He was the founder and the producer of the band. O’Neill came up with an idea that did not look good on paper – mixing Prog, Metal and Christmas but it worked via the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
O’Neill had been suffering from a chronic illness. The band released the following statement: “The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O’Neill has passed away from chronic illness, He was our friend and our leader – a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all.”
He also wrote or co-wrote and played guitar many of their tunes. Even music lovers not that familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will have heard their hit, “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” an instrumental medley of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells.” It was originally released by the Metal group Savatage the year before in 1995 a band that O’Neill produced. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra featured both Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli of Savatage. Oliva has said that his old group didn’t make any real money until O’Neill started producing them. He also did production on Aerosmith’s Classics Live!, Vol. 1 and 2, albums.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra had huge bombastic music, light shows and are one of the concert draws each year. In 2016 they sold more than 927,000 tickets, grossing more than $56.9 million. – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.