Dan Roth at Music & Art Interviews recently caught up with former TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA vocalist Tommy Farese for a career-spanning interview. Following is an excerpt from the discussion:
DR: Your last tour with TSO was 2010. Did you have any indication that this would be your last tour with them?
TF: “I heard the train coming down the tracks. After Tony went, I was the last one out. I kind of knew it was coming.”
DR: Can you describe the circumstances of your departure?
TF: “I got a phone call from (TSO manager) Adam Lind in June of 2011. He basically said that they had heard that I was writing songs for this band that had some former TSO members in it – they were calling it TxO at that point. I said, ‘Yeah, I had some songs that I wrote for myself that I am giving to these guys because they are starting their own venture. What’s the problem?’ Adam says, ‘It’s a conflict of interest and Paul is very hurt.’
I said, ‘Why? I broke bread with these guys. We all banded together. We were family. Remember family? That’s what this was supposed to be? Am I supposed to turn my back on them? These guys are like family to me. We spent a lot of time onstage together, we spent our holidays together. I didn’t spend my holidays with my family – I spent them with these guys.’
I guess they were looking for a reason and could not come up with anything, so this is what they came up with.”
DR: Were you surprised by all of this? This had to have hurt after so many years of knowing and working with Paul and Al.
TF: “I was disappointed in certain people whose names will go unmentioned.
When you promise people things, I take you at your word. We didn’t have signed contracts with TSO until 2006, 2007. There was no such thing as a contract. It was a handshake, and they knew I would be there. And I expected the same from them – whatever they promised me, I expected. So when someone turns to you in 1999 and says, ‘Just hang in there with us guys, when this thing takes off, were going to take care of you and you got a job for life.’ I take you at your word. I don’t expect that 10 or 11 years down the road for you to say Oops. I don’t remember saying that.’
Go to this location for the complete interview.
A new holiday-themed tour has been announced by THE WIZARDS OF WINTER with a band that is fronted by three former TSO vocalists and their former narrator (who have since gone on to form their own group, THE KINGS OF CHRISTMAS). Following is the official press release:
The Wizards Of Winter are proud to announce that we will have four “ special guests “ touring with us this season. They are Tommy Farese, Guy LeMonnier, Tony Gaynor, and Michael Lanning. All are original members of the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and now part of a group called The Kings Of Christmas.
As most TSO fans know, the album Christmas Eve And Other Stories contains the group’s most recognized material. It is the famous story that TSO based their tours around for the first twelve years. The songs on that album have become holiday staples in many households across the nation.
The voices that bring those songs to life are Tommy Farese (‘Ornament’, ‘This Christmas Day’, ‘The Snow Came Down’), Guy LeMonnier (‘An Angel Came Down’, ‘An Angel Returned’, ‘Christmas In The Air’), Michael Lanning (‘Christmas Nights In Blue’) and Tony Gaynor (the magnificent narrator). For our 2013 season, they have joined forces with The Wizards. Our show story line this year will be based around The Wizards Of Winter’s Tales Beneath A Northern Star, integrated with many features of Christmas Eve And Other Stories.
The Wizards are honored to be working with such talented individuals as Tommy, Guy , Michael and Tony. This limited engagement tour will prove to be spectacular and we are very excited to present it to you all.
And this is the announcement from Tommy Farese:
“To all of our dear Kings Of Christmas fans, only two months ago we had the distinct pleasure of meeting an incredible group of players who have embarked on their own Christmas journey that has taken them to great heights through dynamic and original musicality. This band is preparing for their third tour to date and to our good fortune The Kings Of Christmas have been invited to join them on this adventure. We have always embraced our humble beginnings and this seems the perfect opportunity to reunite with all of you and to pull an awesome band further into the spotlight. That being said, The Kings Of Christmas are proud and pleased to announce the 2013 Wizards Of Winter tour with special guests, The Kings Of Christmas! Of course, you all know that our own tour has taken longer to soar than any of us has anticipated due to the uncertainties and pitfalls involved in mounting a production of this magnitude. However, what’s more important to us than any part of this process is the opportunity to perform for all of you. For that is our greatest purpose. We have great appreciation for your love and patience and when you least expect the Kings will deliver! Tour dates will be announced soon. We’ll see you at Christmas!
We won’t be doing KOC material. We’re saving that for next year (and yes, KOC will tour next year). Instead we’ll be doing Christmas Eve And Other Stories, the way we did it back in the day. With a different story. Should be fun…”
The following dates have been confirmed, with more to be announced soon:
29 – Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre – Woonsocket, RI
6 – The Landis Theater Performing Arts Center – Vineland, NJ
7 – Regent Theatre – Arlington, MA
8 – State Theatre Center for the Arts – Easton, PA
13 – The Newton Theatre – Newton, NJ
14 – Tioga Downs Casino – Nichols, NY
For information go to WizardsOfWinter.com and the official Kings Of Christmas Facebook page.