Savatage: Workaholic Madmen!
by Martin Popoff

America's finest symphonic metal treasure Savatage are busy, as usual, working on too many things at once. First order of business is getting the new studio album, Poets And Madmen, completed. Interfering with the process is potential inclusion on the Ron Howard-produced movie The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey. This would be new material within the framework of the band's Trans-Siberian Orchestra classical sideband, a behemoth of bombast who have created two very successful Christmas albums as well as the recent Beethoven's Last Night, which will be toured within the first half of December this year.

Savatage co-vocalist, keyboardist, chief cook, bottlewasher and spiritual godhead Jon Oliva explains how the Grinch stole the launch date of the Savatage album. "We were asked to submit some material for the movie, for TSO. So that's something that has been taking our daytime hours (laughs). Actually they are down there right now working on the stuff and I'm doing eight hours worth of phone interviews but I'll take this any day. We submitted six or seven things so they can use pieces of all of them or they can use one. I really have no control over that except for the fact that they asked us if we would be interested, and we said absolutely. So we wrote about six or seven songs for it and we sent them every except I think the final two that we're finishing up here over the next day or so. And then we'll see what happens. I think Ron Howard has the final say-so over what gets used. And so far everybody who has heard the stuff we submitted has liked it and is supposedly editing it into the pieces that needed music and they are going to see how he likes it and if he likes it, we're in (laughs)."

And around, beneath and between all this, Savatage will do their own headline tour in October, as well as the official world tour once their new album drops in January. The January tour will likely start in Europe and then head back to the states, including jaunts to Japan and South America, where the band had one of their career highlights thus far, playing Monsters Of Rock in front of 60,000 screaming Brazilians.

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