Author Topic: The Savatage Thread  (Read 35459 times)

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Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2011, 09:15:45 PM »
The guitar solo in Ghost in the Ruins is one of the greatest guitar solos ever.

Always loved this one.  Great expression from Criss on this one.

Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2011, 09:51:37 PM »
I absolutely love this band.  Every album from Hall of the Mountain King onward are musical masterpieces, each with it's own unique style.  Streets is easily my favorite album by them, and Savatage in general are the only band able to consistently make quality concept albums one after another, each with the artistic merit to seriously give Operation Mindcrime a run for it's money.  It really is a great injustice that this band is not considered to be as quintessential to prog metal as Queensryche, Fates Warning, Dream Theater and Symphony X (I have even heard young punks at the metal archives claim that Savatage isn't really prog, WTF?!?!).  The only relatively adequate reason I could think of to explain why there is such an inherent lack of respect for this amazing band in the progmetal community is that the whole "Broadway metal" thing was so far left of the field that any other prog metal bands were on in the late 80's/early 90's that Savatage never really fit in, even in a genre that supposedly encouraged eclecticism and experimentation of the metal genre.  I guess the commercial success of TSO, and the way TSO basically evolved into the next phase of Savatage to the point where they didn't even feel the need to release actual Savatage albums anymore didn't help to endear them to the prog community either.   Damn shame too, since I cannot think of a band with a longer string of amazing albums then Savatage.  Oh well, at least the 'Tage got the last laugh with all those gold/platinum/2x platinum TSO records  :P
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 09:59:57 PM by The Dark Master »

Offline dongringo

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2011, 10:01:21 PM »
I still hold out hope that one day they will all reunite with Jon and release just one more killer album.

EDIT: Listening to Streets and thinking about how I still think about that concert often and the power and intensity of it, Jon hacking up a lung and spitting all over the stage, not missing a note. The fact that I still think of it like it was yesterday when other concerts from the early 90s have practically faded from memory just illustrates how amazing a live band they were.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 10:13:48 PM by dongringo »
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Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2011, 10:16:20 PM »
I still hold out hope that one day they will all reunite with Jon and release just one more killer album.

Well they technically never broke up; they  just reached the point where they realized that the TSO name was more marketable then Savatage.  Jon actually explained it all in an interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icCmUjQTny8  It make sense really; if you listen to the non-christmas TSO albums, there is very little difference between an album like TSO's Beethoven's Last Night and Savatage's Dead Winter Dead.  It was purely a marketing decision, but the whole band is still there in TSO, including their whole studio team with Paul O'Neill and Bob Kinkel.  Hell, even the guy who does the artwork for the TSO records is the same guy who did the last few Sava albums.  Just image BLN or Night Castle with just Zak and Jon singing and it's pretty obvious that TSO was the logical end product of Savatage.

Of course, I would be lying if I said I wouldn't kill for a new Sava album.  I loved the sound of Poets and Madmen (like TSO being really pissed off and getting back to their metal roots with Jon Oliva singing all the parts).  And I definitely think TSO should play old Sava classics more often (although they have been doing this recently)  And of course TSO is done with the christmas albums and are going to be focusing on rock operas, including a sort of remake/sequel to Gutter Ballet and Streets.  But there is nothing that would make me happier then Oliva/Stevens/Caffery/Pitrelli/Middleton/Plate/O'Neill/Kinkel doing another 'Tage record.  If they ever finally decide to do it, I have no doubt it would be the most epic Broadway-Metal rock opera ever written  :metal :metal :metal :metal :metal

Offline dongringo

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2011, 10:23:59 PM »
I still hold out hope that one day they will all reunite with Jon and release just one more killer album.

Well they technically never broke up; they  just reached the point where they realized that the TSO name was more marketable then Savatage.  Jon actually explained it all in an interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icCmUjQTny8  It make sense really; if you listen to the non-christmas TSO albums, there is very little difference between an album like TSO's Beethoven's Last Night and Savatage's Dead Winter Dead.  It was purely a marketing decision, but the whole band is still there in TSO, including their whole studio team with Paul O'Neill and Bob Kinkel.  Hell, even the guy who does the artwork for the TSO records is the same guy who did the last few Sava albums.  Just image BLN or Night Castle with just Zak and Jon singing and it's pretty obvious that TSO was the logical end product of Savatage.

Of course, I would be lying if I said I wouldn't kill for a new Sava album.  I loved the sound of Poets and Madmen (like TSO being really pissed off and getting back to their metal roots with Jon Oliva singing all the parts).  And I definitely think TSO should play old Sava classics more often (although they have been doing this recently)  And of course TSO is done with the christmas albums and are going to be focusing on rock operas, including a sort of remake/sequel to Gutter Ballet and Streets.  But there is nothing that would make me happier then Oliva/Stevens/Caffery/Pitrelli/Middleton/Plate/O'Neill/Kinkel doing another 'Tage record.  If they ever finally decide to do it, I have no doubt it would be the most epic Broadway-Metal rock opera ever written  :metal :metal :metal :metal :metal

^ Pretty much what I meant. No matter, TSO just isn't the same...the Christmas thing and all...
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Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2011, 10:26:45 PM »
Well, as I said, the non-chistmas albums are basically 'Tage, and they are done with the christmas albums anyways.  But yea, especially without Jon and Zack up there, it just isn't the same.....

Offline dongringo

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2011, 10:38:19 PM »
Well, as I said, the non-chistmas albums are basically 'Tage, and they are done with the christmas albums anyways.  But yea, especially without Jon and Zack up there, it just isn't the same.....

I know what your sayin. Just need Jon or Zack back, especially Jon. I guess I'm just reminiscing for the classic stuff. A 'reunion' if you will.
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Offline CrimsonE

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2011, 01:20:59 PM »
IMO, the best of the underrated gems out there, especially in the late 80's and early 90's.  Criss Oliva was a spectacular guitarist that deserved to be acclaimed on the level of Randy Rhoads or Zack Wylde, but since the band never got that much mainstream attention, too few people will get to hear his brilliance.  Ghost in the Ruins ranks as one of my favorite guitar solos of all time, and perhaps my favorite. 

Even their mid to late 90's stuff was pretty solid, with Dead Winter Dead being a great album.  But it is clear that the "metal" had given way to a more prog sound, which works in and of itself, but isn't quite the same as it was with Criss.

I'm hoping that we'll see a reunion of the 90's lineup. even if it is for just one tour.  But given Jon Oliva's comments (who at times gets pissy about it), I'd say that is pretty unlikely at this time.   
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Offline Gadough

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2011, 05:57:23 PM »
I know I really should branch out and listen to more than just Streets, but I just can't stop listening to this album. I've heard bits and pieces of stuff off of Gutter Ballet, HotMK, Edge of Thorns, and Dead Winter Dead (all of which I loved), but for some reason Streets is just so perfect that I don't feel like I need any more yet. At the same time though, I feel like I'm missing out on some great stuff, which I'm sure is true.

TSO on the other hand, I've been listening to nonstop the past few days, and I can't get enough of them.
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Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2011, 07:13:27 PM »
IMO, the best of the underrated gems out there, especially in the late 80's and early 90's.  Criss Oliva was a spectacular guitarist that deserved to be acclaimed on the level of Randy Rhoads or Zack Wylde, but since the band never got that much mainstream attention, too few people will get to hear his brilliance.  

This is 100% correct.


I know I really should branch out and listen to more than just Streets, but I just can't stop listening to this album. I've heard bits and pieces of stuff off of Gutter Ballet, HotMK, Edge of Thorns, and Dead Winter Dead (all of which I loved), but for some reason Streets is just so perfect that I don't feel like I need any more yet. At the same time though, I feel like I'm missing out on some great stuff, which I'm sure is true.

TSO on the other hand, I've been listening to nonstop the past few days, and I can't get enough of them.

Streets is perfect man, but all the other albums deserve you attention too.  'Tage's whole catalog is just perfect!

Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2011, 08:33:51 PM »
I know I really should branch out and listen to more than just Streets, but I just can't stop listening to this album. I've heard bits and pieces of stuff off of Gutter Ballet, HotMK, Edge of Thorns, and Dead Winter Dead (all of which I loved), but for some reason Streets is just so perfect that I don't feel like I need any more yet. At the same time though, I feel like I'm missing out on some great stuff, which I'm sure is true.

TSO on the other hand, I've been listening to nonstop the past few days, and I can't get enough of them.

Streets is, in my opinion, the culmination of Savatage's stylistic development.  Doing a full blown rock opera was the next logical step after playing with both classical and Broadway influences on Hall of the Mountain King and Gutter Ballet, and doing an album with a Broadway-esque narrative (it was original written by Paul O'Neil as a Broadway play) essentially created a structural prototype for later Sava albums, ultimately laying the foundation for what would become TSO.  While the roots of TSO can be found as far back as HOTMK, it was on Streets that Savatage first got the opportunity to display their full artistic genius and future potential.

Offline Gadough

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2011, 08:40:08 PM »
I love the narration at the beginning of Jesus Saves.

"A lot of characters man, a lot of characters...never thought I'd be one of them though."
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Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2011, 08:46:34 PM »
I love the narration at the beginning of Jesus Saves.

"A lot of characters man, a lot of characters...never thought I'd be one of them though."

Originally there were supposed to be spoken segments between all, or at least most, songs on the album, but they were forced to cut them from the album, along with 6 other songs, to make it all fit on one CD.  If you're wondering, the other songs were Larry Elbows (you can find the demo for this pretty easily online), Stay, Desiree (both released as bonus tracks later on),  Tonight I Will Be King (I have still not found this song anywhere yet, sadly), Sanctuary, and Beyond Broadway (lyrical re-workings of older Savatage b-sides called Target and Before I Hang, respectively)

Offline Gadough

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #48 on: March 13, 2011, 08:47:38 PM »
Damn, that's a shame. I'd love more spoken segments on the album.
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Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #49 on: March 13, 2011, 09:28:28 PM »
Yeah, a while back when they were doing the remasters, Paul even hired a bunch of lawyers to scour every inch of Atlantic's archive to find the masters for Streets so they could release a double disc remastered version, with all the songs and spoken segments included, but they came back empty handed.  *Sigh*  I really would have loved to have heard the whole thing, the way it was intended to be....

Offline Progmetty

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #50 on: March 14, 2011, 02:15:18 AM »
Mozart & Madness from Dead Winter Dead is one of my favorite instrumentals of all time, did anyone like the new version from the latest TSO album?
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Offline Gadough

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #51 on: March 14, 2011, 08:34:02 AM »
Haven't heard it, but I'll give it a listen at some point. :tup
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Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #52 on: March 14, 2011, 03:19:23 PM »
Haven't heard that either, I might check that out.  For me Streets is the ultimate rock opera, and as a concept album, should be ranked as high as all the great such as; SFAM, O:M, The Wall etc. The pure atmosphere of the whole album is intense and Jon and the band portray the story perfectly, in lyric form and in music form.  It shows diversities in the band's sound and songwriting and the song in general were really just so damn strong.

Would have loved to hear the 2 disc version too.  I don't think more dialogue would have done the album any favours, but it would have been great to hear it how it was intended, especially with the extra tracks.  I must say the SPV remaster was a waste.  The bonus tracks were wrong and useless, and I hate how some of the tracks were put together, never understood that.

Believe is simply one of the best album closers ever and quite frankly, a perfect song.  The whole album is perfect from start to finish, briliiant music, criminally underrated.

Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #53 on: March 14, 2011, 05:08:08 PM »
Mozart & Madness from Dead Winter Dead is one of my favorite instrumentals of all time, did anyone like the new version from the latest TSO album?

Yes, I did.  I am very glad that TSO has been revisiting Savatage recently, and it appears they will continue to do so, with TSO having a Savatage mini-reunion in Europe on their spring tour and a remake of Gutter Ballet/Streets in the works.

Haven't heard that either, I might check that out.  For me Streets is the ultimate rock opera, and as a concept album, should be ranked as high as all the great such as; SFAM, O:M, The Wall etc. The pure atmosphere of the whole album is intense and Jon and the band portray the story perfectly, in lyric form and in music form.  It shows diversities in the band's sound and songwriting and the song in general were really just so damn strong.

Would have loved to hear the 2 disc version too.  I don't think more dialogue would have done the album any favours, but it would have been great to hear it how it was intended, especially with the extra tracks.  I must say the SPV remaster was a waste.  The bonus tracks were wrong and useless, and I hate how some of the tracks were put together, never understood that.

Believe is simply one of the best album closers ever and quite frankly, a perfect song.  The whole album is perfect from start to finish, briliiant music, criminally underrated.

All of this  :tup

Offline SoundscapeMN

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #54 on: March 14, 2011, 05:40:09 PM »
despite it not entirely being done by all of Savatage, I still feel Handful of Rain is their masterpiece. I enjoy all the Zak Stevens records, and some of the pre-Zak stuff, but Handful is by far the record I've listened to the most.

Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #55 on: March 14, 2011, 06:14:29 PM »
despite it not entirely being done by all of Savatage, I still feel Handful of Rain is their masterpiece. I enjoy all the Zak Stevens records, and some of the pre-Zak stuff, but Handful is by far the record I've listened to the most.

HOR is a very, very interesting record.  Jon and Paul basically wrote it as a way of working through the grief of Chris' death, and consequently it is probably the 'Tage's most personal and emotional album.  There is a very strong blues, and in a few places almost western, influence on that record, but it still manages to run the gamut from almost the almost Metallica-esque Taunting Cobras to the epic Chance (which is in my opinion Sava's equivalent of Bohemian Rhapsody).  It's definitely not an easy album to get into, and you have to listen to it multiple times to fully "get" it, but once you do, you keep a very special place in your heart for it.

Offline Gadough

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #56 on: March 14, 2011, 07:08:00 PM »
TDM, you should like, write Savatage's official biography or something. Every offhanded comment we make, you respond with a paragraph chock full of interesting tidbits. :lol
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Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #57 on: March 14, 2011, 07:28:33 PM »
TDM, you should like, write Savatage's official biography or something. Every offhanded comment we make, you respond with a paragraph chock full of interesting tidbits. :lol

Haha Thank you  ;D.  Savatage have had a lot of interesting little episodes throughout the course of their career.  Hell, the simple juxtaposition of their early (pre-HOTMK) albums to their eventual evolution into the multi-platinum TSO, which single handedly brought back the rock opera as a commercially successful art form, is nothing short of amazing.  Their saga is certainly one of the most unique and interesting stories in the history of rock/metal.  If I ever get the chance to meet Paul O'Neil or Jon Oliva, I have a number of ideas I would just love to run by them, and one of them is that a SavaTSO biography would be very interesting.  If they chose me to write it (not likely, but hey, I can dream, right?), I would be very honored to do so.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 07:51:08 PM by The Dark Master »

Online Lowdz

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2011, 03:47:52 PM »
I am a big Sava-fan but I was a fan in spite of Jon's voice really. He's fine on the metal stuff but always struggled with the ballad-y stuff.

Gutter Ballet, Streets, Edge of Thorns, excellent stuff, and the others are great too.

The legend on my tattoo says Silk & Steel from the instrumental on GB, in honour of Criss Oliva.

Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2011, 06:30:18 PM »
I am a big Sava-fan but I was a fan in spite of Jon's voice really. He's fine on the metal stuff but always struggled with the ballad-y stuff.

The legend on my tattoo says Silk & Steel from the instrumental on GB, in honour of Criss Oliva.

I've actually always thought that Jon's ballads were possibly his strongest vocal moments.

Any pics of your tattoo?

Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2011, 06:32:31 PM »
One thing I always wondered, was that on DWD and WOM, why was Chris rhythm guitar only? (of course except for the title track of DWD)  My only answer was that Chris played all of Criss' leads live so having Al do all solo work would have evened things out live.  Any ideas?

Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #61 on: March 15, 2011, 07:11:38 PM »
One thing I always wondered, was that on DWD and WOM, why was Chris rhythm guitar only? (of course except for the title track of DWD)  My only answer was that Chris played all of Criss' leads live so having Al do all solo work would have evened things out live.  Any ideas?

I'm not entirely certain that Pitrelli played all the leads other then the title cut from DWD on that album and WOM.  I do know that at the time, the record label was really pushing him to be in the spotlight due to the departure of Skolnick and the death of Criss Oliva; they felt they needed an already established guitarist in the band, and Pitrelli had played with Alice Cooper, Asia, Dee Snider (in Widowmaker) and others; all Caffery had really done up to that point was played rhythm guitars with Savatage from 87-90, and, of course, Doctor Butcher (in which he played both rhythm and leads).  However many or few leads were played by Caffery on those albums was countered by the fact that he played the solos on most of the older material while on tour, due to his more extensive knowledge and experience with the band's back catalog, and the fact the he had played personally with Criss Oliva, and was more familiar with his style of playing (Criss had actually taken Caffery under his wing during their time together in Savatage), so perhaps they gave more of the new solos to Pitrelli to make sure both guitarists would have ample oppertunity to display their talents live.  So between the label's heavy promotion of Pitrelli, and the fact that Caffery would be handling most of the older solos live anyways, it would have made sense for Pitrelli to play most of the new solos on the actual albums, as well.

Offline The Degenerate

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #62 on: March 15, 2011, 10:30:06 PM »
I was hooked on Hall of the Mountain King, Gutter Ballet, and Streets in my younger days. Great band, I miss them sometimes.
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Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #63 on: March 16, 2011, 12:05:34 AM »
*Sigh* So a member of Jon Oliva's family has been hospitalized, and he will not be joining TSO on their spring European tour.  I wonder if this means the "Savatage Reunion" at the end of the night is canceled, as well as the possibility of bringing the reunion to the US spring tour.  :'(
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« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 12:31:01 AM by The Dark Master »

Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #64 on: March 16, 2011, 02:38:59 AM »
One thing I always wondered, was that on DWD and WOM, why was Chris rhythm guitar only? (of course except for the title track of DWD)  My only answer was that Chris played all of Criss' leads live so having Al do all solo work would have evened things out live.  Any ideas?

I'm not entirely certain that Pitrelli played all the leads other then the title cut from DWD on that album and WOM.  I do know that at the time, the record label was really pushing him to be in the spotlight due to the departure of Skolnick and the death of Criss Oliva; they felt they needed an already established guitarist in the band, and Pitrelli had played with Alice Cooper, Asia, Dee Snider (in Widowmaker) and others; all Caffery had really done up to that point was played rhythm guitars with Savatage from 87-90, and, of course, Doctor Butcher (in which he played both rhythm and leads).  However many or few leads were played by Caffery on those albums was countered by the fact that he played the solos on most of the older material while on tour, due to his more extensive knowledge and experience with the band's back catalog, and the fact the he had played personally with Criss Oliva, and was more familiar with his style of playing (Criss had actually taken Caffery under his wing during their time together in Savatage), so perhaps they gave more of the new solos to Pitrelli to make sure both guitarists would have ample oppertunity to display their talents live.  So between the label's heavy promotion of Pitrelli, and the fact that Caffery would be handling most of the older solos live anyways, it would have made sense for Pitrelli to play most of the new solos on the actual albums, as well.

So really, according to your post, what I said was spot on.

Offline The Dark Master

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #65 on: March 16, 2011, 02:56:31 AM »

So really, according to your post, what I said was spot on.

Well, the thing about Caffery playing the older solos live was only half the truth; the fact that the label really, really was pushing Pitrelli for his status as a shredder for a number of more established artists was a very big reason for his abilities taking center stage during the DWD/WOM era.  But yes, you were correct in your assumptions, but they were only half of the full story.  ;)

ADDENDUM:  I should probably add that I have not heard or read anything to indicate that there was any resentment over this arrangement.  While the band did at least find the idea of the label pushing them to let Pitrelli into the band in the first place somewhat presumptuous, from the making of DWD to the present he has maintained a very friendly and productive relationship with Caffery and the other members of Savatage/TSO.  I would be very surprised to find out that there was ever any tension between him and Chris, or anyone else in the band for that mater, over his role in the band.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 03:04:19 AM by The Dark Master »

Offline orcus116

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #66 on: March 16, 2011, 02:59:12 AM »
I need to listen to Streets. Hall Of The Mountain King, Gutter Ballet and The Wake Of Magellan are sweet.

Offline wolfking

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Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #67 on: March 16, 2011, 05:47:12 AM »

So really, according to your post, what I said was spot on.

Well, the thing about Caffery playing the older solos live was only half the truth; the fact that the label really, really was pushing Pitrelli for his status as a shredder for a number of more established artists was a very big reason for his abilities taking center stage during the DWD/WOM era.  But yes, you were correct in your assumptions, but they were only half of the full story.  ;)

ADDENDUM:  I should probably add that I have not heard or read anything to indicate that there was any resentment over this arrangement.  While the band did at least find the idea of the label pushing them to let Pitrelli into the band in the first place somewhat presumptuous, from the making of DWD to the present he has maintained a very friendly and productive relationship with Caffery and the other members of Savatage/TSO.  I would be very surprised to find out that there was ever any tension between him and Chris, or anyone else in the band for that mater, over his role in the band.

Interesting that the label were pushing Pitrelli's status.  I really like his playing, that Alice Trashes the World DVD with him is amazing, I just would have liked to hear some leads from Chris.  Even Poets and Madman had a lot of leads from Al.  That would have been fine if he was still a member but he wasn't, it should have been 100% Chris, Al left for Megadeth.

If anyone listens to Caffery's Faces CD, it's easy to see that Caffery is an amazing lead guitarist.  I guess I always just felt a bit bad for him, being such an accomplished guitarist and not creating anything on cd.

Poets and Madman I must say is a Savatage highlight, damn I love that album.  Every song is just solid, a great feel and atmosphere and Jon sounds excellent. 

Just finished listening to Streets too, just perfect music.

Offline dongringo

  • Posts: 1169
Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #68 on: March 16, 2011, 07:51:29 AM »
I need to listen to Streets. Hall Of The Mountain King, Gutter Ballet and The Wake Of Magellan are sweet.

Yes, you must listen to Streets. It's a perfect album.
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Offline wolfking

  • Posts: 24823
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Savatage Thread
« Reply #69 on: March 16, 2011, 02:45:32 PM »
I need to listen to Streets. Hall Of The Mountain King, Gutter Ballet and The Wake Of Magellan are sweet.

Yes, you must listen to Streets. It's a perfect album.

Yep, it really is.