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
"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
"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
"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
"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
Can you follow that ?... I can't !!