore?

Leviathan Records was started to mainly release my music but has grown to release many bands Cds over the years. It is a lot of work. My stuff has been released on numerous labels and there is advantages to both situations.

15. Please tell something about your guitar, Amp, EQ, etc. that you choose for recording and show on stage.

I use Kramer guitars exclusively. Check out my new Kramer guitar ad: http://www.diginetmusic.com/dtckramer.htm I have a couple of old Pacer's that have been with me for about 15 years that I used on most every release through the years. They have lacquered necks that have always felt really nice. In the past 6 months I have recorded Cds using the NEW Kramer guitars. I did the new Chastain with the Baretta FR404S/D with the Quadrail pickups. I truly believe that is the heaviest guitar sound I have ever laid down. That guitar is one intense guitar for Metal inspired material. I don't know where those Quadrails come from but they put out the power. I am playing guitar on a Cd for a local singer named Rude Cooty and I specifically wanted to record the Cd using the new Kramer Pacer FT211S guitar. However I can't believe those guitars are only $110! It has a pretty clean sound and it has worked very well on this blues rock inspired Cd. I recently began playing the new Baretta-II PRO Electric Guitar and it is definitely the cream of the crop. The neck plays incredible. And with a Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan pickups it is all in all one fine guitar. On my next tour I am sure that will be my number 1 guitar. I have been messing around with the new Kramer 7 String Striker FR-2027S guitar that is way beyond heavy. I have laid down a few tracks with that guitar and I hope to have some releasable stuff with it later in the year. I also have a Kramer bass that I lay down bass tracks on tons of stuff and it also sounds great. When I play live I use the Marshall Valvestate exclusively. In the effects loop there will probably be a DBX noise reduction unit, some sort of effects processor for an occasional delay. I also have an old MXR pitch transposer set to the 5th below that I might use for a synth sound depending on the band. I usually use light strings on the guitars. 008 or 009 sets with a little heavier gauge on the lower strings than common with those sets. Depending on the band the guitar could be tuned anywhere from normal to one step down. Even then the E strings might get dropped down another step after that so it is really a C. I think I have a unique style so that is what makes my stuff sound "unique."

16. Do you have any show now? (if not, do you have any plan?).

I am talking with agents about doing a US tour playing music from all of my bands stuff. Sort of a greatest hits tour.

17. Let me know which one or which album of the young guitarists nowadays that you think they are cool?

I have just produced a great new young guitarist named Corbin King and his band Vainglory. Also I am working with the European sensation Gus G. We are producing a new Cd for him now.

18. What do you think about these axemen?

- John Petrucci.
Carried the flame for technical metal guitarists in the late 90s. Great player and great band.
- Paul Gilbert.
I liked the early Racer X stuff but I don't get into his pop material. Could put out a great album in the right situation. I haven't heard the new Racer x.
- Marty Friedman.
Great guitarist who played some awesome stuff in Megadeth and Cacophony
- Kirk Hammett.
Fits well in the band. Adds just the right touches in the right places
- Zakk Wylde.
Pretty good metal guitarist. Nothing very technical.
- Michael Romeo
Not too familiar with his solo stuff. Symphony X sounds pretty good

19. Please say something to your fan in Thailand (do you know you are very famous in '80 in Thailand with your solo albums that were released by Roadrunner).

I have a dream to play in Thailand someday. Or at worst at least to come for a visit and a vacation. I appreciate the support thru the years from our fans in Thailand.

And please introduce some technic or anything to young guitarist in Thailand.

Practice and practice with either a metronome or a drum machine. Try to be original. Listen to everything but copy nothing. Even when I first started playing I always did lots of original music. When we did do cover songs I always played my own solos. I think jamming is a great way to improve your playing. Of course learn as much as you can about music theory. An instructor would be a great help if they teach things other than just playing a Pearl Jam song. As strange as it may seem I have never had a guitar lesson. I have studied theory for years but I have always wanted to be my own man. I have no desire to sound like someone else. I also strongly suggest getting the best playing guitar you can afford. That is one reason it took me so long to start was that the acoustic guitar that was around my house in the early days was unplayable. A good guitar will be easier to play and will sound better. Therefore you will feel more inspired to play and will progress at a much faster pace.

20 What's coming up?

My next release is an all instrumental Cd called "Rock Solid Guitar" which will be released under my name. That is a real inspired sounding Cd that in reality was more of a jam session that turned into a really hot piece of music. That is the type of music that I most enjoy playing. I find that I usually play more inspired leads the first time I do something than playing it over and over again. I also have started a new internet music company called Diginet Music, http://www.diginetmusic.com that will be releasing a lot of my quirky and previously unavailable stuff that has accumulated over the years. Also a new CHASTAIN band Cd is in the works. Plus I will be laying down tracks for a new SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN Cd that will probably hit the streets in early 2002. So all in all I will have tons of new stuff in 2001.