Paul O’Neill, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Mastermind, Passes at 61

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ background_color=”#f7f7f4″ custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” admin_label=”Section”][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”30px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”30px||0px|”]

Paul O’Neill , who turned Trans-Siberian Orchestra into a beloved Christmas staple and a multimillion dollar enterprise, playing to sold-out areas around the world, passed away at the age of 61 from a chronic illness.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

Paul O’Neill formed Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996 with a vision for a band that was theatrical, conceptual and, like the world itself, intended to be ever-changing.  In short, everything not expected of rock music at that point in time.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”51px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://obitmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1200px-Paul_ONeill_rock_producer.jpg” alt=”Paul O’Neill obituary Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Obit Magazine – Death, funeral, obituary” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on” admin_label=”The Doors”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider” custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text max_width=”130px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_font_size=”16″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1em” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]

Paul O’Neill at TSO’s concert in London, March 28th 2011.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text max_width=”130px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_font_size=”12″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.2em” custom_margin=”6px|||”]

Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

At the time of his passing, he had achieved that dream, turning Trans-Siberian Orchestra into one of the most successful acts of the new millennium, having played in excess of 1,800 shows for more than 14 million fans across the globe and selling in excess of 10 million albums.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text max_width=”900px” admin_label=”Quote” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”32″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.3em” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]

Born in Flushing, Queens, the second of 10 children of Irish immigrants, Paul O’Neill began playing guitar in high school.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

With the dissolution of his first band, Slowburn, he took a position at the management firm of Leber-Krebs, where he learned the recording and concert touring business from the ground up, giving him an insight into how to build a successful act worldwide.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

In the ‘80s, he became a major concert promoter in Japan for acts like Madonna and Sting, as well as many major rock festivals in the country.  He also was adept in the recording studio, having produced Aerosmith’s Classics Live I and II albums, among many others.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”on” custom_width_px=”780px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”1″ custom_padding=”7%||7%|” padding_mobile=”off” custom_margin=”4%||2%|” background_image=”http://obitmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/skull-background-1920.png” parallax=”on” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row” global_module=”29167″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_signup mailchimp_list=”7a667755b6″ title=”HOLD ON, NOW THAT YOU’RE STILL ALIVE…” button_text=”DEAD SIMPLE!” background_color=”rgba(33,33,33,0.88)” text_orientation=”center” admin_label=”Email Optin” header_font_size=”30px” body_font_size=”19px” body_letter_spacing=”1px” custom_button=”on” button_text_size=”20px” button_text_color=”#ffffff” button_bg_color=”#ff5722″ button_border_width=”4px” button_border_color=”#ffffff” button_border_radius=”6px” button_use_icon=”off” button_text_color_hover=”#212121″ button_bg_color_hover=”rgba(255,255,255,0.7)” button_border_color_hover=”#ff5722″ button_border_radius_hover=”9px” button_letter_spacing_hover=”2px”]

 Get new articles into your inbox, every month

[/et_pb_signup][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

O’Neill was attracted to the concept album at an early stage, citing The Who’s Tommy as an initial inspiration. As producer and co-writer with Savatage, he helped devise conceptual full-length works like Hall of the Mountain King, Gutter Ballet, Streets: A Rock Opera and Dead Winter Dead

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text max_width=”900px” admin_label=”Quote” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”32″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.3em” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]

In 1996, he joined with Savatage members Jon Oliva, Bob Kinkel and Al Pitrelli – as well as studio engineer Dave Williams, whom he knew from his days in New York with Slowburn – to create Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

The band’s first album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories, was released by Lava/Atlantic Records in 1996, featuring what became one of TSO’s signature songs, the socially conscious “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” originally recorded by Savatage, which combined the melodies of the traditional Yuletide numbers “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells.”

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on”][et_pb_code admin_label=”Code”][/et_pb_code][et_pb_text text_orientation=”center” admin_label=”Text”]

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

The band made its commercial breakthrough with the 2000 non-holiday rock opera Beethoven’s Last Night, which told the tale of the devil’s battle for the soul of the classical composer.  Other Trans-Siberian Orchestra releases include 2004’s The Lost Christmas Eve, 2009’s Night Castle, 2012’s EP Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) and 2015’s Letters from the Labyrinth.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text max_width=”900px” admin_label=”Quote” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”32″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.3em” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]

By the mid-2000s, Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s seasonal tours found them perennially topping industry trade publication Pollstar’s annual box office charts, both in the U.S. and worldwide, cementing the band’s legacy as a seasonal must-see.  

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

Two of O’Neill’s major influences were writers Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde, the former for his own Christmas classics, the latter for the iambic pentameter he used for the narration in his shows (and the inspiration for his daughter, Irene Wilde’s name). At their peak, Trans-Siberian Orchestra had several productions touring simultaneously, with O’Neill often jetting from Europe to America to go from one concert to the next.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row custom_width_px=”830px” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”50px|||” custom_padding_tablet=”17px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_image src=”http://obitmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Trans-Siberian_Orchestra_2006.jpg” alt=”Paul O’Neill obituary Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Obit Magazine – Death, funeral, obituary” animation=”fade_in” sticky=”on” admin_label=”The Doors”][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider” custom_css_main_element=”width:130px;”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text max_width=”130px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_font_size=”16″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1em” custom_margin=”20px||0px|”]

Trans-Siberian Orchestra show in Detroit, Michigan on December 8, 2006.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text max_width=”130px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||on||” text_font_size=”12″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.2em” custom_margin=”6px|||”]

Picture Courtesy of Wikimedia

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

His holdings included the Morrissound  Recording Studio in Tampa, FL, which he turned into TSO’s headquarters, Night Castle, pleased to be so close to another of his heroes, Walt Disney.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”50px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text max_width=”900px” admin_label=”Quote” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”32″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.3em” custom_margin=”16px||30px|”]

As a business man, Paul O’Neill headed an operation that numbered approximately 400 people, with 80 musicians and 340 crew members, but treated them all as part of his own extended family.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color=”#aeaeac” show_divider=”on” divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” divider_weight=”1px” hide_on_mobile=”off” admin_label=”Divider”][/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

O’Neill was also a dedicated philanthropist, with TSO having donated $14 million to charity, a writer (he penned a 50-page novella, Merry Christmas, Rabbi) and an avid student of history and collector of rare artifacts – including signed editions of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Books and Winston Churchill’s two-volume biography of his father, as well as letters from numerous dignitaries and Presidents, including one written from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, among many other significant antiquities.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row use_custom_width=”on” custom_width_px=”620px” custom_padding=”2px|||” padding_mobile=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_text max_width=”620px” admin_label=”Text” text_font=”PT Serif||||” text_font_size=”20″ text_text_color=”#363636″ text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”46px||0px|”]

At the time of his death, Paul O’Neill had two rock operas in various stages of completion, including Romanov: When Kings Must Whisper, about the 1917 Russian Revolution, and an expanded rewritten version of Savatage’s Gutter Ballet, both intended for Broadway.

He is survived by his wife, and his daughter Irene Wilde.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ padding_mobile=”off” admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row padding_mobile=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_shop posts_number=”3″ columns_number=”3″ orderby=”date” admin_label=”Shop”][/et_pb_shop][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed