This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had the opportunity to have a fascinating conversation with one of the most innovative guitarists of our time, Al Pitrelli of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Join us as he shares his personal and professional experiences in the music industry, from playing rock with Alice Cooper to making history with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. We also delve into the heartwarming anecdotes about Paul O’Neill and how seemingly insignificant life events led Al right into Paul’s path, leading them together toward creating magic.
This is not just any other podcast episode; it’s an emotional exploration of artistry, resilience, and legacy! So don’t miss out on this captivating narrative where every note tells a tale!
For additional information, visit: www.trans-siberian.com
This episode is sponsored by:
In this Episode:
- A look back at Al’s unexpected path in music that started with Alice Cooper and eventually led him to Paul O’Neill, creator of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
- Discover how working alongside Alice Cooper shaped Al’s understanding of theatrical presentation in rock ‘n’ roll.
- Sharing a heartwarming encounter years later with Paul O’Neill.
- Navigating the loss of Paul O’Neill and keeping his art form alive.
- Diving deep into music, inspiration, and influences.
- Discover how Al celebrates Christmas in different cities.
“The Trans-Siberian Orchestra that was created by Paul O’Neill 28 years ago has a universality to it that I didn’t see on the radar, and I’m so proud of what it’s become and what it’s still becoming every day.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“The more yesterdays that I have, that I have, uh, tomorrows to come, in theory, uh, it’s those little left and right turns and those moments that happen in your life that cause you and I to be sitting down right now, having this conversation.
If one of us wasn’t fired and one of us made a left instead of a right, this conversation is null and void, not going to happen.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“Just life being life and fired, hired, whatever. But it’s a very peculiar, circuitous journey. And if you change one thing, dude, we ain’t here together today.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“That I would rather miss somebody than to have never had them in my life, you know? And I will miss Paul forever.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“Sometimes it makes you sad. Sometimes it makes you smile. That’s life. It’s the journey. This is a forever process.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“The only time I’m ever nervous is if I’m unprepared.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“You have to be very, very in opinion to be extremely vulnerable to bear your soul and play something meaningful or to create something meaningful.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“I just love that way of thinking and the older I get I whistle melodies. I don’t whistle solos.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“If you want to see a little extra sparkle in my eye, that’s because I just saw my daughter.” ~ Al Pitrelli
“Nothing really makes me much happier than looking down into the audience and seeing a four-year-old little girl on her granddaddy’s lap. She’s standing on his lap and they’re nose to nose, and every time the pyro goes off, she grabs his neck a little tighter. And then they both, you know, make the metal sign in the air.” ~ Al Pitrelli
Al Pitrelli is one of the most innovative guitarists of our time and has been an active and vital part of TSO since its inception. Currently, he is the lead guitarist and musical director of TSO West and the co-musical director for studio recordings.
Long before he entered the TSO realm, Al set the stage for his work in the band thanks to an impressive musical pedigree. After leaving Berklee School of Music in Boston in the early 80s, Al’s versatility led to recording and touring work with musicians and groups such as Alice Cooper (where he served as the band’s musical director), Asia, Megadeth, and numerous others.
In the mid-’90s, he joined the progressive rock group Savatage, where he began working with producer Paul O’Neill. Paul’s vision of creating a new type of band that would do anything to allow their music to have the maximum impact on the listener led to the eventual formation of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Al’s edgy guitar playing and vast musical lexicon merge perfectly with TSO’s passion and intensity.
“I really didn’t want to do anything else, no side projects,” declares Al. “I could care less, and he kept me working literally around the clock, like 10 or 11 months a year. It was Paul’s world. And it is. I’m just happy to be part of it. I loved working for the man. I love working for his family. I loved to help him bring some of his ideas to life. I loved him guiding me, I loved throwing ideas at him. It was just the greatest quarter century in my life, musically.”
Al is very aware of the musical legacy he is upholding in TSO and how Paul wanted the music to live on.
“For those of us doing it now,” declares Al, “I’m going to make sure to the best of my ability that it continues to a younger generation of people who are getting involved. It’s like any other art form or anything else that you want replicated for decades and centuries—we’re going to do our best. I owe everything to O’Neill and the O’Neill family.”