audio/video articles pictures other

gutter ballet press release

from Atlantic Records Press Release
transcribed by Gonzo the Silenced

Gutter Ballet is the latest release from one of heavy rock's most unremittingly intense bands. Savatage's fourth Atlantic release, the album is fueled by fiery riffs, powerful melodies, and raucous lyrics. Paul O'Neill (Aerosmith, the Scorpions) was once again at the production helm, and he also shares many of the songwriting credits with brothers Criss and Jon Oliva. "Paul is great," says drummer Steve "Doc" Wacholz. "Just as warped as we are. He works well with the band; he gives us our freedom, while at the same time adding good artistic ideas to the music. He is almost like a sixth band member."

The title track and first single was inspired by the mean streets of New York City, where Savatage spent six months recording Gutter Ballet. Other standout cuts include "The Hounds," which Steve describes as "very moody, lots of ups and downs," and "The Unholy," ("pure balls-to-the-wall rock").

Gutter Ballet also marks the debut of new Savatage member, guitarist Christopher Caffery. Chris first worked with other band members Jon Oliva (vocals, piano), Criss Oliva (lead guitar), Steve "Doc" Wacholz (drums) and Johnny Lee Middleton (bass), while the group was touring behind their last album Hall of the Mountain King. Before joining Savatage, Chris had played with such bands as Heaven and Dirty Looks. "The time and this more guitar things going in the music now, so we asked Chris to join up."

In addition to Chris, the band has added yet another dimension to their music: a rich keyboard sound, courtesy of Jon Oliva. "Jon is a great piano player," says Steve. "It was a very natural progression for the band." The introduction of keyboards to the Savatage line-up does not, however, mean the band is moving away from its roots. "We love the heavy stuff," says Steve. "The heaviness will never leave Savatage." "That [heaviness] is Savatage," adds Chris.

A massive, year-long tour is planned starting in early 1990 in the Southeast, and going on to include dates all over the U.S., Europe, and potentially, Japan. Savatage has always been hailed for its live performances, and the stage is where the band feels most at home. "We live for player," says Chris. "There is a lot of B.S. out there," says Steve, "but all of that stops when we step onstage."

Savatage was born in the Wilds of Florida some ten years ago, and has established itself as one of the most rock-solid units on the metal front. They have built a steadily-growing following, both here and in Europe, with their explosive live shows attracting ever-increasing hordes of headbangers. In May 1989, they played for 30,000 frenzied fans at Holland's Dynamo Festival.

In 1983, Savatage recorded and independent E.P., The City Beneath the Surface, which became an underground classic. Their reputation continued to grow with the release of Sirens and another E.P., The Dungeons are Calling. Their first Atlantic release, 1985's Power of the Night, was a breakthrough success, and their second Atlantic release, Fight for the Rock, kept up their assault on metal maniacs. 1987's Hall of the Mountain King, also produced by Paul O'Neill, was a record of staggering power, savage, yet musical.

Gutter Ballet is the latest step forward from a band who continues to stay ahead of the power pack. And what differentiates Savatage from the crowds of thrash and glam bands? Steve Wacholz sums it up: "We're better."