SAVATAGE - Cryptic Writings? Page 2
by Tim Henderson

"Everything changes, right up to the last minute. You're right, it wasn't going to be a concept. The ending, if you figure out what the concept is, will f**king blow your mind. It's a trick. It's not a gimme. You'll think you know the answer, but there's an answer that you would never think of," comes the cryptic reply.

Middleton claims Savatage won't ruin the surprise by including an epilogue or explanation. "It will be left to someone who is very curious. Let's leave it at that. When someone figures it out, it's almost like a Rubik's Cube kind of gimmick, it's almost like a prize. It's really weird. When it was run by me, I was like, 'That's f**kin cool!' It's the first time anyone's done what we're going to do, but it may be ten years until someone figures it out. It's kind of hard to describe. It's actually a true story, a fictional true. It's a made up story that's actually a true story, but you wouldn't know it, unless you figure it out."

The personnel situation is no less convoluted. Just days prior to the NYC gathering, an official statement was issued, announcing the departure of singer Zach Stevens and the return of Jon Oliva, who sings all the material on Poets & Madmen. Along with guitarist Al Piterelli's jumping ship for Megadeth, Savatage are short two members.

"We've got guys to do both jobs, but right now, there's a little legality gimmick (translation: both are currently under contract to other bands). The loose ends are sewn up, we just can't say anything. Technically they are (in the band), but technically they're not. "

By the time Poets & Madmen is in stores, February 2001, hopefully some of the mystery shrouding this release will be solved.