July 18, 2017, 4 years ago

news trans-siberian orchestra david z chris caffery heavy metal adrenaline mob


Bassist David Zablidowsky - better known as David Z in metal circles for his work with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Adrenaline Mob and ZO2 - was killed in a three-car accident on a Florida highway over the weekend that injured seven others. The Florida Highway Patrol reports that Zablidowsky died when a tractor-trailer veered off the highway on Friday, July 14th into the Adrenaline Mob RV, which had pulled over to repair a flat tire.

TSO bandmate and longtime friend Chris Caffery has posted the following tribute to David Z.

"Hello friends,

Lying here sleepless with an aching heart and soul. Still finding it impossible to believe the news about my little brother David Z.

I'm praying hard for my dear friend Jane Train right now. I truly hope she will be ok. 
The Lord works in mysterious ways. There are so many evil and twisted people on this planet. David was a beautiful and gentle soul. The world is not a better place with him gone. The heavens are a better place with him there.

I remember 1999 like it was yesterday. Of course sometimes I can't remember yesterday but that is another story. Sava-con was a very special time for all of us in Savatage. However the most special part to me was getting to meet and discover this beam of light and talent named David Z.

I watched him play with his band that day and he totally blew me away. Insane chops on the bass and a brilliant stage presence. His hair was very long then and it is naturally very curly. He reminded me of Hal Patino from King Diamonds band. Just an amazingly cool b

I told him that one day I'd get to play with him. He was so thrilled by the idea. His love for Savatage was so, for a lack of a better word...cute.

I knew at the time that TSO was considering the idea of East and West. I wanted to get him a shot at the gig. The audition process was a lot different back then because TSO was still developing. There were no tapes or videos involved. It was like "Hey Paul I think you will really love this bassist! I bragged about his playing and Paul asked about his look. I told him he looked really cool. Super long hair, in great shape. Paul was excited to see him. The long hair was a favorite part of a stage image for Paul. Old fashioned rock star!

We had audition days in the city for all of the positions available and David came down to meet Paul. When he wandered into SIR studios I almost had a heart attack. He had cut all of his hair off. This kid went from looking like Hal Patino to looking like Skippy from the tv show Family Ties!

Those of you who have been around us know that I started calling him Skippy at that point and it was a nickname that stuck with him til his very last seconds on earth and will continue to stick with him for eternity. He's Dave Z to most of you...he's Skippy to a lot of us in TSO land.

I was a lil nervous about his fate at that point. However this is where the magic of David Z took over. His personality and talent dwarfed the hair test. He played for Paul and blew him away. I can't remember exactly when they told him...but he got the gig! I was excited for him.

Over the years I got to watch him develop from this kinda awkward, geeky kid from Brooklyn into one of the most dynamic stage performers on the planet. The women loved him, the show had an energy that was addicting.

A few years later we had dealt with the tragic loss of Daryl Pediford during tour rehearsals. That tour was so sad and haunting because Daryl was my big brother on the road.

This tour will be sad and haunting as well. Every song will have stage moments that remind me of David. Every city will have a silly story that will remind me of him. Every time we eat or watch tv or soundcheck or wander the halls there will be something that reminds us of David.

He had an incredible energy. An unrelenting desire to entertain. He was onstage 24-7. Not in image or acting like a rock star. In the sense where he always loved entertaining us as much as the audience. He was far from shy and he let us know it constantly!

There were backstage jams, push up competitions, eating competitions, unexpected costumes, all night photoshop jokes on photos of all of us. The list goes on and on.
I was the person who called David to tell him about Paul's passing and I just remember the crying in his voice and the cries of Why Paul?

My heart is crying that same cry again. Why Skippy?

I know all of us have lost a dear friend and the fans have lost a beloved band member.
The thing that destroys me the most about this is his family. The Z brothers have a bond that is so beautiful. It's so rare and so precious. That bond goes through his entire family. My heart bleeds for Mom Z. My mom and his mom would always get together and I would listen to each of them brag and tell embarrassing stories about us both. My mom still hasn't stopped crying since she heard about Dave. Many of those tears are for his beautiful mother.

I'm praying so hard for that family right now. People keep saying to me "sorry for your loss". Yes I lost a dear friend and a little brother. But this loss is far from mine. It starts with his family and extends to the rest of the world.

Accidents like this are so hard to come to terms with. I remember when I got the call about Criss Oliva's passing. It took a long time for me to even accept that it was true. It's the same here now with David.

People keep asking me how I am. I'm numb. I'm shattered, I'm confused and yes shocked. Paul O'Neill , David Z, Kyle my tech, Gary Muchmore Savatages sound engineer, Jan Savatages monitor engineer, my Dad...the last 16 months have been non stop. Many other friends and acquaintances as well.

Life unfortunately ends with the passing from this world. I'm praying for all of these beautiful souls. My legion of angels that one day I will meet again. In the meantime I'll be strong and use my love for all of them as inspiration to carry on.

I'm gonna miss you Skippy you goofy little kid. I'm proud to have shared the stage with you for all of these years and no one will ever replace you. You don't replace a one of a kind. It just doesn't happen.

RIP David Z. I love you my little brother in heaven."


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