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In Words: Jon Oliva's Pain

- Jon Oliva - Oct. 2005 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Jon Oliva - live 2005
Claudia Ehrhardt

Jon Oliva's Pain - October 2005

For the second time Jon Oliva's Pain is visiting Europe within 6 months. Many saw them on the Dynamo open-air or the RockHard festival and some had the chance to see one of the 2 club shows in May. Now Savatage mastermind Jon Oliva is back for a few more club shows. Actually coming to see Jon and the band, I ended up doing merchandise at a few shows and so this is more some kind of chit-chat. No time for a 'real' interview. Anyway, many Savatage fans were curious to see the Mountain King live... And JOP played manly old Savatage tunes! "I wanted to do this for quite awhile. We are playing songs we haven't played for years with Savatage and we concentrate on the early albums... Up to Streets." The fans were happy to see Oliva on stage, but there still was the question why doing a solo album and touring with his solo band when he plays only Savatage tunes? Well, there are 2 or 3 of JOP songs, but still... "The fans want to hear the Savatage songs and I can honore my brothers work." During the shows in May - and they still do - they played Ghost In The Ruins and Jon stated that they couldn't have played this live with Savatage, coz the guitarists haven't been good enough... If memory serves, they played it on a Savatage tour... "Matt and Jerry loved my brother and his guitar play. They spend so much effort in playing this.... It's great to play the songs live with these guys." But fans still ask why there is no new Savatage album.... "After the Poets And Madmen tour the band asked me for a longer break. They wanted a time off. But I wanted to play and I had the idea for a solo album for a few years and now it was time to do it." Another confusion for the fans was that Jon Oliva's Pain is mainly the first line-up of Zak Stevens' Circle II Circle. Only guitarist Jerry Outlaw wasn't part of CIIC. "I know the guys for years and when Zak was looking for a band, I told him to check them out. They recorded the first album and also did some shows. Later the whole band left CIIC and so they joined my Pain." And they are still his Pain. Another thing fans frequently ask is, if there will be another Savatage album and when? "I don't know. It depends on the guys in the band. Beside that Chris is doing his solo stuff...." Sounds like there isn't any answer to this... But Chris Caffery decided to do his solo album - with Jeff Plate on drums - when he heard that Jon Oliva will do Tage Mahal - that should have been the name of the band in the first place. Only that Caffery was faster recording and releasing... And his solo stuff doesn't sound too much like Savatage, while JOP's Tage Mahal is more like Savatage... Didn't the Mountain King say at RockHard festival 2003 that his solo album will be more like a heavy metal version of The Beatles.... Hmm, he changed his mind obviously. As he did when he decided a few years ago that he want to sing again, at least want to sing some of the songs on the Savatage album... His voice is better these days. Jon's wish to sing more was one reason Zak Stevens' stated why he left the band. As much as fans wanted Jon back as a singer in Savatage, the album Poets And Madmen didn't do that good. Was rated as average by many fans. To me it seems that a lot of things have to be sorted out, if Savatage will ever get together again... It's a pity what happened to this legendary band. Savatage fans want to see the band again on stage - at the last tour in early 2002 they usually played in front of 1,200 -1,500 fans, sometimes even more - and when JOP is touring there are just about 200 fans. "When Savatage first toured in Europe there haven't been more people to see us. It needs time to establish a band and Jon Oliva's Pain is a new band." Yes and no, coz Jon Oliva is a living legend and so I would expect more people to show up. Or is it the magic of Savatage which draws people to the shows? Perhaps it's the combination of the long-time band members which makes Savatage special... Time will tell if there is a future for Savatage or if there will be just some solo projects of Savatage members. At least they should do something special for the band anniversary and Jon was talking about something at RockHard 2003... He talked about a biography... Some DVD with old material.... The solo album - which he did - and other stuff. At that time he had a lot of plans, I think we all have to wait and see what will become reality. As long as there is no statement that the band broke up the fans will have hope....

Claudia Ehrhardt


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