Carol Chase interview ( Lynyrd Skynyrd)
by John Molet (traduction Jean Marie Coron) - March 2004










Hi Carol, First, Thank you and congratulations for your new "Blue Highway" album. It's a very pleasant record to listen, just between " Edge of forever and Vicious cycle"......Just kidding....But I suppose that you understood that we are great Skynyrd fans. So before talking about "Blue highway", I would like to ask you some questions about Skynyrd, because for us in France, Carol Chase it is especially (for the meantime) the beautiful and talented chorister of our favorite group!
To get to know you a little better, could you summarize your career ?

Carol Chase
: To summarize my career so far I would say it's been one great ride. I sang in college at the University of North Dakota, moved to Reno, Nevada where I won a talent contest and started my 'professional' career at Lake Tahoe. I met some producers from L.A. and moved there, where I sang at Disneyland for 1 & 1/2 years. I got into the record business while in L.A. and eventually ended up doing 2 albums for Casablanca Records. The label folded within a year of my signing and eventually I ended up in Nashville writing songs, singing demos, and singing on a lot of albums. I've been able to support myself in the music world and that's been a real blessing. Now that I'm singing with Lynyrd Skynyrd, I feel that I've been able to continue to grow musically, besides being able to be a part of some great events. So I guess I've done and continue to do all the things in the music business that I once dreamed of doing.

You already made some records didn't you ?

Carol Chase : Yes, I have made the two records for Casablance Records and they are probably collector items by now.
I don't even know where you can get them except maybe on E-bay. They were done in the 'country' format although I was
considered to be a pretty progressive artist for the country arena, at the time.

What are your main influences ( yesterday and today) ?

Carol Chase : I think my main influences have always been the R&B and blues artists. Anything with a 'groove'. I play some blues guitar and so I've always listened to that genre.I'm a big fan of the electric guitar and bands with great guitar players are my favorites. Bonnie Raitt, Joplin, Etta James, as well as Linda Ronstadt and Carol King, to mention a few women..have been vocal influences
of mine.

All the fans do appreciate your arrival in Skynyrd, could you tell us how it happenned ?

Carol Chase : The L.S. fans are great and they've been nothing but nice to me since I arrived. Rickey Medlocke was just getting
back in the band in April '96 and called me in Nashville from Ft. Meyers, Fl. The band was rehearsing down there and they needed a girl to fill the one spot that had opened up after the last background singer had gotten married and left. I went down from Nashville in two days of getting the call and sang with Dale and the guys. They taped me and then said I was going to work out fine. I've been there since that time and hope we go on forever. Hughie Thomasson joined the band at the same time as I did.

Did you use to know Dale before ?

Carol Chase : I didn't know Dale before this time but during my 'stint' at Disneyland I listened to her with the Rossington Collins band and did a few of her songs. I was already a big fan of hers when I met her in 1996.

Before joining the band, what meant Lynyrd Skynyrd for you ?

Carol Chase : L.S. was just the best party, rock and roll band and I loved their music. I didn't know a lot of details
about the band but knew I wanted to jump at the chance to work with them.

And now that you are in the band ?

Carol Chase : The band is like a part of my family to me. We travel down the road together..spending so much time getting to know each other. Amazingly we all get along well. We have our times when we all need our space but respect that in each other.
The guys are all like my 'big brothers'. Very protective of me and that's a good thing.

Is it easy to work with those " Wild eyed southern boys" ?

Carol Chase : It's very easy to work with the 'wild' boys. They are all stars in their own right as each one has had a career
on their own. It's definetly a 'guy' band with two girls singing back-up. Dale and I hold our own and often mention to each
other how lucky we are to be there. So yes, the pleasure is all mine..

(Fiction) If you had to do the lead vocals on 2 or 3 songs, which ones would you like to pick ?

Carol Chase : If I could do the lead of two songs I think I would do Tuesday's Gone and 'Smell'. Maybe I would like the sing...
'I know A Little', also.

We loved your appearance ( with Dale ) on the Laidlaws albums, how did it happen ?

Carol Chase : Laidlaw opened for us one summer and Craig, the guitar player, always listened to the Skynyrd show and admired Dale and my singing. When we were in Atlanta, they were doing the finishing touches on their album and Craig asked if Dale and I would come by the studio and sing back-up for them. We loved doing it and had a great time.

Last one on Skynyrd, is everything and everybody OK and when do you plan to come back in Europe ?

Carol Chase : The band is all in good health. There are no current issues that are on our minds so I would say everything is just fine. We keep a good eye on each other and demand that we all take extra good care of ourselves. Plus it makes life a lot easier out there on the road. Staying healthy is of upmost importance to us all. Don't know when we'll be back in Europe but I hope soon, as we always have a good time there. I only wish I had more time to see a bit more of the country side on my days off..

Back to " Blue Highway " now, as I told you, I love this album, could you tell us more about it,
who are the musicians playing on?

Carol Chase
: I decided to put some of my favorite songs to date..on a c.d. and it's called Blue Highway. Since I've always done so much work in the studios here in Nashville, I know a lot of great musicians. I called Michael Spriggs...guitar player..and he put the rest
of the project together for me. The other musicians were: Owen Hale, 'ToTo') on keyboards as well as Barry Walsh on keys;
George Marinelli (plays with Bonnie Raitt) on guitar; and Michael Severs on guitar.

Did you write the songs ?

Carol Chase : All of the 11 songs are written or co-written by me except one. I did a Bob Dylan song, 'Gotta Serve Somebody'.
Like I said, I'm a song-writer and have written these songs over a period of years. I just re-vamped some of my older ones.
Three of the songs I've written by myself.

Through this album we can see that you took a lot of pleasure playing in the country blues style. Back to the roots ?

Carol Chase : I think I could be considered a bluesy singer. I have a sultry voice and have done all kinds of music in my career.
I think that these songs reflect that. I also like all kinds of styles of music. The songs and singers just have to have soul.
I've been told that my music falls in the category of 'Americana'. That suits me just fine.

Who are your favorite artists in this style ?

Carol Chase : I like Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Ethridge, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, to mention a few.
The song itself is the main thing. Then the music you put around it and the 'groove' really make it fall into a certain category.

During the Skynyrd's inactivity periods, would you like to play your album on stage ?

Carol Chase : I don't really know what will happen with my c.d. I've worked around Nashville with bands of my own before, singing my songs. I did the same thing while in L.A., when I lived there. I'm just putting my music out there in hopes that my songs touch someone and mean something to them. For example, the song..'Let Go'.. that I wrote is about breaking up and I wrote it over a very hurtful personal experience I had. I know that other women have heard it and related to it. That's all a song-writer can ask. I'm just going with the flow.
We don't have much time off with the L.S. band but when we do, I don't like to sit still for very long. So we'll see what happens.

I read , (here and there), that you worked with a lot of people, even French artists.

Carol Chase : I've worked with so many different artist but I don't know if I've worked with any French artists. If some of them have come to Nashville to do an album there is a chance that I was called to sing backgrounds on the project. That has happened a lot, where a producer calls you and you come in one day and don't really know the people who's record it is. I've worked with Tanya Tucker, Martina McBride, Etta James, to mention just a few. I do have a long discography.

Does Carol Chase have some time off ? What are your hobbies ?

Carol Chase : During my time off I like to play golf, go to the health club to work out, I'm getting a M.A. in Nutrition so I read and take a lot of tests. I'm always writing songs, by myself and with other writers here in Nashville. There are a lot of social events in town so Ioften drop in to say 'hi'. It seems I'm always very busy. In the winter I like to snow-ski. I don't get a chance to do that often enough but love it.

Traditional question of this web site, if you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island,
which albums would you take with you ( only five) ?

Carol Chase : Gee, 5 albums I'd like to take with me on a desert island....I just know the artists that I'd love to take. Santana...
Led Zeppelin...Stevie Ray Vaughn...Skynyrd box set...Ray Charles. I'm not sure which albums but I guess I'd say 'greatest hits'
of all.

That's it ! If I forgot something you think is important to mention, you can obviously add it to this interview !
I would like to thank you a lot for sharing your time with us, it's been a great honor.

Carol Chase: Thanks John for your insightful questions. I had a good time answering them all.
Good luck to you with your musical endeavors. Maybe we'll cross paths in person one day soon.

All the Best to you...Carol Chase


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