If I had to make a list of best singers of all times the name KEVIN CHALFANT would definitely be included. If I had to make a list of best albums of all times I would most definitely mention the 2 THE STORM albums. If I had to pick the best replacement singer for STEVE PERRY in JOURNEY then KEVIN CHALFANT would be it. 3 statements I would have made up 10 years ago, the present day and probably also in the future. Well, besides all that, Kevin is a very nice gentleman, with whom I had a very nice interview to talk about the past, the present and the upcoming year 2008, let's see what Kevin has to say...
This is the first time I do an interview with you, so I would first like to go back to the beginning, what were your first music experiences?
I remember singing at my next door neighbors house when I was younger than the first grad. My neighbor was also my first grade teacher. Her name was Loretta Condon and she taught me Irish folk songs.
Probably your first real band must have been 707, with whom you had success with the MEGAFORCE album, can you please tell me all about it?
I flew to Northern California to meet the band after long time friend George Tutko (engineer/producer) recommended me for the lead vocalist position. I met with the band and jammed. We hit it off and the rest is history.
Then you went on recording an amazing album with STEEL BREEZE titled 'Heart on the line', but somehow this record was never released until the mid 90s??
We recorded the music as independent artists without a record deal. The record was later released as a limited edition CD. That band performed a lot of gigs.
Anyway, in the mid 80s you started working with JOURNEY members on a band called THE VIEW, years later released as THE VU...
Ross Valory and I met at Steve Jarvis' home (original Journey engineer). We had a great time that day. He played me tunes and I played him tunes. We decided to meet again and jam. When I showed up, Prairie Prince (Tubes drummer)was there, Tim Gorman (Who keyboardist) was there, George Tickner (original Journey guitarist) was there and we had a riot.
After STEVE PERRY sort of left JOURNEY for the first time in 1986, were you considered to be the new singer back then already (for the first time)?
Sort of... Herbie Herbert (then time Journey manager) was very friendly and seemed to have interest in my voice. I can't say it was that early on however. It wasn't until 1994 that I had the opportunity to actually sing and write with the band.
Then you released one of the best AOR albums in the 90s, the debut of THE STORM, which was also quite successful, can you tell us all about this period, which lasted until the mid 90s with 2 amazing THE STORM albums?
I met Gregg Rolie singing background vocals on another singers album... not sure who that was, maybe Tony McAlpine or someone. We met and enjoy each others company. Herbie had invited both of us to join him in his owners box at many San Francisco 49er football games. When asked if we had ever jammed together, we looked at each other and said, well, in the studio but never written together. Then Gregg's older brother challenged us to get together and write some tunes. (It must have been a set up) The next game came, Gregg's brother asked us again if we had written anything yet and we said no. Then, the older brother hammer came down... Steve, Rolie said, "Well maybe you guys should start a band and call it he Procrastinators"! That was all it took... Gregg called me the following day and we wrote "Show Me The Way" and "I've Got A Lot To Learn About Love"... Bing Bang Boom! Just like that... The Storm was born. Those two songs got us the first deal Interscope Records ever signed! It just kept getting better as time went on.
Then after THE STORM and JOURNEY's 2nd break with STEVE PERRY, how close were you in becoming the singer back in 1996?
Well, we wrote some songs together, but still no marriage. I can't really tell you why, but that is a question for Journey.
Gladly you went on releasing more albums, first TWO FIRES...
Josh ramos and I were good friends and still are. We laugh a lot together. Our music together has always been like JELLO. We fit together well.
Then a solo-record...
Running With The Wind actually came out before two Fires, I just recently re released it again with a bonus track (www.cliquerecords.com)
The THE VU record was really amazing and together with THE STORM records your best work for sure, although I also have a soft spot for STEEL BREEZE's Heart on the line, how did you come to finally release the THE VU album?
Frontiers Records released Two Fires and then asked me about that CD. So I contacted Ross and we put the deal together.
The 2000s brought us more records with your voice, such as the SHOOTING STAR album, how did you become their singer and is this cooperation still going strong?
Van McLean called me and asked me to sing on the CD. Their singer left the band and they had all but one song written. I collaborated with van on finishing the CD and it was released by several labels. I am not in the band now, another singer is touring whatever dates the band has booked. No hard feelings, but I couldn't commit to the deal they asked me to commit to with my schedule.
What surprises me is that in all these years your voice has always been very strong, never changed, how did you keep your voice in shape?
I just don't abuse my voice. I live in moderation. I don't mix singing with drugs and booze. I don't smoke either. I have done it all and all of it messed with my singing and I walked away from it all. I actually lost my voice for an entire year in my 20's. That was the hardest time in my life. I just couldn't sing. My range was stuted and my voice would crack a lot. I have small nodes on my chords. I had a choice, stop singing for a year or get surgery. I quit singing for over one year. When I started again... I couldn't sing a note. I had to start completely over with a singing coach. I never went back again. Clean machine from then on. Not that I don't like to tip a cold beer from time to time, but never near a gig date.. ever!
Then in 2006/2007 yet another JOURNEY spot was waiting to be filled, did they approach you, also just recently (for the 4th time)?
No, always the brides maid, never the bride ;^) They are great friends. Maybe they just want it to stay that way. As much as I would love to have the gig, I never want to lose their friendship either. I hold no anger or resentment. It is puzzling at times, but I am a big boy now and I have learned how to deal with all of that. If I was supposed to be in it, I would be already.
It is hard to talk about JOURNEY now I guess, is this book closed now forever since they picked yet another new singer?
What book is that? I don't see any book anywhere? All I see is a world full of opportunity and I want to be apart of it. As friends, if they ever asked me, I would do it... but they have to ask me first. I wish anyone in that band singing the best. It isn't any easy gig. It is very demanding. those songs are masterful works and it takes all of your attention to skillfully pull them off. Maybe they just want some young Hollywood cookie cutter up there, that I am not.
You released a very good JOURNEY tribute CD in 2007, can you tell us all about that?
That was for the fans. The ones that would drop my name on the blogs, chat rooms, forums and emailed me begging me to beg Journey for the gig. It really doesn't work that way. I can't force them to love my voice or me for that matter. All I can do is what "I" can do. So, I did hte next best thing... I cut a CD of Journey songs for the fans to appreciate. Not to compete with the masters of the songs, but instead to fulfill the faithful fans wishes. No matter how I am viewed for that, I can't worry about that. It took along time to decide to did it and a short time to accomplish it. I had the help of a lot of friends, who i guess wanted to hear me singing those songs as well.
Can you mention your highlights in your long career?
1. Having Herbie Herbert as my manager.
2. Performing live onstage with Journey
3. Accepting a BMI Songwriting Award for "I've Got A Lot to Learn About Love"
4. Performing at the Forum In LA
5. Hearing my voice over the radio the very first time at 18 years old (I cried alone in my car)
6. Working with Keith Olsen in the studio with Kim Carnes
7. Meeting Brad Delp of Boston and having him tell ME that HE loved MY work.. he was such an unbelievable singer, just simply awesome!
Have you performed live on stage a lot?
Yes, since I was 12 years old...
In 2007 you performed in Belgium as part of the WORLD STAGE project, how was that experience?
I love Jim Peterik and his bunch. I finally got to meet Jimi Jamison there. We are now best of friends because of that trip. In fact, we spoke on the phone today.
Something I did absolutely not know is that you were part of the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT for some time, can you tell me more about that...
Alan did a World Stage show with us and we hit it off well. He is such a wonderful human being. He asked me to fill in on a number of dates with his band. His music isn't a perfect match for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and sunk myself into the music. I am a blessed man, I know this. that is why I know, no matter what happens in my musical life, I am a blessed man. I have a wonderful wife, Judy, and three wonderful children. I even have a grandson now with my name sake. What else could a man want? OK, maybe another million seller right? hahaha..
I would also like to talk a bit about an incredible song you did with Jim Peterik titled THE SUM OF OUR HEARTS, can you tell us about that song?
That song was written for a young man named Raleigh Crouch. Raleigh was a little boy (Son of close friends) that was sick with cancer. He lost his battle and died, but the song brought meaning to his life and death for his family. It is a message of hope. If we combine our efforts in hope, we can make a difference in this world... and it is true.... we can make a difference, I know this a mater of fact, because it made a difference to Raleigh's family.
2008 is ahead of you, what are the plans, new songs already on the table (if so please tell us about them), new albums... and perhaps live shows in Europe, we have been dying to see you?
My motto with my band is "2008 is going to be great!" I have big plans for 2008. In the weeks ahead more news will surface about that. I am building a touring act that will definitely get peoples attention. Europe is in our sights as well as Japan and the US. I am ready to tour. My family is raised and my flag is back raise up on the pole...
The big question, will there ever be a THE STORM reunion, because after JOURNEY's 'Frontiers' they never released anything better than the 2 THE STORM albums you did...
Thank you for those kind words. WOW, that is truly a compliment. Well, I have publicly stated that I am ready when they are. It will take a serious label to spill the right amount of budget to get that to happen again. We made great records because we had the best of everything to do them. The best producers, best studios, best promotions, best publicists, best everything. Once you set that presedence, it is hard to follow up with anything less. Gregg has high standards, God bless him. I learned alot from my old friend Mr. Rolie. When he is ready, I am ready.
Anything to add finally?
Gabor, thanks to great rock fans like you, we have been able to stay in the publics musical diet. I am ready to rock the live venues again. The studio is great but the stage is where the fans give us energy. Come and visit me at www.myspace.com/kevinchalfant and become a friend. I will be releasing some exciting news very soon about a 2008 tour.
Thanks for answering the questions and good luck with your career!
Thanks for asking me to join you in conversation.
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