Heavy metallers Spirits Of Fire have announced their return with their 2nd album, "Embrace The Unknown". The album released on February 18, 2022 via Frontiers Records with with new vocalist Fabio Lione (Angra, ex-Rhapsody Of Fire), who joins original members Chris Caffery, Steve DiGiorgio, and Mark Zonder on produced by Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere, Archon Angel, Sweet Oblivion).
RockOverdose had the chance to speak with Chris Caffery on details of their new album and of course Savatage!
'Embrace the Unknown' is out now!
Find all the links here- https://orcd.co/embrace
RockOverdose: I'm sure that the most common question for you is when we're going to see Savatage together!
Chris Caffery: Exactly! The question hasn't changed! It's always been the same and I think my reaction is always been the same. Everybody knows that I'm a Savatage fan as well! I'd love to see it happen! You know that last year we've start writing some new material but I don't know what's going to happen... It was at least fun for me to be in that position to work once again with Jon, to exchange music! Obviously because it was the first time after 20 years! We'll see what happens... I know I've been saying the same thing for 20 years.. Since it was nothing going on, and now there's something going on I can say we are closer than nothing...
RockOverdose: Let's start from the beginning! When did you pick up the quitar first?
Chris Caffery: There was something about the electric quitar that got me, especially the Gibson Les Paul quitars! I saw them a lot on TV shows, I got my first quitar when I was 10 years old and at 14 we had a band with my brother called "Anti" that used to open gigs of Metallica in clubs...
I remember when I was about 17, I met the singer from the band "Heaven", Allan Fryer the Australian guy. Mitch Perry had left the band and I got into the band that happend to be produced by Paul O'Neill at that time. The next year I started working with Savatage and it was at the very begining that Paul telling me that this band is going to be huge! Paul always said that Savatage should have two guitar players, that was his push on, but Savatage didn't want to have two guitar players! So when I was first came in there was a big push on between Paul and management, me and the Oliva brothers got along really well, and it sounded really good so they decided to put the position of second guitarist which was made for me. It would never happened if I wasn't there!
Maybe I should have stayed in the band and see what happens but I wanted to be with my brother, because he was feeling depressed of not working with him, and me being a young kid I decided to side with my brother.
Nowdays you see people playing in 10 different bands and that's ok, but back then you just wanted to be in one band!
However, me and my brother are so far musically that I realised soon that I've made a mistake! So, when Jon left Savatage and I started hanging out with him and it was then when Doctor Butcher came out and I returned into that big family! We were always working together and my main regret comes from the years that I missed working with Chris (Oliva) being alive! No matter how much I replace time, I can't replace time without him... to this day is something that really bothers me! Especially when I see Streets (Streets: A Rock Opera) cover and I'm not on, I regret my decision because I was there and I should be part of that, part of Savatage history. Of course, I'm a part of Savatage family but I look back to what may have been at that time...
RockOverdose: How are things going for you in the begining of 2022?
Chris Caffery: It's actually very well. I just got off a two moth tour with Trans Siberian Orchestra which was very interesting! On stage we were playing normal and off stage we had to follow all these protocols because of the pandemic, wear masks and stay in our own space... We were there with a mission to keep that tour healthy, and we did it but it was totally different. There were no backstages, no hanging out, no restaurants, no after partys. It was fan to play on stage again, for me 2020 wasn't as bad as it was for many people. Usually with TSO we tour November - December so most of the year I wasn't on tour... so I just had time to spend for the new Spirits Of Fire record which is coming out in a couple of weeks and I'm very exchited! So over the last weeks I'm doing interviews, the response is amazing... for me is that I've always wanted to do, to make something that people are going to like!
RockOverdose: Would you like to tell us more details about that album?
Chris Caffery: Well, as you may know the first Spirits Of Fire record was made with Tim Ripper Owens singing but when Frontiers asked me to do a second record I realised that for some reason that I still don't know exactly, Ripper and Frontiers decided not to work together again. So Frontiers came to me and asked me if I still want to make the record, then in January 2020 just before the pandemic, I asked for a new singer to replace Ripper... Ripper was the reason I did Spirits Of Fire, he is a friend of mine and one of the best singer in metal..! Then, Frontiers went to Fabio (Leone) he did some demos, we saw that this is going to work, so we start recording.
What I did differently in that record was that I wanted Mark Zonders' drums first before I did my guitar riffs. I wanted to play as if I play live! I'm an old school guitarist... I was able to find how I could write my guitar parts to marry the artistic style of Mark Zonder and really play it like it was driving... A little bit different than playing to the beat alone. I think in the end, when Steve plays his bass off of us, having that connections sounds like a full live band! I love the way this record came out together for that reason! Fabio's vocal ideas on the top is great! I told to myself I didn't want to write the vocal parts on this records, as I did in the previous one, for me to do all these it feels like a solo record with a different singer, so I didn't want that to happen! I think the final product is a fun heavy metal record for the people to listen and enjoy and that's all I wanted to do!
RockOverdose: As regards Fabio Leone, he used to sing more operatic and sometimes progressive songs, how did he fit with Spirits Of Fire?
Chris Caffery: He actually did that himself, which I think is the best! He and Aldo, knew what they wanted to do! Most people are not familiar with this element of his voice but it's obviously there! So he knew he could do that, so for him to step up and do that kind of a metal performance was awesome!
I asked a lot of people who have decades of experience on various metal bands, to listen to my finished tracks - not one person was able to guess that this was Fabio! So he literally took on an other character, getting away on what we're used with Angra, Rhapsody of Fire.
RockOverdose: A couple of videos have been already released. Both of them are over 200.000 views. How you feel about that?
Chris Caffery: It's really exciting! I read the comments from fans all over the world and they're really excited! I'm very happy that the fans like it!
RockOverdose: Can you tell us the story of the band? How did all started?
Chris Caffery: Besides my solo records and my work with other metal bands , I was looking for something else to do! Frontiers actually came to me and asked me to work with Tim Ripper and Roy Z as a producer! Of course Ripper is a dear friend of mine and I knew works of Zonder and DiGiorgio, so we came together and did the record, we connected the same way we were in 2020-2021, cause as everybody had other things going on, the pandemic made an advantage for the band, we sit down and focus on. We've talked about the possibility of shows, I think it's more safe to wait this time because a lot of shows are being canceled.
It's a possitive outlet I enjoy doing my solo records but it's a lot of work for me. The ability to create a solo record is stil there but I think the pressure and the real fun is to allie with others, this puts more fun to the project!
RockOverdose: So Spirits Of Fire is a metal full band, not just a project, that has more things to offer to the scene...
Chris Caffery: That's how I like it to be! I want people to be able to associate with us!
RockOverdose: Let's talk about your memories from Greece!
Chris Caffery: Nothing than the greatest memories of my life come from that country! I think that my personality as a person and an artist has a natural connection with the Greek fans and the country. I'd love to come back and play or hang around with the fans. I enjoy not just playing for crowds but getting into the city, have a coffee on a local cafe, trip to an island like Spetses... enjoy the country as it is! I miss walking down the streets of the cities we tour... We have this in our lives as musicians but sometimes you have very short time to enjoy! I'd like to have a complete experience from touring.... When Savatage stopped touring a lot of my global travel slowed down.
RockOverdose: Is this your room there? Nice decoration...
Chris Caffery: Yeah! It has bits and pieces from all around the world! You can see 30 years of history on the wall! I've some stuff from Greece as well! Also I have some special pin up machines! A lot of writing happened here for Savatage, Butchers..stuff!
RockOverdose: Let's close like we started! How close are we for the reunion?
Chris Caffery: I cant answer that question! It's not my decision, Savatage is a band and it needs to come together. We are writing and talking ... We'll see what happens. I think we are close! I can't answer how close but I give it a 50%!
RockOverdose: Thank you very much! Please send a message to the fans!
Chris Caffery: I just wanna thank everybody who constantly being there! I wouldn't be making this music if I didn't have the fans and the ability to make people happy and enjoy!
Spirits Of Fire
Fabio Lione - Vocals
Christopher Caffery - Guitars
Steve Di Giorgio - Bass
Mark Zonder - Drums
For Rock Overdose,
Questions by Pavlos Giannakopoulos