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6th April 2017

trans siberian orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra creator Paul O'Neill has passed away due to chronic illness. He was 61-years-old.

The news of Paul's extremely sad and shock passing was broken on the official TSO Facebook page in a statement that read:

"The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O'Neill has passed away from chronic illness.

"He was our friend and our leader - a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all.

"We ask that you respect Paul's family's privacy now.

"We will make additional announcements shortly."

Paul, New York City born and bred, entered the music business in the mid-1970s when he took his first progressive rock band, Slowburn, into Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios in NYC. The project was shelved as Paul was not happy with the final results, however he has credited Slowburn's initial failure as one of the luckiest things that could have ever happened to him as it presented him with the opportunity to learn the recording and concert business from the inside out.

Paul became the personal assistant of manager David Krebs 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 Joan Jett and several others.

He then became a promoter in Japan, promoting every tour of Madonna and Sting that took place in the 1980s, as well as the largest rock festivals in Japan with acts including Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and Ronnie James Dio.

After producing Aerosmith's 'Classics Live I' and 'Classics Live II' albums, Paul began his relationship with Savatage, a collaboration that marked the beginning of his grand vision, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, becoming reality.

Paul said of TSO: "I wanted to take the very best of all the forms of music I grew up on and merge them into a new style.

"Basically I was building on the work of everybody I worshipped: the rock opera parts from bands like the Who; the marriage of classical and rock from bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Queen, the over-the-top light show from bands like Pink Floyd... I always wanted to do a full rock opera with a full progressive band and at least twenty-four lead singers."

Atlantic Records financed the creation of 'Romanov', which was initially to be TSO's first release.

"We were very fortunate," Paul said. "It was one of the only labels left that still did an 'old school' kind of artist development. My original concept was; 'We were going to do six rock operas, a trilogy about Christmas and maybe one or two regular albums'."

However, when 'Romanov' was temporarily put on the back burner, the first installment of the Christmas trilogy, 'Christmas Eve And Other Stories', became TSO's debut album and went double platinum.

More platinum certifications followed with 1998s 'The Christmas Attic' and the final installment of the Christmas trilogy, 2004s 'The Lost Christmas Eve'. In the midst of completing the trilogy, TSO released their first non-holiday rock opera, the gold certified 'Beethoven's Last Night'.

But it was in concert that TSO really made the biggest impact.

They hit the road in 1999, beginning an annual November–December extravaganza that Paul described as:

" over the top as we can make it. We have two stages - with pyro, light and lasers - on both sides of the arena, as well as in the crowd and the best sound we can find.

"There's no second-class seats at a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show. I want people to walk out of our shows speechless and... still not believing what they have seen was possible."

In August 2015, Savatage and Trans Siberian Orchestra made Heavy Metal history at Wacken when they pulled off a never-before-attempted performance.

Wacken has a unique set up as the two main stages are situated next to each other, side by side and following a forty-minute Savatage set and a forty-minute TSO set, members of both bands, across both of the festival's main stages, performed a perfectly coordinated set.

This was an incredibly ambitious feat both musically and logistically and the bands pulled it off without a hitch with Al Pitrelli leading TSO on the True Metal Stage and Jon Oliva heading Savatage on the Black Stage.

Paul O'Neill gave a very candid interview before the show which is well worth a watch.

As TSO realised huge global succes, Paul is quoted as saying:

"I've always believed that music has the power to transport and transform.

"The original concept of Trans-Siberian Orchestra was how to make music have the most emotional impact. We always try to write melodies that are so infectious they don't need lyrics and lyrics so poetic that they don't need a melody, but when you combine the two together they create an alloy where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

"Once those songs are woven together into a tapestry they create a story which gives each song a third dimension."




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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