SAVATAGE Frontman Jon Oliva Shares His Fondest Memory Of Criss Oliva - "He Walks Up To YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, Takes His Middle Finger, Sticks It In His Face..."

October 17, 2013, 6 years ago

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SAVATAGE co-founder Criss Oliva was tragically killed in a head-on collision in Florida on October 17th, 1993. Back in July during an interview with Danae Saree for Music Enthusiast Magazine, his brother Jon Oliva shared one of his fondest memories of Criss.

Danae has re-posted the interview, found here, in memory of Criss Oliva:

Jon: "One of the greatest memories of Criss with me was when we were playing in Japan, and we were opening up for YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. The tour manager for Yngwie Malmsteen used to work for Savatage, and Criss was a fan of Yngwie, and he comes in and he goes, 'You guys wanna meet Yngwie?' and Criss is like 'Yeah! Yeah!'

So he walks us to the dressing room, we go in the door and Yngwie is sitting on this reclining chair playing Nintendo. The tour manager comes up to him, and me and Criss are there, and he goes, 'Hey Yngwie, this is Jon and Criss from Savatage, they wanted to meet you,' and Yngwie turns around and looks at the tour manager and goes, 'Get them the fuck outta here.' And Criss… this is beautiful. Criss, in all his glory, walks up to Yngwie, takes his middle finger, sticks it in Yngwie's face and he goes, 'YOU… ARE A FUCKIN’ DICK.' (laughs).

I didn’t even have to say shit; I was like, 'Get out, man! Fuckin…!' (laughs) And we got out and played; and this is the climax of the story, this is great: We opened the show with 'City Beneath The Surface', and there’s this little solo thing Criss does at the beginning, which on the record is like 20 seconds long. Well, that night Criss played it for like two minutes, he was just shredding. And that was my fondest memory of Criss, because that was so cool (laughs).

And Yngwie didn’t say shit, he was just… his mouth just dropped down. He was just like, 'I can’t believe this guy just called me a fuckin’ dick.' And I’m just walking out behind Criss, you know, clapping him on the back going 'Yeah! Yeah!.

Yngwie’s really not a dick. He’s an asshole. It was alright, I love him…I love him when he’s quiet (laughs)."

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