Craig Goldy will be best known to most people as the guitarist in Giuffria and Dio. Most recently he has been part of Dio Disciples and the band Resurrection Kings who released their self titled debut album through Frontiers on 29th January. I chatted to Craig at his home in California via Skype on 21st January and talked about the new album, Dio Disciples, another of his bands called Endangered Species, his memories of Lemmy, being part of Budgie and more! We recorded this just a few days before the sad news about the death of his former Dio colleague Jimmy Bain.
The interview was part of the Friday NI Rocks Show that was broadcast on Friday 29th January and which also included an interview with Mat Sinner from Primal Fear. This Show is now available via our MixCloud site- https://www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/ni-rocks-interviews-with-craig-goldy-mat-sinner-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-29th-jan-2016/
NI ROCKS – Hi Craig, thanks for taking some time to talk to Rock Radio NI. I wanted to talk first of all of course about the new album being released by your latest band Resurrection Kings. The album is released by Frontiers on 29th January and features Sean McNabb on bass and Vinny Appice on drums. I believe you started working with vocalist Chas West a few years ago, so is this a project that has taken a while to come together?
CRAIG – Well, yes and no. The Resurrection Kings album initially came from an e-mail that I got from Frontiers asking me if I’d be interested in doing a recording project with other guys who made names for themselves in the 80’s. They wanted it to sound a little bit like Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Rainbow. I said yeah sure and then they said “we’d like you to submit some original material”. At that time, me and Chas and Sean had tried to put a band together and it didn’t work for whatever reason. You make a priority list and life doesn’t ever read that priority list! Life has a way of changing things! They still hadn’t a full line-up in line yet, but when they did it was a singer who sang and played bass. When he fell through I automatically went to Chas and said would you like to be part of this as it made more sense. He was the one that sang “Livin Out Loud” which the song that I first submitted and they’d loved it. They loved it so much that they were going to call the album and the band Livin Out Loud at one point.
I remember when me and Chas became friends and had worked together prior to putting a band together. There was one night I’d seen him and Sean play these Led Zeppelin songs together and they invited me up to sit with them. There was such chemistry and Sean is such an amazing bass player. He is a really talented guy. He’s an honest to goodness great bass player. He’s not just a good looking guy who happens to get good gigs; he’s really good at what he does. And similarly with Chas. He was hitting all the notes that no one can hit anymore and he’s a good looking guy. It’s almost like that rock star thing come back. Anyway, Sean was available and said he’d love to do it. When the drummer we had in mind fell through, me and Vinnie had stayed friendly since the Dio days and him and I had been doing a lot of work together. We were in a recording session at the time and I said would you like to do it and he said yeah. So, to the naked eye this project was falling apart at the seams but in reality it was becoming more powerful and stronger than it ever was before.
Initially the song “Livin Out Loud” came from a prior thing me and Chas had done, but the project came about that way! Chronologically that’s how it happened.
NI ROCKS – Where did the name Resurrection Kings come from then?
CRAIG – That was actually from Sean. As I mentioned, Frontiers had wanted to call the album and the band “Livin Out Loud” but no-one really liked that; including myself. They were really great at Frontiers. They said we have a window of time and we have to make a decision by this time otherwise we’ll fall behind. So Sean was in a band I guess before, and the guy he was in the band with had the name Resurrection Kings. So Sean asked if we could use it and he said yes and boom there it was! I love it because it’s kinda metaphorical.
NI ROCKS – Alessandro Del Vecchio from Frontiers who has been involved in numerous projects helped with writing some of the tracks on the album as well as producing it. Did he play on the album as well?
CRAIG – Yes, some of the keyboards. He and I both; which stems back to when me and Ronnie worked together on “Magica” and “Master of the Moon”. Ronnie and I did all the keyboards with the exception of the piano opening on “The Man Who Would Be King” on “Master of the Moon”. That was Jeff Pilson.
Alessandro Del Vecchio actually, one interviewer asked me this and I said yes, was kinda like the fifth member of the band. He wrote the major portion of the album and he was a great producer. Him and I did the mixed together and I was really impressed with how those came out. He really cares and he’s a great songwriter and actually a really great singer. Some of the demos of the songs that came to me to learn that he had co-wrote with other people or written by himself were very strong songs. That’s what made Frontiers pick those songs for this album. But some were in an odd shape so I asked if he minded if I re-wrote them and he said ‘go for it’. So I’d send him an MP3 example and he’d say ‘wow, I love it’. We kinda nick-named that “Goldyising”. As we went on I’d say ‘do you mind if I Goldyise this’ and he’d say ‘go for it’.
We did this whole thing in different studios over the internet. I’d send an MP3 of a rough mix of what I’d just done and he’d say ‘oh my God, that’s great’ and he’d get more excited. And me too. We were like kids. And when Sean and Vinny laid down the drums and bass! There’s a gift to building a song momentum wise with drums and bass. Usually that’s achieved by being in the same room during rehearsals, but these guys have done this so much with some amazing bands such as Black Sabbath, Dio, Lynch Mob, Dokken and Quiet Riot, that they know how to do that. So even though we recorded in different studios we were able to implement a virtual in the same room kind of atmosphere because we all gave it our sincere effort and we knew how to do it. In today’s world, that’s just the way they do it. There’s nothing like working in the same room together, but you can’t totally replace it unless you have that skill. Because some day your technology will fail you and then what?
NI ROCKS – The first video from the new album was for “Who Did You Run To” which was a track I played on the Show a couple of weeks ago. For you was that the obvious track to put out there first?
CRAIG – Well actually I wanted to put out “Livin Out Loud” but they chose “Who Do You Run To” and at first I was a little bummed, but then I thought to myself. They did want this album to be based on the sounds of the 80’s and that was a song that Alessandro had written and it was his riff and his song. I kinda ‘Goldyised” it, ha-ha-ha, but that song had a little more energy, a little more melody and just little more elements of everything mixed together. It reminded people of Lynch Mob or Dokken right off the bat. There are some portions of it that are kinda Whitesnake-ish and portions that are kinda Journey-ish. It makes sense, because they’re known for melodic rock. I love the mid tempo, strong, tough songs like “Livin Out Loud” which got released yesterday and that song is to me like a statement; this is where the album came from and everything else came as a result of that. But there are some really strong songs on there that I had nothing to do on other than try to do my best playing guitar on them.
NI ROCKS – We’re going to play a track from the album now. Do you want to play “Who Did You Run To” or do you want to pick another one?
CRAIG – Well, since people have seen that before, will we do “Livin Out Loud” as it just got released yesterday?
NI ROCKS – The press release describes “Resurrection Kings” as a mix of “1987” by Whitesnake and “Dream Evil” by Dio – which of course you were a part of – with a little classic Zeppelin and Rainbow thrown in there as well. Would you consider that a good reflection of the band?
CRAIG – Absolutely, because in a way that’s kinda what I was hoping for. There is a little bit of that in “Livin Out Loud”. Whitesnake “’87” is my favourite Whitesnake album. That was like, to me, the perfect album even though Deep Purple is my favourite band, and Ronnie James Dio was and is my favourite singer. Whitesnake “’87” had something for everybody but yet it was still cohesive, which is not easy to do. And it was a really good marriage and merge of strengths between the music industry and the artist that co-exists successfully without cancelling out one another. That was a huge statement and it’s very rare. And Coverdale did a couple of things with Jimmy Page that were very Zeppelin-esk and I loved Led Zeppelin. I knew Chas could do that Zeppelin kind of thing and could also do other stuff. There are nasty, sexy guitar riffs in Whitesnake that don’t appear on Deep Purple songs and there is Richie Blackmore type stuff that doesn’t appear on Whitesnake songs. There’s Zeppelin stuff that doesn’t appear on either of them. There’s Journey and Foreigner which aren’t heavy enough for me to be my favourite to listen to every day but there might be elements.
In this album we got the chance to mix all those together but keeping in mind that a new mixture of already existing entities does not constitute uniqueness, so it had to be a sincere effort, a sincere collaboration, a sincere contribution of the things that I loved and the things I was influenced by and try to put my own twist on it. So it gets a warm welcome on the first listen but is still fresh enough to be thought of as new in today’s world.
NI ROCKS – Are there any plans to get Resurrection Kings out on tour to support the album?
CRAIG – Yes, as a matter of fact we’re currently in negotiation with managers and agents to tour together and support the album. And we’d all like to do another album.
NI ROCKS – That was my next question. I know it’s early days to talk about a second album, but you’re hoping there will be another album then?
CRAIG – Yes, there is other material we wrote that didn’t get picked for this album, but I think might be perfect for a number two. I sincerely hope that it is the same line-up and the same kind of pecking order. Serafino from Frontiers was the one who picked the 11 songs and I think he did a good job. Alessandro and I wrote several songs together that got turned down. There were a couple of songs that I wrote with other guys that got turned down. That doesn’t feel good but it doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t good. What I think they did was a really good collaboration and showed once again how the music industry and the artist can co-exist. It was a really good experience and a very positive experience. There wasn’t fighting, complaining, egos or any of that stuff. The record company, the producer and the band had a real nice, collective, collaborative effort and I think it shows. I hope that it happens again.
NI ROCKS – It’s a great album and I really like it. Are we talking about a European tour or looking at the States as well possibly?
CRAIG – That’s what we hope ultimately. First things first. What manager we go with will depend on what agent we get. What agent we get will depend on what parts of the world are still left open for the people that he has already booked and on our schedules. All those variables will inevitably decide what part of the world and what happens and when. We all love the UK. In fact most of us actually prefer touring this type of music in the UK. You guys were there – always! There’s a real noble people that live on the other side of the world. There’s elements of you that get lost here in America because Americans often become slaves to the latest trends. That is a global thing but on a general level, for the vast amount of people, you guys aren’t slaves to the latest trends. You have integrity and you like what you like. You’ve always kinda been there for us and it’s always been a home for us.
Now, the global marketplace is smiling upon 80’s based music and guys like us who were only paid as side men can now actually create stuff and maybe be part of something. At the time it was Richie Blackmore’s time to call the shots in Rainbow, it was Ronnie’s time to call the shots in Dio and it was Tony Iommi’s time to call the shots during certain eras of Black Sabbath. Hopefully now there will be time for us to be able to enjoy the piece of pie they enjoyed. And at the same time, do it the same way they did. They didn’t do it for the money, they did it for the love of the music and money came with it. It wasn’t the ultimate goal. The bullseye that we aim for is to put together a great band and a great album. Then what comes will happen.
NI ROCKS – I also wanted to talk to you about Dio Disciples which obviously includes your fellow Dio band members Simon Wright (on drums) and Scott Warren (on keyboards). Is there anything planned for the Dio Disciples in the near future?
CRAIG – Yeah, as a matter of fact we have some more tour plans coming up and we’re also going to do an original album this year. We’ve already been writing for that and recording.
NI ROCKS – You’re predicting my questions now because I was about to ask that.(laughs). Vivian (Campbell) and Last In Line are doing an originals album, so you’ll be releasing new material too?
CRAIG – Yes, we’ll be releasing new material and a song that Ronnie and I wrote prior to his passing that will eventually be released as well.
NI ROCKS – Any timeframe on that?
CRAIG – We’re discussing that now – when we think would be the right time. It’s a special song. Not only is it the last song that he wrote and recorded, it’s the lyrics! When people do hear it, guard your hearts because it’s going to hurt. Parts of it where he talks about what he’s going through are just Wow! It’s one of the proudest and saddest things that exists in my life. At one point in time the doctor gave Ronnie a clean bill of health and said ‘you can do anything you want’. Wendy turned to Ronnie and said ‘what do you want to do’ and Ronnie turned to Wendy and said ‘write with Craig’. That was the song that came from that before he passed and it’s a really cool song. It was geared for “Magica II” and when people hear it they’ll say ‘oh yeah, that’s Magica’.
NI ROCKS – I look forward to hearing that when it comes out! We’ll get back to Resurrection Kings now and we’re going to play another track from the album. Do you want to pick one?
CRAIG – How about “Fallin’ For You”?
NI ROCKS – Ok, we’ll play that. Did you write that one?
CRAIG – That was me and Alessandro .
NI ROCKS – You’re also a member of a band called Endangered Species. I’d noticed that the band’s Facebook page had been a little quiet recently but I also noticed a post from drummer Chris Moore saying that we might hear more this year. Anything you can tell us?
CRAIG – Yes. I did two songs as my own personal tribute to Ronnie a couple of years ago and Mark Huff the singer on those was so good that it made me want to put a band together. Because before that I had really lost so much from Ronnie that I went into a dark place. I just didn’t want to do anything. Then when I heard him singing on those two songs that’s what gave me my inspiration to begin again. So we put together the band. The manager was one of the managers from Giuffria and he had a big network of people and he said get some younger players, don’t just go for another super-group. So we got some amazing players. The bass player Dario Seixas sings lead and plays bass, is great on stage and is a really good looking guy. It’s like having my own little Rudy Sarzo who can sing! Mark Huff is amazing. He can do all the stuff. When I first met him he was singing in a tribute band out here called Deeper Purple. My girlfriend got me tickets for my birthday because she wanted to surprise me because she knows how much I love Deep Purple. But then she thought ‘what if they suck?’ so she said ‘maybe you should check them out first’. I looked up some MP3s online on YouTube and dear lord, this guy is singing all the Coverdale stuff, all the Ian Gillen stuff, all the Ronnie stuff. I thought this guy is three singers in one, I gotta contact him. I thought he’d be perfect for these two songs I was writing. That’s how it snowballed.
The drummer is Chris Moore. He has done a lot of stuff with George Lynch and he is an amazing drummer. He sings and is a great looking guy. He almost looks like he could be Geoff Tate’s brother. Then we got Wayne Findlay who plays keyboards and second guitar from Michael Schenker. He can solo on keyboard like Jon Lord and he can solo on guitar just as good as anyone else. He’s really talented. He sings and he writes.
We’ve done a handful of shows. One, or two actually, were out here in California. At one of them we got to do my version of “Space Truckin”. It was really cool. You can hear all the high notes that the singer can’t sing anymore, and the keyboard stuff, the guitar solo and some drum stuff we did. Some of the other songs they didn’t film where we highlighted each other. We did some Whitesnake songs where the bass player was singing lead and they’d trade off. It was really a special night to show people that this isn’t a conversation, this really exists – this type of band exists. They really are all virtuosos in their own right. We’re working on a demo that we can put in the hands of my manager and see what’s out there. Things are going really good.
NI ROCKS – Sometime later this year for that then?
CRAIG – Yes, definitely.
NI ROCKS – It’s been a crazy few weeks for high profile deaths in the music business, the latest of which was Glenn Frey this week. Lemmy of course passed away a few weeks ago – many people involved in rock music since the 80s will have their own Lemmy story I’m sure. Do you have a Lemmy story?
CRAIG – (Laughs). Yeah. First and foremost thou he was a gentleman. He was a rock star. God bless him. I am not a rock star. Do you guys get “Big Bang Theory”?
NI ROCKS – Yes, though I haven’t seen it. My daughter watches it.
CRAIG – You understand the premise though. I am not a rock star but Ronnie knew how to carry himself off as a rock star. And there’s Lemmy, we did a lot of touring together. I felt like I was one of the “Big Bang Theory” guys when I would be standing and Ronnie and Lemmy would be talking. Lemmy would say something with this thick accent and I had no idea what he was saying. (Craig mimics Lemmy). And Ronnie would go ‘oh yeah’ and laugh, so I’d go ‘oh yeah’ and laugh. He’d say something again (Craig mimics Lemmy) and Ronnie would go ‘oh yeah, yeah, I did that once’. “Me too” I’d say. Then he’d turn to me and say (Craig mimics Lemmy again) and I’d go “What?” and Ronnie would say ‘Oh yeah’. For all I know there’s still some dog on the porch waiting for me to come feed him while Lemmy was off on tour and I’d said I’d do it! I couldn’t understand him and I hated having to say “What?” all the time. I felt like such a nerd!
But he was such a gentleman and he really did make his stamp on this world. He is going to be missed. He was a gentleman, like all those guys in Sabbath. Those guys were gentlemen. Back in those days, regardless of what drugs and stupid stuff people got into, deep down inside they were gentlemen. Whenever I ran into the guys in Sabbath, the original members, they were just gentlemen. There’s like a code of ethics that people don’t realise heavy metal musicians had in that era. Lemmy was one of them. He was a gentleman and true musician and rock star mixed together.
NI ROCKS – Back in 2007 you joined Welsh band Budgie and played with them until Burke Shelley unfortunately became ill and had to stop playing. How did that come about in the first place? It’s a bit of an unusual mix - the American guitarist in what was a very British or Welsh band.
CRAIG – Yeah, we had done a concert together. They had opened for Dio back in 2005 in Texas and apparently they remembered me from then. I wasn’t really that familiar with them to be honest. Then I got a phone call from their manager saying they had some concerts in Australia and didn’t have a full time guitar player. Would I like to be a guest guitar player to fill in? I said sure. I had 17 songs to learn in 2 days. The set list they put together was really cool stuff. I wanted to do them justice and didn’t just want to come in and make it Dio-ized! I wanted to recreate the sound that they had and try to learn some of the solos note for note and then do my own twist on it here and there. The very first rehearsal we had, the drummer stops and yells the F word. I thought oh no, here we go! This is it; this is why they don’t want to play with Americans! Then Steve, God bless him, he says ‘this is the best and the tightest we’ve sounded in 20 years’ and Burke’s going ‘I know! Let’s keep going’. It was a real relief.
Those guys were great people, wonderful people to work with and we’ve remained friends. They’re like family members. Ronnie and Burke are very alike and I think that’s why me and Burke got so close. I understood him from the beginning because he was a lot like Ronnie. It was a great experience. There is some bad footage on YouTube and there’s some good. There was some stuff where we just got thrown to the wolves and just had to wing it. Sometimes it turned out great and sometimes it didn’t. Ultimately they wanted to do an album called “Hybrid” with me and them, so there are some songs that we recorded and some live stuff that we recorded that might be released at some point and hopefully Burke will make a full recovery. The area where he had to have emergency surgery is the area where he kinda has to push his vocals and the doctors said he can’t do that anymore. But knowing Burke, like Ronnie; Ronnie could storm through anything, that man could storm through anything. So if anybody can make a full recovery it’d be Burke.
NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions I have time for. It’s been really good talking to you and I could probably talk a lot longer. Thanks very much for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI.
CRAIG – Thank you. This guy told me once and now I can apply it to this. Thanks for making it a conversation and not an interview.
NI ROCKS – I always try to do that if I can. We’ll finish with a final track from the new Resurrection Kings album. Do you want to pick one?
CRAIG – Why don’t we go ahead and play “Who Do You Run To”.
Playlist for the Friday NI Rocks Show 29th January
TRUCKER DIABLO – Fight Life
GIUFFRIA – Call To The Heart
Interview with Craig Goldy Part 1 (8 min)
RESURRECTION KINGS – Livin’ Out Loud
Interview with Craig Goldy Part 2 (7.5 min)
RESURRECTION KINGS – Fallin’ For You
Interview with Craig Goldy Part 3 (9 min)
RESURRECTION KINGS – Who Do You Run To
DIO – I Could Have Been A Dreamer
VOODOO CIRCLE – Heartbreaking Woman
Interview with Mat Sinner Part 1 (5 min)
PRIMAL FEAR – The End Is Near
Interview with Mat Sinner Part 2 (4 min)
PRIMAL FEAR – Angels of Mercy
Interview with Mat Sinner Part 3 (7 min)
PRIMAL FEAR – Rulebreaker
KISKE/SOMERVILLE – City of Heroes