Chris Caffrey: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview

Chris Caffrey Interview

Feature Photo: courtesy of Chris Caffrey

Chris Caffrey

Interview by Andrew Daly

As one of the more consistent guitarists of his era, it’s Chris Caffrey’s creativity that sets him apart from the rest.

You’ve probably heard his now-classic work with Savatage, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you were to only focus on that. To that end, Caffrey’s latest single, “May Day,” shows inventiveness. What’s more, it shows a very real willingness to allow himself to be musically vulnerable.

So, if you’ve missed out on Chris Caffrey’s non-Savtage exploits, be sure to change that. In the meantime, dig into this interview with Chris, where we peel back on the onion, his solo work, gear choices, and opinions on the scene today.

What can you tell me about your latest music?

I released the single called “May Day.”  We all have times in our lives when we may need to call for help. This help may need to come from friends or family. From the lord or from within yourself. The world has gotten darker and more evil as we enter deeper into cyberspace and the future. People and things are not always as they may seem. Images of yourself can even have the mirror show you as a stranger.

You may feel at times like you are living a nightmare and the only place you are safe is in your dreams. A role reversal from living the dream and falling asleep into the nightmares. Dark and evil shapes can rise into your life. Ones you never saw coming. They can be demons inside friends, strangers, or even yourself.

Time to exorcise the demons and reach to the sky for the power within. The only true way to move forward is to give that final goodbye, not to yourself or your friends, but to the evil inside of all of us. Ignoring the darkness and being saved by the light is the true meaning and message of my May Day…a call for help within myself… because, in the end, only I can determine whether or not I will live the dream or the nightmare!

How have you progressed from your last record?

I think I’ve just focused a bit more on doing pieces of music that are more like individual art, which is why I’m focusing on singles. Giving single songs extra attention.

What does the current approach look like from a compositional standpoint?

This approach gives me a chance to make the song deeper in its elements, from the parts to the different tones in my voice.

Are you more comfortable in the studio or live? Why?

That really depends. I enjoy both for different reasons. The energy of live music can’t be matched, but the ability to create in my own elements is extremely important to me as well.

Some have said rock is dead. Where do you stand on that notion?

I don’t believe that at all. I see more people at shows than ever. More age groups, and it is definitely not dead! The business is different, but rock is not dead.

What are a few things that you know now that would have been helpful during your earliest days?

I wish I knew how to use my voice then. I may have had a different career path as a singer instead of primarily a guitarist. I also wish I knew some of the business elements better. But overall, I’m happy with my career and its path.

What are some of the hardest things about making new music for a low attention span world?

Well, you can’t make everyone happy. So the hardest thing, I think, is to ignore the negativity about your compositions when they exist. You can’t please everyone! It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to never doubt your music because it’s your art, not the critics!

What combination of guitars, pedals, and amps did you use?

I don’t use a ton of pedals. I like basic things: distortion, delay, chorus, reverb, and wah. I like so many different guitars. That really depends on what I’m playing. The type of music and the particular songs. Amps are the same as guitars in that situation. Which makes the best sound for what you are playing?

How has your overall approach evolved from your younger years? Do you have any cringe factor when listening to older work?

I like to focus on the grooves when it comes to the beats. Music that moves your body in the rhythms. I tend to write deeper and more meaningful lyrics now. I like to have the ability to let the music speak a lot of messages.

What’s next in all lanes? 

I have a lot of different records and projects I’m writing for. From my solo records to the other bands I play in and some projects, I want to do in the future. I’m doing a lot of teaching and live shows. Tso will tour again in November as well. I make lots of different sea glass art pieces, and that is another side of creativity. I also am a partner and creator of a hot sauce company called High River Sauces. I’m always busy!

Chris Caffrey Interview

Photo: courtesy of Chris Caffrey

Chris Caffrey: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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