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A New York City native, O'Neill began playing guitar with a number of rock bands in high school and quickly graduated to folk guitar gigs at downtown clubs. O'Neill took his first serious musical steps almost 20 years ago as the guitarist in the touring productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair.
From 1980-85 he worked at Leber-Krebs Inc., the management company that launched the careers of Aerosmith, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Ted Nugent, The New York Dolls, Scorpions and Michael Bolton among others. In the 1980s, O'Neill became one of the biggest rock promoters in Japan, promoting every tour of Madonna and Sting done in that decade, as well as some of the biggest rock festivals with such acts as Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and Ronnie James Dio.
In 1986, with encouragement from David Krebs, he turned to writing and producing full time. O'Neill's productions include Aerosmith's platinum Classics Live I and II, Savatage's critically acclaimed Hall of the Mountain King and Gutter Ballet, as well as the Badlands début album.
Soon however O'Neill began stretching the boundaries of the form, developing a unique style of rock opera. His first two were the highly praised Streets: A Rock Opera and Dead Winter Dead (the later after following the release of two Savatage albums), for Savatage, after he became the band's main songwriter and co-composer.
From there he created the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), the result of the song Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) for Dead Winter Dead album. The four rock operas (Christmas Eve and Other Stories, The Christmas Attic, Beethoven's Last Night, The Lost Christmas Eve) created by the team of O'Neill, Robert Kinkel and Savatage's mastermind Jon Oliva under the name of TSO quickly became some of Lava/Atlantic's top selling projects. An established songwriter, O'Neill has also written and directed several music videos, as well as the TV special The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, starring Michael Crawford, Ossie Davis, Jewel, and TSO. He has also written a musical broadway along with Jon Oliva, in the beginning of 90's.
Currently, O'Neill is working with the TSO composers (Al Pitrelli has been added to them) in completing TSO's next album titled Night Castle.