During a recent discussion with Sakis Fragos from Rock Hard Greece, Jon Oliva, the leader of SAVATAGE and co-creator of the classical-meets-progressive rock and pyrotechnics show TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA with the project’s originator Paul O’Neill, shared his intentions to gradually step away from producing music and performing on tours.
“I wanna do the [new] SAVA album and do one final tour and then I’m packing it in. I’m done with this whole s**t. Everybody I know is dead. My wife died. My son died. My father died. I’m on probation. I can’t drive. And they’re trying to f**k me because I’m a supposed rock star. They keep trying to, like, catch me. And I’m, like, ‘Dude, I’m not doing anything. I can’t go anywhere. Leave me alone.'”
Regarding his son’s passing, Jon said: “He died in January. He was actually my stepson, but I was more like a father to him than anybody. And I was very close with him. And he died. He O.D.ed on January, I think it was 23rd.”
Additionally, Oliva discussed the passing of his wife, stating: “Me and my son Nicholas, we knew it. We were just watching my wife. And I remember telling Nick, I said, ‘Dude, I’m terrified. ‘Cause I’m gonna come home one day from the studio, and she’s gonna be dead on the floor.’ And that’s exactly what happened… My stepson dies, and then my wife dies, and then my father dies. It’s, like, I’m looking up and heaven, going, ‘Is that all you’ve got, motherf*ckers?’ It’s, like, ‘Come on, man. Enough already.’
“People don’t realize what I have gone through on a personal [level],” he continued. “They don’t know. It’s hard. It’s really hard. And I’ve had to deal with a lot of s**t. ‘Why aren’t you making any music?’ Well, f**k you. Why don’t you try? Everybody I know is dead. And [people say], ‘Why aren’t you making any music?’ Well, f**k you. You come and try.”
Jon also discussed his arrest in September 2021 on Florida’s west central coast for driving under the influence and possessing a controlled substance. Oliva was charged by the police with felony possession of c*caine and misdemeanor DUI. When questioned if these charges would hinder his ability to travel and conduct tours, he stated: “No, because when I went to court, before the TSO tour, and I went in front of this judge. And I found out she was a TSO fan. She had gone to, like, 10 [shows over the years]. And this has never happened before. She sat there and she goes. ‘Wow. It looks like you have a good job. By the way, you’re very talented. I love your music. And I’m gonna suspend your probation so you go out on tour.’ And when I went to the probation office and I told the probation officer, I go, ‘She suspended [my probation].’
“He goes, ‘This is unheard of. This never happens.’ I handed him the paper from the judge, and he goes, ‘I have a problem with this.’ I went, ‘Why?’ Because I had one mistake in 63 years. I didn’t hurt anybody, except I wrecked my truck. Okay, yeah, perish the thought — I had drugs on me. You probably do more drugs than I did. It’s, like, I didn’t hurt anybody. So why don’t you guys just get off of my back? And then I have this friend of mine that works for the probation department in Pasco County, Florida, and she goes, ‘Oh, we’ve had meetings about you.’ ‘What do you mean meetings about me?’ She goes, ‘They’re gonna try to make an example out of you. They’re gonna try to trip you up and catch you and then put you in jail.’ I’m, like, ‘Thanks a lot for f**king telling me.’ ‘You’re a celebrity, Jon Oliva.’ I’m, like, ‘I’m not a celebrity.’ I’m not.”
The Pasco County Jail web site shows the 63-year-old musician was arrested at 3:43 a.m. on September 30, 2021 and was released on bail less than 24 hours later — at 12:34 a.m. on October 1.
Police charged Oliva with possession of c*caine, which is a felony, and DUI, which is a misdemeanor.