By Carl Begai

Although Southern Gentlemen was never geared towards the metal crowd, it was the steel-chewing rivet-heads that bought into it. One of the reasons for a slightly heavier touch this time?

"We got a very good response from the metal crowd, not such a good response from the blues purists," Chastain explains. "You know, the B.B. King fans out there didn't like what they heard because they hate anything with big distortion (laughs). So, I decided we'd make this one heavier. That's where I'm more comfortable anyway, but I kept the framework and ideology of the first album intact."

So, at this point in what has been a long and fruitful career, is Southern Gentlemen where Chastain's head is at in terms of his playing even though he's literally surrounded by full-on metal, including his own?

"Well, it's more enjoyable for me right now," Chastain admits. "I do have a new Chastain album recorded - it'll be out by the end of the year at the earliest - but when I sit down to write music doing the Southern Gentlemen is a much easier operation. There are fewer people to deal with; everybody lives close by so it gets done with a minimum amount of trouble, and everyone is thrilled to do it. That makes things so much more enjoyable."

"The thing is, I can change gears any time I want; it's always been that way and I'm very lucky in that," Chastain adds. "Twenty years ago, when I was doing stuff like For Those Who Dare and 7th Of Never, I was demoing stuff that was very Southern Gentlemen-y. Chastain and CJSS were quite popular at the time so I continued down that path. I've always loved and recorded th0is type of music on the side, only no one knew about it."