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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thoughts of an Extraordinary Musician and Writer

A common thought among rock critics regarding popular music is that it is best when it is not too thoroughly thought out and highly crafted, because it is then more "authentic" and emotionally true. Paul O'Neill, record producer and songwriter best known for his work with the metal band Savatage and the extremely popular act The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, doesn't think this way. As he notes in an excellent interview in HM magazine, O'Neill's aim is to produce lyrics that work as poetry, that are effective even without music, and music that is moving and expresses thoughts without lyrics.

He also thinks about things other than music. Referring to the apparent religious content of O'Neill's work, the interviewer asked O'Neill his thoughts on the claims that Christianity is divisive, and the songwriter's answer is interesting and thoughtful. Speaking specifically of Christianity, O'Neill says,

Is the world bad with religion? Yes. Do I think it would be a worse place without religion? Yes. Will evil men twist words and try to use religions to their own intentions as time goes by? Probably yes, because they’ve done so in the past. But it doesn’t mean that we should give up on it. Just because someone gets in a car and gets drunk and kills some people doesn’t mean we should stop making cars. I don’t think the problem’s religion, per se. As it is just human beings using… People using words, using organizations for things that they weren’t intended to. Did Wilbur and Orville Wright intend for mass bombings to come out of inventing the airplane? I don’t think so. But was it used for that? Yes. And any movements forward with mankind always hold the possibility that someone could misuse them.

It's an interesting interview with a very thoughtful individual. Read it here.

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