TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Founder Paul O'Neill: “There Are Some Future SAVATAGE Projects; Best-Of Compilation, Re-Release Of Poets And Madmen, Possibly A New Record

December 24, 2009, 6 years ago

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In a December 17th interview with News, Paul O’Neill, founder of the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, gave an update on the future of Savatage which includes a Broadway musical for the album Gutter Ballet.

One of the blessings of the season for Trans-Siberian Orchestra founder Paul O'Neill may be the fact that he doesn't have to answer questions about when the group's new album, Night Castle, is coming out. The double album, which has been promised for at least five years, hit shelves on October 27 and has already gone gold.

"When (GUNS N' ROSES' long-awaited album) Chinese Democracy came out, we kind of lost our cover," O'Neill joked. "Luckily our fans have been very patient, and the album's selling better than we could have ever imagined.

Night Castle was originally intended to be a stand-alone 10-song record with no theme, but TSO co-founder and Savatage frontman Jon Oliva convinced O'Neill that it had to be more.

"Jon told me that TSO is not like any other band, and fans expect a story," O'Neill said. "It's a little bit of role reversal because when we were working on Savatage, I was always the one wanting to do a concept record. The first half of the record is the 'Night Castle' story, and the second half pays homage to our past and looks forward to the future."

Savatage fans will find a couple of treats here as a reworking of 'Prelude To Madness', the band's take on Grieg's 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King', shows up as 'The Mountain', and the second disc features a cover of 'Believe' from the Streets album.

The latter is a preview of a Broadway musical called Gutter Ballet (also the name of the second record O'Neill did with Savatage) that O'Neill and Oliva hope to get to the stage in the next two years. It's the culmination of a work that O'Neill began in the 1970s. Many of the songs have already had rock versions recorded by Savatage, but will return to their roots for the Broadway show.

"We want to take it back to the original blues, gospel, Motown sound," he said. "For Savatage, you've got to metal it up. Jon and I are kind of psyched to be doing it because Broadway is something we've always wanted to take on."

The second disc also includes a cover of EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER's 'Nutrocker' that features Greg Lake on bass. It's a song that obviously had a profound influence on O'Neill and TSO, who are known for blending rock and classical for Christmas.

Now, it's a sold-out holiday tour with two companies that keeps growing and keeps O'Neill going non-stop from October through January. There's still plenty to keep O'Neill occupied after the holidays, too. There are currently plans for a spring tour to focus on the band's two non-Christmas albums, Beethoven's Last Night and Night Castle. Work continues on the Broadway show. There are some Savatage projects in the offering, including a best-of compilation, a re-release of the band's last record Poets And Madmen on Atlantic, and possibly a new album. And then, there are, of course, those future Trans-Siberian Orchestra records. O'Neill's not ready to make any predictions on those yet, though.

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