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WATERDEEP Interview and CD Review

Updated on February 17, 2013

Don and Lori Chaffer

Waterdeep is an independent Christian band from Kansas City, Missouri made up of husband and wife Don and Lori Chaffer. Waterdeep was formed in 1995 following the break-up of Hey Ruth. Upon completion of Don's solo album You Were at the Time for Love, Waterdeep was formed. Waterdeep's original lineup consisted of Don Chaffer as well as bassist Anthony Case, keyboardist Jay Pfiefer, and drummer Brandon Graves. Waterdeep released its debut album To Chase Away the Birds in 1995.

Chaffer's wife, singer/guitarist Lori Coscia, joined Waterdeep in 1996, with the group's sophomore effort Sink or Swim appearing the following year; in 1998, the band returned with both Enter the Worship Circle, an acoustic collaboration with the members of 100 Portraits, and Live at the New Earth, which documented the final performances of Case and Pfiefer.

The outtakes collection Everyone's Little CD preceded the 1999 release of Waterdeep's 1999 Squint Entertainment debut Everyone's Beautiful, featuring new bassist Kenny Carter and Graves' wife Christena on keyboards.

Cover art for CD IN The Middle Of It by WaterDeep
Cover art for CD IN The Middle Of It by WaterDeep

CD REVIEW: In The Middle Of It by Waterdeep

This CD is definitely well titled; it's in between a rock CD and a personal or social commentary. Waterdeep's latest offering "In The Middle Of It" is a little different than their last 11 CD releases.

The lyrics are very introspective of Don and Lori Chaffer's current place in life. They recently stepped out of regular touring to focus on raising their young children. They also recently moved from their long time home of Kansas City, Missouri to Nashville, Tennessee where they recorded "In The Middle Of It" while bouncing between both cities.

As I was listening to the CD trying to wrap my mind around the music and lyrics, when my youngest daughter wandered into the room and began spinning, swaying and dancing to the music. Then it hit me, that's what they are trying to get back to simple things in life the joys of parenthood, the trials and sorrows distract us from just the joy of watching our children play and grow.

Don and Lori Chaffer definitely pulled from the darker parts of their memories and psyche, opening old wounds from their past to create songs that brought them healing.

With lyrics like "Gimme My Walkman Mom / I need it bad / That way I don't have to listen to the fights you have with dad".

This is definitely a little different their past releases of more folk orientated worship songs.

All the songs are catchy and haunting at the same time, I could relate to the lyrics on so many levels from my own past adolescent troubles to my current trials as an adult parent.

Musically this CD reminds me of bands like Sonic Youth with hints of Edie Brickell, Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead and many more. The core of the band's Music and Lyrics is written and performed by Don Chaffer, his Wife Lori Chaffer and a cast of musicians Brandon Graves, Billy Brimblecom, Greg LaFollette, Isaac Anderson, Mike Crawford and many more. Even Don and Lori Chaffer's young son Miles ads some charming chants to the song "Need A Break".

"In The Middle Of It" will please any longtime fan of Waterdeep, and makes a perfect introduction to new listeners who may not be familiar with their past releases.

I've included links below where you can listen, purchase and download "In The Middle Of It" and connect with Water Deep on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and more.

Waterdeep's Official website:

Become a fan of Waterdeep on Facebook:

Follow Don Chaffer's Tweets on Twitter:

Become Friends with Waterdeep on Myspace:

Listen to, purchase and download Waterdeep's entire discography including "In The Middle Of It" on iTunes and Amazon:

Don Chaffer interview
Don Chaffer interview

Interview with Don and Lori Chaffer (Waterdeep)

Don Chaffer singer, song writer, musician, producer from the folk rock band Waterdeep answers my questions on topics ranging from song writing to parenting.

Greetings to both of you, Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer the following questions.

1: How are the both of you doing today?

Well, thank you. Right now, we're eating breakfast while I (Don) type these answers to you. Sorry for the delay, by the way. I'm notoriously AWFUL with email, and have 1005 unread emails in my inbox. So, there's that, again, sorry for the delay.

2: So your newest CD "In The Middle Of It" great tracks, I was reading in your Bio that it was recorded sort of in between a big move from the Kansas City area to Nashville.

May I ask what brought on this move?

I (Don) produce albums for other artists for a living. I have run a recording studio for the past several years, and there's more of that kind of work in Nashville than KC. It was difficult to string together an income in KC doing that. Furthermore, I've been writing as a staff writer for a local Nashville song publisher. I had been making trips out here every couple months for a few years. The whole move just made a lot of sense and so far so good. It's been worth it. We miss KC and some of our dear friends there, but we also have some new friends here. You know... the usual moving heartaches.

3: How has the recent flooding in Nashville affected your lives?

I (Don) was at the studio till about midnight the night of the flood. Lori had been texting me pictures of the appearance of what looked like a river in our back yard, but being in a tracking session, I was unaware of how serious things were. Mercifully, we had no damage at either the studio or the house. However, I was unable to get home that night. I had to stay with friends because the floodwaters cut me off from getting from the one part of town to the other. The whole experience evoked awe, a fearsome and deadly power at work in those rains. When I made a break for it the following afternoon, my heart was pounding on the drive home. I drove home on the very highway where I'd seen footage of a mobile classroom floating down I-24, and tearing apart against a tractor trailer less than 24 hours before.

4: So you two are married, parents of two young children and juggle a music career(s).

What's the best advice could you give young parents today regarding pursuing their passion for a career and still being there for their family?

Hmm that's tricky isn't it? The reality is that something always has to give. Everything costs something. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you're dealing with the truth, and the better shot you have at making it all work together. We got off the road so that we could be around the kids. However, in pursuing the dream of record production, I still had many, many late nights. This was also part of the move to Nashville. I wanted to get to a place where there was more work, and ultimately-- and we're not quite there yet; I'm still renting commercial property-- build a studio onto the house so I can be close by even on late work nights.

The transformation of becoming a parent is one that you don't really apprehend at first. It takes a while before you realize that you've changed everything in order to care for them, but you've done it, and one day you wake up and realize it. Eventually, you start correct the abdication of self that comes with the necessary sacrifices of raising kids. However, those first four or five years, those are the heavily dependent ones. After that, it starts getting easier. At least that's what we're telling ourselves. Ruby's about to turn four, I think that means they can do camping trips on their own, right? Oh man, this'll be amazing.

5: Any plans for the upcoming summer and fall seasons?

I'll be doing some house shows alone in the late summer, early fall. Other than that, we don't have a lot of plans. However, we're supposed to get together, and figure it out soon. I swear it.

6: "In The Middle Of It", Seems a little different, more moody yet more personal then some of Waterdeep's past releases.

What lead the two of you to start writing the songs for this CD?

Well, we both just sort of write songs these days. There are songs lying around all the time. A lot of times, it's a matter of choosing songs that go together rather than deciding what kind of songs will be written. That having been said, Lori was definitely on a kind of dark eighties jag, and, in my opinion, she formed the solid center of the album, while I floated more around the periphery, drifting between disco, folk, and electro-musings.

7: What's one of the funniest or weirdest things that have happened to either of you at a past concert/performance?

Once we did a concert at a Christian worship conference. The promoter who booked us invited us, and I told him, "Well, we're really not doing worship music right now. It's more just plain rock and roll." That'll be great, he assured me. Our show opened the conference; the first event of the whole weekend. Turns out the promoter never notified anyone of how great it was going to be because the crowd was confused, flummoxed by starting a worship conference with rock songs. At a pause between songs, a young man full of zeal down front started yelling, "Worship nooooow! Worship Jesus Christ noooooow!!" It was very unsettling.

Months later, we got an email from either him and/or his youth pastor (who had endorsed the idea of yelling such a thing), and they apologized, which was both sweet and honorable. However, I'd like to point out that this kind of demarcation between "worship" music, and whatever it is we're supposed to call "regular music" is problematic. You're stuck referring to this beautiful ephemera that you love so deeply as "regular music," and in certain circles, you're led to believe that God' presence and Spirit are restricted to moving only in the stuff where he's overtly named in an honorific way. It's a shame, and it collapses the sense of awe that music and even life itself ought to carry.

8: So you two met in a former band called "Hey Ruth" several years ago, and have been together ever since. Seems like a rock n roll love story still in the making.

Have either of you ever thought about writing a book about how you two met, and about being a young couple, parents and musicians?

Somebody already made a movie about it. When I saw the movie "Once" I thought, "Wow. That is exactly what it was like." Now, mind you, I was in love with Lori for years before I was able to persuade her to give me a try as a romantic sparring partner. But the musical thrills you see depicted in that movie were very familiar. Mind you, we were far worse at that age than the folks in Once, but you get the idea.

9: In your own words how different is Waterdeep from Hey Ruth in both style and vision?

Wow. Interesting question, I think Hey Ruth was a college rock band. It was a lab. It was our first experiments with style, form, sound, and performance. By the time we started Waterdeep, we had solidified a bit in terms of our vision. Waterdeep was a more cohesive effort. Also, as jammy and loose as Waterdeep was in the beginning, it was more defined than Hey Ruth. That was one of the lessons we learned in Hey Ruth. You have to arrange things. Put them where they belong. If you want to make space for improv, fine, but you need some foundations in place.

10: Well I should wrap this up, so is their any thing you would like to mention to the readers, or any "shout outs" to your friends or fellow musicians now is the time.

Lori just sang this week in Sandra McCracken's band at Sandra's album release show. Her new album, produced by her husband, Derek Webb, is pretty darn beautiful: In Feast Or Fallow. Opening up was Thad Cockerell, mostly playing songs off his relatively new album, To Be Loved, a devastating collection of new hymns that feel more like Neil Young than William Booth. Beautiful stuff.

Also, I've been watching reruns of West Wing. I love that show. I don't know why I'm mentioning this. No one on that show is a friend of ours. Although if Aaron Sorkin's reading, I'd be happy to share a cup of coffee and talk story.

11: Well Thanks again for your time, and I wish you both a great day!

Thanks. Cheers

Don Chaffer

Don and Lori Chaffer of WaterDeep
Don and Lori Chaffer of WaterDeep



To Chase Away the Birds (1995)

Sink or Swim (1997)

Enter the Worship Circle (with 100 Portraits)(1998)

Live at the New Earth (1998)

Dogpaddle (1998)-made for fan club

Everyone's Little CD (1998)-Made for "Everyone's Festival"-One pressing only

Everyone's Beautiful (1999)-Squint Entertainment

Waterdeep Worship: You Are So Good to Me (2000)-Squint Entertainment

Whole other Deal (2002)

Live 3.26.03-Muncie, Indiana (2003)

Heart Attack Time Machine (2007)

Pink & Blue (2008)

In The Middle Of It (2009)

Side Projects

Old Stuff-Hey Ruth (a collection of Don and Lori's early solo work and from their early band "Hey Ruth" from 1991–1993)

You Were at the Time for Love-Don Chaffer (1994)

You Remain-Christena Graves (1998)

What You Don't Know-Don Chaffer (2002)

1Beginning-Lori Chaffer (2003)

Songs from the Voice Vol. 1: Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song (2006) (A compilation album produced by Don Chaffer with performances by Don and Lori and others. Released with The Voice project by Nelson Publishing.)

Songs from the Voice Vol. 2: Son of the Most High (2006)

The Khrusty Brothers (2007)


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