Due for release in August is a re-recorded version of the excellent Chastain album We Bleed Metal which I originally reviewed for Decibel Geek in November 2015. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to speak to one of my guitar heroes, David T Chastain.
I began by asking David the most fundamental question, namely what had prompted this re-recording of what is a great album and whether there was something specifically that he wanted to address?
“As far as the original We Bleed Metal album, I am very pleased with it. Fans have been asking me for a live Chastain album forever, but to me, it is impossible to replicate a studio Chastain album live because on the recorded version there are always at least 4 to 6 guitar tracks. So on We Bleed Metal 17 I set out to make a “Live” sounding album with only 1 guitar track. I came up with 100% new music to go over the original drums and vocals that would be powered by only 1 guitar. THIS is the only Chastain album that could ever be replicated live and sound like the studio recording. There were also some mixing tricks I did to make the record sound a little more like a live recording. So I guess this is as close as anyone is ever going to get to an authorized live Chastain recording.”
I then asked whether David could give us any insight into the recording process – were there any interesting challenges?
“Foremost, I had to make sure that there were no parts that duplicated the original recording. As far as I know, I have accomplished that goal. Also, I had to make sure that the music locked up with the original drum tracks, especially the new bass guitar track and kick drum. Then as I mentioned before in mixing I added a lot more Room and Overhead drum tracks that opened up the sound to make it sound bigger. Usually, in mixing metal you have to make it pretty tight sounding or everything sounds like a big wall of noise with not enough clarity. Also with only one guitar track, I could space that out with some effects to make it sound wider and alive. Check out www.leviathanrecords.com/webleedmetal17.htm for additional info on the recording.”
Being that David very rarely tours, I asked him whether he had any touring plans to support the release? In addition, I was interested in whether he would tour with Leather Leone (legendary singer on the album) and her band.
“I personally have no plans to tour but I know Leather is dying to get out there and play more dates with her band which so far has been mainly playing Chastain tracks. She is working on a new solo album that hopefully will come out later in the year. She has told me she hopes to incorporate some tracks from We Bleed Metal 17 into her next live shows.”
I asked whether there were any other albums in his catalog that David would consider re-recording and why.
“There are plenty I would like to remix and remaster to bring them up to today’s audio standards. I may do to some of the old recordings to what I have just done with We Bleed Metal… I just have to find the time, energy and desire to do so. I am constantly writing new stuff so there is definitely an overabundance of music laying around and growing daily. I am pretty sure I could find things on every previous album that I believe could be better. In the early days, we had a very limited amount of studio time to complete the recordings so sometimes we just had to take the best we could do on a particular day but definitely not the best we could with more time. With that said, most everything turned out pretty damn good all things considered.”
As a prolific and talented musician, I wondered who David would love to collaborate with if he had the chance.
“I have been pretty fortunate to play with a lot of great musicians and vocalists over the years so I have never wanted for much. I would have loved to have at least written some music for Ronnie James Dio. I wrote some music for Joacim Cans of Hammerfall for his solo album and also Gus G and I have written quite a few tracks for Firewind and that was fun. The bottom line is there are so many talented musicians and vocalists out there I could make a list of a 100 people that it would be cool just to write a song or two. However, I have no desire to join another band… I have to be the Captain of my own ship whether it sinks or not. I am not a fan of playing other people’s music… never have been since the first time I picked up a guitar. I always wanted to play my own music and it was pretty bad at first. On my first live show I ever played after only a few weeks/months of playing guitar, the promoter of the show offered to pay us if we would just quit after only a few songs! HA! Glad that was before cell phone cameras!”
As a fan, I asked whether David had any interesting stories about the world of rock that he could share with readers.
“Hmmm… I remember once we opened for KISS in a big arena and generally they were pretty cool with us. However, one thing they stressed is that we were not to use their ramps that they had on stage to run around on. After a few songs, Leather decided to put them to good use and KISS got pretty pissed. Needless to say, we never played with KISS again!”
I wrapped up by asking David what was next for Chastain.
“Time will tell. Currently, our drummer Stian Kristoffersen and I are working on some new material that may or may not be the next Chastain album. I don’t plan too far ahead. I may wake up tomorrow and decide to record a new CD with one of my other recording projects. Fortunately, since I own my own record company Leviathan Records (www.leviathanrecords.com) and recording studio, I can release what I want when I want and I don’t have any contractual obligations hanging over my head saying I have to do this or that. That is what you call having Musical Freedom!”
I thanked David for his time. He was a real professional and I hope to speak to him again soon.
We look forward to hearing the new release and wish Chastain all the best for future endeavors.