By Bob Nalbandian
I recently spoke with legendary SAVATAGE vocalist Jon Oliva regarding the bands new release Poets & Madmen, their world tour, and his side project Trans-Siberian Orchestra
SW: Your latest CD, Poets & Madmen, seems to be more or less a concept album. Did you and Paul [O'Neill] come up with the lyrics and concept?
JON: It's a concept record but it's not an intricate concept. It's a story about these three guys that break into this old abandoned mental institution, and the songs are about all the things that they find inside this place. We wanted to tie everything together yet we wanted to make it really simple.
SW: You co-produced Poets & Madmen with Paul O'Neill?
JON: Yeah. Paul and I have been working so long together that we kind of have a system. His job is more in the mix-down and I do most of the producing on the rhythm tracks, keyboard stuff, and the orchestration and background vocals, and Paul kind of overseas everything.
SW: You performed all the lead vocals on this album, as a opposed to the last couple albums where you split the vocal duties.
JON: Zak [Stevens, former vocalist] kind of bailed out on us last minute and we didn't really want to hold the record up anymore. I also didn't want to rush in and grab another singer real quick.
SW: Dude, you got such an amazing voice! I think you should stick to doing all the vocals yourself!
JON: I wish I could. If I was able to do that I would, but vocally, I just can't handle two hours a night. Our shows are over two hours long, and with all the stuff I've got to play, I'd lose my mind if I'd have to sing every song and I don't think physically my voice could stand it. If it was ten or fifteen years ago, yeah no problem, but you can't cheat father time, and we're all in our mid to late 30's. It's just harder now, but I do sing a lot in the show, at least enough songs to keep people satisfied.
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