March 26, 1962 |
Montour Falls, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Heavy metal, progressive metal, power metal|
|Associated acts||Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Chris Caffery, Doctor Butcher, Metal Church, John West, Machines of Grace|
Jeff Plate (born March 26, 1962) is an American professional hard rock/heavy metal drummer. He currently plays with the group Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He is best known as drummer for American heavy metal band Savatage on their albums since Japan Live '94, and was also a member of Metal Church from 2006 to their break up in 2009 and again from their reunion in 2012 to 2017.
Life and career
Plate was born in Montour Falls, New York, and grew up on a farm in Horseheads, New York. As a youth, he dreamed of becoming a pitcher for the New York Yankees, but this dream took a bad turn when his hip popped out of joint at the age of 12. On crutches for 4 months, he was advised to give up playing sports for two years in order for the hip to heal properly.  After watching Kiss perform on The Midnight Special, he began taking drum lessons in school and privately. Jeff moved to Tampa, Florida in 1981, but soon returned New York, before moving once again to the Boston area. There, while working in a cover band with some hometown friends, he met Boston guitarist Matt Leff. Leff had been playing in a band Wicked Witch, whose lead vocalist was Zak Stevens. Wicked Witch went through a few lineup changes and had broken up at the time Matt and Jeff started playing together. Zak returned from his home in SC to Boston to reform a 2nd version of Wicked Witch.
In the fall of 1992, Zak got the call to join Savatage, replacing recently departed Jon Oliva. Zak accepted and made his Savatage debut on 1993's Edge of Thorns. Wicked Witch folded soon after, as they couldn't get a replacement for Stevens. In 1993, Plate moved back to upstate New York to regroup, joining an alternative/country rock band called Voodoo Rodeo.
After hearing of the death of Criss Oliva, guitarist and founding member of Savatage, Jeff called Zak Stevens to see how he was doing, and was surprised to learn that Savatage was committed to regroup and continue. Replacing drummer Steve Wacholz, he joined the band for the 'Handful Of Rain' U.S tour in the fall of '94. Plate recorded three more albums with Savatage - "Dead Winter Dead", "The Wake Of Magellan", and "Poets and Madmen". Although the band has not performed since 2012, there has been no official statement on the band's breakup.
The success of the single "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" from Dead Winter Dead lead to the formation of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO). Plate has performed on every TSO release to date, including "Christmas Eve and Other Stories", "THe Christmas Attic", "Beethoven's Last Night", "The Lost Christmas Eve", "Nightcastle" and the EP "Dreams Of Fireflies(On A Christmas Night". He has performed on every Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tour, including the annual Winter Tours and several Spring Tours.
In addition to his work with TSO, Plate has performed on the solo albums of fellow TSO member Chris Caffery, as well as shows with former Trans-Siberian Orchestra violinist Mark Wood and his Electrify Your Strings Program. In 2006 Plate recorded "Long Time No Sing" with vocalist John West.
Plate joined American heavy metal band Metal Church in 2006. During his 11-year tenure with Metal Church, he recorded four albums and did several world tours with them. After some member changes and a brief hiatus, they reformed in 2012 and released two more albums (Generation Nothing and XI) before Plate left the band in March 2017.
In 2009 Jeff formed a new Heavy Metal group with fellow Savatage alumnus Zak Stevens (vocals), Matt Leff (guitars), and Chris Rapoza (bass) - the band's name is Machines of Grace. The band independently released a self-titled album in 2009.
Jeff's sister Terry died in a car accident in 2003, an event Jeff said "changed my life…" Terry is survived by her 2 sons Bradley and Jeff.
In 2008 Plate married Cathy Fracasso.
Jeff currently resides in upstate New York and, when not working with Metal Church, teaches privately and performs locally with his cover band RUST.
Trans Siberian Orchestra
- Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996)
- The Christmas Attic (1998)
- Beethoven's Last Night (2000)
- The Lost Christmas Eve (2004)
- Night Castle (2009)
- "Dreams Of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)" (2013)
- Long Time No Sing (2006)
Machines of Grace
- Machines of Grace (2009)