This week we interview an AOR legend, none other than Mr. Kevin Chalfant.
Kevin can you tell us what you've been up to?
I continue to write/record/perform and all wile juggling a marriage, children and a personal life. My website currently is CliqueRecords.com.
I do not know if you know this, but I am a huge fan of The Storm. Are we ever gonna see a new album and will Josh Ramos and Gregg Rolie participate?
Well I have recorded with Josh on several other projects other than the Storm. I have made an attempt to record with Gregg Rolie, but his priority is Latin music.
You have written a few songs with Jim Peterik (Survivor). What is it like working with him? Can you walk us along the song writing process?
Jim is a soulmate. We bound like life long friends, because we are. Usually he will have an idea or I will have an idea and we just beat it around a bit. Most of the time I have a chorus or he has a riff.
Rumor has it that when Steve Perry left Journey you were close to getting the gig. What happened? Did you want to be the lead singer of Journey?
I did a live performance with Journey in 1994 in San Francisco. I was asked to join the band. I began writing with Gregg, Neal and Jonathan. Then out of a nearby phone booth, Steve Perry reappears with a new fire burning. It burned long enough to record a new CD — and then back to permanent vacation again. God has something much bigger in store for me. It is a life's goal and a destination that only He can finish in me.
You recently released your first full-length Christian album, "Back To Square One." It wasn't a rock album, but a hymn project. Is this CD still available? Why do a hymn album?
"Back To Square One" is a rebirth for me. I made this album as a way of helping a friend in need. I learned from an old friend in California that making a Christian album is difficult. It can be pretentious and soulless if not done in the right spirit. He said, "Kevin, if you plan to make a Christian album, make sure that it fills a need. " He said that if it fills a need for one, then it will fill the needs of many. It is very true and I live by that now. I plan to do a lot of things, but God makes my real plans. When I try to do what I think is right, He then gets my attention and redirects me back to where I need to be.
Back in 2003 you toured as the lead singer in The Alan Parsons Project. How was Alan to work with and do you have any road stories for us?
Alan Parsons is a legend. He is also a very gentle caring man. He treated me with much respect and courtesy was extended to my entire family. I wasn't a shoe-in for his band. I knew that and he knew that. I entered into the project with an open mind and a lot of respect for Alan's career and past work. We had a great time and lifelong friendships were cast.
Back in the day, a young Justin Murr came to your home and you took a couple of his lyrics and made some songs with him. Fast forward to the present — he has repeatedly bugged you to sing on a Liberty n' Justice album. In the past, you very graciously said you did not have the time, which we understand. Will we ever see you on a LNJ album or this just a unfillable dream of ours?
Justin, I love how you ask sideways questions like this. I did give you a simple explanation for my decision back then. I own all of my master recordings. I can't really find any reason to change that and give anyone the rights to a recording that causes me to lose control of that recording. When Interscope Records turned music on it's ear in the 1990s, I decided then that I would own my recordings. In the end, this is all we have as artists. I appreciate your energy and desire to make great recordings, but I disagree with allowing others have the rights to the recordings. You have been successful at getting some very brilliant artists to sign on with you and I commend you for that. Maybe you just offered them a lot more than you offered me … I don't know.
We recently visited your web site and browsed your guestbook. There is request after request for a song called "No Retreat/No Surrender." I have never heard of this song. When was this song released and will you ever re-record it?
In my early years, I signed off on recordings and I lost control of those recordings. That is the exact reason why I do not offer my services to everyone on earth. Once you sign something away, it is gone forever. I have regrets about that now. Fans keep asking me for something that I can't deliver to them. So, to avoid that in the future, I do not do those kinds of arrangements with my instrument.
Name the 3 highest points and the 3 lowest points of your musical career to date?
Three high points:
- Singing at the LA Forum at the end of the 1992 Tour with Bryan Adams. The Storm was awesome, nearly bulletproof!
- Singing the national anthem with The Ides of March at a Chicago Bulls game.
- Performing on stage with all of the past Journey members playing all together at one time behind me singing "Separate Ways." Very cool moments in history.
Three low points:
- Playing in a club in Downers Grove in the 1970s with only one person in the place. Between songs he would pick his head up from the table and yell "Kansas" or "Boston" or whatever and the sun was coming up outside of the big picture window next to the stage. That was miserable.
- Touring with 707, the monitors were turned off by the headliner and I was expected to sing without monitors in front of 55,000 people. Tough stuff.
- When I was in my early 20s, I used to drink liquor while singing and I got a node on my vocal cords. I had to quit singing for an entire year or get surgery. I quit singing for a year. That was rough.
Recently MTM rereleased 707's "Megaforce." How do you feel about this album seeing the light of day again?
I have mixed emotions about this CD coming out. I was kept out of the negotiations. I was misrepresented as a hired singer (when I wasn't) and that hurts. I am happy to see the sun shining on the project again, though.
What do you believe spiritually?
As a Christian, I am constantly challenged to make the right decisions. When you give someone freedom with your talent, 9 out 10 times, they will exploit your talent for their gain. I am a family man and my family is first, behind my God. I have made a career out of this thinking. I do not plan to change. I pray that Jesus will petition the Father on my behalf and when the Father's will is given, the Holy Spirit brings me what I need.
What is the chances of seeing a full-out, AOR rocking Christian CD from you?
If the sequence that I just stated is fullfilled, then and only then will that happen. I have enjoyed keeping my life simple and peaceful.
If you could form your own all-star band, who would be in it? Who would be playing what?
Dream band huh? Paul McCartney on bass; Elton John on piano; Gregg Rolie on B3; Neal Schon and Anthony Gomes on guitar, next to Robert Randolph on steel guitar; on drums, Steve Smith (who else?); Joe Spivey on fiddle; and Rachael Barton on violin.
We recently interviewed songwriter/ guitarist Lance Gehl. We asked him if he had any stories about you. Lance said: "I've known Kevin for years. He's a great talent. He called me for guitar lessons and I gave him one lesson and he never called back. It's got to be one of two things: either I'm a terrible teacher or he's a very fast learner. The things that make you go hmmmmm..." What do you say about that?
Lance is a great guy and a darn good player. When Lance came to my studio, we had some good times together. He is a good teacher. My priorities changed, that's all. My guitar playing isn't as important to me as my engineering and producing chops. That became my focus back then.
What does the future hold for Kevin Chalfant?
I plan to tour behind my gospel CD to some different types of venues. Large churches and parish halls. Also, I will be doing dates with my reincarnation of The Storm. Recording, recording and more recording.
And finally, a Liberty n' Justice 4-ALL word association. We will mention a name or thing, and you give us your thoughts:
Neil Schon (Journey/Soul Sircus)
Soulful and great!
Charlie Peacock (singer/producer)
Great singer but the Hardest working producer alive
Lou Gramm (Foreigner)
A strong-willed and talented individual
Herbie Herbert (former manager)
Just the best. I spoke to him today by phone.
Ross Valory (Journey/The Storm)
Kelly Keaggy (Night Ranger)
A huge talent
Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)
A gracious man
Steve Perry (Journey)
A dynamic talent
Eddie Money (Singer)
A very smart entertainer
Chuck Giacinto (Final Quest)
My younger brother
Jesus Christ (God's only begotten Son)
My Lord and Savior