by Drew Blanton (formerly MtnKing@aol.com)
Well ladies and gents, again I had the pleasure of calling our lads up in NYC tonight (what did I ever do to deserve this????) and had about a 40 min. conversation with Paul and Zak. I have never spoken with Zak before tonight, and I must say it was really fun. Besides his great personality, he's a South Carolina homeboy -- having grown up near Columbia, SC and graduating from the U. of S.C. (GO GAMECOCKS he says....). Plus he has spent a lot of time raising hell here in Myrtle Beach as a teenager, so we related to each other real well (since I live here). Anyway, so that was really cool for me. He's very easy to talk with, just like all the other guys in the band -- and Paul (who we might as well say is the 7th member of Savatage).
Before I go any further, I would just like to address one thing -- a few people have asked me what are these guys like in person (i.e. are they cool, or stuck up, or what?)???? To those people I say -- THESE GUYS ARE SO UNBELIEVABLY DOWN TO EARTH that it's unreal!!!! There are no big rock star egos whatsoever here in Savatage. They are about the nicest people who could ever hope to meet or talk to. They REALLY appreciate their fans, and their sincerity shows through every time I talk with ANYONE in the band. I have the utmost respect for this type of attitude, and I just thought everyone out there in SavaLand should know what kind of guys you are supporting. Cause you all know me pretty well by now -- I don't lie or B.S. about anything. I call em like I see em. Bottom line: THESE GUYS ARE THE SHIT.
Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox and get down to some tidbits about the new album, touring, etc. I tried to come up with some questions I thought you all would want to know (I know I want to know!), and see what would happen. Paul was very receptive to the questions and gave quick honest answers. They still want to keep wraps on the title and the project for awhile, but he said that he would posting lyrics, etc., here in our folder probably around the end of the month. Keeping it secretive does build up the anticipation level for us, but it will all be worth it when the album comes out. We will appreciate it even more.... Anway here we go:
-----they should be done with the album in 8 days (hopefully). Paul is "bouncing back and forth between 4 studios" mixing our new baby. He says "the record is coming out GREAT"
-----German, Denmark, and French press are in town (NYC) this week to do interviews with the band. Next week it wil be the Japanese press, then the week after that it will be time for the U.S. press (HEY, how come we're ALWAYS LAST?!?!?!?!). I'm almost ready to move to Europe!
-----the album cover is looking "VERY COOL," but we can't talk about the specifics yet.
-----the album will have 12 tracks total. I asked about bonus tracks on the imports... there will be one bonus track at most. Doesn't matter... I'm buying it anyway.
----it appears the album will be availible for release in Japan around mid-October, which of course means it won't be ready for the U.S. version until a month after that (mid-Nov). Actually that may be good.... now we can all get "THE NEW SAVATAGE CD" for all our friends and family for Christmas presents!!! Grandma will just love it!!!!!
-----the 1st single won't be decided until the whole thing is mixed... "it's just easier that way."
-----I told you guys something wrong (sorry). The European TV station doing the "Savatage Special" is NOT MTV Europe. It's a station called "Viva", which is the biggest in Germany --- which of course makes it BIGGER than MTV-E!!!! Paul said it will be an hour long special, with interviews and videos, etc., and should be broadcast about 4 times. So Sharon and/or Andrea, I hope you can hook us up with a copy of this on tape somehow. It will be spoken in the German language, but that's fine by me. We can all understand the language of kick-ass rock!!!!
----- I asked Paul where he came up with such brilliant lyrics and ideas, and he contributes it to his father being a college professor, and as a kid "being surrounded by books." The man is a genius in his own right... but then all of you already know that. That's why we're all Sava addicts here -- hopelessly hooked on their music like crack cocaine!
-----interesting side note: there is a Savatage cover band in Cairo, Egypt.... believe it or don't!!!!!!!! There is also one in the U.S., according to Johnny Lee (who I also said "hi" to real quick.... he just got in from Fla for all the European press and Viva TV). I wonder where the U.S. cover band is at???
-----Paul says it looks pretty good for "3 or 4 weeks" touring in the U.S. next year, if the album does as well as they hope/expect. A lot of it depends on how they can arrange their schedules, as the new TSO project will have to be done as well. Basically, we are fans of two bands (Sava and TSO), so it's hard to do all studio stuff and tour too. It has to be a zoo right now for them, but they seem to be pulling it off remarkably well so far. We can only hope the album takes off and the demand for touring the U.S. is overwhelming. I think we have a good shot, personally speaking.
-----there will be 1 week of touring in Japan, and 6 weeks in Europe.... now I KNOW I'm ready to move to Europe!!!!!! (at least for 6 weeks!) Andrea, you are a lucky person.....
-----Atlantic is really going to push last year's TSO album again this Christmas.... the advertising budget for it is somewhere in the vicinity of o ne million dollars. As for support of Savatage by the label, the "radio" section of Atlantic "is on top of Savatage because of TSO," and if I understood Paul right, one of Sava's long time supporters got promoted to this division of Atlantic. So needless to say, that really boosts the band's chances of getting lots of airplay in major radio markets.
-----the engineer for the album is Dave Wittman. Zak says his first claim to fame was KISS - "Dressed To Kill" (which came out back in 1975), and he also engineered the Foreigner "4" album (and maybe some other Foreigner albums as well during their hayday). So the man has some experience in making albums, and the band sounds really thrilled at how he's capturing the Savatage sound on this record. And considering the success of these two albums, the man must know a thing or two about making an album sound commercial enough to sell.
-----Was that enough?????????
Well, I guess that's about it for this time.... lots of good things are happening folks with our band, so just sit back and enjoy the ride, cause it's going to be a GREAT ONE!!!
madness is definitely reigning in the big apple tonight!!!