The life and career of Craig Goldy can easily attract the attention of a metal fan for the obvious reasons, but also of an ordinary person when reading his story. A kid growing up in a problematic family environment, experiencing abuse and violence, then living in a car, washing his hair with bottles of water and “moving” from one parking lot to another. Still, this man managed to climb to the top of the mountain, meet his idols and work with one of the most important ones, who left a permanent mark on his own existence, Ronnie James Dio.
The interview that follows is almost like a cinema movie revolving around Goldy’s life, the life-lessons from his mentor, the unreleased Dio material, the hologram, his hard life, meeting Blackmore – he praises him- and his hatred for streaming and the modern status quo in the music industry. Interview: Yiannis Dolas
Rockpages.gr: I was really pleased with your album with Resurrection Kings album. I enjoyed it very much. It’s a very, very good album. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Craig Goldy: Well, thank you for that. It was long overdue. I guess there was a lot of other projects going on, unfortunately. There’s this… streaming. They misspelled it, it’s “stealing” not streaming. You end up doing like 10 to 20 different types of projects just to make the equivalency of one. So, sometimes not everybody’s in the same place at the same time and we have to put things off which causes quite a delay. That was probably the only problem with that one. It just took so long for everybody to be able to get into one spot at a time to finish it.
Rockpages.gr: I guess, with COVID that’s the main problem and it will stay for longer…
Craig Goldy: Yeah, that was a problem too for the video. We wanted to do like more images than have the band to do anything. But, they didn’t want that. So, then we ended up making that kind of goofy video, but it turned out okay.
Rockpages.gr: I think that this album is better than your debut. What do you think?
Craig Goldy: That’s the second time I’ve heard somebody say that. It doesn’t sound as powerful. The first one I thought it sounded better audibly, but the music on this one… I’m just glad that people are happy with it. Because usually the second album is like a movie… Part two is never as good as part one! So I’m just glad that people like that.
Rockpages.gr: Actually, you’re opening a huge subject about albums here, because I think most people say that if the first album was very good, very strong and the second one a bit weaker. Because, maybe you were re trying to follow the first one, but what about the third one? Especially, if the second one was very good also. What’s happening there?
Craig Goldy: Yeah. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. If we end up doing a third one, but luckily, it’s the people too. Because, Alessandro del Vecchio is so great to write with, Chas (ed Chas West, the singer of the band) is great to write with, although him and I didn’t get a chance to write much together. In fact, hardly in all the second one… Vinny’s (ed, Vinny Appice, the drummer), awesome. He really knows how to build a song. I’ll never forget this from when Ronnie was still with us and we were rehearsing before the “Dream Evil” album… Ronnie would say that he liked the way Vinnie plays because it’s so musical. And I thought to myself: ”I’m glad I didn’t say anything then” Musical? Oh, what does it mean? Notes? But, what he meant was just the way he built the song, like Ian Paice. There are certain drummers that stand out that they know how to change the feel and match that feel to the different parts of the song. And that’s what makes the momentum of the song really come alive. And Vinnie he’s just the master of that.
Rockpages.gr: And you guys go back a long way, right?
Craig Goldy: Yes, that’s right. And we become actually closer friends over the last 10 years than we were before. I value this friendship, very much.
Rockpages.gr: Actually, the style of Resurrection Kings is closer to the 80s music, classic hard rock, which is a genre that Frontiers has a lot of bands playing like that. But you guys were there in the 80s and played that stuff since then. Well, maybe not Vinny, but definitely you. So, I think that makes the difference, because the sound is closer to the 80s than let’s say, and I’m not raising the finger, or blaming anybody here, for example Swedish bands that are trying to emulate that kind of sound. What do you think?
Craig Goldy: Well, thank you for saying that. Yeah, I can definitely hear what you mean. Certain bands, and that’s a good word, they’re trying to emulate something… I got my start basically in the 80s. So, I am an 80s child basically. So, if I’m playing 80s style music, to me it’s not 80s style music. It’s just the music that I started playing. I guess they call that thoroughbred. If I’m a racehorse then I guess I would be a thoroughbred, but that doesn’t mean that somebody’s not going to run faster than me.
Rockpages.gr: Also, there is this whole nostalgia thing about the ‘80s, the music, the style and all that, which makes you think that everything was great back then… was it?
Craig Goldy: Ha,ha,ha… Well, it depends on what kind of band you were in. God bless Ronnie, because there was a pecking order, because he was not the boss in Black Sabbath and he was not the boss in Rainbow, but when it came time for him to have his own band, you know, that he was the one with the lion’s share. The only hard part about the 80s was that if you wanted an equal share band, then it was kind of tough… Because, if I was in an equal share band, like Motley Crüe, or Aerosmith, or even AC/DC, and not a sideman, I’d be a multi-millionaire right now… but I’m not! It’s not that big of a deal but it’s just that money’s just a tool…
I came from the streets. I came from a very abusive family… (I was) in and out of hospitals and stitches and beatings and surgeries. So, I lived in a car in the streets. And so I thought to myself someday, you know, the way people would look at me… They didn’t know that I had a destiny. They didn’t know that I had any kind of goodness in me. They just thought: “what a waste of life, some long hair kid sleeping in a car”. So, I wanted to be able to make a lot of money, so that way I could turn around and help people in bad situations and be able to be the one that can come swoop in and kind of help them and help solve their problems. That’s what’s so sad about streaming is that now that I’ve worked my way up the pecking order and it’s time for me to get the lion’s share… But, there’s nothing there!
And I get it, you know, I get it… People got tired of paying $15, you know, for only two good songs, because there was a time when you couldn’t buy one song off of iTunes. Before iTunes came along even, you had to either buy the album or not. Or just listen to it on the radio, or not. There weren’t that many choices. Now, there’s so many choices in there, so many new bands that you’d have to be a multi-millionaire yourself to be able to buy all the new stuff that’s coming out. But, at the same time, it’s just not fair, because now bands are overcharging for their ticket prices, they’re charging people for meet-and-greets that only happen by their merch table, so you either have to buy a CD, or a t-shirt, or something to meet the band.
So, there was such a great balance in the ‘80s between the fans and the band, it was a different type of a relationship that musicians had with their fans, than they do now. And I’m glad that it’s easier for people -anybody can be a star if you’re willing to you- especially through YouTube. There’s people out there making millions of dollars only because they’re willing to do some of the most embarrassing and shameless activity known to man and we’re so curious that will click to watch it!
Even though the internet has changed things and streaming has changed things and all that kind of stuff, it is a different world than when I first started. The process that’s involved in reaching someone’s heart and piercing their soul with their music has never changed and it never will. So, if somebody doesn’t know that process, streaming is going to be nothing to stream.
Rockpages.gr: I wanted to ask you about living in the car… How long did you do that? And whether you were playing in bands while you did that, or you weren’t?
Craig Goldy: Yeah, actually, I was in a band, all of it! I bought the car myself from giving lessons and being in a band and I actually had a job… I had a clock that was on battery. So, all I had to do was wind it. And so it would wake me up at a certain time and I’d get up and I would have empty bottles and then other bottles filled with water. So, I could wash my hair out of the side of the driver’s seat. I could open the door and just kind of tilt my head and wet my hair, get some shampoo, and then rinse it, and then shave in the side view mirror. My clothes was in the trunk, and then I’d go to work. And then, when it came time to be off of work I would drive somewhere and play my guitar or drive to somebody’s house and give them a lesson, but I didn’t have an amp at the time, so I would borrow people’s equipment whenever it came time to play. And bands and rehearsals and stuff.
I remember one time I was at the drummer’s house, of this band I was in, and it was getting late and his girlfriend was given him the signal, like you know, “come on, let’s go to bed! It’s getting late…” and he looks at me and he goes “well, I hope you find a safe street tonight. I’ll see you later”! And I thought “wow, you’re not even going to let me sleep on your couch for one night, but yet, I’m the guitar player of your band. But, I’m not good enough to sleep on your couch. That’s interesting”.
Rockpages.gr: This is movie stuff, what you are talking about!
Craig Goldy: (laughs) It was real. But, the thing that was the most impactful of all was that I hated it back then. But then, Ronnie’s voice was where I would turn to, after a beating. And because of the way he would say the things he would sing about, when he sounded angry he was singing about things that made me angry too and when he sounded sad, he was singing about things that made me sad too. It was almost like having a friend to turn to.
So, when I’m in the band that was amazing, but the greatest thing of all was that because that kind of music called to the downtrodden and the black sheep and the secretly hurting people of the globe. When they came to those concerts a lot of them were secretly hurting and they would come there to get away from their problems a lot of the times… So, when they would meet us backstage they were excited, because they just saw us on stage and now they’d get a chance to meet us. But, when they met me it wasn’t a rock star that they got. I would always hear them talking about their lives eventually and how things are going. And they would always say stuff like “oh, you don’t know how it feels like”… (laughs) And I had a chance to kind of put my arm around them and look them straight in the eye and go “I know exactly how it feels”… and all of a sudden eyes get big and I got “whaaat?” And we start talking about stuff, you know, because I’ve had so many atrocities happened to me that I absolutely hated it, when it was happening to me at the time, but then later on in life, it actually became like a superpower where I could literally talk to anybody and I could connect with anybody because I’ve had so many different experiences. So, people who were hurting secretly inside they didn’t know that they had someone that they could turn to. And we would stay in contact and especially back in those days, we would go to the same city the next year. And so, we see a lot of the same people and some of those people that I talked to the year before all of a sudden were all different. They had different clothes. They had a better job. Not just because of me, but because somebody cared enough to open their heart and talk to them and that gave them hope. And that’s why I was so excited about considered to be a rock star and play in front of all those people, because of the influence and the good that you could do.
And I was just thinking, “God, can you imagine having millions of dollars, what kind of help you could do. So, that’s the only time the lack of money thing becomes a problem because it’s a tool, but I’m working on a few different projects and hopefully those things will come through. And then I’ll just get it maybe in a different avenue, but, you know, help is on the way (lauhgs)…
Rockpages.gr: Talking about compassion and empathy, you were also involved in “Stars” project with the band/project Hear’n’Aid. Can you share a few memories from that two days of all the important people that they were in there recording, singing, and playing. And I guess exchanging stories…
Craig Goldy: I was on tour with Giuffria, so I didn’t really get a chance to socialize that much. But, it was a great experience because Ronnie actually had me go first with the solos because him and I actually had worked together already in the studio together when I was in Rough Cutt. So, he knew that I would start out with a theme, rather than just start playing a bunch of fast notes. So, when I did, he would always grab my arm and go: “that’s right… That’s right” Like whenever I’d say something that had a meaning, or he felt that he was understood, or somebody cracked his code, he would grab their arm and go: “Yeah, that’s right!” And he would do that to me a lot. And so, when I started that little thing he grabbed my arm and said: “that’s why I made you come first! Because, I knew you’d start with a theme”…
Little things like that made that whole thing so special. Neal Schon gave me a compliment. You know I was thinking to myself: “I shouldn’t be getting a compliment from Neal Schon. I should be giving a compliment to Neal Schon”… I didn’t get a chance to tell him how great I thought he was and how great I thought his music was, but those things, those memories are just amazing… But, I’ll never forget… George Lynch! He scared me! Because he was so good. He made me realize there was a lot of things, at that time, missing in my development as a guitar player. I was nowhere near some of those guys at that time… rHe was doing something. He was kind of warming up, because I guess he was up next and whoever was playing was on deck already playing, so George’s on deck and warming up and I heard him do this thing… something like he was using a wah-wah pedal. So I look down just to see what kind of wobble pedal he was using and there was none! It was just the way he was playing and I was like “oh my God, how do you do that?” – I gotta learn how to do that! And so I call them “vowel sounds”. Blackmore would do it too by switching pickups. Sometimes from the treble pickups you get a sound like “wooaahhh”. But, I wanted to figure out the way to do that, to get a vowel sound, but you had to pick the string right. So, thank you George for scaring me (laughs) almost! Because I finally figured out how to how to get vowel sounds. Because, you can’t communicate very well if all you use is consonants.
Rockpages.gr: I have to say that my favourite solo on the song is George Lynch’s…
Craig Goldy: Yes, yes… George Lynch and even Yngwie Malmsteen. Usually, all he does is he plays everything and nothing at the same time. But, he was great. Everybody was great… Because, I think it was the spirit behind it, you know, everybody just kind of dropped their ego.
And that’s where I met Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge. I’ve met Rudy before, but he had just left Ozzy Osbourne, and eventually, I was able to become the guitar player for their band, for a year and a half (ed, he is referring to the project “Project Driver”, which was finally released by M.A.R.S., Tony McAlpine, Tommy Aldridge, Rob Rock, Rudy Sarzo), before I joined Dio and that was a great experience.
Rockpages.gr: Actually, I have to say that you got such a great compliment after Ronnie, during his final days, came back from the hospital and said that he wanted to write music with you. And you said in another interview that there is one song, which is not released, that you guys wrote, where he’s talking about his health, his condition. Is there any chance that you will release this song?
Craig Goldy: Well, that’s up to Wendy. There’s a middle vocal bridge that was never finished. So, she’d let me finish it. So that if the lyrics are all aligned to that it’s going to match it really well. And we’re going to pick somebody special to do it. The song really wasn’t about what he was going through. If you listen carefully to what he’s saying, it’s parallel, he’s talking about what he’s going through by the character and what he’s singing about. Because, it was from “Magica”, he hadn’t quite finished the story yet. And so, it was indirectly about what he was going through. But, it’s interesting that you bring that up. I didn’t know that very many people actually heard that story, because I told that story quite a bit and no one’s really ever asked me about that (laughs). Is there any unreleased Dio stuff?
It’s just up to Wendy. It’s her decision and we’ll see what happens. Hopefully. But at the same I hate to see something that’s special, just go into streaming.
Rockpages.gr: Also, I wanted to ask you -because to someone who is reading the history of the band, your history actually, not just Dio would be surprised to check and find out how many times you’ve been in and out of the band- was this always your decision? What was Ronnie’s decision? How come you were in and out? I mean, you left after “Dream Evil” and later came back. Then, you were in the last albums with Dio. How did this happen?
Craig Goldy: Well, it was a mixture between life and circumstances. The first time I had no intention of leaving the band at all, but I’ll tell that story someday. It needs to be told, but it needs to be told in just the right way. Not that I would tell you and you would tell it wrong. It just, I have to make sure that when it comes out, it comes out, right. Because, it was not like “OK Ronnie, thanks. Bye. See you later. I’m going to go do my own thing now”. That’s not what happened at all. I had no intention of leaving the band at all, but something happened and him and I stayed friends and so when he asked me back, it was like, “Wow, this is going to be great”.
The second time I met a girl in a European country and before I had a chance to break it off with her she told me that she was pregnant… So, I couldn’t just walk away from that. So, she actually was going to live in America and her due date was the same time as the tour for “Killing The Dragon”. I was already working with Ronnie getting ready to do “Killing The Dragon” and Ronnie wanted the same guitar player on the album as on the tour, and so he asked me if I was going to be able to do the tour. And, I said “well, yeah, but I want to be there when my son is born”. So, that was the thing. Most people would have been easy, a very simple solution, you know, “OK, I’ll miss the birth of my child because I want to stay in the band”. But, for me, I couldn’t do that. And so the choice came down to missing the birth of my one and only son, or staying in the band. So, that was the second time. Life just has a way of getting in the way and because of that, me and Ronnie stayed close again and then back into “Master of the Moon” and then we all know about after that.
Rockpages.gr: So, now with the Dio Disciples, I guess the Hologram project is abandoned, because I read Wendy saying that you ‘re not doing this anymore, but you will have some video footage of Ronnie playing while you are performing on stage instead. Is that right?
Craig Goldy: I guess… I’ve had a few problems with this car accident that I was in a while ago. So, I’m kind of out of the loop at the moment with all the Dio Disciples stuff and everything, but it’s OK, I’ll make a full recovery and all that. That’s not a problem. Quite frankly, I’m kind of happy that there’s not going to be any more hologram. There was just too much trouble. There’s too much hate surrounding the band. The first one was really good, the person who did the motion capture on the first one did a great job, but the person who did the motion capture for the second one, it looked like if he was practicing his swimming technique (laughs).
And then… I don’t know how they managed to make him look like Howard Stern, but he did look more like Howard Stern that he did Ronnie Dio. But, my favorite part about being in Dio Disciples was being able to go out on the floor and talk to Ronnie’s fans that missed him just as much as I do. Because, while I was in the band, I got the chance to form a relationship with Ronnie’s fans too and that was very special. Because, a lot of the times when after the concert everybody’s out at the bar drinking, or trying to pick up on girls, or both, Ronnie’s the one standing there signing autographs and talking to his fans. But, when I was in the band, I loved that. I got the chance to stand right next to him and see how he dealt with people, and, and the hours and hours that he would spend doing that when we had to get up early the next morning, but I would stay there with him.
A lot of the fans would plan their vacation around our tour. So that way they can kind of follow us a little bit. And so they became even more special, because they were actual friends of Ronnie’s, not just fans, but his friends. They would travel on the tour bus with us and things like that. And I got a chance to be friends with them too. And so, being in Dio Disciples for me was like a memorial of his music, not a rock concert. Not a tribute band. It was a memorial service in the form of a rock concert.
Rockpages.gr: Actually, to be honest with you. I am one of those people that criticized the hologram thing, because it looks so unreal, you know, superficial. I wouldn’t mind if there was just the singers and the band. Nobody from the band is Dio anyway! It’s supposed to be Dio’s band, so I wouldn’t mind having an All-Star cast of singers, just singing the songs, but I didn’t really like the hologram idea.
Craig Goldy: Yeah, I don’t blame you. I mean, I didn’t! I mean it just wasn’t done right. It was just unfortunate, it wasn’t done right. The first one was good, But, but there was other stuff surrounding it. The person who created the click track… When you do motion capture, you do motion capture to the song, right? But, if the song hasn’t been set to a steady click, then the motion capture is going to be set to an unsteady click and that was a nightmare for poor Simon (ed Wright, the band’s drummer). Trying to use an unsteady click to play a song. And every single song was like that – I kept trying to tell them…
Just let somebody do it professionally. I could have done it but I didn’t want to. Because that’s not my forte, but I could have done it. I know how to take a live track and edit to a steady click and still keep the integrity of the song together because I mean, most of those songs were done by Vinny. I mean, he doesn’t fluctuate that much, you know (hahaha), but that was one of the bigger parts too. It had this great visual, but the band… poor Simon was struggling to keep up with this ridiculous unsteady click and it just was like that from the very beginning. There was something stupid or something wrong behind it.
The image that they put together for the first one was striking. It didn’t look like him, but it looked like him the most and it was very impressive. And so I thought, okay, this would be cool because actually Ronnie was even talking about doing stuff like that when he was still with us… About creating some of the characters of “Magica” in a hologram form to perform on stage. You know, I thought, “wow, that’s a great idea”.
But, it just started such a terrible reap. It just torn the fans in half. It reaped the world in half. All the people who were behind us, because we were in Ronnie’s band, just doing the concerts before the hologram was bad enough. People hated us, but people loved us at the same time. It was horrible. This man was loved all over the world… if there was a million Dio fans, forming that band tore it half. So, 500,000 is on one side and 500,000 is on the other and that was just heartbreaking. That’s not trying to keep somebody’s memory alive…
I understand why people hated us. I tell this story because it’s very close to how people saw him. When Jesus walked into the temple and saw the money changers, he got mad and overturned their tables and said “this is a house of worship, not a marketplace”… And in many ways, the Dio fans saw us as the moneychangers in the temple of Dio and they wish to topple our tables. And so, I understand it only because of their love for Ronnie. That was another part that hurt me the most, because it was out of love that people hated.
Rockpages.gr: There’s another thing when you’re playing in Dio that I guess is very tough to cope for anybody and I would like to tell me how you handled it… You have to be Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi and whoever was in the band before you and you have to do this all in one night, in 90 minutes and play all that stuff.
Craig Goldy: Well, actually, that was great. I mean, because it was a fan. Ritchie Blackmore was the whole reason why I play guitar in the first place. So, on my own time, I would try to learn Ritchie Blackmore’s solos note for note. And I loved all of the Black Sabbath stuff that Ronnie did. And all of the stuff that Viv had done. He did some really great solos and they made some great music together.
So, it was great. It was a chance to just play my favorite music and Ronnie told me that it’s going to be tough at first, because when he first joined Sabbath people loved Ozzy so much that they actually hated him.
It was hard on one side. Only when I would get the wrong amplifier, because there were times when I was in Dio where we didn’t have the budget to bring our own amps with us. And airports weren’t always allowing us to bring our own speaker emulators and foot pedals and stuff, because it was electronics and they didn’t know what it was, so they wouldn’t let it clear customs. So we would have to use the amps that the promoter would provide us and they’re trying to save money. So there’s times when I’d get this piece of a crap amp and I’m trying to play a Blackmore solo and I sound like a beginner… That was the hard part. It was when the budget started getting cut and the amp and the backstage gear looked good, but sounded like crap. That’s when it became hard.
Rockpages.gr: I hope you didn’t smash any guitars because of that, because that’s what Ritchie would have done!
Craig Goldy: Well, yeah, but those guys had enough money that something like that would never had happened in the first place! Hahaha! But, I understand what you mean…
Now, Ritchie Blackmore, -this may sound funny- it’s not just notes and how they’re put together. It’s what he put into those notes. A lot of times he had patterns that were like tongue twisters. You know a lot of people can say “Da-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta”, but a lot of people can’t say “Sally sells seashells by the seashore”. Ritchie Blackmore had tongue twister solos, where it seemed real simple, but if you were going to do it right it was almost impossible. That’s why he never played the same solo twice live. He never did his own solo, except for maybe “Highway Star” the fast bit. I honestly think that Ritchie was so good that he didn’t need to prove himself that he could recreate what he did in the studio. Because most people, that was the thing – especially in the 80s- the studio trickery and people needed to prove that they’re able to do what they can do in the studio live. Eddie Van Halen could have done it in his sleep, but back to Blackmore… trying to learn a Ritchie Blackmore solo note for note, and then interpret it to make it sound like him you have to have all the elements that he has.
Because, it’s not notes. It’s a feeling, it’s an emotion. It comes from his very soul. He has so many elements to his soul, into his playing that if you don’t have those, you have no business trying to play them, and that’s why they’re so difficult to play. The moment like when he would improvise on “On Stage”, “Catch The Rainbow” and “Mistreated”… Oh my God! That’s some of the best guitar playing in the world, and he was improvising! He went through so many different stages, because he could play so many different things, because he had so many different attributes in his own personality, and within his soul…
Rockpages.gr: One of the things that I admire about Ritchie Blackmore is that he would focus more on writing a great song, than showing off his guitar skills in the studio. If you look at one of the best Deep Purple songs ever, “Perfect Strangers”, there’s not even a guitar solo in there. How come an egomaniac like Ritchie Blackmore wouldn’t add a solo to his comeback album title-track? Maybe, he felt that the song didn’t need a solo…
Craig Goldy: Maybe he’s not such an egomaniac either! I met him, man. I met him! I was in Giuffria and we opened up for Deep Purple “Perfect Strangers” for three months. At the time, because you know Eddie Van Hallen had pretty much re-revolutionized the guitar from stem to stern, there really wasn’t much more to do. So, we’re all scrambling trying to come up with something different. So, the guitar solo started with the stage going black, all of a sudden, this light barely shows and David Glenn Eisley is sitting on his hands and knees, holding my guitar like a table, and I walk up to it and start playing it like a piano, and it wasn’t like Eddie Van Halen’s thing, like he does in his solo… I had to mute the strings because it was actually percussive. I was tapping and pulling off, so it was really like playing like a piano but I had to mute the strings because it was percusive and other strings would vibrate. And then I would take the handkerchief, that was muting the strings, off and throw it out in the crowd and they would just go nuts. And I learned how to play with one hand because I was giving lessons and I would write out the solos note for note. So, as I was writing with my right hand, I would be tapping the guitar with my left to make sure I was writing this down correctly and years and years and years of that I thought “I wonder if I could play with one hand’. So I plugged my amp in and same thing, it was percussive… I’m hitting the neck, I’m not just laying my fingers on the Fret. So the other strings would vibrate. So, my first reaction was to mute the strings with my right hand and I thought “wow, I can do that!” And so a little bit of little bit of development and next thing I knew I was able to play even Randy Rhoads solos with one hand. So, that kind of set me apart a little bit.
And so, when I was doing stuff like that, people were going crazy and Ritchie didn’t like that at all. Because, it wasn’t his ego. That’s not what touring was for him, you know? It wasn’t supposed to be a guitar competition. I wasn’t trying to make it a guitar competition, because nobody can compete with him, but I guess for whatever reason he didn’t like it. And so he kicked us off the tour! At 3:00 o’clock in the morning there’s this emergency meeting: “Okay, if Goldie doesn’t do a solo and you guys tone down your set a little bit, you can stay on the tour. So all eyes on me… “Okay. Yeah, I’ll do it! Fuck, man. I love being on tour with Deep Purple. What am I? What do you think? I’m crazy? Of course I won’t do my solo for three months”. And I had a ball and loved going out into the audience and listening to Deep Purple. I’ve never had a chance to see them live. So, that was a dream come true and actually to meet the guys before the tour. I met Richie before and on the last night I said, “well, they can’t kick us off”.
So, I did my solo and I’m walking down the hallway of the arena and Ritchie’s coming. It was almost like a movie thing. I’m walking one way and he’s walking the other way. I guess it was just meant to be, there was nobody else in the hallway, just him and me, but that distance between us, it’s like you could feel something. He’s walking towards me and I’m walking towards him. And we’ re gonna meet up, because I just passed his dressing room, and I know he’s on his way to his dressing room. So, he’s either going to duck into a hallway, or into the bathroom or something, if he wants to avoid me, but I want to be able to thank him and tell him how much his music meant to me, so there he is…
All of the sudden he stops… And he looks at me and he goes, “you’ll have to show me how you do that” and he makes the motion of the one-handed thing. And I just fucking froze! Because all those years of learning Ritchie Blackmore solos and here he is asking me how to do something, and I quickly gave him this little: “Well, you got to do this, and you gotta do that”, and I ran into my dressing room and hid. And then I thought to myself, “you idiot! That’s Ritchie Blackmore asking you how to do something”. So, I went to his dressing room and… Ronnie told me “don’t ever try to go into his dressing room”. He gave me a big long list of what to do and what not to do, while on tour with Ritchie. Hahaha! And one of them was “DON’T! Don’t knock on his dressing room door!”, but I did, and he answered! And I just said, “I’ve idolized you for years and he his eyes rolled and I thought “Oh no! Shit! This is why Ronnie was telling me not to do this”, but what was happening in his mind is what happened with George Lynch and a bunch of other guitar players that he told not to do solos too. They would come to him at the end of this tour and say, “I have liked you for years. You’re a fucking asshole! Fuck you!” That’s what he was expecting to happen because that’s what always happened to him. But instead I said, “I’ve idolized you for years and I just want to say, I don’t care who comes along with this, that or the other thing – I made that little one-handed motion. You’re the best and you always will be and I hope there’s no hard feelings”. And I put my hand out and he shook my hand and he goes, “come on inside”. So now I’m inside his dressing room… And he had a soccer ball and they were could kicking it around trying to hit it dead center to break apart. That’s what they were doing after the concert. And so he says “give him a beer”. So, I put my beer up on the rafters. And I try to hit it and I missed. “Try again”, Blackmore says and then finally on my third try… boom, smack dead center. And everybody’s “yaaaaaaaaay!” So, now we’re talking, and I’m telling him about all the different songs and how he is trying to learn them and he would trick me. He would say the wrong title! “Oh you mean so and so?” And I have to say “no, no, no, it’s this song”. “Oh, right… Right… Right”. And then we be talking about some other song and goes: “Oh, you mean such and such?” And I go “no! No! It’s actually this one” “Oh, right… Right… Right”.
And I’m thinking to myself, “he’s playing with me”. And so finally, because I took German for two years in high school, there was one song that came out, “Maybe Next Time”. That was also released under the German title “Vielleicht Das Naechste Zeit” and so we were talking about that and he was trying to to fool me again with the title. I go: “No, no, no”, it was “Maybe Next Time” and we both look at each other and we both said “Vielleicht Das Naechste Zeit” at the same time… And it was like something hit him. And he goes, “wow! There’s not often that you meet somebody who’s as talented as you are and as nice of a guy as you are. Here’s my phone number, keep in touch and come meet me tonight at the bar for a drink”. Because, it was time to for us to leave the Coliseum. And that was probably one of the greatest moments of my entire life, besides actually being asked to be in Ronnie’s band. And it actually happened! And he was a gentleman.
I think it’s because Gregg Giuffria and David Glenn Ashley were walking around with a sense of entitlement… “we had a hit song and we’re on tour”… If you want respect from Ritchie Blackmore – this is the kind of guy where you have to give respect and you have to be respectful. If you want to challenge him, you have to have as much knowledge or more, but you have to be respectful. He’s not like anybody else. He’s not the same. So you have to treat him differently. If you don’t treat him differently, yeah he will come out like the egomaniac jerk that everybody else believes he is, unless you treat him the way he deserves to be treated.
Rockpages.gr: Last thing… What was the best advice Ronnie gave you?
Craig Goldy: Wow, that’s hard. That’s hard to stay, because he poured a lot into me one time. He actually even said “Goldy I want to pass the torch on to you kid”, right in front of his best friend while we were getting ready to go out on tour… And so trying to narrow it down to just one thing I’ll have to answer your question with another question. If you could only pick one, which would you rather do? Inhale, or exhale? Hahaha! I am kidding, but it’s almost impossible to come up with one…
The greatest advice that was kind of molded together is… “No matter what you’re going through, always make sure to be nice to the fans. No matter what’s going on. If you’re having a bad night, no matter what, no matter what happens. Make sure they go home happy”. Also, “always start with a good groove”. Because, he was a bass player, and a lot of guitar players come up with riffs and riffs are great, but -Ritchie knew this too, he knew about grooves when he was in Deep Purple and stuff. And that goes a long way with guitar players, because a lot of times drummers find it difficult to come up with a cool way to play over guitar players’ riffs. Because the riff might be great and it might be the most spectacular thing on the planet. But, if it doesn’t have a good groove, then what’s the point?
And then, also the way he worked was so tedious, but it made all the difference in the world. Because, a lot of people would write songs and they’d be listening to it. And as soon as they get like maybe in the middle of the song they’d go “stop, stop it needs something here!” So, maybe three, three and a half minutes in they stop and they come up with whatever it is that they need and then they move on from there. Then, maybe five minutes “stop!” At the 5-minute mark which now means that only two and a half minutes have gone by it. “It needs something here”. And they come up with something and then they finish it and then they move on. Well, they’ve missed something very, very important….
It’s that the song should tell you what it means, not you! Because, what Ronnie would do is let’s say we’d listen to a song and at around three, three and a half minutes he’d say “stop, it needs something here”… And so we would come up with something that we thought would work, but we didn’t move on. What did we do? We went right back to the very beginning and play it from the beginning and let it go. And if it still felt good at three and a half minutes we keep it. If it didn’t, we’d stop and replace it with something else. And then, what will we do? We go right back to the beginning again and listen. And if it still felt good, then we keep it and then if we had to stop again, we’d do the same thing. He was very tedious, but the way he was he’d let the song tell us what we needed to come up with. Not us tell the song what we think needs to go there. And that may be tedious, but I think that out of all the things that he did that was probably the most beneficial. Because, that’s something that only comes from experience, that you can’t read that in a book. You can’t!
That’s another thing that gets me it’s this new industry standard where people judge you as long as you sound good through that mono speaker on your cell phone. I mean some of the albums that we do we mix a certain way, so you have to have two speakers, or headphones at least to get the full sound. But, nobody… Nobody does that anymore. But, there are a lot of bands out there that they sound fantastic on that little small mono speaker. But what that has done? I see people now who are huge names in the industry, like multi-million, platinum selling artists all over the world, who now mix and master through this tiny little mono speaker. So that way it sounds good on people’s cell phones. Isn’t that fucking ridiculous?
I mean really? The music has become so unimportant to people that the industry standard now is a mono speaker.
And so maybe someday, I’m going to try to maybe pick up somebody special – because I’m getting older, you know, and all the streaming and stuff. It’s like, you know, what’s the point?
So I’m going to try to maybe pick a few people to pour as much information that I’ve learned over the last 30 years and put it into them because maybe by that time, you know, the streaming thing will have come to a close to the point where people would start buying albums and CDs again, and people will actually be able to make a living being musicians. And by that time I might be dead, but they might have a special advantage over the rest.