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Vainglory Interview

Vainglory Interview
Conducted by: Rick Harper via email
Kate French of Vainglory
October 2007

Rick:  Most of us first came to know of you through Chastain. I don't know much about what you were into prior to meeting David. What was your prior band/recording experience prior to meeting Chastain?

Kate:  I started getting into metal in the late 80s and was in a few bands in Sacramento where I lived including, TANTRUM an all female band, we rivaled Phantom Blue, but didn’t get quite the notoriety, MACHINE GUNN KELLY which was more of a progressive metal band and ONE BAD APPLE which was basically the band Villian (Carl Albert’s band before Vicious Rumors) I sang all the songs off "Only time will Tell" the CD they released in the 80s. Carl and Leather Leone where my main influences... funny how our lives ended up intermingling years after they influenced me (I married Carl's drummer, and I replaced Leather in Chastain).

Kate French of Vainglory
Kate French / Vainglory

Rick:  How did you first meet David Chastain, and inevitably end up fronting the Chastain band for him?

Kate:  I met David at Foundations Forum which was like a school for people in HR/HM....you went to take classes on how to make it in the business in the day, and then they had showcases from up coming bands in the evening...it was fantastic!! I had heard David was looking for a new vocalist. So I put together a demo for him...and when I saw him I just about tripped over my chair to introduce myself and give him the demo. He called me an hour later and asked if I would fly to Atlanta where we wrote about 20 songs in ten days...we did pre production every evening. 10 went on the first CD Sick Society released in 1994...my first CD with Chastain.

Rick:  Chastain didn't seem to play out or tour much, was that frustrating for you?

Kate: We actually went to Europe and did a promotional tour and toured the East coast as well. It was just enough for that time and that CD.

Rick:  At this point I understand that Chastain is no more, as David is focusing on his instrumental project, is that true?

Kate:  I call David "uncle David"...we write each other everyday and we are great friends. I love and appreciate him and his belief in my talent. Chastain is still there...were just taking a break. Don’t know what the future holds for Chastain...maybe nothing. We shall see...

Rick:  Can we say that Vainglory is your one and only band?

Kate:  Yes, for now it IS my one and only band...it really is the only band I've ever had full input and creativity. What you hear in the finished product is what we want you to hear. A lot of times with other producers, you have no control over the final product. Vainglory is ALL us.

Rick:  I understand that David chose the first Vainglory vocalist because Corbin was hard to satisfy. David Chastain introduced you to Corbin? How did that come about?

Kate:  Hard to satisfy?? Corb??...nah...he just had an idea of what he wanted, and it wasn't the former vocalist, but Corb needed to go with what the producer (David) wanted to get the CD out. Yea, David asked if I wanted to sing on a demo (VAINGLORY)...I don't think he expected Corb and I to hit it off like we did. I was really excited...the music was awesome. Corb loved my voice, and the rest is history.

Rick:  Did Corbin and the band already have songs written for the s/t Vainglory cd or did you start with a blank canvas?

Kate:  Corbin had a lot of the songs written, the others we collaborated on, we spent hours on production together in the mix and mastering of the CD...It was a long process. We where on Leviathan when we recorded the first half, so it had to be done to David’s specs...when we decided to go with Rebellion Records it freed a lot of that up. The next CD is going to be AMAZING! We get to do what WE want. Yeay!!!

Rick:  It looks like you wrote about half of the songs; can you describe the writing process for the new cd?

Kate:  Usually Corb comes up with a riff and we just start playing round his riff in practice, and then I get a melody idea based on the feel I get from the song. Manifesting Destiny is the first one we've written...really aggressive verse...so the melody and words are aggressive and the pre-chorus and chorus are more open chords so I textured with harmony and made the chorus really big production sounding....it is a great song. Since we have been performing more, we decided to make this CD and audience participation CD, so all the songs will have you bangin’ your head and chantin’ along with them...want to involve everyone in our live show!!


Rick:  Have you continued to write for the follow-up to Vainglory or have you strictly focused on promoting the new cd? I guess what I mean is the writing process a constant one for the band?

Kate:  We work a CD at a time. If something comes up, then we will work on that, but we are focused on what we are doing at that time, and when we are doing shows.....our show is in the forefront of our minds and making each song as tight as it can be live. Right now it's writing time...were taking a few months of to write and record the new CD.

Rick:  There seems to be an interesting mix of more melodic stuff, and then some real head pounders, was this the type of mix of songs you wanted to achieve when you started the process?

Kate:  Well, it changed over the course of a few years...we started out writing a guitar virtuoso type CD and ended up writing a bang your head CD...it makes for a good dynamic mix though...we would like to make the next CD even more dynamic. I think it's important to take the listener through a wide range of emotions, keeps it interesting.

Rick:  I would be remiss if I didn't ask this. You've had the opportunity to work with two virtuoso guitarists in King and Chastain, how are they similar in style and how do you feel they differ?

Kate:  Well, David is more progressive and moody where as Corb is more of a tear it up in your face no holds bared kind of player.

Rick:  You kind of have an interesting structure within Vainglory. It's obvious Corbin is a "King" so to speak, but he seems to be quite content with you being the "Queen" of the band. In a sense Vainglory really has more than one leader don't you think?

Kate:  Yea, we are all leaders though...leaders of our own instruments...I would call Corbin and I the BASE. Everything is formed around us, we don't tell our drummer, rhythm guitar, or bass player how we want everything played. That is their individual talent and they know what they do a lot better then we do. That is their area of expertise and makes the whole band better.

Rick:  Corbin doesn't seem like your typical egomaniacal Yngwie-esque guitarist. How has his acceptance of you as his cohort benefited you in terms of being the face of Vainglory?

Kate:  The face of Vainglory is all of us. I had been previously known from Chastain so we work that angle, and it has helped. He is "The King of Southern Shred" so he is really secure with who he is... I’m honored to have a guitarist I can brag about so much...he really is the BEST guitarist I have ever seen play. Corb is the whole package, looks, charisma, his fingers float over the frets. I'm proud to represent this band and I am proud they represent me too.

Rick:  Was Corbin open to a female vocalist or was the deal closed when you auditioned for him?

Kate:  The deal was closed after I auditioned for him...my voice just fit.

Rick:  What did Corbin tell you when he asked you to join? Why were you his pick over 30 some other vocalists?

Kate:  He said, "You rule. I love what you did with the tunes. Your voice is amazing." He picked me because all the other vocalists’ voices didn't fit the music.

Rick:  Your new self-titled album has been out since April, overall how have you gauged it's reception?


Rick:  If you were to put the new cd into your player and had to play one track as an introduction to Vainglory for a crowd, which one would it be? Why?

Kate:  I like "Blackened Soul" Because it's down and dirty aggressive in your face groovy cant stop bobbin' yer head to it.......and that is where we are headin', it's a crowd pleaser.

Rick:  I have to ask you about the Southern Gentlemen cover art. I guess you're sitting around one day and someone says "Kate!, I have this GREAT idea!" ,and the next thing you know you're naked hiding behind a guitar? - lol - How did that happen?

Kate:  You’re funny...actually, I have a friend that used to take artsy photos of me for his photo business, that was one of those pics that ended up on the SG cover cause David liked it...and get yer mind out of the gutter...I wasn’t neked!! ;-) But it got the CD a lot of attention and that was the whole idea.

Rick:  Now tell everybody to go to Sonic Cathedral Store and buy your cd, and anything else you have to say. lol



Rick:  Thanks Kate it's really nice to have friends like you. We appreciate you doing this for us.

Kate:  You are welcome sir Rick!!! I am glad to do this for you and honored to be associated with Sonic Cathedral! You kick some serious bootie!! What a great idea, an all female vocals superstore. Put me in the "women with balls" section...."K"... (lol) Love, Kate (;!