Jon Oliva interview
The legendary frontman and founder of Savatage, Doctor Butcher, and founding member of Trans Siberian Orchestra is about to unleash his first solo album in 35 years. Sure, Jon Oliva’s Pain bore his name, but that was truly a band effort. “Raise The Curtain” which will be released July 2 in North America, is an album that Jon Oliva needed to make for the health of his soul. This week Metalholic caught up with Jon in his Florida studio to discuss the new album and how it holds a sense or renewal, catharsis, and a bit of sadness for the singer.
In the wake of Matt Laporte’s untimely passing, Oliva was not quite sure about the future of Jon Oliva’s Pain, and his passing echoed reminders of his brother Criss’ passing nearly two decades prior. Set somewhat adrift, Jon connected with his friend Dan Fasciano and the two began spending mornings writing music. As part of this process Oliva dug out the last of his late brother’s riffs which pre-dated his time in Savatage. He used all of them in the creation of “Raise the Curtain“.
“It was very sad knowing that there’s no more of his riffs left to mess with,” offered Jon. “Criss’ music has been a part of all the J.O.P. albums, and I got down to the very end, and there was like four or five things left, and I used them on this album. It closes that chapter, but it’s also very sad, because I’m gonna miss being able to work with his music.”
For fans who are expecting to hear Savatage style riffs from Criss Oliva on this album, you’ll be in for a bit of a surprise as these final pieces used pre-date even the earliest Savatage material.
“Way earlier,” said Jon. “I mean the song ‘Father Time’ for instance, the riff that starts that song is the second riff Criss ever wrote. You know the first one was terrible (laughs). He played it for me and I was like, ‘that sucks, dude.’ And he come back the next day and he played that riff that starts ‘Father Time’ so the thing that’s cool about it is it shows people where we started.; before ‘Dungeons‘ [The Dungeons Are Calling] and ‘Sirens‘, and ‘Power of the Night‘. This was the first group of songs that we wrote together.”
Jon plans to do an episode of Storytellers behind this record, and after he and Dan wrote a good 60 songs for this album alone, both were quick to share that there will be a second album. Oliva is quick to emphasis, however, that this does not mark the ending for Jon Oliva’s Pain:
“We’ve actually already started writing the new J.O.P. album. I mean, the goal now is to make the J.O.P. album the heaviest album I’ve ever done in my career. That’s my goal. I want to surpass Savatage, Doctor Butcher, and do something that’s just, no flutes, no accordions, no acoustic guitars–nothing nice and friendly–and just brutalize everybody.”
Sonically, Oliva’s debut solo effort takes a lot from the prog rock of the 70’s than blends in elements of his Savatage years and beyond, with moments of bombast and beauty mixed in. You can check out our full interview with Jon Oliva and Dan Fasciano below, then get ready to “Raise the Curtain” on July 2.