Posts Tagged ‘Trans-Siberian Orchestra’

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Bill Hudson – U.D.O / I Am Morbid / Trans-Siberian Orchestra ” I wrote two songs with David. Actually, me and David together have written many, many songs before this. This is like back where he left Morbid Angel. We wrote a lot of music that he wanted to be a new band, and it’s not Country. It’s not industrial. Its very death metal.”

August 25th, 2017

BILL HUDSON

Bill Hudson may not ring the bells for most of readers out there. However he has carved his talents and skills in several bands and gained the ultimate respect amongst the metal/rock musicians. The Brazilian guitarist wizard joined the U.D.O/Dirskscheinder and has been an guitarist for I Am Morbid led by the former Morbid Angel vocalist. Besides those bands he also belongs to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Therefore Metal-Rules.Com had to sit down with Bill Hudson to talk about his roles in different bands and how he feels about playing different types of metal. 

INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ARTO LEHTINEN AND MARKO SYRJALA


 

 

JOINING U.D.O.  / DIRSKSCHNEIDER

Let’s start with the obvious question, how did you end up playing with Dirkschneider or should we says U.D.O because it’s basically the same band?

As far as I know so far, it’s the same band. We’re just going by name Dirkschneider, while we do this whole Accept thing. They started obviously with Kasperi before, but that’s what I understand so far. It is the same band. The same lineup and everyone.

Did they contact you or did you do a motion about it?

It was a mixture of both. When Kasperi left, I heard from a lot of people that I know that I should contact them. I’m really good friends with Bas Maas from Doro and I know that they’re close with Doro. So I asked Bas if he knew anybody, because everybody was telling me to talk to them. The funny thing is Bas gave me Sven’s cellphone number and I just texted Sven, “Hey, Are you guys looking for a guitarist?” And we didn’t talk very much. That didn’t go very far. Then there is a person that I worked with sometimes. Her name is Kendra. She worked with U.D.O. previously. She’s also really good friend with Kasperi and she made the actual contact. She put me in touch with their management. We discussed a little bit and I don’t know. After three days talking, I was in Germany. They had concerns for the fact that I live in America and I did too. It’s working out so far. It was a mix of things. A lot of people were telling them about me. A lot of people were tell me about them.

How is your Accept history, I mean, how familiar you are with the bands past and music?

I grew up with the bands that copied Accept. Of course I knew the classics. I’ve always known the classics and I have METAL HEART, BALLS TO THE WALL and RESTLESS AND WILD. I own those albums. But I was more of like Helloween fan or the Gamma Ray, maybe because of my age. I was born in ’83. So I heard the bands that wanted be like them. It’s funny, because learning these songs. I got a lot of, oh. This is where Helloween got that from. Oh! This is where that band got this from. So with this set-list. With these songs that we were playing on this tour. I was familiar with most of them, but not all of them. They were songs that were new to me.

Did you ever see the band live with Udo on vocals?

No, no. But I saw U.D.O. in Brazil, back in like 2003. Because I’m born and raised in Brazil and I didn’t move to America until 2005. They were together already. Accept never went to Brazil with Udo. They only went with Mark Tornillo recently.U.D.O. did back in 2003. I don’t know if it’s 2003 or four, but I saw them there

Have you seen Accept with Mark Tornillo?

Yes. I saw Accept. Where did I see Accept? I saw them in Europe somewhere though. It was in… Was it Wacken? Maybe it was in Wacken even. I don’t remember?

As for the set list – it’s only Accept songs as we know, but did you have anything to say about it, I mena, were you able to pick up any/certain songs to be included on the set? 

Yeah, yeah. Basically my job was to step in where Kasperi left. So, we are doing the same songs and I’m even playing the same parts what Kasperi did before. Like for this tour, I don’t get very many solos, because he didn’t either. So everything he played, I’m playing now. Basically stepping in and finishing this part of the tour, as if Kasperi never left.

How familiar are you with the U.D.O. songs then?

I have STEELHAMMER. But no, I can’t say – now I am. Now being in the band, previously I wasn’t that familiar with those sonngs. Honestly, I used to see him because of Accept.

After these Dirkschneider tours are over and done, are there any plans to continue the band as U.D.O and put out some new material as well?

We’ve already written an album. Basically my audition to the band wasn’t really an audition. But my audition was to come to Germany and write an album there basically. We stayed in the studio a week and writing songs together as a band, which by the way I had never done that before. Like sitting with the band, okay. “Here is this riff, you try that. Let’s try.” I’ve never done that kind of thing before. It was awesome. Yeah. There is an album, where the album is almost done. Just Udo has to finish the vocals. I don’t know about the release date or anything like that. But yeah. I’ve already done some music.

And then you will have your own lead parts “Laughs”

Yeah. There we’re 50-50. Hopefully the next tour too. I don’t know how this ended up like this.

Dirkscheider will play three gigs in Finland later this year. U.D.O. usually sells approx 300 tickets per show in Finland whereas Dirkschneider shows sells much better. There’s a big difference and I think that Udo has noticed that as well. 

That’s cool. That’s what I keep hearing too. But I came in here. So as far as I know he’s all big like that.

However, you cannot continue doing that “nostalgia” tour forever. People come to see that once or maybe twice and then they want to hear something else.

Of course, but on the next tour, we’re going have a different – It  is still Accept, but completely different set-list from this. Because he’s been doing the same one for a while from what I understand. Then we have a whole different set for the next tour. We’ll see how that goes.

When the next tour will start?

September, October maybe.  It starts in Europe.

As you’re playing with several bands, how do you coordinate your schedule?

No, I don’t. It’s terrible. That thing with David Vincent and Dirkschneider was a problem, because I got both offers at the same time. And David Vincent and me had been friends since, I don’t know, for like 10 years. We’re really close and that whole I Am Morbid thing really started with a Brazilian tour that was offered to David and I’m from Brazil. So I was going to go with him and from that we ended up starting a band. But he started with that tour idea. We never said;  “Hey. Let’s do a band”. It was just an offer and then we were like, “Why don’t we do that?” I talked to Udo and David Vincent about the tour probably the same week or maybe in a span of two weeks. Then I was like, I don’t know what to do. Actually because of that, it took me a week or so to say yes to Dirkschneider. Which a lot of my friends were like; “You’re crazy. You got to go. You got to say yes”. I’m like, yeah. But I don’t want to be the guy double booking. I don’t want to be unprofessional and I already committed to these other tour. It was cool, because David Vincent was cool enough to let me out of that tour, to do this show. So I’ve done… basically I would finish I Am Morbid show – Then fly to Germany, rehearse with these guys, do Rock Hard and come back to the tour. It was pretty grueling. It was pretty grueling like six weeks. I don’t plan on doing it again either. If I’m booked, I’m booked. I’m never going to do this again.

Dirkschneider on stage

 

WORKING WITH “I AM MORBID”

As you’re the official member of Dirkschneider and U.D.O but you’re also the member of I Am Morbid. Is I Am Morbid actual band or more like a project?

I Am Morbid, it doesn’t have anything booked that I know of right now. But I think I Am Morbid, I can say that I’m an official member. But if the band wants to book the show and I’m not available. I’m not going to stop them from playing and I told David that too. Because coming up here, I have a pretty busy schedule with Dirkschneider. I told David if you want to do shows; “Do them.” Like there is a few guitar players that I recommended for him that was a fill in. But there is no dates right now. So I really don’t know what’s going on with that.

I Am Morbid is kind of relief for many fans, because they are afraid of – “What the hell David is doing now?”-  when he is doing that country and other non metal stuff.

It’s funny. Because personally I really like his country stuff. Because it’s not country, commercial country. It’s soft rock country. It’s like Johnny Cash. It’s cool. It’s not like Carrie Underwood or anything, it’s Johnny Cash. So I really like that to begin with. But a lot of fans in Russia were telling me that, my friend didn’t want to come because he thought he was going to play country. So I was like, “When did he say he was going to play country?” I love that people ended up thinking that. I know that a lot of Morbid Angel fans are also happy with the fact that we’re playing those songs, because Morbid Angel is not doing those songs anymore. They stopped playing the David Vincent material and David was like;” That’s perfect. Because these are my songs.”  It ended up working out. A lot of fans came up to us and said ; “I’m also going to see Morbid Angel, because they’re playing the other songs, Steve Tucker songs”. So I think it was good for everyone.

I remember having read somewhere there would be a chance that I Am Morbid would start working on the new music?

That’s true. I wrote two songs with David. Actually, me and David together have written many, many songs before this. This is like back where he left Morbid Angel. We wrote a lot of music that he wanted to be a new band, and it’s not Country. It’s not industrial. Its very death metal. So we’re thinking about using those songs as an album. But I mean, there is nothing official. It’s just like, he said that in an interview and people pick up on it. But we haven’t done any official work, other than these songs. But Ira and Tim, they haven’t done any work in that yet. If we’re going to do an album, we definitely want to do with everyone.

One more thing about Am I Morbid. You said that you’re a fan of the classic metal bands like Helloween. How do you adjust yourself to this kind of extreme metal thing like Morbid Angel?

I didn’t grow up with Death Metal. That’s for sure. That’s not something I grew up. That’s not something that I was familiar with. But I figured out a way, to me it is all music like my formation, my school formation is classical music. Everything is music. It’s just notes. It’s just like how many hits on the drum you have per bar? So like Helloween has been picking at a certain speed. Morbid Angel does the same thing, but faster. At the end of the day there is this musical differences and aesthetic differences. But it’s just notes and rhythms, like everything else. Now, with Morbid Angel also, I had 10 days rehearsal with the band and David Vincent was showing us every part. That guy knows every single part of his music, on bass, guitar, drums, everything. He knows every part of every instrument. So he would come out;”Okay. That part is kind of right, but not really. Try like this.” It was a lot of work, but he was unimposible. Now, I feel that any death metal song that I hear. I’m always like okay, that’s simple compared to Morbid Angel. It was different. Now, this was a lot easier. U.D.O. like… like all the U.D.O. materials that is what I had been playing. So this was much more natural for me.

Am I Morbid: Billy, David Vincent, Ira Black and Tim Yeung

 

WESTFIELD MASSACRE AND WORKING WITH IRA BLACK

Another interesting band in your career is Westfield Massacre. 

That is a band which I started with the singer. We started that band and wrote all the music on the first album. Then me and this drummer Tim Yeung left and the singer was by himself.That whole thing happened like this, the band Westfield Massacre was myself, Tim Yeung and Tommy Vext, the singer. Just the three of us and we did the album. We played a couple of shows. We found like a line-up. We played a couple of shows, but it didn’t work out for us. So me and Tim left and Tommy ended up hiring new people and Ira… and actually when Tommy asked me who I thought who should be. I’m like, in Los Angeles, Ira is the only guy that could do it. So he got Ira and another drummer, another bass player and everything. Then we left. But now Tommy left also. So Ira has the band name and an album that he didn’t play on. But they’re a new band now. It’s a complicated story. Being a musician happens like that.

How is your relationsip with Ira nowadays?

It’s cool. Ira is a great man. I love that guy. He’s one of my good friends and Ira and I live in Los Angeles. Any time there is a job for me to do that I can’t do, I get Ira in it. It’s funny. Because right now he’s in a band. Right now he owns a band I guess, called Westfield Massacre

Tommy is now helping out Five Finger Death Punch, replacing Ian Moody, every then and now.

Yeah, yeah. He’s not in the band anymore. Tommy is out. So it’s just Ira right now.

You used Ira as a replacement member, but he also sometimes needs replacement members to fill his spot in Lizzy Borden. Did Lizzy ever ask you to fill in for Ira?

I talked to Lizzy Borden a few years ago. It never worked out. Ira just staid in. But I did talk to them a few days ago.

I think he’s kind of back in the band now.

For what I understand Lizzy Borden is doing…

A new album now.

Yeah. But I don’t know if Ira is involved in that. I don’t think he’s in there. But I don’t know. I don’t want to speak for him.

Westfield Massacre in 2014

 

SAVATAGE AND TRANSSIBERIAN ORCHESTRA

What about Trans-Siberian, what is your state with that band at the moment?

Right. That thing, I know nothing about man. They don’t tell me anything. They call me when they need me. That’s the truth. It’s not just me, like everyone. Now with Paul’s death, I don’t even know what they’re thinking. I know they’re going to do a tour again. But last year I didn’t go. I did the 2015 tour. But last year they brought Joel Hoekstra back. So this year, I stayed kind of as what they call a backup musician. So I rehearsed with the band. I knew the songs and I was ready to go if they needed me. But they didn’t, last year. For this year, it’s kind of looking the same. But I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. If they call me I’ll go. I love working with those guys. If they call me, I’ll go. But I don’t know,  I really don’t know what their plans are.

Two years ago you were a part of Trans Siberian Orchestra when they did the amaning Wacken spectacle. Tell something about that unique show?

I was a cray amount of rehearsing. I remember when we moved to the Tampa Fairgrounds to do like stage rehearsal and there was sheet between us. So, we couldn’t see the other band. By the time we hit the state, we were good. I think we all kicked ass everyone. From every singer, every instrument. It was perfect. The funny thing is I don’t remember a lot of the show. I remember the preparation. I remember rehearsals. I remember being there, hanging out or whatever. But I don’t remember playing the show. There is one thing I remember, which is like when the pyro came off the first time. One of the things did alight and I got drenched in the fluid. I was like, fuck. I hope I don’t… this doesn’t set me on fire now man. That’s literary the only thing I remember. But it was great. I got a lot of opportunities in my career after that. I got calls from a bunch of bands after that. It was good. It was really good. It was crazy. That’s a show that I wish I saw from the audience. Because it must have been really cool. For us, it was just a regular show. For the people in the stage, it was like its just one stage. We did “Turns To Me” by Savatage with Russell Allen from Symphony X. But I couldn’t see him. I’m just hearing him in my ears. We had Jeff Scott Soto. We had Russell Allen. We had Zak Stevens. We had Nathan James. I think that’s it for the guy singers. It was pretty crazy. It’s crazy when your choir has Jeff Scott Soto and Russell Allen and Nathan James. Yeah. Those were like the backing singers “Laughs”

You also had that army of great looking ladies at the stage as well “Laughs”

I don’t get into that man. But it gets pretty hard to rehearse sometimes. It’s like, fuck. They’re totally co-workers. Like you can’t even look at it.

Bill and Jon Oliva on stage in Wacken

Apparently it seems that Trans-Siberian Orchesta are going to tour in the fall. That tour would be some kind of tribute to the late Paul O’Neill.        

Yeah. Maybe they are. But the last I heard is that they’re doing a tour and the tour is sort of a tribute to him. What I heard. But I haven’t been called about the tour. So I don’t know. Last year was the 20th anniversary of the first album. So that was a special year too. So we’ll see. They normally start calling around September and then they’ll…

Maybe announcing the annual Christmas tour dates.

Yeah, exactly.

Joel Hoekstra is probably going to really busy with Whitesnake because they’re doing a new Whitesnake album, so, maybe the phone will ring again?

Yeah. That’s what I would hope. It’s fucked up, because me and Joel have been friends since before TSO. When I got the job, he actually helped me. They asked him for his opinion and he said that I would be the guy. So I’m thankful to him. But last year rehearsals, it was awkward. He was like, dude. I’m your friend and I’m sorry that this happened. Like we’re fighting for the same job. But it happens. It happens in the industry and TSO is also like a character. They didn’t say, fuck you. We don’t need you anymore. Not at all. I was part of our communication and everything. So like I was still in the band, but I was not. I was basically getting paid to sit at home.

Only the time will tell how things evolve but wouldn’t it be cool to have the Trans-Siberian playing someday in Brazil?

Oh man! That would be awesome. It would be amazing and there was a promoter that was actually trying to bring it for the anniversary of my home town. But it never worked. I don’t know why. But I don’t know how you possibly do that, because they wouldn’t settle for any less of the production than what they have.

Trans Siberian is mostly touring in the North America areas only. Do you see what might be the reason for that?

For what I understand, people care more about Savatage than Trans Siberian in Europe.So always wondered why not do Savatage in Europe in the summer, TSO in winter in America. I don’t know, maybe one day they’ll do something like that.

I heard a rumour that something like that might happen in the next summer?

I keep hearing that too. I heard that too. But I didn’t hear from anybody in the band. Everything I heard so far was here in Europe from people. But nobody has told me shit. Maybe?

One more thing about TSO, does Al Pitrelli run the Trans-Siberian nowadays when Paul is gone?

I hope so.I hope that’s the guy that takes over, but I don’t know. Obviously I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about it. But he was the musical director of the band. Him and Oliva together, they run the whole thing. Like I will go to each musician and be like, you’re playing is wrong, your playing is wrong. Then at the end everybody rehearses just for Oliva. So yeah. I hope he takes over.

It’s funny how Pitrelli kind grow into that role. Because I remember him from Alice Cooper band, back in ’89 and then he had a band Widowmaker with Dee Snider and then was shortly in Megadeth. He was just a regular player, or a hired gun, but he’s done a great and succesfull career later on.

Yeah. That’s how I am now.

So, you see that you will have a great career in business as well. It’s not easy thing to do nowadays.

Yeah. But oddly enough man. Because a lot of people do ask me, “Why don’t you stick to one band?” Why don’t you do…? Because I know Al. Because All is like my mentor, so to speak. Like he took me under his wing and he started talking about me in interviews, before I was either in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I learned from him. The guy went from Megadeth to Michael Bolton, to Celine Deon. That’s a guy that plays anything. I was like, fuck. That’s what I wanted to do and always busy. If Al wasn’t so good, financially speaking with TSO, I’m sure he would be doing other things too.

Do you have plans to expand your musical career outside of metal ?

I have plans. I don’t know if they will happen. Back in Brazil I did… this is before I moved to America. I’ve done some pop albums with like Mainstream pop artist in Brazil. Then in America I’ve done some writing with a pop singer, in America. But I’ve never done anything outside of Rock and metal, that’s been like Mainstream or big or anything like that. I feel that my strengths are kind of in this genre. That’s why I get called for jobs. I would love to do all this stuff.

Gracias. If I can say in Portuguese.

Obrigado in Portuguese. Kiitos, kiitos you guys. Finland is one of my favourite countries.

Another photo of Jon and Bill on stage in Wacken 2015

 

 

BILL HUDSON ON FACEBOOK 

 

DIRKSCHNEIDER PHOSTOS FROM TUSKA FESTIVAL

 

 

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JEFF SCOTT SOTO

April 18th, 2017

JEFF SCOTT SOTO

INTERVIEW AND LIVE PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA

Jeff Scott Soto is an American rock singer who’s best known for being the lead singer for Yngwie Malmsteen, Axel Rudi Pell, the Swedish band Talisman, and Journey. During his long career, Jeff has been a part of several groups. He’s done a lot of session work and released 6 six solo albums from 1994-2012. Currently, Soto is fronting the band S.O.T.O. which has released two studio albums; INSIDE THE VERTIGO (2015) and DIVAK (2016). In March 20917, the band did two shows in Finland, which is when I had a pleasure to sit down with Jeff in Helsinki and discuss his current and past activities. Read on!  

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SAVATAGE / TSO Guitarist CHRIS CAFFERY to fill in on guitar for upcoming METAL CHURCH tour

March 3rd, 2016
Chris Caffery

Chris Caffery: Photo via Facebook

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and SAVATAGE guitarist Chris Caffery will fill in for METAL CHURCH’s Rick Van Zandt on the latter band’s upcoming U.S. tour, which commences March 24 in Portland, Maine. Rick had to go in for emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina and will be unable to join the group on the road for several weeks.

Says Caffery: “I’m really excited to announce that I will be playing guitar with the mighty METAL CHURCH on their upcoming U.S. tour. Their guitarist Rick had a serious eye condition develop that needed surgery and we all pray for his continued, speedy and successful recovery.”

He continues: “It will be a lot of fun to play with my longtime bandmate Jeff Plate and the guys.

“The first time I toured with Kurdt (Vanderhoof)  when his band VANDERHOOF was opening for SAVATAGE. Then my solo band opened for METAL CHURCH on my ‘Faces’ tour!

“All of these guys are amazing musicians.

“It’s gonna be so awesome to hear  Mike Howe every night! I watched him on the [Monsters Of Rock] cruise and was blown away at how incredible his voice is!

“If you don’t have your tickets yet…what are you waiting for! It’s time to go to CHURCH!

“Lots of work on my end in the next few weeks but I can’t wait to play this stuff live! See you soon!”

Metal Church

Metal Church

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SAVATAGE/TSO – Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery and Paul O’Neill

October 28th, 2015

tso-savatage-wacken-2015

INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA AND ARTOLEHTINEN

Savatage and Trans Siberian Orchestra literally blew the two stages away by offering a huge visual spectacle at Wacken Open Air this August. The whole show was beyond  normal human comprehension and understanding. Seeing this one of kind spectacle can’t be compared to any other show in the music industry. After gasping some air we sat down with Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery, and the mastermind of both the outfits, Paul O’Neil, to discuss the return of Savatage to Wacken and above all Trans Siberian Orchestra, whom enjoy tremendous success in North America.

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Wacken Open Air 2015

September 29th, 2015

Wacken-Open-Air-2015

Wacken being sold out is a kind of mystery, for sure. The event is somehow sold out every year, but this year’s sell out wasn’t a surprise as Savatage with Trans Siberian Orchestra and Judas Priest were headliners. Thousands and thousands of metal fans from every corner of the world arrived at Wacken to have fun and enjoy metal. Instead the weather gods didn’t show much support towards the festival and all its visitors. The hard rains literally ruined the ground and soil of the festival area. The whole Wacken village and large area of fields became the ultimate mud war field. The weekend at Wacken was one hell of a surviving camp.

Despite the tremendous problems and brutal field of mud, the people still gathered to witness the return and resurrection of Savatage and the massive show from Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Article and pics by Arto Lehtinen and Marko Syrjala

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JEFF PLATE – Metal Church, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Savatage

August 19th, 2014

Metal Church

   JEFF PLATE

INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA AND ARTO LEHTINEN

LIVE PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA

New York native Jeff Plate is a professional drummer who’s best known for his drumming for legendary metal band Savatage which went to hiatus in 2002. Plate appeared on four Savatage albums including the classic DEAD WINTER DEAD (1995) and WAKE OF MAGELLAN (1997). Plate’s currently plays with Trans-Siberian Orchestra which was formed in 1993. The band is highly successful and they’re annually playing sold out Xmas tours mainly across the USA. The band mostly consists of current and former members of Savatage including the bands co-founder and main composer Jon Oliva. Plate is also a member classic metal band Metal Church. He first joined that band in 2006 and stayed until they disbanded in 2009. Only three years later the band was back and in 2013 they released GENERATION NOTHING, which was their first studio album in five years. Metal Church made their first ever performance in Finland in June 2014 when they arrived to the Tuska Festival in Helsinki. There we had the chance to sit down with Jeff and discuss Metal Church, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and of course, Savatage.

EDIT: After this interview was arranged, Savatage officially announced that they will do their long-awaited re-union show next year at the Wacken Open Air Festival. See ya there!

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OLIVA: “Raise The Curtain” – the first ever solo album of SAVATAGE mastermind Jon Oliva!

May 20th, 2013

Oliva_Cover_2013

More than thirty years after the start of his career with Savatage, and successive projects/bands like  Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Jon Oliva’s Pain, now legendary songwriter und performer Jon Oliva releases his first ever solo album, titled „Raise The Curtain”.

On  June 21st (USA: July 2nd) the master’s new piece of work will be available as CD Digipak (first edition) and 2-vinyl (gatefold, limited to 800 copies worldwide).

The album will be released simply under the banner „OLIVA“ and you can expect a mixture of Jon Oliva’s early influences and the material he wrote and recorded throughout his whole artistic career.

Tracklisting:
01. Raise The Curtain
02. Soul Chaser
03. Ten Years
04. Father Time
05. I Know
06. Big Brother
07. Armageddon
08. Soldier
09. Stalker
10. The Witch
11. Can’t Get Away
12. The Truth (Bonus Track)

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CHRIS CAFFERY – Plans To Record A New Solo CD

December 26th, 2012

CHRIS CAFFERY (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, SAVATAGE) has issued the following update:

“Well, the Christmas Story marathon has ended…the TSO marathon continues!!! Hard to believe it was 1999 when we first played here in Cleveland. Such an amazing ride so far! I remember the first post Christmas show we ever did was December 26 in Cleveland a couple years later! We had already played like 4 shows here and the demand was so huge we came back after Christmas as well! I remember sitting in my hotel room that night with Daryl Pediford. We were laughing, saying some silly jokes about something we only understood. I remember him talking about the ghosts. He said there were ghosts there. As I travel around and look back at the friends I have lost who I have worked with in this business I know for sure the ghosts are here. I feel them at different times. Onstage and offstage. Daryl, Criss, Ray Gillen…the list goes on. Amazing musicians and friends who are no longer with me this Christmas but are always there in spirit. Thank you so much for these past 25 years. That was the first time I played a December 26th show…my first show with Savatage on the Mountain King Tour in Providence. Since then I have traveled about 1/2 million miles, played for close to ten million people. I have truly been blessed. I know I am not a perfect person. But I always try to learn from my experiences and hope to leave each day making people smile. Every day I take a look here and see the thousands of you that stop by to say hi it makes me smile. Thank you for being my friends! I look forward to next year…I am planning on recording a new solo CD, it really seems to be what everyone is asking me to do when I see them on this tour. Savatage? I still am as hopeful as you guys, but you know how that one goes!!! TSO…studio and more touring of course…what and when? Always a mystery like the man behind TSO itself! That’s what makes it magical! This journey is never written in stone. As long as Paul is at the wheel I know it will be an amazing adventure! I, like you, can’t wait to see what comes up! But I am blessed to be a part of it and blessed to have your friendship and support! I am going to go walk and look at Christmas lights! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!”

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ZAK STEVENS – “I Am Always In Favor Of SAVATAGE Doing Any Type Of Project”

January 15th, 2012

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.”

LRI: I have to ask. With the entire catalog being remastered and the DVD/hits package out what would you say to putting Savatage back together for another album or at least some special show dates?

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.

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Trans Siberian Orchestra: tour start in Zürich

March 18th, 2011
Trans Siberian Orchestra

Trans Siberian Orchestra

Yesterday, Trans-Siberian Orchestra marked the first concert of their “Beethoven’s Last Night” European tour with a stirring performance in front of a 4,000 person Swiss audience.

After the concert was over you could still see the light-show shimmering in the eyes of the audience as the normally reserved Swiss pronounced the evening as “stunning”, “a performance without comparison” and remarked that “you would have to watch 10 shows to notice every single nuance!”
After this impressive two and a half hour live performance, the band and mastermind Paul O’Neill, released the swiss audience as they prepared to make their way to Germany for their next show.
Further tourdates are:

17.3. München
18.3. Wien
19.3. Stuttgart
20.3. Mainz
22.3. Berlin
23.3. Hamburg
24.3. Düsseldorf

Trans Siberian Orchestra

Trans Siberian Orchestra

 

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TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – The Birth Of Rock Theater Airing On PBS

March 12th, 2011
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA has issued the following update:

 

While the band is getting ready to kick off the Beethoven’s Last Night 2011 World Tour with eleven shows across Europe, there’s also a lot going on to prepare for the US and Canada tour. Recently PBS stations across the country have begun airing TSO’s exciting new TV special, The Birth of Rock Theater, which features never before seen live footage. This special captures the excitement of TSO’s legendary concerts as well as interviews with Paul O’Neill as he talks about the past, present and future of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

 

Click here for a list of stations and air times.

 

TSO have also added some matinee shows for selected cities, so check the tour dates for more details.

 

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TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA – Beethoven’s Last Night Tour

January 29th, 2011
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night

This spring, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA will embark on their 2011 Beethoven’s Last Night Tour. Although the routing is primarily in Europe and The United States, TSO has added a second Canadian date to their live itinerary – May 19th in Rama, ON at Casino Rama. The complete schedule is below.

So begins TSO’s live performance of “Beethoven’s Last Night” in its entirety. Come experience the tale of Beethoven’s last night on earth. Combining what happened with what might have happened, the story revolves around the tough choice that the composer must make with what will be his life’s legacy.

March

16 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hallenstadion

17 – Munchen, Germany – Zenith

18 – A-Wein, Austria – Stadhalle

19 – Stuttgart, Germany – Scleyerhalle

20 – Mainz, Germany – Phoenixhalle

22 – Berlin, Germany – Tempdrome

23 – Hamburg, Germany – CCH2

24 – Dusseldorf, Germany – Philliphalle

25 – Antwerp, Belgium – Staddsschouwburg

26 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Heineken Music Hall

28 – London, England – Hammersmith Apollo

April

2 – Battle Creek, MI – Kellog Arena

3 – Windsor, ON – Caesars Windsors Coliseum

5 – Akron, OH – EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall

6 – Erie, PA – Tulio Arena

7 – Reading, PA – Reading Eagle Theatre / Sovereign Center

8 – Syracuse, NY – On Center

9 – Atlantic City, NJ – Ceasars Circus Maximus

10 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun

13 – Louisville, KY – Palace Theater

14 – Wheeling, WV – Westbanco

15 – Baltimore, MD – 1st Mariner

16 – Hampton, VA – Hampton Coliseum

17 – Asheville, NC – Asheville Civic Center

19 – Chatanooga, TN – Memorial

20 – Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Coliseum

21 – North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Coliseum

22 – Tallahassee, FL – Leon County Civic Center

23 – Lakeland, FL – Lakeland Civic Center

24 – Estero, FL – Germain Arena

27 – Pensacola, FL – Pensacola Civic Center

28 – Biloxi, MS – Mississippi Coast Coliseum

29 – Huntsville, AL – Von Braun Center -Concert Hall

30 – Jackson, MS – Mississippi Coliseum

May

1 – Beaumont, TX – Bueamont Civic

4 – Albuquerque, NM – Santa Ana Star Center

5 – El Paso, TX – County Coliseum

6 – Amarillo, TX – Civic Center

8 – Corpus Christi, TX – Selena Auditorium

11 – Evansville, IN – The Center

12 – Cape Girardeau, MO – Show Me Center

13 – Moline, IL – iWireless Center

14 – Prior Lake, MN – Mystic Lake Casino – Showroom

15 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center

17 – Rockford, IL – Coranado Theater

19 – Rama, ON – Casino Rama

20 – Binghamton, NY – Broome County Arena

21 – Poughkeepsie NY – Mid-Hudson Civic Center

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Machines Of Grace – Guitarist Matt Leff

December 22nd, 2010

 

Machines Of Grace – Guitarist Matt Leff

Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall


Thanks to Jan Rosenberg at CMM Marketing for the help to get this interview done.

Thanks to CMM Marketing for the promo pictures of the band.

MattLeff_2.jpg

 

 

Here is an interview I did with guitarist Matt Leff in the new band Machines Of Grace. The well known Zak Stevens (ex- Savatage, Circle2Circle) and Jeff Plate (Trans Sibiran Orchestra, ex- Savatage, Metal Church) are two of the members of this new group. Leff  and I talked about the band and their debut album amongst other things including the impact that Ronnie James Dio had on Matt Leff and the band. Machines Of Grace plays hardrock and even though their album has been out for about a year now I thought it was time for the band to be featured in metal-rules.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

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TESTAMENT Guitarist Alex Skolnick Leaves TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA

August 11th, 2010

TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick has checked in with the following update:

“It’s been nearly ten years since my first TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA winter tour. Each year it’s been an incredible experience, traveling from arena to arena being an important part of the largest symphonic rock production in history. This year, however, I’ve decided to make the difficult decision of stepping out of the spotlight (and lasers, fog, fire and snow) and embarking upon new adventures.

The reasons for this are twofold.

As one might imagine, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra winter tour is a demanding one — with long days and an action-packed show that calls for no less than 200% of yourself, often twice a day from the mid-October rehearsals to the final show in January.

While the awesome response from fans and the collaboration with fellow performers make it beyond worth it, there comes a point, after so many years of annual grueling intensity, for some of us to draw upon that quarter of a year’s worth of time and energy in order to launch a renewed focus on our own visions.

In my case, this process begins with the release of a brand new (ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO) album to be followed by heavy touring, including winter dates in support of RODRIGO Y GABRIELA.

There are many other endeavors in the works, the information of which will be continually updated online at AlexSkolnick.com. Furthermore, as someone who has been on tour with multiple projects and running on all cylinders during the entire calendar year since 2006, reclaiming this three-month period will open up the option to take breaks once in a while, remember what home looks like, lessen the constant separation from friends and loved ones and recharge my own batteries as needed.

Of course, I’ll miss doing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour. The stage time, friendships and overall experience has

I’m grateful to Paul O’Neil and Nightcastle Management for the opportunity, to all the musicians and singers for the good times and to all the fans for the unyielding support; you guys are the best! I look forward to seeing many of you out there in different configurations.”

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra Announce Winter 2010 tour Dates

August 9th, 2010

To All Our Friends,

The Winter Tour stage is being built as we speak and the entire band is counting the days till we get to fire up the new show. As always we are determined to take the show to another level. Can’t wait to see you on the road.

Sincerely From New York City (Nocturnal Division),

Paul O’Neill & Everyone in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Click here to visit Trans-Siberian Express, TSO’s Fan Club community site, for the latest updates and access to this year’s exclusive Winter Tour pre-sale.

(All dates and venues are subject to change).

Check out the dates here: http://www.tsotickets.com/

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