OB: Your really making an impression throughout your tour, what have been some of the highlights for you over the last couple of months?
Don Chambers: We got a request for “Paint the Moon” in Hattiesburg, Miss which was quite a nice surprise, having never played there. Touring with the Truckers is a pleasure, they are so generous and it’s really a rolling family of friends.
OB: Your music is inventive, capturing quite a spectrum of imagination. How have the crowds response been to hearing your new material?
Don Chambers: Playing in front of mostly virgin audiences, generally about the 3rd or 4th song in I think the audience “got it” so to speak. It takes a little time to figure out if you should just go to the bar and order another one or actually listen, I understand that. Kinda like reading a map, you get your bearings and sense of direction, then it’s ok to go forward with whatever is before you. Also like a ride, your not sure at first if it’s worth the wait in line, but we had lots of riders on the roller coaster.
OB: Zebulon, your latest album has some truly powerful songs. How did you go about the creation process for this new release?
Don Chambers: I always tend to over write then edit later, for this one I guess I demoed about 50 songs and chopped it down from that. I was going back and forth from Berlin to Athens, living overseas gave me another angle to work with. I really love the process, making these little sketches to bring to the band – there is always a surprise in the translation. “Paint the Moon” and “This I Know” were really the dark horses on this record – I wasn’t sure what to make of them, but the band brought them to a new and better place. I thrive on the communication between the early versions of songs and their re-interpretation through the band and recording process.
OB: With a range of unique sounds, how difficult is it for you to record?
Don Chambers: The difficulty is never in capturing the sound, the trick is to record when you forget the tape is rolling. We try to do as much as possible to chase after the song not the sound.
OB: Has the new album been doing well on the road, despite our current economic situation?
Don Chambers: Our tour in the fall saw 4 dollar a gallon gas prices, now it’s a little easier. I don’t think to much about how all this uncertainty will effect things. In the 30’s everybody wanted big movie productions with glamourous stars living the high life ( Fred Astaire / Ginger Rodgers dance movies) so I don’t know if our minor key hollers are what folks want now or not – it’s really not my business to predict the weather, but I will be out there in it.
OB: Do you feel there are any particular challenges in touring at this time, or any benefits? Such as, do you only see a collection of true fans attending shows or are you playing to new faces primarily?
Don Chambers: The challenge is the same for everybody, it’s tight financially, you look for a floor to sleep on, a cheap dinner and hope the folks buy a t-shirt or cd to put gas in the van. I don’t think it’s particular to any band – I think it’s always been that way – only difference is the blues guys travelled by bus and just played til they had enough for a ticket to the next town, as opposed to assuming you’d have gas to get to the next one. We are playing to mostly new faces, I’ve never toured that much outside the southeast. It’s great to meet new friends, or folks who have heard the music – always a lovely surprise.
OB: When it rains, do cotton fields shrink?
Don Chambers: It is a recorded fact that on August 23, 1937 it was so hot in Camden, South Carolina that when it rained that afternoon the cotton all but dissappeared – the rain was so hot.
OB: Whats the worst part of touring?
Don Chambers: Finding a great bar-b-que joint an hour before showtime knowing you cannot sing on a full stomach.
OB: Are you traveling with the “David Byrne” Lamp you purchased, due to the inspiration of “Stop Making Sense”? Tell us more about this lamp…. (do you sing love songs to it?)
Don Chambers: That lamp I bought at a thrift store in Athens – that I shall not name – did not work. I was pissed and insisted on carrying it on the tour and taking it back home to complain. Well I guess the guys got sick of pulling it in and out of the van, so at some point it dissapeared. So I never sang to it and I never dance with it and I am still a bit miffed about thhe whole fiasco.
OB: Any plans for recording the next great album in 2009?
Don Chambers: We have plans to record the next____ in 2009, first we have to break 53 guitar strings playing this one.
Don Chambers + GOAT www.donchambersmusic.com