Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)


So, some of you readers may know that for 2 years I hosted a weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) podcast via blogtalkradio - "The World Of Trans-Siberian Orchestra" - looking at everything I was able to dig up about TSO & Savatage. After 100 episodes I brought it to a close.

You can listen to all the episodes by clicking here or searching for Trans-Siberian Orchestra under iTunes podcasts, or just Roman Midnight Music under podcasts. All the interviews on the will eventually be transcribed on this blog.

It was a good & interesting run. It started as a way to gets some PR for the biography I'm writing of guitarist Al Pitrelli, it ended up becoming the main project & the book never touched, ironically. I'm happy of where the show went. I hope folks enjoyed listening, if not always than most of the time. I hope they learned something, heard some new music & got some new appreciation for things. Sometimes it got a bit wierd, technically challenging, homespun, repetative, less than PC & maybe meandering too much for its own good, but I think on some level ... well, I'm not embarrassed by it, let me put it that way. I did something nobody had done previously, much to my surprise & it's nice being the first at something. Not much to brag about though, I know, really.

It's also been more work than anyone knows, particularly doing 2 shows a week for much of it. Honestly, its nice having time & evenings back. I know I made some friends & some enemies. I know at times I got preachy & opinionated. But, when you've got time to fill, well ... I also know I left things & people out. I never expected the show to be comprehensive, just introductory. But, as for my initial goal of what I wanted to do with the show - it succeeded. I wanted to share that enigma that is TSO from many many points of view. I also put the history of TSO out there like it hasn't been before. I don't know if that's good or bad ... I don't get enough feedback fan mail. Albeit, its never too late to write.

I've said, or broadcast, all I feel I have the heart for & the interest in. I welcome someone to do Mach II & pick up from where I left off. I'll even pass over my timeline & list of all the songs I played. So far nobody has taken me up the offer. Don't be embarrassed. Let me know, please. If you do better than me, that's fine. I'm sure you can. But, be warned. It really does take a lot of time.

I started the show by accident. I was doing 2 podcasts at the time. One was the the bi-monthly "Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews" that ended after 55 episodes, shy of 2 years. I ended it because I'd started pre-recording interviews when blogtalkradio went up on their annual fees, which didn't have the flow that I liked & increased my work load; & I was finding my listener base getting smaller, as I wasn't talking to big artists that people were googling. Though, I did have lots of folks say I brought interviewing to a new level. Plus, I got to meet some great people out of it & have continued contact with almost all, many of whom I call friends.

You can listen to all the episodes by clicking here or searching for ROMAN MIDNIGHT MUSIC under iTunes podcasts.

A second show I started on a weekly basis when I found I enjoyed doing a podcast. "News Notes" took rock music news & spun it off to look at current events, as art reflects life, with a libertarian point of view. It didn't do so well & I steadily lost listeners & ended it after 28 episodes & about 7 months. Also, I could never get it to gel like it was in my mind. Ironically, at the very end I started posting snippets on youtube & went from 300 listens in a month to 8000! But, that's a fluke. I guess political ideologies & music really don't work well together unless you're Dave Mustaine. I've since started a libertarian blog that includes a daily video, but no music blogging ... so far.

Oh well. No surprise, much of my response got right into it with me challenging my thoughts. Though, really I just wanted to get people to think, not be controversial for the sake of it. I'm pushing buttons, so you'll push buttons & do something new with your life & move to a higher plane of living, yes I mean that in a spiritual way as I'm a very spiritual person (Hindu not Christian before you jump on me for that too). I want to inspire, not argue, but a lot of people completely miss that point & then dump on me & wonder why I'm getting upset. I'm getting upset because I'm disappointed. It's like giving some a Christmas present they don't like that you took a lot of time to buy & thought would be perfect. People just get too jumpy too fast & don't see the context. That just makes me sad. There's a great quote by Kahil Gabran that summarizes my approach to my work so perfectly & I put it out now so everyone will understand my world: "One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine & you will walk away not knowing that you are my life."

Sorry, you can't hear "News Notes" anymore. I deleted them from the internet. It did get a bit embarrassing.

But, before "News Notes" ended I created the TSO show. I knew "News Notes" was ending & wanted something weekly to keep on my schedule. I also was disappointed it was ending & wanted to try to do something to make up for it. Originally, I thought of doing a show on spirituality, an important aspect of my life, but I didn't really want to come off as a guru. Now I see where I was at the time & it would have failed or not been right. Then, I thought of "Rock Poetry Moment" where I was going to read rock lyrics as poetry. Something different that I saw done on youtube to a Danger Danger song! It would be 15-20 minute shows, until I realized that I don't like poetry readings! I'd put myself to sleep. Then, the Danger Danger thing got me thinking - why not base a show on my Al Pitrelli biography? I could use it as a foundation for information, plus the show would build a fanbase/audience for its future publication. Ironically, I stopped working on the book. What'da know?

On the show I wanted to cover anything I could find related to Savatage/TSO. I believe I have. From books to related bands, to a few interviews, to all the major players, albums, the history of the band, good & bad controversy, to you name it. I'm most proud of introducing obscure bands & playing lots of unheard bootlegs & live recordings. Though, I brought the show to an end as I just didn't see what more I could say without repeating myself ... more than I already was. Of course, I've missed most of the TSO participants. I'm well aware of the growing musical family not mentioned. But, episode after episode of who's who doesn't interest me. I really only intended to discuss the major players, so that's not an insult to the smaller folks. Everyone deserves attention. This is where Mach II can pick up, hint hint.

Though, you can hear where I made my decision to bring it all to an end ... the shows started becoming 45 minutes from its previous 30. I mapped out future episodes pretty much to the end from day one. Or, at least I had a rough map of what I wanted to cover. So, when I started thinking that I wanted to shut down I already mapped things out & decided to compound topics into one episode to decrease the number of episodes but still get everything in & feel satisfied I didn't leave anything out.

One goal was to connect with the band itself. It didn't really happen. Paul O'Neill has not called me up. Night Castle Inc. never contacted me, which has actually been a surprise. I was sometimes even expecting a warning or a threat to stop! I wonder if they even listen? I would have someone listening if I were them. It's not like there's a plethora of TSO related podcasts!

But, I know why I'm not contacted. I open my mouth. I say what I think sometimes, particularly when I have a point to make. I criticize when I should be all smiles, according to some people's philosophies ... but not mine. If I said everything was great it would be a boring podcast, let alone my reputation would be junk. I know people who say everything is great about TSO & their reputation isn't so cool. No clout in my mind. At least, let my reputation suffer because of my ideas, not because I'm fake or kissing up to the band. See, there I go again saying my opinion.

I have gotten communication from former members, interestingly enough. I've made some new friends from the show. That's the biggest highlight. It's also my only reward since I never made any money from the show. I really must now thank all those that contributed to the show in some way, including face to face, live interviews, providing info & just being friends who I either discussed the show with or somehow connected with it, whether they realized it or not. I should mention I only approached a handful of people. Mostly they came to me. That says something, I think.

In no particular order:
* Johnny Lee Middleton - Savatage/TSO bassist
* Johnny Lee's assistant whose name I've sadly forgotten
* Maxx Mann - former TSO vocalist
* Tommy Farese - former TSO vocalist
* Bob Kinkel - Savatage/TSO keyboardist, co-producer & composer
* Jane Mangini - TSO keyboardist
* Damond Jiniya - former Savatage vocalist
* Zak Stevens - former Savatage vocalist
* Keith Collins - former Avatar/Savatage bassist

* Jim Webster - the ultimate Savatage collector, to me the Al Pitrelli collector
* Dan Roth - friend & informat
* Jenny Nelson - friend
* Travis Haugen - friend up in Canada
* Linda Fox - friend
* Eric Strothers - of Enjoy Church
* Zach Lorton - of Enjoy Church
* Joe Deninzon - Stratospheerius frontman
* Rig - drummer of Savatage tribute band Strange Wings
* Chris Nunes - Ornament TSO Tribute Orchestra bassist & musical director
* Marty Paris - Permanent Reverse guitarist with Maxx Mann
* Cornelius Goodwin - 12/24 TSO Tribute Band narrator
* Troy Montgomery - of Under The Gun Productions
* Tommy Spittle - Rebel Pride guitarist
* Dayle Dermatis - author

and especially my best friend
* Apostle Dr. Lee Ann Marino - who was the single-handed ncentive for me to start all my podcasts. What a 2 years I never expected!

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