Al Pitrelli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Al Pitrelli
Pitrelli with Savatage at Wacken Open Air 2015
Pitrelli with Savatage at Wacken Open Air 2015
Background information
Born (1962-09-26) September 26, 1962 (age 61)
GenresHard rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, progressive rock, symphonic metal
Years active1982–present
Member ofSavatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Formerly ofDanger Danger, Megadeth, Hotshot, Alice Cooper, Asia, Place Called Rage, O'2L, Widowmaker, Michael Bolton, Vertex

Al Pitrelli (born September 26, 1962) is an American guitarist, best known for his work with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Megadeth, Alice Cooper and Savatage. He has performed with various acts as a band member, session musician and touring member, including Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Asia, Dee Snider, Kathy Troccoli, Taylor Dayne, Blue Öyster Cult, Exposé and Joe Lynn Turner.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Early career (1982–1999)[edit]

Pitrelli attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the early 1980s, where future Alice Cooper bandmate and keyboardist Derek Sherinian was his dorm roommate.[7] While at Berklee, Pitrelli formed an original 1980s metal band with classmates that included Venom guitarist Mike Hickey. After dropping out of Berklee, Pitrelli worked as a session musician and taught guitar lessons in Manhattan and in Bellmore, New York. His first major label gig was performing with Michael Bolton, helping him support his single "Fool's Game". Pitrelli said of the single, "This was when Michael Bolton was still trying to be Sammy Hagar and not Engelbert Humperdinck."[8]

In 1989, Pitrelli featured as second guitar on the song "Uptown" on bassist Randy Coven's first album "Funk Me Tender". He then joined Coven and drummer John O'Reilly as a formal member of the Randy Coven Band to release Sammy Says Ouch![9] This lineup would also release an album titled CPR under the band name Coven, Pitrelli, Reilly. Pitrelli was Alice Cooper's guitarist and musical director from 1989 to 1991, having been recommended to the band by Steve Vai, and appeared on the Trashes The World video album, in addition to co-writing the song "Burning Our Bed" from the Hey Stoopid (1991) album.[10][11] He later joined Dee Snider's band Widowmaker for two albums in the early/mid–1990s, and also briefly played with Stephen Pearcy of Ratt in a band called Vertex. Pitrelli also joined Asia, appearing on their albums Aqua (1992) and Aria (1994). He would go on to be featured on many New York sessions, including for Celine Dion, Kathy Troccoli, Taylor Dayne and Exposé.[12][3] From February to March 1999, Pitrelli toured with Blue Öyster Cult as a substitute for Allen Lanier.[13][6]

Savatage (1995–2000, 2002, 2015, 2023)[edit]

Pitrelli joined Savatage in 1995, around the same time as guitarist Chris Caffery returned to the band, who had previously been part of the band around the release of Gutter Ballet in 1989. Pitrelli played guitar on the albums Dead Winter Dead (1995) and The Wake of Magellan (1997), and performed some lead guitar work on Poets and Madmen (2001), despite being a member of Megadeth at the time. On the latter album, Pitrelli was played the outro of "Stay with Me a While", the main solos of "Morphine Child" and "The Rumor", the first part of the main solo in "Commissar" and its outro.[14] He left Savatage in 2000 join Megadeth and rejoined the band following Megadeth's disbandment in 2002.[15] Savatage split up later that year, but reunited for an appearance at Wacken Open Air in 2015 and the recording of a new album in 2023.[16]

Trans-Siberian Orchestra (1995–present)[edit]

In 1995, Pitrelli was asked by Savatage's producer Paul O'Neill to join his new project, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.[7] Pitrelli has been a core member of the band since their debut album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories, was released in 1996. In addition to being the band's main lead guitarist, he is also the live musical director.[17] TSO's 2007 tour program describes Pitrelli's "edgy playing and vast musical lexicon" as key components for contributing to the band's constant boundary-pushing progressive rock stylings. Pitrelli's leads are notable on "Tracers" and the instrumental "Toccata – Carpimus Noctem", the latter being a piece he co-wrote.[18] Both songs form part of the group's fifth rock opera, on their 2009 album Night Castle.[19] Following founder O'Neill's death in 2017, Pitrelli has continued performing with the band while O'Neill's role has been taken over by his family.[20]

Megadeth (2000–2002)[edit]

Pitrelli was a member of Megadeth from 2000 to 2002, replacing guitarist Marty Friedman.[10] He joined the band in the middle of their Risk tour and played his first show with Megadeth on 11 January 2000, two days after Friedman's final show.[21] Pitrelli performed on their 2001 album The World Needs a Hero, co-writing the song "Promises" and playing most of the album's guitar solos. He later appeared in an episode of VH1's Behind the Music focusing on Megadeth.[22] Pitrelli also performed with the band for the recording of the Rude Awakening live album that was released in 2002. Following Megadeth's disbandment in April 2002 due to an arm injury sustained by frontman Dave Mustaine, Pitrelli rejoined Savatage and continued his work with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.[23][15][2]

Pitrelli performing live with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 2012

Selected discography[edit]

Trans-Siberian Orchestra[edit]


Alice Cooper[edit]


Danger Danger[edit]


  • The Bomb (2005)


Place Called Rage[edit]

  • Place Called Rage (1995)

Randy Coven[edit]

  • Funk Me Tender (1989)
  • Sammy Says Ouch! (1990)

Coven, Pitrelli, O'Reilly[edit]

  • CPR (1992)

Morning Wood[edit]


  • O'2L
  • Doyle's Brunch
  • Eat a Pickle



  • Vertex (1996)

Guitar Battle[edit]

  • Guitar Battle (1998)


  1. ^ Armstrong, Chuck (November 10, 2023). "Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Al Pitrelli Admits He's Living His Dream - 'Every Day Is a Pinch Me Moment". Loudwire. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  2. ^ a b BraveWords. "Ex-MEGADETH Guitarist Al Pitrelli On Dave Mustaine - "He Pulled Me Out Of A Pretty Troubled Personal Life"". Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Al Pitrelli". Radio Memphis. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  4. ^ Blabbermouth (April 3, 2003). "JOE LYNN TURNER Goes Back To His Roots!". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  5. ^ BraveWords. "SAVATAGE / TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Guitarist AL PITRELLI Guests On The Double Stop With Brian Sword; Audio". Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Al Pitrelli Recalls Offering David Ellefson a Gig He Turned Down, Says 90% of His Guitars Are Gibson". Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Armstrong, Chuck (November 10, 2023). "Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Al Pitrelli Admits He's Living His Dream - 'Every Day Is a Pinch Me Moment". Loudwire. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  8. ^ "Al Pitrelli – Career". Archived from the original on January 18, 2007. Retrieved January 16, 2007. Al Pitrelli career history & bio.
  9. ^ "A Conversation with John O.Reilly". April 28, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Blabbermouth (April 4, 2010). "Former MEGADETH/SAVATAGE Guitarist AL PITRELLI Interviewed On 'Iron City Rocks' Podcast". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  11. ^ Forsythe, Tom (February 1990). "The Recurring Nightmare". Guitar. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  12. ^ Marshall, Clay (November 13, 2019). "Trans-Siberian Orchestra are the biggest live rock draw in the US - here's how they did it". guitarworld. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  13. ^ "Al Pitrelli". Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  14. ^ [1] Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine) Savatage Band FAQ, taken from
  15. ^ a b Blabbermouth (April 6, 2002). "Former MEGADETH Guitarist Rejoins SAVATAGE". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  16. ^ Blabbermouth (April 20, 2023). "JON OLIVA Says Upcoming SAVATAGE Album And Tour Will Be His 'Way Of Saying Goodbye To Everybody'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  17. ^ "Playlist: Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Al Pitrelli shares his favorite classics". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  18. ^ Sea of Tranquility, October 27, 2009
  19. ^ Night Castle album credits.
  20. ^ Blabbermouth (October 2, 2019). "AL PITRELLI Says Late TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Mastermind PAUL O'NEILL Wanted To 'Outdo Himself Every Year'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  21. ^ "Megadeth Guitarist Marty Friedman Leaves Band". MTV. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  22. ^ "Metal Returns: Megadeth, Halford, Slayer". Billboard. February 20, 2001. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  23. ^ "Megadeth to split up". BBC News. April 4, 2002. Retrieved January 21, 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Danger Danger guitarist
Succeeded by
Preceded by Megadeth lead guitarist
Succeeded by