jon caffery


1989. Gutter Ballet

is the fifth album produced by band Savatage. This was the second album created under the direction of producer Paul O'Neill.

This album was a true turning point for the band, for after Jon Oliva watched Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera in Toronto, he decided to change the sound of the band, from a heavy metal to a more progressive sound, which is reflected in songs such as “When the Crowds Are Gone” and “Gutter Ballet”. Gutter Ballet is not a concept album, but the final three songs (“Mentally Yours”, “Summer’s Rain”, “Thorazine Shuffle”) are a conceptual suite dealing with a single character as revealed by the band in interviews.

The original title for the record was Temptation Revelation, but this was changed to Hounds of Zaroff which was a Steve Wacholz suggestion. As late as May 1989, the eventual title track of the album had not been written and the band was having doubts surrounding the album title. The title Gutter Ballet finally came from that of a play producer Paul O'Neill had written ten years earlier and which would later make-up the majority of the band’s next work, Streets. The song “Gutter Ballet” was written with just O'Neill, Jon and Criss Oliva in the studio. Jon’s drumming skill was competent enough to perform on the track and he also provided the bass guitar duties for the track. Had the band originally stuck with the story set-out in Paul O'Neill’s original 1979 story, the song “When the Crowds Are Gone” would have followed Streets track “A Little Too Far”.  

After 1987’s successful album Hall of the Mountain King, Savatage established themselves as a strong and remarkable band for years to come. Gutter Ballet being the second album with producer Paul O'Neill, it marked the beginning of a completely new era for them.  this Very highly recommended Savatage album. This album really does have to be heard to be believed. You cant just think of it as another Savatage release or another metal release for that matter, but as a great piece of music.

If you’re new to Savatage, this album or “Hall of the Mountain King” are the best in my opinion.

Jon Oliva    Criss Oliva      Chris Caffery     Johnny Lee Middleton    Steve Wacholz