Interview with Two Fires vocalist Kevin Chalfant - May 2000.
OK Kevin....On the verge of the album's release, how do you rank this record among the others that you have participated on?
There are things that I like and dislike about everything that I have recorded. I rate this very high on the list. I am very pleased with the songs, the players, the performances, the sound. I compare it with the debut Storm CD. That is what I gauged this Two Fires with.
You and Josh have a partnership that goes back several years now. Did you
guys do anything different in the recording process this time around, or did you just pick up where you normally would?
Josh and met in 1983 on a recording that I was doing at Prairie Sun Recorders. We just fit together in music.
This album is pure AOR. It seems to me that it was recorded with the die-hard fan in mind.
Was that the aim of the record, or what was your vision going into this?
Yes, this is a fan record. If you don't have your fans, you don't sell records, you don't tour, you don't have any fun.
Our vision is simple, stick to what we know! We know AOR! And by the way, thanks for the compliment mate!
Did it turn out as planned?
Yes, I had George Tutko engineer the CD and help me mix it. I produced it, so I have no one else to blame if it bombs. My hope is that everyone digs it. So far, so good.
Two Fires is different to the Storm. I see that as a band and this as a more solo/partnership project. do you share that view?
To a certain extent that is true, but when we tour, it will definitely be a band effort. Our desire is to tour with Kenny Aronoff, Willie Weeks, Alby Odum and some other great players. (Maybe Peterik or Kelly Keagy, who knows?)
The album is certainly a softer side of AOR, pure melodic bliss!
I didn't think that it was necessary to mix a lot of razor blades and chain saws in with all those flowing AOR melodies.
The vocals on the album are very prominent in the mix. Was this a deliberate decision?
We want the whole mix to be strong, but we also wanted to make it easy to sing along with the songs. It isn't a metal album. It is a melodic album. Melodic words and guitar melodies with a powerful rhythm base.
Again, the album seems like it is ruled by the voice rather than the music being the driving force. Do you agree? I think the album works well this way because you are in such fine voice!
Man, you are just full of compliments Andrew! I'll take them...thanks :) I feel that we must use what we have to the fullest! It sound great on the radio and vocals are not buried. I want people to understand every word and sing them in their heads all day, like a Beatle album.
Of course you are also the vocalist from The Storm (also with Josh). Why wasn't a 3rd Storm record an option at this time?
I phoned Gregg Rolie before recording this CD to ask him for his participation. He declined at that time, because he has been building another solo CD, much like the original Santana. He was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and felt like he needed to return to his roots, The Santana Sound. He is still in that process now. This would have been a Storm CD, if Gregg would have joined us.
Do you think that is a possibility in the near/distant future?
When Two Fires does well, this will reinforce our relationship with Gregg and our fans. We want to do well outside of the Storm to take some of the pressure of success off of Gregg.
When the Tour starts, I will ask Gregg to join us. If the tour is huge, I believe that there is a good chance that he will come. If it isn't large, it will probably mean that he will pass for now. He is at a stage in his life and career that he can make the right choices for himself and his family. Touring is grueling. You get no sleep and take a physical beating. You must really want it when you do it or you are just causing stress on everyone that you love. The outcome must be great, in order to sacrifice everything you have and have built.
Eye Of The Storm was one of the most universally praised records last decade. How do you feel about the album looking back?
Thank you Andrew!
I will always be thankful for being placed in such a talented group of people. No one person can take the credit for that effort, though some may try. It was definitely a band of many gifted players, writers, engineers, producers and staff working together for the good of the music. I must say that without the help of Herbie Herbert, Ted Field, Jimmy Iovine, and Beau Hill and Interscope Records, these types of records would not have been possible. It was a huge financial commitment and they were brilliantly & technologically engineered, as well. Let's hope that we can do it again, soon.
Was all the publicity and the promo tours of the time great fun?
Yes, I met so many new friends and learned a lot as well. I learned that radio guys want endings on the songs, not fades! I guess that would be true if I were a radio guy, I would want endings too. Limo's, Caesar salads, expensive wines, and lotsa hoopla! When do we leave???
Favorite vocal moments of that album?
Eye of The Storm was fun to make. We had the best of everything that money could pay for. I am blessed! I enjoyed singing What Ya' Doin' Tonight. That song reminds me of my early youth. I can close my eyes and be right there and pour my heart into it, in a song.
How about the debut Storm album...were you disappointed in the lack of PR by the major label after it's release?
Not at all! Here in the states, it was promoted huge! I wasn't concerned a bit about that at all. You must take into consideration that we were the first artists that Interscope signed. They didn't even have a staff then. Now, they control over 65% of everything in the music industry. Ted and Jimmy are brilliant. I have no regrets.
What did that album cost to make?
Multiple six digits!
That was actually the last time you were on a major label...do you miss that at all, or is it good riddance?!!
Major labels are great when they are pushing you into the spotlight. When they aren't pushing you, it seems to be hard to get their attention. Majors are focused on one thing...revenue! That is a good thing in business!
I don't have a problem with that either. Sometimes talent gets pushed to the front and everyone wonders, "why is this so big"? Well, that is the most frustrating part. Some artists get it easier than others. I like having a long building career vs a short and fast career to the top and then down to the bottom again.
And before the Storm was to be, you had an alternative line up called The View. Great to see that album is finally going to be released!
Why wasn't the album released originally?
Music was different then. Many super groups were enjoying success and we were caught in between all of those guys. The playing field is leveled now.
Who was the label you recorded it for?
There wasn't a label. We did it on our own with the help of Steven Jarvis and some other quality engineers.
And you have said now that there will be a new View album. Great news...how did this come to pass and what can we expect?
What I actually said was this, quote.....If the demand is great for this bands music, we are in the music recording business, so yes we could make another album, if the people are there to support it. unquote!
Ahh, is there a possible timeframe for this possibility?
Ask God this question; he is the only one who knows this answer!
The Running With The Wind album was a cool more stripped back pop rock album.
What made you want to go in that direction?
I am from Illinois near Chicago originally. I had moved to the west coast for 13 or more years. I returned to Illinois and many of my friends here begged me to return to my R&B roots and Running With The Wind was born.
I thought you did it well, any plans for another solo album?
Yes most definitely.
Would it be in that album's vein or a different avenue next time?
Another question for God!
Haha! Are you still in contact with the guys that helped out on that album?
Do you mean the players? Yes...Willie Weeks played bass on both Running and the Two Fires. Chester Thompson and I speak by phone several times in the past year. Chaz Sandford and speak occasionally by phone.
Ok, tough question...we all know you almost had the job as vox in Journey...what really went wrong?
Man, Andrew, you like to dig don't you? I am going to buy you a tractor with a back hoe on it one of these days!
Journey...they are my musical family. I have gotten so much from being associated with their incredible legacy. First of all, I harbor no bitterness of anger for the decision they have made. Many people ask me this question and I have to say that I am just very blessed and fortunate to be able to say that they are my friends. I had been writing with Neal, Jonathan, and Gregg when the rumors were flying.
Steve Perry came back to make another record and Ross told me that they (Steve & Ross) had discussed me. He told Ross that he thought that I was a great singer, the feelings are mutual. After that record was released, the feelings about my involvement changed. I can't put my finger on any one thing. It doesn't really matter though. Steve Augeri is a great guy and a great talent. I hope that they let us open for them. It sure would make for an exciting evening for the fans, would it not?
Yes indeed it would Kevin! I have heard so many great reports about the job Augeri is doing. Does that make you feel good for the guys, or a little like wish that was me there?
Now I know you are generally not the type of guy to think like that, but I am trying to think how you might feel about the situation!
Oh, maybe a little bit. No one wants to feel left out. I can only hope that the Two Fires buzz gets back to them too! Hahaha! :)
Any chance of any live recordings with you & Journey surfacing?!!
Have you heard any? I would love to hear them!
No, not me! Anyone?
One of your first bands was 707...tell us a little about that albums?
Actually, I only recorded one with 707. Megaforce is the only record that I participated on. A company in the states has illegally added my photo to a double cd to mislead fans that I was on the disc. I am not on any current 707 CD's available...just be informed!
They are still rated as classic AOR...how does it feel for you to be involved in so many records which are classified classic!!
I feel So Classic right now! Like Elvis would say....thank you, thank you very much.
I have heard they might record a new album...does that involve you or what have you heard?
Kevin Russell and I spoke of this from time to time. I can say right now, that I will not be recording any new 707 records in the future!
Another thing I want to ask you about is working with Jim....Concert number 3 or 4 coming up isn't it?
Yes, May 13th is just days away. I am going to his home today for a rehearsal. We live about an hour from one another. We are good friends and share a lot of respect for one another.
How about the Sum Of Hearts project. How did that come to be in your lap and how did it help out?
Sum Of Our Hearts was written for a little boy that had terminal cancer. The little boys name was Raliegh Crouch. His parents are long time friends of mine and we wanted to do something to help the family. We also wanted to create a new awareness of children's deceases. I have promoted St. Judes Concerts as well. St. Judes are children hospitals here in the states. They fight against children's deceases and they do it for free to the public.
I can support these type of foundations. Sum Of Our Hearts will be released someday totally completed with full band, not just yet. I still have copies of the unplugged version on my website www.CliqueRecords.com if anyone wants one.
Must be great to be able to help like that?
I have children and I can't imagine how terrifying it must feel to have a child that ill. We must all help.
And you have a song with Jim on Two Fires...you two have a great chemistry....any future writing plans ahead?
Yes, River of Destiny. We committed to write with Kelly Keagy for his new Frontiers Record CD. We do work well together.
What have I missed mate?
Well, I have purchased an old restaurant. No, I don't plan to start my own cooking show, but I am gutting it and plan to build a state of the art studio in it. I am looking for a good name for it. Any suggestions? Send them to Andrews site. If you come up with winning name, you will receive a free autographed Two Fires CD!
Anything you would like to add?
Andrew, thank you for your wonderful support to AOR Melodic Rock music Your website has given us AOR lovers a place to congregate and chat.
A pleasure, believe me. Any message to the fans???
Storm fans, We hope that you enjoy this new Two Fires CD. We have received so many positive emails and fan mails from you all over the world asking for another Storm CD. This new CD is our way of saying thank you. Please keep the Fires burning for years to come.
Over and out!