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David T Chastain came to light in the 80's with his guitar playing in the band of the same name. Since then he has released numerous albums, both solo and as a band, plusn he runs his own record label Leviathan Records.
1. What are you currently up to?

I have a new SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Double Your Pleasure" release in April. I am about to mix the new CHASTAIN CD "New Beginnings" and also have at least one instrumental CD finished. I am also working on a couple of other things that are best left unsaid until they are completed.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoints(s) of your career to date?

I can't really think of any low points of any magnitude. Tons of minuscule stuff that happens to all bands such as rip off labels, promoters, distributors and the like. High points are too numerous to mention but some that come to mind are Arena concerts with Sabbath during the Dio days, Video on MTV, tons of great press in nearly every magazine imaginable for nearly 20 years, being able to make a living in the music business my whole adult life, meeting people across the world and other similar adventures.

However the happiest moment in my musical life is the competition of writing a song and hearing it for the first time in demo form. By the time the song comes out on a CD I have heard it 100s of times and it just doesn't have that initial excitement.

3. How did you start off and what was the first record you played on? What made you want to play guitar?

My first so called international release was the Chastain CD "Mystery of Illusion" in 1985. What drew me to music was the lead guitar solos on my sister's old records. Something about that just grabbed me and made me want to do that no matter what it took.

4. You've done production work. Who have you worked with so far and who would you like to produce you in the future?

The most notable would be Cds with Firewind, Vainglory, Kenziner, Ruud Cooty, and Leather. Of course also nearly every Cd I have been on. As far as who I would like to work with, the list is endless. Any band that has songs, chops and great vocals.

5. Chastain - looking back which album(s) give you the most satisfaction and why? What would you still like to achieve, either solo and/or in a band?

Probably In Dementia and Ruler of the Wasteland as far as Chastain CDs go. Instrumental Variations and Next Planet Please on my instrumental stuff.

Zanister's "Fear No Man." Both of the SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN CDs were really fun to do. I just hope to continue making music that I enjoy. If someone else likes it that will just be icing on the cake.

6. What are your views on the current rock scene? Is it in better shape than say ten years ago? Any bands you would recommend as ones to look out for?

Bands I think people should check out are Firewind and Vainglory. Both are excellent new bands. I don't think the rock scene in the US is nearly as happening as 10 years ago. The so called Metal bands of today that are popular are really terrible musicians. While there are many great underground metal bands out there, the popular US bands are really very limited in songs, chops and vocals.

7. Has your playing changed/evolved over the years at all?

Yes. Now days I try to say more with less notes. That was brought about by 2 things; too busy to practice as much as I used to and the lack of desire to play a million notes a night.

8. You set-up Leviathan records. How has the label evolved and what are the label's plans for 2003? What sort of bands/artists are you on the lookout for?

Originally we set up Leviathan Records mainly to release my stuff but over the years we have expanded our roster. In the old days, (late 80s) it was a much easier place to sell records. It is much more costly to sell the same amount of units. For the last 10 years we have mainly concentrated on the Japanese and European markets for our profit. The US is just a dead end for music such as ours in most cases. A small dedicated audience still buys everything good but not like the good old days! Leviathan Records looks for bands with songs, chops and vocals.

9. Who have been your main influences on your career?

Musically it is a very diverse hodgepodge of things. Everyone from Hendrix, Zep, Sabbath, to Dimeola, Holdsworth, to AC/DC, Allman Brothers, Trower to Mozart and Bach. I guess I tried to have a heavy musical background but a more progressive solo theory. Of course in SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN it is just heavy blues rock.

10. Message for your fans...

Check out the discography (see website link below) to find out the latest recordings. There is well over 50. Even I am not sure of the count. I don't expect anyone to own them all, even me. But there are some gems in the list. Thanks for the support throughout time and lets hope it continues for awhile longer!!


Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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