Myspace Site: www.myspace.com/kevinchalfant
A lot of great moments came out of the Melodicrock.com 10th Anniversary show in South Bend, Indiana a few weeks ago. Definitely one of the highlights for me was not only being able to see Kevin Chalfant perform live, but actually being able to meet and speak with this amazing artist as well. Being a long time fan of THE STORM, it was just a great thrill.. and even more thrilling was when Kevin agreed to this interview just a couple of weeks later… here’s what he had to say:
Dave Felix: Lets start off by talking a little bit about the new CD, “Fly2Fr33dom.” Tell me a little bit about your band and how you got together.
Kevin Chalfant: I have known these guys for a long time. Some of these guys used to open for bands I was working with in the past. When I decided it was time to do it again, I cherry picked everyone from other bands. All are very good at what they do, but the deciding factor was how good of person they were… not that they were the best players. I knew they were good, but being able to get along is what keeps bands together. No one is a pain in the rear and that makes for a good working relationship. We built the sound from the ground up. I have known some of these guys for 30 years.
Dave Felix: : It’s obvious why you decided to do a JOURNEY tribute album with the almost overwhelming demand from your fans, but what made you decide now was a good time to do something like this instead of another original release?
Kevin Chalfant: As JOURNEY made decisions, the fans would fire off emails to me. Message boards online kept dragging my name up and then that would prompt more emails through my websites. I just couldn’t disregard them any longer… and they were right! If you just listen to your fans, they will tell you what they want. If you make what they want… they will buy it. Isn’t that what an artist wants? People to buy their work and support them? It was a no brainer on my part and the band played it almost unconsciously.
Dave Felix: How did you come up with the title “ Fly2Fr33dom ” and what does it mean?
Kevin Chalfant: : I wanted to have an image that would resemble the scarab like JOURNEY has, but different. The scarab is iridescent and so I thought that a “shit fly” is as well. With my sense of humor taking over, I said, “Yes! How fitting… a shit fly it is!” So I named the CD “FLY.” Then, my oldest son Jayson
called me from Nashville and thought about Herbie (Herbert) wanting to name the “Raised On Radio” CD “Freedom.” So he suggested naming the CD “Fly To Freedom” or “Freedom To Fly.” I chose “Fly2Fr33dom” by adding numbers to resemble “E5C4P3.” I always thought that was brilliant artwork. Thus the project was born.
Dave Felix: Even the cover art has the JOURNEY style to it… as you mentioned. How did you come up with that concept??
Kevin Chalfant: “Wavid” Dave Williams had complete art control of it. He told me that the art work in the back ground was actually something he wanted JOURNEY to use but they declined it, so he sort of recycled it into my project and added the fly. I love it! He did a fantastic job. He also designed my websites www.myspace.com/kevinchalfant and www.cliquerecords.com
Dave Felix: Throughout your career, although you’ve developed your own identity through your work with THE STORM, TWO FIRES and your solo albums, you’ve always been slapped with the “Perry” label. Was there ever a time when that “got” to you?
Kevin Chalfant: Mainly in the beginning I guess. I lived in Streator, Illinois in the early 70’s. Friends would call me when JOURNEY came on the radio saying, “I heard you on the radio today!” Of course, it wasn’t me… it was Perry! That rubbed me a little raw, sure, but I respect Steve’s talent immensely. He has nothing left to prove… he is one of the greats!
Dave Felix: Your voice is still amazing after all these years and your range is just as strong now as it was back in the early 80’s. What do you do to maintain it?
Kevin Chalfant: : I lost my voice for two years in the 70’s. After that, I have grown to appreciate the gift God gave me and I don’t abuse it with alcohol, smoke or other “so called” bad irritants. I have a great wife who feeds me well too and I have just taken better care of myself since that time. Thank you for those kind words, Dave.
Dave Felix: : I had the opportunity to see your live performance at the Melodicrock.com 10th Anniversary Concert in Indiana a few weeks back. How did you first get involved with the event?
Kevin Chalfant: Andrew (McNeice) just emailed me and we agreed to do the show as long as I could bring my own band. Andrew is a real melodic music lover and has helped many of us keep our banners flying high.
Dave Felix: : I also had the opportunity to speak with you before and I remember you telling me that Andrew McNeice had requested you did mostly JOURNEY songs in your set. Had you not been playing the Melodicrock.com event, what differences would there have been in your set list?
Kevin Chalfant: : Andrew gave my “Fly2Fr33om” CD very high points. I think he knew that the fan base wanted to hear me sing those songs… so I agreed. I do have an entire CD of those songs currently for sale so it just made sense. If I didn’t do the JOURNEY covers, I would be just doing more STORM or solo stuff.
Dave Felix: Also, during the show, your old friend Josh Ramos from THE STORM took the stage with you to jam on some of the old STORM material… definitely one of the highlights for me. What was it like playing with him again?
Kevin Chalfant: Josh and I are timeless together! We won’t be on stage for years, but then in a moment on stage, we are right back at it!
Dave Felix: Has there even been any talk of a STORM reunion?
Kevin Chalfant: On and off. It comes up… then nothing develops. Maybe one day we will again. I am always ready for that, it ain’t me holding up the train!
Dave Felix: Have you ever been disappointed that THE STORM never really became the commercial success that myself, your fans and even a lot of critics felt you should have been?
Kevin Chalfant: Yes, it was a time when music was forcefully being changed. It takes a lot of money to brand a name in the market place. THE STORM was branded… but the length of branding time was drastically shortened by our record label.
Dave Felix: If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be and why?
Kevin Chalfant: You live and you learn. If I would have been more involved as a young artist, I may have had even more success. I always trusted managers to do the right thing and sometimes they don’t. Not blaming anyone, no regrets, just saying that I wish I would have known then what I know now.
Dave Felix: Ok, I just have to ask… there’ve been “rumors” and “whispers” for years that you should have been or SHOULD BE the lead singer for JOURNEY. Just how true are the rumors and/ or were there any serious discussions about possibilities of you getting the job?
Kevin Chalfant: Well… first of all, JOURNEY are friends of mine. If they asked me, I would do it. They haven’t. At one time, Herbie Herbert would have loved to place me in the band to keep it going making hit records... he has told me that, but Herbie doesn’t manage the band anymore. He is retired and living in paradise. I speak with those guys once in a while, like I said, we are friends. I do not speak for them so I am not sure what kind of answer you are hoping for from me. I can only tell you how I see it. I had the opportunity of singing with JOURNEY on one occasion in Oct. of 1993 at “Bimbo’s” in San Francisco for a benefit. It was awesome and we sounded great together! As long as I have breath, I will keep singing. If they called me today, I would hop a plane and go because I think their music is second to none… except maybe THE BEATLES.
Dave Felix: Are you happy with the success you’ve had?
Kevin Chalfant: Yes, but I am always striving for higher ground.
Dave Felix: Had you not been able to survive as a musician, what do you think you would have ended up doing?
Kevin Chalfant: I am a music man. I still try to help others record and write great songs. I have been a construction worker before and always fed the family. It has been music that made me happy though.
Dave Felix: What do you do to relax (outside of anything in the music industry)?
Kevin Chalfant: : I like sport racing. Not driving, just being a spectator. I also like to travel.
Dave Felix: Now I understand something rather exciting came out of the whole “Melodicrock” thing in that you hooked up with Jimi Jamison and are going to tour a bit together. Tell me how that all came about?
Kevin Chalfant: : I met Jimi for the first time in Belgium at a gig with Jim Peterik. Jimi and I hit it off so well… he and I were hanging out like old high school buddies! He is so funny. He has a great sense of humor and is a practical jokester. We decided that we need to do some shows together. So we are booking some right now.
Dave Felix: What inspires you?
Kevin Chalfant: My wife and kids inspire me. I am inspired by the freedom they have given me. I am inspired by young people who want to learn about music and how to do better. I want to help people who come to me with an honest approach in life. I am inspired by our soldiers, when I see them in the airports or in stores. I always tell them thank you for their sacrifice to make our lives safer. That really inspires me a lot.
Dave Felix: If you had three wishes, what would they be?
is my idea of a party!
“Evening Bartender! I’ll have a Cabo Wabo margarita with slushy ice, please.
This may sound strange, but I’ve always had a secret desire to host a radio show.
Herbie Herbert is the most influential person I have ever met.
This might actually surprise people, but one of my favorite bands is GREEN DAY.
I still can’t believe I actually met Robert Plant and Greg Allman the same night!
If I had a dime for every time I’ve been told I sound like Steve Perry, I’d be rich!
I find it hardest to make time for myself.
Aside from my music, my family is the most meaningful thing in my life.
- That the world would be more willing to accept God as the real originator of life.
- People would be more forgiving and caring for others around them.
- I could still sell millions of CD’s today… ha ha, well you asked!
Dave Felix: Ok, I’m going to give you a few sentences… a kind of “fill in the blank” thing…
- If I could live anywhere in the world, I would live in Pensacola, Florida.
- A late model dirt race
Dave Felix: So are you working on anything new right now?
Kevin Chalfant: Yes, new music always.
Dave Felix: When can we expect to see a new Kevin Chalfant CD ?
Kevin Chalfant: Next year, 2008!
Dave Felix: Halloween is next week… what are you going to be?
Kevin Chalfant: Fat from all the candy!
Dave Felix: Thanks a lot, Kevin. We really appreciate you taking the time to do this. In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add or say to your fans?
Kevin Chalfant: Please know that I honestly appreciate the warm wishes that many of you send me through email, fan mail, posting on websites and through mutual friends. It keeps me going forward in music. God bless you guys… Kevin.