Ok folks, for you people out there who forget the little people in the scene picture this...your at a concer to see your favorite band in a dark and loud ass club. Suddenly the band appears on stage and starts with your favorite song but you can't see them cause its too dark and there are no lights to highlight the great music...so you leave the show pissed cause you couldn't follow your favorite guitarist hands fly up and down the fret board, see the facial expressons of the vocalist or the excellent drummer pounding his drums into a pile of wreckage! As you begin wish you had your money back you catch yourself wishing that the band would have brought a lightman!! Yes people LIGHTMEN are an important piece of the metal scene..so lets pay them the respect they deserve. Below I question TAZZ, the man who makes sure we can see Jon Oliva and the rest of the SAVATAGE when they play songs like SIRENS, TAUNTING COBRAS, DEAD WINTER DEAD, HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING and COMMISSAR! So lets see the guy who puts SAVATAGE in the spotlight has to say!
Prof.ManiC: How did you get your start in the biz and with savatage?
Tazz: This will be a long but short answer, It all started at this big rock club just outside of Pittsburgh in Greensburg, Pa. called Club Eldorado. I found my way in and acted like I was 21 when I was really only 18. I became friends with the house sound guy, owner and all the bartenders. ( free drinks) The house sound guy asked me if I would be interested in doing lights for a company he worked for and also for the club. I told him I had no clue how to do lights, he said this does this, and that does that, and if you put these 2 bare wires together you get fog. He never bothered to tell me not to be touching the light board at the same time. My first lesson in Electricity.

After about 6 months a National touring band that had played there a few times asked me to go on a U.S. club tour with them. I said sure, and that is where I started to really learn about lighting. Every night was a different lighting console, and the lighting rig always had something wrong with it. Which is where I started learning the technical side by trying to fix them. Keywords ...TRIED TO FIX THEM..... Iím sure there is some stuff that I had blown up. We ran out of fog fluid in the Mid-West so I made some. BAD IDEA, almost burnt the club down. Everything I have learned about lighting has been from hands on experience, Read in books, or from watching other lighting guys.

With Savatage starting was a lot different, I had retired from touring for about 3 yrs. and had moved to FL. from Pa., I was burned out from being on the road, and I just wanted to stay home, sleep normal, and spend time with my girlfriend. I was working at a lighting company here in Tampa as a supervisor, but I was going crazy over the whole 9-5 job thing there. The tour manager / sound guy for Savatage had came in to buy or rent something for a show he was doing. We recognized each other and started talking. That is when he mentioned that Savatage was looking for an L D
Prof.ManiC: How long you been a lightman? How long for savatage?
TAZZ: Starting from my first tour till now 15 yrs. With Savatage since June 4th 1998
Prof.ManiC: Do you bring our own equipment or does the band usually supply what they want? or little bit of both?
TAZZ: The only equipment I bring is a fog machine to ensure the use of water-based fluid. The oil-based fluid will make all the gear on the stage greasy, Not to mention what it does to your lungs. So we use a water based fluid that is not harmful in any way. Everything else is either owned by the band or rented for that tour.
Prof.ManiC: Does being a lightman pay the bills or just something on the side?
TAZZ: When you keep busy it will pay the bills. If your not busy, go to the rainy day bank account. For me it is my career and one of the best things I know how to do.
Prof.ManiC: How much of the cash you make goes back into equipment?
TAZZ: Whenever the parts are at my cost, I fix my own stuff.
Prof.ManiC: What are good rules of thumb for lightman to follow?
TAZZ: Always do your homework, and have a contract to make sure you get paid.
And donít be a JACK ASS when you are touring with an opening band and NOT headlining the tour. Every time you piss off the head L D It will cost you in how many lights you may get for your show!!!
Prof.ManiC: with regards to what colors to use for what mood?
TAZZ: All depends on what kind of show your doing, Metal, Blues, Reggae, Techno etc.
Prof.ManiC: who to take cues from vocalist,drummer..etc?
TAZZ: Take any information you can from the Artist, It could help you in planning a great show. But also offer ideas as well , your imagination is what will design yourself a great show. Not by stealing someone elseís idea or design.
Prof.ManiC: For savatage shows, do you have most songs programmed out or do have a manual routine for each song memorized?
TAZZ: I program some cues ahead of time during pre - production, Most is memorized, some on paper, And even some made up as the show happens. Some shows we have up to 4 follow spots and operators That will get their cues from me during the show. So you have to split your brain up, 1 part to run the conventional lights, 1 part to run the moving lights, Another part to speak ahead of the show to let the spot operators know what their next cue is, and watch the stage at the same time. And there is always at least 1 person that thinks you are not busy enough so they want to ask you a question.
" hey dude,, can ya turn up the bass?"
Some nights go smooth , some nights are hell. Some nights are full of questions.
Prof.ManiC: How much creative power do you have over the bands vision?
TAZZ: Some but not a lot, I do mention my ideas and if everyone likes it and if it is in the budget then it will be done.
Prof.ManiC: How do you and the band work things out ahead of time?
TAZZ: I put an X on the stage and say, "hey stand here during this part" and they do. Or they will say no put it over here because I have to do such and such at the same time. Some Artistís remember and some donít. Every time I have mentioned it to anyone in Savatage they were always there on the X.
Prof.ManiC: How do you show parts of your personality thru your light shows?
TAZZ: I would have to say by trying to be a perfectionist. EXAMPLE: The song Edge of Thorns from Savatage, when Damond sings " as the stage lights fade " all the stage lights will fade. Another reason why doing your homework and learning the songs will help your show.
Prof.ManiC: During outside festivals during the day...how much of your "show" do you have to adjust based on the outside light?
TAZZ:: Nothing unfortunately, I cant beat Mother Nature. But one time I did send a local stagehand to find out about turning off the sun.
I never did see him again, I wonder if he got fired?
Prof.ManiC: What are some unwritten laws of the lightman?
TAZZ: COVER YOUR ASS!!! In ANY situation!!!
Prof.ManiC: what are major "fuckups" that you or other lightmen make?
TAZZ: Everyone makes a big Fuck Up once in a while, I had one in Paris, France. Ask Jon Oliva, he will tell you all about it.
Prof.ManiC: What side benefits do you get from touring with a band of Savatages caliber? Travel?
TAZZ: Get paid to see the world, but usually only on your day off, Or traveling down the road as you pass something.
Prof.ManiC: Babes?
TAZZ: Babes??? Ok, when was the last time you were at a Savatage show? I thought I heard someone say this was the Poets and ALL MEN Tour.
Prof.ManiC: All access at major fests? Etc?
TAZZ: In Europe or Brazil, I'm sure But not sure about the U.S. The band would have more of that luxury then the crew. Unless you know someone on the crew of the fest. or show.
Prof.ManiC: What other bands have you or still do lights for?
TAZZ: That's a long list, but in the past couple years during Savatage's time off, Overkill, Annihilator, Metal Church, Genitorturers, Crimson Glory, Kamelot, Nevermore.
Prof.ManiC: How does the lightman and soundman work as a team?
TAZZ: Communication is the key.
Prof.ManiC: When your feeling depressed or confused what do you do to chill out? what gives you sanity insane times?
TAZZ: Have a smoke, throw something, and go for a walk to the bus, Look at my Itinerary and see what the hell Iím in tomorrow.
Prof.ManiC: Any Final Comments?
TAZZ: Thanks for asking me to do this interview