Interview With Chris Caffery
(Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Savatage, Spirits of Fire, and Doro)
Rockin’ Interviews- When exactly did you fall in love with rock music and what drove you to then pick up the guitar?
Chris Caffery- “As far as I can remember I just liked the sound of rock music and the look of an electric guitar. I think I was 5 when I first sang a Beatles song for show and tell in school.”
R.I.- What did you find to be the hardest part of learning guitar?
C. Caffery- “Well first I’m a lefty who played righty and then I have small hands so the big chords and playing really structured chords has always been not the easiest for me. Kinda why I like open tunings and bar chords!”
R.I- Can you talk about the evolution of your guitar playing from your first live gig to eventually being a part of Savatage and TSO?
C. Caffery- “Well I got involved w Savatage when I was 18. I was 17 when I met Paul O’Neill. I had some lessons when I was 11 but I was mostly self taught until I got into Savatage and Criss Oliva started showing me some other things. From there I kinda just picked up guitar from everyone I saw or worked with. My first official live gig I think I was 13 or 14 and I played an elks club in ridgewood New Jersey. It was a cover band we were calling Blitzkrieg. I was the only guitarist. It was all kind of metal and rock music.”
R.I.- At what point did you get used to touring with large groups of people like you do in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra?
C. Caffery- “Savatage always toured large tours. With lots of bands. Festival tours, arena tours, theater tours. So I always was around a lot of people. TSO was just the most that were ever out for just one band!”
R.I- Did you ever get nervous on the high TSO platforms?
C. Caffery- “No I am not afraid of heights really. Only on airplane flights w turbulence and in older elevators that don’t always work too well!”
R.I.- What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being a part of the music industry?
C. Caffery- “Hmm. Follow your heart I guess. Loyalty has a bigger life span than greed. Also probably get it in writing!”
R.I.- To date, you’ve put out several solo albums. What is the most challenging part of doing a large part of it by yourself?
C. Caffery- “I think it’s seriously the critics because I can do a record and someone can love it in one article and hate it in the next. Since I made it as a guitarist there are many people who just won't take the music seriously with me singing. I’m not the greatest singer in the world but I am definitely not the worst so I think just learning how to deal with that constant up and down.”
R.I.- Recently, you’ve put together a new band called Spirits of Fire with a few other well-known musicians. What sparked the idea to create this epic supergroup?
C. Caffery- “That actually came from Frontiers records they are the masters of musical puzzles.”
R.I.- You recently got off the tour with Doro and Metal Church. How was that?
C. Caffery- “That was a lot of fun I have been lucky enough to have played with both bands before! Doro I have played with her band at times on stage and in the studio for over 15 years and I did a tour in Metal Church 3 years ago so it was great to play with these close friends and to see the metal fans in America for a few weeks.”
R.I.- What album do you consider to be the soundtrack of your life?
C. Caffery- “Hmm probably my first solo record Faces.”
R.I.- What sparked the idea to come out with two hot sauces?
C. Caffery- “Well I actually have more Than two out but I’ve always liked cooking and I like spicy foods so I had some recipes and got involved with Steve at High River when he was first developing the company and he took me on as a partner with my sauces. I’m releasing more this year!”
R.I.- Outside of music and cooking, what are some of you hobbies?
C. Caffery- “Well I like to work on my sea glass art that’s a new adventure but it’s a lot of fun. I’m not the world’s greatest painter but for some reason I can create just about anything out of sea glass! I like to do a lot of things really I just don’t seem to find the time for them all. Developing my company Metalphant for Wilbur has been a lot of fun too. It makes a lot of people happy and I get to donate money to charities as well. I also like pinball! I play in a lot of tournaments and have 11 of my own games it’s a fun hobby when I’m done with all of my work for the day!”
R.I.- Are you a fan of horror movies, and if so, which is your favorite?
C. Caffery- “I like them but I liked the older ones better like the Shining and the original Halloween. The new ones just aren’t scary to me. Gore is disgusting and hard to look at but it isn’t scary.”
R.I.- What’s coming up for you, music-wise?
C. Caffery- “I’m doing a lot of writing for the next Spirits of Fire record. In the summer, I’m playing more shows with Jimmy Sturr and his Grammy award winning orchestra. I’m also doing a festival with Greg Smith’s band, Off The Road this month. I’m also doing a lot of my artwork and adding a new Metalphant store. Before I know it, October will come and it will be TSO time again!”