By Tim Henderson

So the rumours have begun about Jeff Waters "assisting" Savatage on the band's European festival dates this summer. Where will it lead? It is a match made in heaven ... hell that is, to see Jeff trade licks with longtime Sava-axe Chris Caffery. But this is a musical venture, not an ego trip. And you gotta wonder whether the metal supergroup was more of a buzz for the fans or the band. And it appears that the unlikely collaboration was mutually beneficial. Witnessing their set at Wacken, there was no doubt in my mind that Savatage became a mightier force with an Annihilator kick so to speak.

Waters says that from invite to first show was "20 days" of Sava-school, Course 101. "I remember when Chris called me and asked me I said, 'Yeah, let's do it; it sounds like a blast.' I remember saying, 'Can you give me 'til tomorrow to confirm it?' Honestly, I started off being nervous because of the thought of having to learn 20-30 songs, most of which I had not heard before. It wasn't really the difficulty of the playing level not being there, but it was remembering them. Then my wife said, 'You better do this and get out of the house and do something different because you've been obsessing with this Annihilator stuff for, how long?' And she's right. I've turned down a lot of things in many different areas of the music bizâ video game companies, other bands, producing, mixing gigs and sound designing. I've turned most of them down and it's almost like I turn things down without thinking about it. My wife was finally getting sick of it, saying, 'Call them up and say you'll do it, regardless of what they offer you money-wise.'"

ANNIHILATOR'S JEFF WATERS - "Musical Slut!" Page 2