DAVID T. CHASTAIN
Interviewed by JP
David T. Chastain is one of the longest standing, most respected and
most prolific guitarists on the rock and metal scene today. From his
early pioneering work with SPIKE to his recent ventures into the realm
of internet music with Diginet Music, Mr. Chastain has always been on
the cutting edge of the world of guitar. We are very pleased to have a
moment from his busy schedule.
believe this is your first interview with Metal-Rules.com (ed. note:
it's actually his second interview for us. You can read that interview HERE.)
so let's go
way back into the past. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your
initial interest in music and how you got started in the business?
I was always attracted to the sound of lead guitars when I was young
and I decided I had to learn how to do that. Once I started I became a
fanatic about it. I played in numerous bands. The first band to make any
real noise was SPIKE. That band dissolved into CJSS. When sending out
tapes of CJSS, Shrapnel Records offered me a solo deal and that was how
CHASTAIN was born. I also began putting out instrumental Cds in the
later 80s. I had the three projects going for awhile. In the early 90s I
concentrated on the instrumental stuff. In the mid 90s I reformed
Chastain with new vocalist Kate French. We put out a couple of Cds in
the later 90s. I also started 2 new bands in the late 90s ZANISTER and
SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN. Currently I am working on new Chastain and Southern
Tell us about Leviathan Records and how you came to found what is
now one of the most successful niche labels ever? What is your capacity
at the label (besides owner and founder),? What is a day in the life of
Mr. Chastain like?
Leviathan Records was basically started by myself and a friend, Steve
McClure, to release the early CJSS stuff but it has mushroomed into
quite a little business for nearly 17 years. Some years are better than
others. 2001 wasn't very good but 2002 has been great. I pretty much do
everything at the label at some point or another. My days are usually
spent in the office. Late nights usually go towards the studio. Not much
time for anything else but that is OK.
are some of the hot new artists on Leviathan? What can the fans expect
in the next year or two from the label?
We are very excited about the new FIREWIND Cd "Between Heaven
and Hell" that has just been released. The guitarist Gus G and
vocalist Stephen Fredrick are really 2 of the best in the world. Also
last year we released a new band called VAINGLORY that was very heavy
and cool. The guitarist Corbin King is also a monster player and writer.
Currently CHASTAIN, VAINGLORY and SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN are working on new
Cds. Also Joe Stump's Reign of Terror have just finished their new Cd.
Your musical career has been incredibly prolific. By my count you
have appeared in some major capacity on at LEAST 30 CD's. How do you
find the time and how do you manage all your various projects? The
scheduling must be a nightmare!
Check out www.leviathanrecords.com/chasdisc.htm
it may be up to 50 by now. Even I have lost count. However to me it is
not that much. If I did not have to worry about anything but writing and
recording music I could record a Cd a week for eternity. I probably have
100 hours of music laying around that will never see the light of day. I
have a creative river that never stops. Of course my music is not for
everyone nor do I try to make it so. I record what I enjoy and that is
the only criteria I have to go by.
How did the reformation of CJSS come about?
CJSS never broke up. We would do a show every year or two. In 99
Leviathan Records re-released the first 2 CJSS Cds on one Cd (2-4-1) and
I put out word that the band would do another Cd if there was interest.
We had 3 or 4 labels that wanted the band and we ended up signing with
PAVEMENT MUSIC. That was a huge mistake as they screwed us out of a
bunch of money. We later found out they have done that to a lot of
bands. (Any bands out there avoid that company like the plague!!)
If you don't mind sharing, what is your most successful project to
date, in terms of sales and/or critical acclaim?
first instrumental Cd "Instrumental Variations" is still
probably my biggest selling Cd. The SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Exotic
Dancer Blues" was my most critically acclaimed Cd.
Do you enjoy touring? Many of your more specialized projects seem
to be studio works and touring can be expensive and
I really have not done any extensive touring in about 10 years. I
will do a show every so often but it has never been my favorite thing to
do. Don't get me wrong, the hour on stage is great. It is just the other
23 hours that suck. We use to tour across the US on a pretty regular
basis. Now days I have too much to do at the office to leave for any
amount of time. I may run to Mexico or Japan if given the chance. Those
are always fun.
You have an incredibly diverse back catalogue, rock, blues,
acoustic, jazzy-fusion stuff...what are some of your influences and have
any new young artists or bands (that are not on your label) that have
caught your ear these days?
Musically I have a very diverse group of influences. Plus if you ask
me tomorrow I will probably tell you different people. I guess the music
of Sabbath/Maiden, the vocals of Dio, the guitar playing of Rhoads/Roth
would be it for metal. In my instrumental/fusion stuff it would be
Holdsworth, Dimeola and the like. Blues rock would be Allmans, old ZZ
Top, Trower, Stevie Ray and the like. As far as today's bands, there are
tons of great power metal bands coming out of Europe that I enjoy
listening to when I get the chance.
Tell us about Diginet Music!
In 2001 I also started Diginet Music (Digital Internet Music) which
is a company specializing normally in rare and unreleased music www.diginetmusic.com
It has done very well! We also have created some brand new acts such as
the Georgia Blues Dawgs, Ruud Cooty and the very successful Diginet
Guitar Masters series. It was started in theory for the music to be
strictly distributed over the internet but as time has gone on we do
have a few titles that we licensed overseas that we actually have Cds.
you have any last comments or statements? This is your chance to shine!
It is time we support real metal and not all of this stuff that is
being crammed down everyone's throats in the disguise of metal.
Thanks again for your time.
My pleasure to help support any and all true metal sites!!
To order any number of Leviathan artists visit www.leviathanrecords.com
and Diginet Music at www.diginetmusic.com