Jon Oliva´s Pain

Jon Oliva's Pain (sometimes referred to as JOP) was a musical project of Savatage co-founder Jon Oliva.

Originally, the project consisted entirely of solo recordings by Jon Oliva, but after several months of work he was joined by former members of Circle II Circle to form a band.

The band's first performance was at the Criss Oliva Memorial Concert in 2003, where Jon Oliva played a set of 6 songs from his solo catalog plus "In the Dream" from the Savatage album Power of the Night, "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles and a cover of "Wishing Well" by the band Free (which was covered by Savatage on their album Fight for the Rock).

Joining Jon on stage that night were Matt LaPorte (guitar), John Zahner (keyboards), Jason Jennings (bass), and Christopher Kinder (drums). Initially, the band went out on tour in December 2003 under the name "The Jon Oliva Project", but this was later changed to "'Tage Mahal". The band's name was changed after discovering the Blues musician Taj Mahal.

Because of the laws surrounding consumer confusion, Jon Oliva instructed the band's name be changed to Jon Oliva's Pain, "Pain" being the working title of the band's first album. The music and themes bear comparison with the likes of Alice Cooper, focusing as they do on elements of obsession, pain, confusion and insanity. Oliva himself cites The Beatles, Queen and The Who amongst his and hence the band's influences.

After hearing the results of their earliest studio sessions together, Jon Oliva then decided to repeat the solo work from scratch with the band. The band embraced the opportunity without hesitation, and brought in former Circle II Circle bass player Kevin Rothney to solidify the line-up. The band released their first album 'Tage Mahal on the SPV label in 2004. Originally slated to be released on the same label in May 2006, JOP subsequently signed to AFM Records for the release of the follow-up entitled Maniacal Renderings,

which was due for release on September 4, 2006. Jon Oliva cites SPV's reluctance to promote the previous record as a major factor in his decision to move labels. Oliva credits his late brother Criss  (with whom he founded Savatage) as co-writing some of the work on the album (particularly the track "The Answer," after finding some working tapes they had recorded together shortly before Criss's death in a road accident in 1993.

A tour taking them through most of Summer 2006 saw the band appearing at festivals in Europe. The tour reportedly included the performance of two Savatage songs at each concert. During a performance at the UK's ProgPower festival in March 2007, Oliva and the band paid tribute to one of Savatage's works, Streets: A Rock Opera, by playing a majority of the album in running order for the first time as a "gift" to fans. Jon Oliva remarked that some of the songs had never been performed live in the 16 years since the album's first release.

Interviews pointed to a third album being recorded by the band in late 2007 ready for a release by AFM Records in January or February 2008. In January 2008, a release date in April via AFM was confirmed for the new album, entitled Global Warning, with the band announcing that the new album has now been both mixed and mastered. After the album's release, the band embarked on a tour of North America and Europe with new guitarist Tom McDyne along with Circle II Circle and Manticora.

The tour meant that Jon Oliva shared the stage with Zachary Stevens for the first time in almost 10 years. At the conclusion of the tour, the band announced that it had commenced pre-production on its fourth release, with a due date of 2009. The band toured the United States and Europe once more in 2009. The fourth release, entitled Festival, was released in February 2010. Plans for a live DVD to be filmed in 2009 were rescheduled, with a concert at 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands in October 2010 being tentatively scheduled for filming with a view to a live-DVD release in 2011.

A live DVD release will mark the first time that Oliva will handle solo lead vocal material over much of his material. In September 2010, it was announced that due to "undisclosed personal reasons", both Tom McDyne and Kevin Rothney would be forced to sit-out the band's European tour and DVD filming. Former touring guitar player from the 'Tage Mahal tour, Jerry Outlaw was tapped to play guitars, with Jason Gaines, described as "Tampa's phenom bass player" replacing Kevin Rothney for the duration of the tour.

As yet the DVD has still not been released. However the band did record their show in Florida in April 2012, the first night of a short tour celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Savatage's Hall of The Mountain King album, for a DVD release, and it now looks likely this will be released before the Festival tour one. Jon Oliva revealed that he would not travel with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra during their European tour in a statement released in March 2011. On April 20, 2011; guitarist Matt LaPorte died suddenly at his home.

Jon Oliva stated in a 2019 interview for "The Sound Affect Show" that the band no longer exists following the death of Matt LaPorte, and because of his busy schedule.

Jon Oliva

John Nicholas "Jon" Oliva (born July 22, 1959) is an American singer and multi-instrumentalist. (Piano, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass and Drums) He is best known as the co-founder, keyboardist and lead vocalist of the Heavy metal band Savatage, which he co-founded with his younger brother Criss Oliva. Since 1996 he has also been a songwriter, musician and vocalist in Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Producer Paul O'Neill referred to Jon Oliva in numerous interviews as the single greatest vocalist/musician he has ever worked with.

Early life

Jon Oliva was born in The Bronx, New York City. His family moved around a lot when Jon and Criss were young, living in California for four years until moving to Florida in 1976. Much like his brother Criss, Jon found music his calling during the family's time in California. Starting off with his father's piano, Jon dabbled in guitars, pianos and drums before buying "a really ugly bass". Jon and Criss continued their musical exploits and played a block party, playing KissDeep Purple and ZZ Top covers.

Although originally the guitar player of the brothers, Jon quickly realized Criss's talent was superior to his and stuck to singing and swapped with his brother and played bass. Having been kicked out of high school in 1978, Jon needed a job, and was lucky enough to join a band called Metropolis, a band playing Bad Company and Alice Cooper cover songs.

This gave Jon his first touring experience as the band played bars and clubs in various parts of Florida, but Jon quickly grew tired of the bars and clubs, leaving the band later that year.

Jon and Criss re-united to form Avatar, out of their two most recent bands, Alien and Tower respectively. Avatar would later become Savatage. Earning the envy of most other Floridan bands due to their "awesome equipment", Avatar was originally a five-piece, with Jon on drums and vocals, and Criss on guitar.

The band slowly drifted apart until Jon and Criss remained, and the two got jobs at "The Pit", a practice shack where they met Steve Wacholz. Wacholz was very familiar with the Oliva brothers, who he first met in 1977. He saw Criss play at a local high school and was blown away. Very soon after, he auditioned for Jon's band, Alien.

When he got to the audition, Steve Wacholz recognized Criss and Jon as part of the band who had impressed him so much at the high school show. Steve would eventually join a new version of Avatar, joined later by bass player Keith Collins, who originally knew the band as they hired his equipment. Jon felt restrained by playing instruments and subsequently stuck to being the band's lead vocalist.

Avatar initially received exposure via a free Tampa Bay music publication called Music Magazine, who recommended the band to Tampa radio station WYNF, who were holding a contest for a spot on an LP. Avatar opened both sides of the LP with tracks "Rock Me" and "Minus Love". WYNF also gave the fledgling band concerts. In late 2006, footage was released onto the internet of an early performance by Avatar at a gig in a Clearwater,

Florida parking lot and was prominent in featuring an early version of the song "Holocaust", which would later be released on Savatage's first album and a cover of Van Halen's "Eruption" and the latter's version of "You Really Got Me". Avatar's rising local stardom enabled them to record an LP with Par Records. An initial EP, entitled "City Beneath the Surface" sold 1000 copies, and Par Records invited Avatar back to the studio to record a full album.

However, there was an issue with a European band called Avatar who disagreed to the usage of the name, and the band needed to find a solution and fast, as the album was due to be pressed the following day. Jon and Criss were playing cards with their wives when they got a phone call and after initial tweaking, they finally arrived at Savatage. That full album was Sirens, the first Savatage record.

"My dad is a piano player, and we always had a piano in the house, so I started messing around with that. I was probably like 11 or 12. I was very impatient, so I kind of blew that by. There were also guitars around the house. It was just a gradual thing – a little bit of everything here and there. We bought a bass, because we had guitars, piano and drums – the one thing we didn't have was a bass. So we went out and bought this shitty, teardrop-shaped, green bass, probably the ugliest bass in the whole world. It had black nylon strings – it was really awful. The strings were like six inches off the fretboard, but we had a bass, and I started dabbling with that. It was just a little bit of everything at one time."—Jon Oliva

Health issues

In April 2016, Jon Oliva suffered a mild stroke from which he fully recovered.

In March 2021, Jon Oliva revealed that he had a battle with COVID-19 for two months the year before.

In September 2023, Jon suffered a spinal injury which postponed production of the upcoming Savatage album "Curtain Call" until early 2024: "I slipped on a wet marble floor and I fractured my T7 vertebra. It is very painful; I'm actually in a lot of pain right now. I have to wear this kind of like a harness vest support thing for four months."


Doctor Butcher (1994) (Doctor Butcher album)

'Tage Mahal (2004)

Straight Jacket Memoirs (2006) ep

Maniacal Renderings (2006)

Global Warning (2008)

Reflections (2008) live

Festival (2010)

Raise the Curtain (2013) (Solo album)

Former members

Jon Oliva – vocals, piano, keyboards, guitar (2003–2019)

Matt LaPorte – guitar (2003–2011 †)

Kevin Rothney – bass, backing vocals (2003–2012)

Christopher Kinder – drums, backing vocals (2003–2019)

Shane French – guitar (2005–2007)

Tom McDyne – guitar (2007–2010)

Bill Hudson – guitar (2014–2019)

Former touring members

Jerry Outlaw - guitar (2004–2005)

Jason Gaines – bass (2010–2011)


Guest members

Steve "Doc" Wacholz – drums (guest on 'Tage Mahal)

Ralph Santolla – guitars (guest on Global Warning)

Source: Wikipedia

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