Sirens In The Desert

from : Metal Forces winter '83-'84
author : Steve Hammonds
contributed by :
Modlang record shop

It has been well over five years now since Jon Oliva formed what is now known as SAVATAGE. With the recent rise of New Wave, SAVATAGE have had a lot of obstacles to overcome.
In 1978, the line-up of Jon Oliva (guitar, vocals), Criss Oliva (guitar) and Joe Conn (drums) changed their name from METROPOLIS to AVATAR, soon after Tony Civila joined on bass. At this time they were all still at school and therefore had to limit their engagements. During the Autumn of 1979, Joe Conn was replaced by Steve Wacholz who was formally in PARADOX.

The present line-up came into being in 1982. Bassist Tony Civilla left due to the age old problem of... yes you've guessed it, "musical differences" , and in came Keith Collins to take over his position.
Jon said: " We just kind of knew this was the band we had been looking for, it was by all means the heaviest line-up yet !"

In the summer of '82 they were contacted by Dan Johnson, and in November they had signed to Par Records with which they released "City Beneath the Surface ", a 3-track single, but after releasing almost half the EP, they had to be called back due of the name AVATAR.
At the present moment they have no plans to re-release the single as under the new name of SAVATAGE they have released an LP called "Sirens"which contains 9 of the heaviest songs of '83. Their present plans involve touring the U.S and Europe, and under the guidance of Blonde On Blonde Management they should make it big.

I asked Keith what the reaction to the single has been.
"Fantastic ! Everyone who hears it, loves it. We have sold all that were pressed, and all the reviews have been positive and the local throng of rivid heads like all 3 songs.
"Why did you change your name particularly after you had released your first single? "
"Two reasons really: We think SAVATAGE really describes us a lot better , not that I mean we are real savage in our live show, but we do have an edge. As we began to look to bigger markets, both here and abroad, we came across quite a few bands with names similar to AVATAR, so to avoid any more confusion we came up with SAVATAGE. Besides, like I said, it portrays the image better ".

"Who do you think has influenced you the most ?"
"All of us share primarily the same basic influences, ( except Steve, I'll get to that in a minute...). They are DIO, PURPLE, MOTORHEAD etc. Jon, Criss and I also have interests in the same guitarists: VAN HALEN, RANDY RHOADS. Steve spends his time watching cartoons, because when I asked him this he answered : "Captain Caveman and Bam Bam ", you'll understand this when you see him play ".

"How often do you play?"
"For a heavy Metal band like us this area is a desert; not many places at all, but we manage to keep fairly busy. We play some bars, but strive for the concert shows. Some were our own, some for national acts. We haven't had the chance to leave the area yet, but we are looking forward to conquering the world!!!"

"What songs do you play? "
"Our concert show has about 15 or so songs from our EP and album. We have lots of tunes so we keep changing. When we play in bars we do some covers. Bars are really weird, you have to play what the Manager wants and not the customer. They seem to like our stuff better though."

"To sum up how would you describe your music? "
"Loud, vulgar, rude intense metal for your fuckin' mind" - Jon, "Outrageous, powerful and weird" - Criss. Steve reckons it's very intense, poweful with a heavy backbeat, with awesome shrieks of terror, and finally Keith, very simply "heavy fuckin'metal ".
Can you follow that ?... I can't !!