Interlude – In Memoriam


And he’s back!

And its like he never went away!

Please, though, no sporting comments.  Hawthorn have lost their last two matches by a combined total of 170+ points, and currently sit 18th on the ladder.

Yes, there are 18 teams.

More seriously, and before I get into the interesting questions left for me during my absence, I want to mention the passing of two people greatly admired by me, but with whom the vast majority of my readers may not be familiar.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge the passing of satirist supreme John Clarke.


Mr Clarke, together with his partner, Brian Dawe, used a mock ‘interview’ format, every week, to lampoon the political and social issues of the day.  Without using trivialities such as make-up or costumes, they would seamlessly ‘adopt’ the personas of a hapless interviewer and a suitably pompous buffoon.

Here’s an example of a banker trying to confidently explain both the banking system and the 2008 financial crisis :

And here is a ‘consultant’ answering quiz questions on the government’s policy on refugees :

Satire that is consistently funny, perceptive and intelligent is exceedingly rare.  For a few minutes every Thursday, Clarke and Dawe was appointment television for, literally, TWO DECADES.

I salute you, Mr Clarke.

Here is an obituary, including comments by Mr Clarke’s partner, Bryan Dawe.

With regard to the other recent sad news, I will start by mentioning some personal background.

In 1991, my friend Dave suggested I listen to a new cassette tape (!) of his while we were shooting pool.  He mentioned that it was by a band called Savatage, which merged traditional hard rock with complex instrumentation and orchestral arrangements.  Two of the first four songs were this :

and this :

The videos may be still slightly 80s cheesy, but the heartfelt piano, searing guitar and thought-provoking lyrics stopped me dead in my tracks.

I later discovered that this band had started as a conventional (though extremely skilled) metal band.  However, once Paul O’Neill, producer and songwriter, came on board, their entire approach changed, and (comparative) success followed.

Their albums started have a strong sto toryline thread, with various albums telling stories about sin, redemption, substance abuse, despair and others.

After Criss Oliva, lead guitarist, died at the hands of a drunk driver in 1993, his brother Jon and Paul O’Neill recorded the heartbreaking album Handful of Rain, with this tribute to Criss (‘Alone You Breathe’) being the heartstopping finale.

Over time, a further feature became detailed vocal arrangements, with up to six vocal tracks singing different verses simultaneously, resulting in great stuff like this :

On the concept album Dead Winter Dead, an instrumental piece, that represented the playing of Christmas carols during wartime became a massive radio hit in the USA, and the side-project of Trans-Siberian Orchestra was born.

TSO (as it became known) overtook Savatage in both the public perception and record sales.  Those of you in the USA will no doubt have heard of their massively successful tours and albums.

All this is building up to the news that Paul O’Neil, producer, song-writer and artist, has died aged 61.

Obit Paul ONeill

To quote the first words of ‘Alone You Breathe’ :

“You were never one for waiting / Still I always thought you’d wait for me.”

I leave you with this tale of redemption and forgiveness :

And here is Rolling Stone’s obituary



10 thoughts on “Interlude – In Memoriam

  1. That’s really sad news. I saw TSO in concert in 2013. Their special effects are one of those things that need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated; no video can truly do them justice. Didn’t think Paul O’Neill would be gone so soon 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Savatage….gutter ballet….i remember when i listened to “Where the crowds are gone”….after 1.50 minutes i just wanted to learn all the bass line of that breathtaking song (i’m a bass player)….great great band

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still remember where I was when I read about Criss Oliva’s death (for the record, reading the heavy metal column of the weekly music newspaper while waiting to get my ear pierced a second time…). I wanted to just go home and not talk to anyone….


      1. Corrected:
        My sort of lawyer ha(d) at least two ear piercings???

        I’m (still) pleased 🙂

        (For the record, I used to wear an impressive array of rings. If I put my hands down on the table and your go from left to right. Left hand, a silver goat complete with twisting horns and one red eye and one empty eyesocket , a Silver wolfhead, A pewter dragon , a Pewter ring that was basically around a giant Red Eye. Right Hand A Gold ring with a Griffon engraved on it (gift from sister), a large Gold lion with red eyes, a small gold lion with ruby red eyes and another jewel in his mouth, one finger free. It used to drive management spare that I’d keep wearing them at work (and nearly everywhere else for that matter). I had to give them all up when I got married because they clashed with the wedding ring. I feel your loss 😥 )

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Just wanted to say I used your two Clark and Dawe interviews today to try and entertain my mum who’s gone down another notch with the dementia and she was able to enjoy it thoroughly. The humor is expertly paced and not to long and satire is universal. She was on edge when I arrived but smiled and laughed at them. Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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