John Parks from Legendary Rock Interviews spoke with singer Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA) recently about a number of topics. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
LRI: Were you guys all taken aback by what happened with ‘Christmas Eve Sarajevo’ which eventually paved the way for Trans Siberian Orchestra?
Stevens: “Yeah, we were taken aback because we had this rock record, this Savatage record and all of a sudden these two DJ’s, one in Tampa and another guy in New York City got ahold of that song and said “This is a major hit” and just leapt on it and played it. TSO was pretty much born at that point in 1997. That’s what I think about when I think about 1997 for sure. It really created a strange situation because the rest of the album is such hard rock and metal stuff that you really aren’t prepared to have a follow up single for something like that. It really just BECAME this massive Christmas hit and at that point Paul said “Hey, we can make a spinoff and form this Trans Siberian Orchestra and really be prepared in case something like this happens again and we can re-release something every year and be ready. All that good business stuff was very well-considered as you can see from TSO’s 13 year history it really has paid off and worked great which we have all gotten to enjoy and are thankful for. At the time that song took off though it was VERY strange because we were all just looking at each other like “What next single? (laughs)”. It was very unexpected and very weird and to be honest I still think it’s even stranger that hardly any of the majority of TSO fans realize that the Sarajevo song was initially released on a Savatage album that came out in 1996.”
Stevens: “Yeah, definitely John. People have been obviously asking me that question for a long time and the guys in the band know my stance on that. I am always in favor of SAVATAGE doing any type of project. I would love to do it again just for all the memories and to be able to look across the stage and see the guys again. It would be unbelievable after all these years and of course the fans would just love it. I don’t know how much of a chance there is of that happening because I don’t know all of that inside business and the talk of how that’s going as much as Paul or Jon do.”
LRI: Chris Caffery has told me that despite the success of TSO he misses Savatage
Stevens: “I know, as do I. We talked about it about a short while ago on the phone and it’s funny (laughs)…….It seems to me that every time we play a show as TSO it makes it that Savatage is a little bit further and further from going away completely so it’s actually working the opposite as some people might believe (laughs). The funny thing is I would LOVE to do it, they can depend on me for that, hopefully something like that could work out someday like you said, even if it were for a few little things it would be a lot of fun. There is not a question whatsoever about whether I would do it and they know that. It would only take ONE phone call and I’m in.”
Read the entire interview here.