AL PITRELLI: 'We Work Harder Than Almost Anybody In Our Country Works At Their Day Job' recently conducted an interview with guitarist Al Pitrelli (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, MEGADETH). A few excerpts from the chat follow:

On being TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA's West tour Music Director:

"Touring is a weird thing. It beats working. I don't want people to think we don't work. We work harder than almost anybody in our country works at their day job. We have to work out for two hours every day just to contend with how grueling it is on the road. But we've been doing this since we were babies. Everybody in this band started out playing the guitar, the bass, the drums, whatever, when they were little and it was never work ... it was fun. The fact that we get paid for it is a bonus. We'd be doing this for free. We've been doing it most of our lives for free. When I walk on that stage and there are 18,000 people in the audience and my wife is out-playing me, it's a rush. I always tell people when they're in a band or in my employ, and they sometimes get a little tired or a little cranky, I look at them and say, 'You know what?! You're doing the show for free. That's a given. For two hours and forty-five minutes, you're having the time of your life on that stage. I'm paying you for the other 21 hours a day when you're fuckin' bored to death. That's the kind of job it is. You gotta travel. When you work on stage, whether it's a club, a hall, or an arena it doesn't matter. You could stand and play for somebody to throw you a dollar on the street and you'd love it. It's the travel and the airports and the other stuff that gets tedious. THAT'S what I'm paying you for, so shut up!' I have to think of ways to keep these people cranked and remind them this is the life that we chose and this is what we do. If you want to have the luxury and the wonderful grandeur of performing in front of people, well, it does come with a price. The price is inconvenience. If you don't like the inconvenience then put a dollar amount on it and that's why you're getting paid. I don't pay anybody to be in the band, I pay them to put up with time in between when they get to play."

On other projects besides touring with TSO:

"When you have a great writing team like Paul O'Neill, Jon Oliva and Bob Kinkel, there's incredible music that comes out of it. But with TSO turning into the behemoth it's become, it's really difficult to allocate time to any other thing. When you have such a successful tour, how many other side projects can you devote your time to when everybody wants to do such a great job with TSO and its projects? In the 10 years since its inception, TSO has grown into this massive, massive undertaking with hundreds and hundreds of employees that takes three months just to get the logistics of the Christmas tour started, then a month of rehearsals, then two months touring, then you put the monster back to bed in January and that's seven months. There's not a whole heck of a lot of time left for any other project that comes up no matter how much you want to work on it. Everything is gonna take a backseat until we can get TSO on auto-pilot, or at least something resembling a really well-oiled machine. The 'Night Castle' record is the priority that everyone's talking about right now and it's mandatory that we get that record done. I gotta tell ya, the music that we've done so far is absolutely spectacular and it's gonna be the best record we've ever made in our career. We've been working on and off on it for the past two years, but in the last two or three months we've really hit our stride and come up with some really incredible material we've been recording, so we're hoping we're going to have it done and in the can by spring 2007 and I know Paul wants it released by fall 2007."

Read the entire interview at


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