TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Vocalist DINO JELUSIĆ Remembers PAUL O'NEILL And DAVE Z In New Interview
August 13, 2017, 11 months ago
Vocalist Dino Jelusić has been performing in front of audiences around the world for most of his life. Since hitting it big early as a pre-teen star in his native Croatia and around the world, Jelusić has been following a rock and metal trajectory, writing and releasing music inspired by his wide range of musical heroes and fueled by his own unique musical virtuosity. Over the last two years, Jelusić has solidified his own band, Animal Drive, and signed a worldwide record deal. He was also introduced to North American audiences in a big way as he toured as a featured vocalist with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Dan Roth caught up with Dino while he took a break from recording his band's new album to chat about all of this and more.
Q: How did you first get on TSO's radar? I understand that they heard you singing Queen's "The Show Must Go On". True?
DJ: "That is what I heard too. They heard me singing 'The Show Must Go On' which I have sung over the years. They sent me the Savatage song 'Handful of Rain' to record and send back to them. After they heard that, they sent me one Savatage song and six TSO songs to work on and they flew me to Florida. After three days of working on them with (Talent Coordinator) Danielle in the studio, I met Paul O'Neill. I really enjoyed working with him in the studio. He sat and talked with me about the story behind 'Handful of Rain' for like an hour. He wanted me to go back to 1994 when that song came out and picture the streets, the dark, the wine that is drying out on the floor. After that, he had me sing it again. When the song started, I started having chills because it had a completely different meaning to me. After I sang it and got the deep meaning out of it, Paul said, 'That's it' because I understood the song now and sang it better."
Q: This has been a tragic year within the TSO ranks with the deaths of Paul O'Neill and Dave Z. Can you talk about your relationship with both of them? I know you have only been with TSO for one season thus far, but any special memories that you could share?
DJ: "When Paul passed away, I was out of function for five days. I started bringing back some memories - I was looking at this old American Silver Dollar that he gave me to carry for luck when I auditioned. He has done so much for TSO and for people like me, so now I appreciate him a thousand times more. During the auditions, he tried me out on a new track which was to be on a new TSO album. It was this country-blues song that he wrote in 1978 that he has tried with so many singers over the years and I got it! The irony is that I was in the airport, on my way to Tampa, to record that song when Paul O'Neill died.
With Dave Z, I got to know him in the rehearsals in Council Bluffs. We would have lunch together and I started training with him. He was so talented - he could sing, he could play, he could dance like Michael Jackson. And he was so funny - he was like a big child. After the TSO tour, I did a guest appearance with Jeff Scott Soto in Budapest; we did "Stand Up and Shout" together and Dave was Jeff's bass player. I did some crazy harmonies on the chorus and when Jeff sang the verse, Dave came to me and told me how much I killed it on the harmonies. He was so supportive all of the time. I remember our last conversation after that show - he was telling me how excited he was to start rehearsing with Adrenaline Mob and I told him that I have some connections with a big festival in Croatia and I wanted to see him and the band perform over here. I really wish I could have been at his memorial - I just wasn't able to right now."
Go to this location for the complete interview.