By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
The Holiday season will never be the same for me because it was around this time last year that I lost my dad. He really enjoyed this time of year, especially when he and I would put up the lights together. During this time, he loved listening to the Christmas music of symphonic/neoclassical metal outfit Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I remember growing up, whenever we were in truck, he would pop in classic record in the CD console, The Christmas Attic. It was amazing to hear all these iconic Christmas songs reworked into their own songs and it would brighten my Christmas spirits. Recently, I was offered the opportunity to speak with TSO’s longtime drummer, Jeff Plate. He was in the mood to discuss his upcoming projects as well as TSO’s special livestream event where they will perform their debut album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories, in its entirety. I took the interview, knowing my dad would be listening in.
Plate is the group’s original drummer, and he came to join the group during his stint with Savatage, a group TSO creator Paul O’Neill and Jon Oliva. It started with the album Dead Winter Dead, and look where they are at now. He would go on elaborating on how O’Neill came up with the concept of TSO and how the Christmas theme came about. I told him that my dad’s favorite album from them was The Christmas Attic, and Plate went into detail on how that album and Christmas Eve and Other Stories changed the landscape for them. Since TSO is performing Christmas Eve and Other Stories, I asked if they would be using the different singers that they usually have on the road with them. He clarified that the original line-up will be performing on the livestream along with the TSO west and east touring singers, so that will be exciting to witness. Besides TSO and Savatage, Plate used to drum for Metal Church from 2006-2017, and when he is not on the road, he teaches drums in his home. He also announced a new project that he is working on called Alta Reign, who have just put out a new single entitled “Immortal.” When asked his three desert island albums he would bring with him, he chose KISS Alive, Santana Moonflower, and his third choice was either a mix tape or anything Rush (possibly 2112), which is always a good choice.
It was an awesome interview to have. Plate was delightful to speak to, and he had a great sense of humor. I know my dad would have enjoyed this interview seeing how he loved listening to TSO. I plan on not only checking out TSO live once everything is back to normal, but I will check out Alta Reign and seeing what they are all about. To Jeff Plate, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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