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Craig Goldy Interview

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Craig Goldy

Craig Goldy

PG Brunelli
Updated June 09, 2013
Craig Goldy was the guitarist in Dio for many years. In addition to being a bandmate, he was also close friend and writing partner of the late Ronnie James Dio. One of the albums he and Ronnie co-wrote was Magica, which is being re-released. A classic Dio DVD that Goldy appeared on was also recently reissued. I spoke with Goldy about those projects, along with his bands Dio Disciples and Budgie.

Chad Bowar: The Dio DVD Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 has just been reissued. How long had you been in the band when that was filmed?
Craig Goldy: We had about six rehearsals before that started, so maybe a month or two.

Was it imposing to have a big video shoot so soon after you joined the band?
One would think. (laughs) However, because I was such a huge fan of Ronnie’s, I knew all of his music. He was and is my all-time favorite singer. Way back when I was in the studio with the band Rough Cutt, he was the producer and his wife Wendy was the manager. We found we worked together really well in the studio. One day he looked at me and said that if Vivian (Campbell), the guitar player ever doesn’t work out, you’d be my first choice. So when Vivian didn’t work out, there were no auditions. He was out, and I was in.

Prior to joining Dio, you were part of Ronnie’s Hear ‘N Aid project when you were in Giuffria. How was that experience?
Ronnie always had that kind of heart to help other people. It didn’t matter if it was a big thing in the public eye or a single fan behind closed doors. Everybody wanted to be part of Hear ‘N Aid because of Ronnie.

The 2000 Dio album Magica is being reissued. What is being added to it for this release?
There’s some live stuff from that tour and the song he did with Doug (Aldrich) “Electra,” which was planned for Magica 2 and 3. The album has been remastered. The story that Ronnie reads is included along with an instrumental that I wrote that Ronnie loved, called “Annica,” that was originally a bonus track for Japan.

You also wrote the final Dio album Master Of The Moon with Ronnie. Is there any leftover material from those sessions or any other stuff that might be released at some point?
There was a point in Ronnie’s struggle that the doctor had given him a clean bill of health and said he could do anything he wanted. His wife Wendy asked him what he wanted to do, and he said, “Write with Craig.” We started writing for Magica 2 and 3. There is a song nearly completed. That’s kind of a touchy subject on many levels, releasing from his private recordings at home. We recorded each album in its entirety at his home studio first before recording it properly in the studio. So there are lots of recordings.

But as far as unreleased or unheard material, that would be one of them. There’s a vocal bridge that he was supposed to sing, but never got a chance to finish. We’ll keep his memory alive by having only his closest friends or bandmates come in and finish it. Since there was no other singer, obviously, it would be done by one of his closest friends or somebody he most admired that would finish that song. Then we would release it at some point. That’s entirely up to Wendy.

How did Dio Disciples form?
It was because we were so overwhelmed by his passing. He was family. Like in any family, when one of the members passes away, those left behind often do things to keep their loved one’s memory alive. At first we did nothing because we were so lost. A lot of people were popping up doing albums and tributes to Ronnie. Some of them had the right intentions and some of them didn’t. After a lengthy mourning period, Wendy came to us and said she thought it was time to do something, that we should do something to honor his name and keep his memory alive.

Rudy Sarzo, me, Simon Wright and Scott Warren were ready and willing to do anything. At the time, Tim “Ripper” Owens was being managed by Wendy, and Ronnie loved him as a friend. Tim loved Ronnie’s music, so it was a good fit. Then it started to snowball after that. It was like bringing a memorial service to every city we went to.

As time has gone on, have you been adding more songs to the band’s repertoire?
Little by little, yes. There were so many songs in Ronnie’s catalog, but there were special ones that played a huge part in peoples lives. It’s a fact that when people gather together in one place with the same heart, mind and spirit, a very special thing occurs. Because we play these songs that have been an important part of peoples lives, there are very special moments.

We never know when it’s going to be, or what song it’s going to be, or when in the set it’s going to be. The band and the audience connect. You can see people singing and crying to the sky because they miss him so much. It’s a very special thing. It’s like a memorial service every time we go anywhere. Ronnie’s family was the world.

As a band member, does the amount of emotion at each show make it difficult for you to “get in the zone" as a guitarist and do your job?
I try to get into the zone, and sometimes I do, but I’m such a softie. There’s always a memory connected with a certain song, and it gets me. Every night I have to look away because people are filming with their cell phones, and I feel like I’m a blubbering fool trying to play guitar. (laughs)

With everybody’s other obligations, is it difficult to schedule Dio Disciple tours?
There is that once in a while, but at the same time everybody has tried to make it a priority. Money is not the deciding factor in this thing, and people have to pay bills elsewhere, so we do have some scheduling conflicts once in a while because of that. But so far it has been pretty good.

In addition to Dio Disciples, you’ve also been playing with Budgie for several years. How did that come about?
They did a show with us back in 2005. They remembered me from that. Metallica and Iron Maiden had done some remakes of their songs, which kind of brought them back into the spotlight. They didn’t have a guitar player at the time, so they contacted me to do the shows they had planned. I said,”sure!” We became friends and they were happy with how things jelled, and decided they didn’t want to do any other concerts without me.

That was great for me, because at the time Ronnie was doing Heaven And Hell and I wanted something to do. They are great guys, and the set they put together were really cool songs. It turned out great.

Are there plans to record any new Budgie material?
They wanted me to do an album of fresh material, but Burke (Shelley, vocalist/bassist) had to have emergency surgery when were in Poland. He had an aortic aneurism and almost died, but the doctors got to it in time. The doctors said he shouldn’t sing, because it might happen again. So there might not be any more Budgie concerts. It depends how he recovers.

What else do you have going on?
We have been writing some original material for Dio Disciples. At the public memorial service, because I’m a fan, I mentioned how much I had learned from Ronnie, and if I ever do anything musically, original-wise, I would want it to be something I think Ronnie would be proud of. I wanted to utilize what I learned from him and not let it go by the wayside. Ronnie wouldn’t want me to sit in the corner and cry, he’d want me to get out there and start doing stuff.

I wrote a couple of songs and Wendy heard them. She said, “Wow! Ronnie would be very proud of you.” So I finished the music and lyrics for it. We got a couple of guys where I live in San Diego to sing on it. That way we can show everybody what the songs are. There have been talks about us doing a live CD of some of our performances and go into the studio and have those songs as bonus tracks.

And there’s a few local guys in here San Diego that are really great that I’m dong some music with. I want to be able to put that out, too. I think the world needs to hear these guys.

Anything else?
I’ve developed a program to help musicians break into the music industry. There are schools to go to if you want to be a plumber or electrician or computer programmer to learn everything you need to know about job placement. There’s no such place for musicians. That’s why a lot of people tend to give up on their dream and talent because they have nowhere to go. So I developed a program that will give people the information they need to know.

If they implement that information properly into the material they write, their demos go into the hands of record company people in high positions that have signing power. They can sign them to a record deal. It’s like learning everything you need to know and having job placement for musicians. It’s called Destiny Bridge and you can find more information at CraigGoldy.com.

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