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CHRIS CAFFERY Pays Tribute To Guitar Tech KYLE SABEL – “Far Beyond My Guitars And That Stage He Was My Friend, Truly My Brother”

Guitarist Chris Caffery (Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) has posted a tribute on Facebook to his long time guitar tech Kyle Sabel, who recently passed away.

“For 16 years I had the privilege of having the most bad ass guitar tech on the planet. Not only was he my tech he was my friend. Truly my brother. I spent the last 16 Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years with Kyle. While most other people were home with their families, we were together somewhere in the world in some hotel being each other’s family. Kyle was the guy everyone turned to when life at home wasn’t the rosiest or life’s problems caught up with you. He made the days on and days off a lot easier just by always being able to make us smile and laugh. Many times when he was crying inside.Many people knew and loved Kyle. He was one of the funniest and nicest people I had ever known. He was what we always considered a great road guy. Meaning he did his job well but he also always made people smile. Made people who were away from home at the holidays feel like they were home. I did over 1000 shows with him as my tech and I think maybe something went wrong w my rig 3 times. And it was never his fault! I may have been out of tune less times than fingers on one hand.

Every single guitar I had built for me it would be a constant text communication about specs, colors, pickups…then what straps would I use and what guitars do we leave home this tour. There were a couple guitars that he was like. ‘When we retire that’s mine…’ Playing those will have a new meaning from now on!

Far beyond my guitars and that stage he was my friend. We laughed and cried together for almost two decades. We mourned the loss of our friends, band mates and families together. We never once so much as even had a single argument.

Other than my own mother, Jon Oliva, Igor, Jeff Plate and my own brother I have not spent more time with any single individual in my life. It’s really hard to express exactly what I’m feeling right now but there will definitely be a huge void in many people’s lives with Kyle gone away with the Angels.”

Read the complete tribute to Kyle here.

2019 Winter Tour Dates ARE HERE

2019 Winter Tour Dates

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA (TSO), the multi-platinum, critically-acclaimed progressive rock group, today announced its highly anticipated winter tour 2019. Returning with all-new staging and effects is the unforgettable show that started it all, “Christmas Eve And Other Stories”. TSO‘s show that started small, performed to 12,000 people in five cities in 1999, which then exploded on to the national scene, eventually playing to nine million fans over the course of an incredible 12 years (through 2011), the mega-hit “Christmas Eve And Other Stories” has grossed an incredible $377 million over 1224 performances.

A product of the vision and imagination of TSO‘s late founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill, “Christmas Eve And Other Stories” began the unique format O’Neill called “Rock Theater” and forged a deep connection with their fans that it turned into the wildly successful tour, cementing the group’s status as a must-see, multi-generational, holiday tradition and kick-started the trend of Yuletide season tours. This year’s multi-sensory extravaganza is set to begin on November 13 and will visit 66 cities for 109 performances across North America before concluding on December 30 (see full itinerary below and online).

Starting today, August 19, the winter tour 2019 will begin its “12 Days of TSO Verified Fan Registration” where all fans can sign up at tso.tmverifiedfan.com/ (powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan) for exclusive access to the best tickets for the best price before tickets go on sale to the general public. Pre-sales will begin for TSO fan club members on Tuesday, September 4 for November 13 through November 30 tour dates and on Thursday, September 5 for December 1 through December 30 tour dates. Fans who are not members of TSO‘s fan club, but have registered during the “12 Days of TSO Verified Fan Registration” will have the opportunity to participate in pres-ales on September 9 and 10. General public on sale is set to begin on September 13.

For more details on tour dates and all on sales, visit trans-siberian.com.

Tour dates:

Nov. 13 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center (4 PM, 8 PM) 
Nov. 13 – Council Bluffs, IA – Mid America Center (7:30 PM) 
Nov. 14 – Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford Premier Center (7:30 PM) 
Nov. 15 – Youngstown, OH – Covelli Center (3:30 PM, 7:30 PM)

Nov. 16 – Allentown, PA – PPL Center (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 16 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 17 – Worcester, MA – DCU Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 17 – Colorado Springs, CO – World Arena (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Nov. 20 – Raleigh, NC – PNC Arena (7:30 PM) 
Nov. 20 – Salt Lake City, UT – Vivint Smart Home Arena (3:30 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Nov. 21 – Baltimore, MD – Royal Farms Arena (7:30 PM) 
Nov. 21 – Boise, ID – Taco Bell Arena (7:30 PM) 
Nov. 22 – Wilkes Barre, PA – Mohegan Sun Arena (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 22 – Spokane, WA – Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena (8:00 PM) 
Nov. 23 – Manchester, NH – SNHU Arena (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 23 – Portland, OR – Moda Center (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 24 – Hartford, CT – XL Center (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Nov. 24 – Tacoma, WA – Tacomadome (3:30 PM) 
Nov. 26 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center at San Jose (8:00 PM) 
Nov. 27 – Toledo, OH – Huntington Center (4:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 29 – Cincinnati, OH – US Bank Arena (4:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 29 – Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Nov. 30 – Dayton, OH – Nutter Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Nov. 30 – Ontario, CA – Toyota Arena (3:30 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 01 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 01 – Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Arena (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 04 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 04 – El Paso, TX – Don Haskins Center (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 05 – Lexington, KY – Rupp Arena (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 05 – Lubbock, TX – United Supermarkets Arena (7:00 PM) 
Dec. 06 – Greenville, SC – Bon Secours Wellness Arena (4:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 06 – Wichita, KS – INTRUST Bank Arena (8:00 PM) 
Dec. 07 – Charlotte, NC – Spectrum Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 07 – Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 08 – Duluth, GA – Infinite Energy Center (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 08 – Oklahoma City, OK – Chesapeake Energy Arena (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 11 – Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 11 – Birmingham, AL – Legacy Arena at The BJCC (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 12 – Charlottesville, VA – John Paul Jones Arena (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 12 – Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 13 – Hershey, PA – Giant Center (4:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 13 – Sunrise, FL – BB&T Center (8:00 PM) 
Dec. 14 – Buffalo, NY – KeyBank Center (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 14 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 15 – Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 18 – Rochester, NY – Blue Cross Arena (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 18 – New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 19 – Albany, NY – Times Union Center (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 19 – Memphis, TN – Fedex Forum (7:30 PM) 
Dec. 20 – Uniondale, NY – NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (8:00 PM) 
Dec. 20 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center (8:00 PM) 
Dec. 21 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 21 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 22 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 23 – Washington, D.C. – Capital One Arena (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 23 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 26 – Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 26 – St Louis, MO – Enterprise Center (3:00 PM, 7:30 PM) 
Dec. 27 – Cleveland, OH – Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 27 – Milwaukee, WI – Fiserv Forum (3:30 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 28 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 28 – St Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 30 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena (3:00 PM, 8:00 PM) 
Dec. 30 – Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena (2:30 PM, 8:00 PM)

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Announces 2019 Winter Tour, 'Christmas Eve And Other Stories'

“Christmas Eve And Other Stories” is based on the triple-platinum album of the same name and follows a story by TSO‘s late founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill. In keeping with the classic line “If You Want To Arrange It, This World You Can Change It,” the story is set on Christmas Eve when a young angel is sent to Earth to bring back what is best representative of humanity. Following favorite TSO themes of “strangers helping strangers” and “the kindness of others,” “Christmas Eve And Other Stories” takes listeners all over the world to help reunite a young girl with her distraught father. The album and tour feature such fan favorites as “Ornament” and the epic “Old City Bar”, both of which have not been performed live in recent years. The rock opera also features such TSO classics as “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24”, “O’ Come All Ye Faithful”, “Good King Joy”, “Promises To Keep” and “This Christmas Day”. Additionally, the tour will enjoy a new second set containing some of TSO‘s greatest hits and fan pleasers, including “Christmas Canon”, “Wizards In Winter” and many more.

Since its historic touring debut, TSO has played nearly 2,000 winter tour shows for more than 16 million fans, with tour grosses of more than $725 million, and has sold in excess of 12 million albums and DVDs. Year after year, TSO hits the upper reaches of the domestic and worldwide tour charts. Recently in July 2019, TSO was ranked No. 6 on Pollstar‘s North American Tours Mid Year chart and No. 8 on Pollstar‘s Worldwide Tours Mid Year chart. In 2018, TSO came in at No. 16 on Pollstar‘s 2018 Top 200 Year End North American Tours and at No. 17 on Pollstar‘s 2018 Year End Worldwide Ticket Sales Top 100 Tours chart with more than 925,000 tickets sold. Additionally, in July 2019, TSO was featured in Billboard‘s Money Makers of 2018. In 2009, Pollstar ranked TSO at No. 20 on the “Top Tour(s) of the Decade” and Billboard placed TSO at No. 25 on its “Top Touring Artists of the Decade.”

Always embracing the O’Neill‘s sense of altruism, TSO remains one of rock’s most charitable bands. This year, as in years past, TSO will give at least $1 from every ticket sold to charity — to date, approximately $16 million has been donated by the group.

TSO‘s winter tour 2019 is presented by Hallmark Channel.

SAVATAGE AND TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA DISCUSS GIGANTIC COMEBACK SHOW AT WACKEN 2015

 Last night, at the Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) festival in northern Germany, Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) and Savatage wowed 80,000-plus attendees with a never-before-attempted music festival performance. They talk about their gigantic comeback show in the new video interview below:

Following a 40-minute Savatage set and a 40-minute TSO set, TSO and Savatage band members, across two of the festival’s main stages, performed a perfectly coordinated set of fan-favorites. This ambitious feat, both musically and logistically, was helmed by Paul O’Neill. Al Pitrelli led TSO on the “True Metal Stage” and Jon Oliva headed Savatage on the “Black Stage.” Beyond the unprecedented act of two bands hitting the stage at the same time, this show was also memorable as it marked progressive metal originators Savatage’s first show in over a decade, TSO’s first European festival show, as well as the only live appearances of both bands in Europe in 2015.

At 9:45 PM, Savatage, including members Oliva, Pitrelli, Johnny Lee Middleton, Chris Caffery, Jeff Plate, Zak Stevens, Bill Hudson, plus several backing musicians (including TSO’s Vitalij Kuprij), ripped through such Savatage songs as “Gutter Ballet,” “Hall of the Mountain King,” “Edge of Thorns,” “Jesus Saves” and more.

As the Savatage set came to a close, guitarist Pitrelli raced to the other stage to join TSO for a fierce performance including songs from their upcoming release Letters From The Labyrinth – “Prometheus,” “Toccata/Carpimus Noctem” from the platinum-certified Night Castle and more. For TSO’s first set, the band consisted of John O.Reilly and Jeff Plate (drums), David Z and Middleton (bass), Angus Clark and Caffery (guitars), Mee Eun Kim and Derek Wieland (keyboards), Asha Melvana and Roddy Chong (strings). Vocal duties were handled by Jeff Scott Soto, Kayla Reeves and Andrew Ross, with the group bolstered at times with dancers, background vocalists and more.

At 11 PM came the portion of the performance that left the crowd astonished: all band members took to their respective stages and began an hour-long simultaneous performance playing the same songs concurrently. They stormed through the set containing such songs as Savatage’s “Turns To Me,” a rousing version of “Believe” with a duet featuring Oliva and Robin Borneman along with TSO favorites including “A Last Illusion,” “Requiem,” “Beethoven,” and “King Rurick” from TSO’s forthcoming release. A united Trans-Siberian Orchestra featured four guitarists, four keyboard players, two drummers, two bassists, a string section, and multiple vocalists (including the addition of TSO’s Russell Allen and Savatage’s Stevens to the above). It was a sight to behold, with several generations on stage: from teenagers taking their first steps on an international rock stage to seasoned veterans who have toured the world.

Throughout the two-plus hours, along with an unprecedented sonic storm, fans were treated to an incredible pyrotechnic display estimated to have cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. As anyone on site could attest, it was an unparalleled auditory and visual experience.

Check out some fan-filmed footage below:

Rock Against Dystrophy All Star Edition 2016

Rock Against Dystrophy All Star Edition 2016

The effort to rock out to knock out MD continues as Sunday, August 21st 2016 the Rock Against Dystrophy All Star Edition 2016 benefit concert will be at The Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey.

The show will have TattooTony return to MC the event. The benefit will feature performances by:
– High Octane
– Broken Past
– a special set from New Jerseys metal legends T.T. Quick
– New Day Dawn

Headlining the night is the R.A.D. All Stars featuring:
– Mark Tornillo (T.T. Quick / Accept)
– Bobby Blitz and Derek Tailer (Overkill)
– Chris Caffery (Savatage / Trans Siberian Orchestra)
– David DiPetro (T.T. Quick)
– Bob Pantella (Monster Magnet / The Atomic Bitchwax)
– Danny Watts (BulletBoys)
– Kenny Dubman and Scott Metaxas (Prophet)

$20 Door/21 and over  Get tickets here

METAL CHURCH Taps SAVATAGE Guitarist CHRIS CAFFERY For Upcoming Tour

“XI” is available for pre-order in various exclusive bundles at this location. A limited number of the deluxe international version are available on the web site and features a bonus disc of eight extra songs. Other bundles include guitar picks, stickers, a special-edition behind-the-scenes photobook, t-shirts and even a limited number of personal phone calls from Mike Howe himself. The album is also available for pre-order on Amazon, Google Play and via iTunes. Fans that order the digital version will receive an instant download of the song “Killing Your Time” from the new album.

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, METAL CHURCH guitarist] 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 [METAL CHURCH singer] 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!”

Howe, who previously fronted METAL CHURCH from 1988 until 1994, is featured on the band’s new album, “XI”, which will be released on March 25 via Rat Pak Records. The CD was produced by Kurdt Vanderhoof and co-produced by Chris “The Wizard” Collier.

GUITAR GIVEAWAY IN MOTION

 

…………………………………………………………………………….

Ok…people want to know what the contest is…

It’s a lyric video contest for my song “Why?”

My fav video you win a guitar!!!

Are you ready?

(More details posted tomorrow)

In the mean time below are the lyrics:

………………………………………………………………..


“W H Y”

(Lyrics)

HOW CAN WE PRAY WHEN THE HANDS ARE TIED

HOW CAN WE READ WHEN THEY ALL HAVE LIED

WHERE CAN YOU LOOK WHEN YOU CANNOT SEE

WHY MUST WE HATE THROUGH ETERNITY

I DONT SEE COLOR

I DONT SEE RACE

I ONLY SEE THE DEVIL WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE

IS IT HEAVEN OR HELL

CAN YOU REALLY ESCAPE WHEN YOU’RE UNDER A SPELL

 

WE HAVE LIVED AND FOUGHT

2000 YEARS

TOO MANY LIVES END IN FEAR

I HEAR NO PEACE AND I START TO CRY

WHY WHY WHY

WHERE CAN YOU TURN WHEN THERE ARE NO TURNS

WHERE CAN YOU LOOK WHEN THE BOOK IS BURNED

WHY DO WE FIGHT WHEN THE RIGHT IS WRONG

HOW CAN WE SING AN INFERNAL SONG

 

I DONT SEE COLOR

I DONT SEE RACE

I ONLY SEE THE DEVIL WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE

IS IT HEAVEN OR HELL

CAN YOU REALLY ESCAPE WHEN HES CASTING A SPELL

WE HAVE LIVED AND FOUGHT

2000 YEARS

A BILLION LIVES END IN FEAR

I HEAR NO PEACE AND I START TO CRY

WHY WHY WHY

I REACH INSIDE MY HEART AND SOUL

I LOOK TO THE HEAVENS TO KEEP CONTROL

WHY WHY WHY

AND WHEN IT SEEMS THAT THE END IS NEAR A NEW BEGINNING WILL APPEAR

WE HAVE LIVED AND FOUGHT

FOR 2000 YEARS

TOO MANY LIVES END IN FEAR

I HEAR NO PEACE AND I START TO CRY

I LOOK TO THE HEAVENS AND ASK WHY

I HEAR NO PEACE AS EVERYONE CRIES

WHY WHY WHY

WHY?

 

FROM BIRTH WE LEARN

THE BRIDGE IT BURNS

THROUGH TIME AND SPACE

THE HUMAN RACE

CANT GET ALONG THERES SOMETHING WRONG

PLEASE TELL ME WHY?

SAVATAGE And TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Discuss Gigantic Comeback Show At Wacken 2015

SAVATAGE And TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Discuss Gigantic Comeback Show At Wacken 2015; Video Streaming

Last night, at the Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) festival in northern Germany, Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) and Savatage wowed 80,000-plus attendees with a never-before-attempted music festival performance. They talk about their gigantic comeback show in the new video interview below:

Following a 40-minute Savatage set and a 40-minute TSO set, TSO and Savatage band members, across two of the festival’s main stages, performed a perfectly coordinated set of fan-favorites. This ambitious feat, both musically and logistically, was helmed by Paul O’Neill. Al Pitrelli led TSO on the “True Metal Stage” and Jon Oliva headed Savatage on the “Black Stage.” Beyond the unprecedented act of two bands hitting the stage at the same time, this show was also memorable as it marked progressive metal originators Savatage’s first show in over a decade, TSO’s first European festival show, as well as the only live appearances of both bands in Europe in 2015.

At 9:45 PM, Savatage, including members Oliva, Pitrelli, Johnny Lee Middleton, Chris Caffery, Jeff Plate, Zak Stevens, Bill Hudson, plus several backing musicians (including TSO’s Vitalij Kuprij), ripped through such Savatage songs as “Gutter Ballet,” “Hall of the Mountain King,” “Edge of Thorns,” “Jesus Saves” and more.

As the Savatage set came to a close, guitarist Pitrelli raced to the other stage to join TSO for a fierce performance including songs from their upcoming release Letters From The Labyrinth – “Prometheus,” “Toccata/Carpimus Noctem” from the platinum-certified Night Castle and more. For TSO’s first set, the band consisted of John O.Reilly and Jeff Plate (drums), David Z and Middleton (bass), Angus Clark and Caffery (guitars), Mee Eun Kim and Derek Wieland (keyboards), Asha Melvana and Roddy Chong (strings). Vocal duties were handled by Jeff Scott Soto, Kayla Reeves and Andrew Ross, with the group bolstered at times with dancers, background vocalists and more.

At 11 PM came the portion of the performance that left the crowd astonished: all band members took to their respective stages and began an hour-long simultaneous performance playing the same songs concurrently. They stormed through the set containing such songs as Savatage’s “Turns To Me,” a rousing version of “Believe” with a duet featuring Oliva and Robin Borneman along with TSO favorites including “A Last Illusion,” “Requiem,” “Beethoven,” and “King Rurick” from TSO’s forthcoming release. A united Trans-Siberian Orchestra featured four guitarists, four keyboard players, two drummers, two bassists, a string section, and multiple vocalists (including the addition of TSO’s Russell Allen and Savatage’s Stevens to the above). It was a sight to behold, with several generations on stage: from teenagers taking their first steps on an international rock stage to seasoned veterans who have toured the world.

Throughout the two-plus hours, along with an unprecedented sonic storm, fans were treated to an incredible pyrotechnic display estimated to have cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. As anyone on site could attest, it was an unparalleled auditory and visual experience.

Check out some fan-filmed footage below:

Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery talks about the Oliva brothers, the power of Sava and his solo work

Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery talks about the Oliva brothers, the power of Sava and his solo work

Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery talks about the Oliva brothers, the power of Sava and his solo work

 
Chris Caffery can burn your face off in multiple ways.  He made his mark with his guitar skills in SAVATAGE, got a pretty well known and high profile gig touring the world as a guitarist for THE most popular Holiday-themed live concert extravaganza ever and has also managed to shred it up on numerous solo albums and side projects.  Now the high energy Mr. Caffery is getting attention for his brand new custom hot sauce TEARS OF THE SUN which is getting phenomenal reviews of its’ own.  We talked to Chris about the magic of Savatage and music in general as well as his latest adventure.  Read on…..

Q:  Savatage shot the video for “When the Crowds Are Gone” here in my area here in Rockford, Illinois.  It’s been a while but what do you remember about that shoot?

A:  Wow…yeah that’s been a while!  I absolutely have memories of it though, that was a pretty long video shoot.  We shot there in Rockford and we also used some footage from a Savatage show we did in New York City from Club L’Amour in Brooklyn.  So, in actuality that video took about four days.  I remember the Coronado Theater there in Rockford because it was a little run down and perfect for the theme of the song.  We just played there recently with T.S.O.  and that place was just amazing and newly renovated.

 

Q:  You got started playing guitar at a pretty young age, not just practicing but ACTUALLY RECORDING and playing out.  After all this time do you still have the same passion towards the instrument when you pick it up or is it impossible to capture that feeling?

A:  I still get the same kind of buzz when I pick up the electric guitar.  There’s a lot of things about the business that I know now that I didn’t know then.  You’re a little more bright eyed and optimistic about EVERYTHING when you are at that age.   I do love traveling and I love the music and that’s something that hasn’t really changed but as you get older you get a little more tired.   You get time away from home and you start to miss your animals and your family.  It seems like the days go faster, time seems to move faster when you get older.  I think its because when you’re younger you’re just so reckless and not paying attention.  I think that’s the biggest difference for me personally is that I really appreciate that time before and after I go on the road, whereas in the past it seemed like all you ever focused on was getting out there and playing and you were just at home waiting.

Q:  You were in a band that had a bit of success called HEAVEN.  They were managed by David Krebs (Aerosmith, Angel) and Paul O’Neill (Savatage, TSO).  What were those years like?  

A:  Paul also produced us.  Paul was my very first producer, I basically met him when I was seventeen!  David managed so many bands and they had a video on MTV and a big tour and all that.  There was something cool about just being a teenager and being in a signed band.  It was pretty cool for me, I got to go on an airplane for the first time.  I got to go to California and do the whole Sunset Strip thing.  It was a cool time for me for sure.  I got into the studio and recorded and got my first experience learning how Paul puts together a live show.  I remember that was crazy even back then.  We were playing clubs and theaters and getting paid but Paul just kept putting the money back into the show and the lights (laughs).

Q:  You’ve of course done interviews and talked about SAVATAGE for years now but it’s something that never really goes away.  If the story of the band was ever put into book form it would be one of the craziest, up and down, rollercoaster stories of a band in some time.  I know you’ve mentioned that the early days for you were really frustrating for the most part, did that get better as the years went on?

A: So true.  That would be one helluva book.  I think the major frustration for me came at the beginning of my first tour for “Hall of the Mountain King”.  I was a huge fan of the band and I just really wanted to be a part of what was all going on.  When I first joined the band I was hired as a side man, literally.  I wasn’t allowed to interact with the band or the audience, I was on the side of the stage or even offstage so there was a high level of frustration for me even though I was happy to be involved in the band.  As time went on in SAVATAGE of course that changed but I still had some business musically and personally with my brother.  I’ve said before, not that I wanna look back in regret, but one of the things I wished I could have done differently is to have just stayed in SAVATAGE and did what I did with my brother on the side but you just don’t see things the way you should when you’re younger.  You don’t have the best judgement or perspective.  Everytime I look at that cover for the STREETS album I realize  that the only reason I am not on it was due to my own decision.  That is one of the most frustrating things in my entire career.

Q:  How did you come to get involved with the band officially during the “Gutter Ballet” era?

A:  What happened  was I was in the studio doing a  Dirty Looks record in New York City at the same time as they were doing the Savatage album.  GUTTER BALLET was about 95 percent finished when I parted ways with Dirty Looks.  Jon (Oliva, Savatage vocalist) and Criss (Oliva, Savatage guitarist, R.I.P.) phoned me a couple of weeks after I left Dirty Looks and asked me to join Savatage officially.  Once again, the decision to not play on the GUTTER BALLET album was my own.  Criss had told me “Look, it’s pretty much finished but we can go in and open up the tracks and have you play on it if you’d like”.   Criss played a pretty similar rhythm style as I do so it’s not like it would have been that big of a deal for us to go in and add me to the album.  They had deadlines though and it was already done and they wanted to get it released so I basically said “Hey, I have no problem with it, go ahead and let’s get it out”.  I just wanted to get the record done and be a part of the band going forward, I didn‘t want them to back in and open it up JUST to have me technically be on it.  Being in the band was good enough for me at that point.  The funny thing is that I got the credit for Savatage but played ALL the basic tracks on the Dirty Looks album and got NO credit (laughs).  So, there IS a story to how all that happened and once again it was by my own choice.  To this day I will still get the occasional person who’s like “You didn’t even PLAY on that album!”  I just wanted to get out there and play and be in the band.

Q:  In that in between phase between the “Mountain King” tour and “Gutter Ballet” were you occupying yourself mainly as a session player in New York?

A:  What happened was when the “Mountain King” tour was finished the band didn’t really want a second guitar player.  I was on the outside for a while at that point and was doing some projects for Atlantic Records, Dirty Looks was one of them.  At the time that they asked me to join Savatage in February I was actually in the process of speaking with Mustaine and Ellefson about joining Megadeth.  Jeff Young was gone and they were looking to replace him but they weren’t going to be making a decision until the summer and I didn’t wanna pass up the chance to join the Savatage guys again so I went with Criss and Jon again and I was back in the band.  The only real decision I was making at that time was whether to stick it out through the spring for the Megadeth auditions which ended up going to Marty Friedman.  I was more than happy to go with Savatage for GUTTER BALLET.

Q:  I’ve often wondered what happened when Jon left the band and Zachary Stevens was brought in to sing.  Was there a power struggle between Atlantic and the Oliva brothers as far as you could see?

A:   I think Jon was at a point where he just needed to step away from things for a while in terms of fronting Savatage.  The STREETS record had come out and they had toured it but there was a lot of pressure on major label bands in those days.  Pressure about sales, image on MTV and it was not what Jon was about and that end of things was just exhausting to him.  He and Paul kept on with the partnership and kept writing, they wrote the EDGE OF THORNS album together and Jon was working on a Broadway play.  Neither Jon nor I were EVER that far away from Savatage at any given time.  Paul was always working with Jon and I was always hanging out with Criss and Jon.  Jon and I began working on the Doctor Butcher album also around that same time.  Looking back on all of us and all of those projects I think you’re right it is a pretty involved and complicated story going on.

Q:  The Doctor Butcher album has become a bit of a cult classic over the years.  Is it available officially again?

A:  Yeah, iTunes has it and it’s on my website and all the other digital mediums.  You know, that was something that Jon and I truly did at that time to blow off steam and have some fun (laughs).  He was in between Savatage and I was in between working in the band with my brother and we both just had a lot of frustration at that exact moment.  The business was going through a lot of shakeups at that point as well.  The Seattle thing had really taken over.  Atlantic was gonna take on the Butcher album but then they had to choose between us and Savatage and Savatage had the history so they went with that.  We did it all ourselves.  We wrote heavy music for fun and only for fun.  We wanted no rules, no format other than heavy and fun.  That was what we set out to do with Doctor Butcher and it was seriously done first and foremost to make ourselves happy and laugh.  I listen back to the songs and I can hear how much we enjoyed making them.  Me at that point, I was kind of tired and then a year later the incident happened where Criss Oliva was killed.  That was a really, really shocking thing and I was just numb for a long time.  Like I said John….I left SAVATAGE by my own decision and I ended up missing the last few years of one of my best friend’s life.  I was pretty down on myself and angry with myself at that point in time when the HANDFUL OF RAIN album was recorded.  We had gotten the European deal for The Doctor Butcher album and it was being dealt with around that same time. That was very therapeutic for me to let out some of that anger and for Jon too.  Just like I think it was very therapeutic for Jon to work on the HANDFUL OF RAIN album, he did so much of the work on that album, that was Jon sinking himself into that concept.  We had to cope with the loss of Criss and we really did that through writing music, the music really helped.

Q:  Didn’t your friend Ray Gillen (Badlands, Black Sabbath singer) die around the same time?

A:  They died within a month of each other.

Q:  Do you think a lot of that loss and pain also ends up getting expressed on your solo albums.

A: Oh absolutely.   A lot of emotional pain and frustration ends up on those albums.  That’s always what heavy music has done for me.  I think that’s where that music comes from.  When I was growing up,  we didn’t have a lot of money but the hard rock and metal music was always a safe place for me.   I turned to the heavy music as a release, it always did that for me.  Some of the happier, more jock-rock type bands I just didn’t appreciate, they weren’t appealing to me or my emotions.  I needed something more aggressive I picked up on that and it really help me.  It sort of pacified me through the aggression in the music and lyrics (laughs).

Q:  I can’t imagine joining one of my favorite bands and yet you’ve gotten to do that as well as make these really guitar  heavy solo albums.  Is it more satisfying to play in Savatage or to have that total creative freedom in your solo projects?

A:  There’s something magical about Savatage.  I can’t put an exact reason or word on it or say what it is but there was something about that time and the Oliva brothers.  There was just some special thing about that name or that band and being a part of the Oliva brothers as they created those tunes and lyrics with Paul.  It’s great to do your own solo projects but in a lot of ways it is a huge pain in the neck because when you’re doing solo work you are by yourself, as the name implies (laughs).   All the business, all the details, all the finance falls on you.  When you’re in a band it’s like a little ARMY, when something goes bad for one member, it’s felt by everyone and you’re all in it together, you deal with your problems together.  In Savatage we were best friends, we ALL loved our band.  I don’t even think that any of us at that time realized exactly what the band WAS, we just did what we did.  I don’t think Jon or Criss or even Paul had any notion of how legendary their music was going to become.  Twenty plus years after they’ve recorded those songs, ten years since the last Savatage album we’re still talking about this band.  There was none of that “better than” kind of attitude to the band, there was a humbleness, a HAPPINESS to us.  The band was just a bunch of goofy singers, musicians and friends and I think that’s what drew Paul O’Neill to it in the beginning, not just the incredible amount of talent that the Oliva brothers had but just the genuineness that existed inside those two.  That genuineness infused the rest of the band and the spirit and the music we were doing.  Jon’s voice and Criss’s playing is something that is really unique and special just doesn’t happen very often and Paul picked up on that and recognized that and said  “Look, we’re gonna do something with this”.  He guided the Oliva brothers and has really been Savatage’s biggest fan and best friend for all these years.  Again, like you said it HAS been a crazy story but as time goes on I realize that I was and still am a part of something that was extremely special to people.  Thousands of people and more everyday are feeling that music and appreciative of what we’ve done and that’s pretty cool to continue to be associated with.  To have been able to work on these Savatage albums and put them down in metal history and to be able to continue to tour the world and bring music to people with these guys is pretty special.

Q:  I can imagine there would be a lot of work involved in releasing your own solo album but yet you’ve done just that THREE times!  Do you still have plans to do that again or are you just wayyy too busy with all of your other projects?

A:  Yeah, I will do another one.  There’s actually been four albums total because I did two Eps before doing my first album FACES.  Then W.A.R.P.E.D., Pins and Needles and House of Insanity was the last one in 2009.   I think when I did the first one I was totally unaware of how much work it was going to be and it quickly became exhausting and overwhelming.   The cover art, the pressing, the promotion not to mention the actual recording and rehearsal for live gigs which is a little more what I expect.  I was actually thinking of doing an album this summer but I just didn’t seem to have the focus or the energy.   I think I needed a break this year.  I started writing some songs and stuff but everything just started sounding the same to me (laughs).  This spring I was kind of writing myself around and around and trying to see what my emotions were right at this moment and really the answer was TIRED.  So I decided to take this past summer off and enjoy things before the winter heats up again.  I definitely wanna do another record once I figure out what it is I wanna do (laughs).  I love all of those records probably because I tried to do so many different things on them. You mentioned PINS AND NEEDLES….I think that was one of those ones that went right over everybody’s head.  I pulled it out and listened to it the other day and that is thick.  There’s a lot of stuff on that album like the song “The Time“ where it’s like albums’ worth of riffs on that particular track.  I think there’s so much going on within some of those songs that people didn’t really catch it all when it first came out.

Q:  How much touring have you done for your solo albums?

A:  Quite a bit, when I have had time. I did a couple of European tours, a couple American tours.  We did a tour with Doro, Jon Oliva’s Pain and Ripper Owens Band here in the states which was cool, I did some of my own solo dates mixed in there.  In Europe I went out with Metal Church on a tour and also hit some festivals.  Again, it was totally fulfilling but also exhausting to take that out on the road without the support of a Savatage or TSO machine.  Everything from backstage passes to load in to interviews to sound.  It can be a grind when every little thing goes to one person rather than a band.

Q:  What was a bigger surprise in regards to the Savatage camp, the fact that the band finally had a bit of a breakthrough hit with Zach and Edge of Thorns or the fact that this whole other world opened up with the Christmas Eve song which led to even bigger things?

A:  I don’t think any of that necessarily surprised Paul.  Paul always envisions things on another level.  For instance, before we even put down the first notes on a Savatage album Paul was always thinking about the upcoming tour production.  I think that huge vision kind of gave us some perspective to work from the ground up in a weird way.  I know that sounds crazy.  To me PERSONALLY, it is all surprising, I just look at my life and my career with Paul and it is so amazing and surreal.  I think the biggest surprise for all of us is just the fact that all these years later we are still running into all these younger bands that mention us as an influence.  We all collectively hear from these musicians, some of them REALLY successful who tell us how much we mean to them, how much the SAVATAGE catalog means to them.  To me, that is one of the greatest rewards of any success we have achieved because it transcends anything you can put in numbers.  To know that you have affected people with your music and performances the same way you were influenced by the bands that you grew up on is really priceless.  We hear a lot of individual stories about how a certain element of SAVATAGE or a certain album really encouraged an artist to go down a particular path.  You can’t underestimate the power of someone telling you that you’re one of their favorite bands or that your art changed their life.  Paul wrote lyrics and stories that truly had that kind of impact and power on people and I am just honored to be a part of it to this day.   Like I said before, even the BAND members  as young rock and rollers were really not aware of the impact of what Paul was setting forth lyrically.  We still have people coming up to us crying and talking about how those songs affected them personally and changed their life.   There’s no way to put a price on any of that.

Q:  I heard KISS was a big influence on a young Chris Caffery.  Is that correct?

A:  Totally.  KISS was one of the reasons I ended up getting into any of this.  The first time I ever went out and actually bought albums with my own money was when I went out and got KISS Alive and the first Boston album.  I don’t think it’s possible to walk into a record store and hit that much of a home run!  I loved everything about KISS, I grew up listening to the Beatles and somehow it all made sense.  I loved KISS’s agression and intensity.  You look at that cover of KISS Alive and it speaks volumes about what you can expect from that music.  It wasn’t JUST the makeup, it was an attitude and the makeup conveyed that just like the songs and the personalities did.  To be able to have that heaviness and still create these timeless, magical rock and roll songs is special.  I just saw them this past summer and they were great because those songs are just classic.  They just work.

Q:  Do you think that Jon Oliva is celebrated or applauded as much as he should be for his involvement in all of the projects?

A:   I think that Jon is exactly where Jon wants to be.  Jon is making his music and doing his stuff, he knows how much people love SAVATAGE he knows how much people love what he brought to the band and how important his musical ideas are.  I think is Jon is pretty happy and comfortable with how he is regarded and he is still active and relevant musically.  He still does his own band and does Festivals and he still tours with us and is involved with everything.   He is absolutely proud of our orchestral project and has every right to be since he and Paul wrote those songs together.  They created a LOT of that material, a tremendous amount of that piano/classical feel is directly related to Jon.  There are certainly moments there that recall “When the Crowds Are Gone” or  that Freddie Mercury/John Lennon piano ballad thing Jon does so well.  That is just a part of Jon Oliva’s soul, his dad was a piano player and he would sit and watch him play in restaurants.  It sounds crazy to compare but they really have like a Lennon/Mccartney partnership and have been together as long.  They have written as many pieces or more as Lennon and McCartney did (laughs).  It’s really a magical combination with Jon’s music and Paul’s vast knowledge of pretty much everything.  You name it, politics, music, life, Paul can speak on it.  There’s not any specific formula but it seems like whatever they do just clicks.  It’s crazy to watch them work together and bounce ideas off each other and it has translated now to great success.  Jon is VERY proud of all of the accomplishments he and Paul have made outside of SAVATAGE. I will say though that Jon is one of those people who is going to be mentioned and applauded more and more as time goes on just like his brother Criss.  I personally KNOW how much people love Jon Oliva because I have spent the better part of the last 25 years with the guy.  Trust me when I say there is no lack of love or recognition for what that man has accomplished.

Q:   That new success has you busy so I’m wondering how you’ve gotten involved with Steve Seabury from HIGH RIVER SAUCES.   Is this something you can concentrate on during down time?

A:  Actually, It’s keeping me busy in a really good kind of way.  With a lot of my music projects there’s a lot of traveling involved whereas with this food project it’s something I can do and not have to travel too much.  Cooking and gardening is something I’ve always done so working on this has been kind of relaxing in a lot of ways and the response so far has been great.  The really cool thing is that I can do it myself and keep an eye on it with out too much traveling although I have done a couple of Conventions and its pretty cool.  It actually reminds me of a lot of the old school heavy metal radio conventions that used to go on with a ton of people and everyone checking out everyone else’s cool stuff and having a great time.  It’s incredible to see just how big that whole “FOODIE” world is.

Q:  Steve seems like a pretty cool guy and the sauce is available through his HIGH RIVER SAUCES company but this isn’t your typical “hey, let’s slap someone’s name on something and sell it” type thing.  This is actually your own personal pet project isn’t it?

A:  Yeah, this is my personal recipe.  Steve’s story of how he got into all this is actually pretty interesting.  He was doing all these “heavy metal food show” pilots and he had a TV show that he was going to do called “Mosh Potatoes” and he was working on his book of the same name.  I had a recipe in the book and wrote the foreword.  He was having meetings for the show and I walked into one with my friend and one of my hot sauces.  Steve tried it and it was one of the things that really got a bug into him about wanting to start a sauce company.  I’ve heard some stories of bands saying someone walked up to them with a recipe and saying “Hey, we’re gonna put your name on this and get rich” or whatever.  This is 100% my recipe and the new ones I am coming out with are all mine, it’s just always been something I have been into.  There are some similarities between this and music, you’re trying to create the perfect blend, the perfect recipe of ingredients or sounds.  You still have to put it out there and see what people think and get opinions or reviews.   You still have to do packaging, it’s really odd in some ways how MUCH it’s like the creation of a musical project and how many similarities there are in releasing it.

Q:  I’d like to try it.  Hot Sauce makes food more interesting and TEARS OF THE SUN is a perfect title.  What is gonna be different about the next few sauces you come out with?

A:  There’s a second one in particular that a lot of people who have tried it are really getting excited about.  It’s significantly hotter than TEARS but still has a lot of flavor,  we’re going to call it LOS CIEN.  I like the idea of it having a Latin name because I did the recipe using 100 Habanero peppers.  It’s like a Bar-B-Que chicken wing sauce and that should be out in the new year.  We’re also working on a TEARS OF THE SUN EXTREME which will be a red label version of the original but about 3 or 4 times hotter.

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