PART 2 (OF 2) OF INTERVIEW WITH RESURRECTION KINGS AND EX-DIO GUITARIST CRAIG GOLDY
Date: December 25, 2015
Interviewer: Ruben Mosqueda
WE RAN PART ONE OF THE CRAIG GOLDY INTERVIEW A FEW DAYS AGO. WE LEFT OFF WITH THE ‘DREAM EVIL’ RECORD AND WE’LL PIKC UP FROM THERE. CRAIG TALKED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIS WORK AS A SONGWRITER WITH WARNER BROTHERS AND WRITING WITH DAVID LEE ROTH AND ALSO COVERED THE DIO RECORDS ‘MAGICA’ AND ‘MASTER OF THE MOON’ WHICH HE PLAYED ON. HE WRAPPED THINGS UP WITH ONE OF HIS FAVORITE RONNIE JAMES DIO STORIES. READ ON AND AS ALWAYS, YOUR FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS WELCOME.
Sleaze Roxx: You spent some time writing for Warner Brothers. You wound up writing “Lady Luck” with David Lee Roth for ‘A Lil’ Ain’t Enough.’ Who hooked you up to write with Roth? What was that experience like? And were you considered for the band?
Craig Goldy: Because Ronnie and I wrote the bulk of ‘Dream Evil,’ Warner Brothers was pretty impressed by that. They signed me as a songwriter. As a songwriter, you get carte blanche. I’m sure you’ve heard of the director, the producer and the star of the film watching it in an empty theater? So that was me. They’d bring me in and they’d say, “We need a song like this for this part of the film and a song like that for that part.” All I had to do was go home, write a song and submit it. There was a weekly journal that would get circulated to songwriters that featured artists that were soliciting songs or songwriters. There was everyone from Diana Ross to Barbra Streisand. They often didn’t write their own songs or the music. I would submit song after song to artists and my songs would continuously get turned down. I needed to find out why. So I began to study hit songs and I began to create templates of those hit songs with my original material. It made me work ten times as hard as I had before. I played everything on the demos and learned how to do everything.
The Roth thing — I recall a call came in and my girlfriend at the time answered the phone. I looked at her. There was this look on her face. It’s either going to be really bad or really good. I take the phone and I hear; “Hey man! Dave Roth here! I love your shit, man! You got any more stuff, man? Can we get together and write?” I was like “Wow! Yeah!” Dave was working with Bob Ezrin at the time, which was awesome because one of my favorite Pink Floyd records was produced by Bob Ezrin. So I got invited to Bob Ezrin’s house to present more material to David Lee Roth for his next solo album. Dave liked me so much he invited me to his home for two to three months! I have to tell you it was an amazing experience as you can imagine. That was my first gold record.
Sleaze Roxx: Real quick — going back to the material you worked with Mark Huff. What was that going to be used for?
Craig Goldy: Yeah, that was going to be used as bonus material for the tribute record that was released [‘This Is Your Life’]. I wanted to present those songs to the guys in Dio Disciples. Listen, I love Tim [Owens], Mark Boals, Oni [Logan] — they’re amazing but nobody is Ronnie. When they try to sing Ronnie, it’s just not Ronnie. I try to play Blackmore and I’m not Blackmore. It’s not the same. Little by little, I thought that I should hold on to the songs for myself. I approached Wendy and she felt the same way. She loved them but felt that I should hold on to them and keep them special. I took them back and then Mark and I started to work together. I actually found out about Mark through my girlfriend who knows of my love for Deep Purple. There was this tribute band that she wanted to take me to see so she asked me check them out online. I did. The band was called Deeper Purple and Mark Huff was singing. I was like “Fuck, this guy is like three singers in one!” That’s how that all started.
Sleaze Roxx: We were talking about ‘Dream Evil’ earlier. I think that record was a return to form for Dio. What I mean by that is that ‘Holy Diver’ and ‘Last In Line’ were records that were on par with the Dio Sabbath catalog but when it came to ‘Sacred Heart,’ it was polished and perhaps “too commercial” sounding. When ‘Dream Evil’ came out, it had a little bit more grit to it.
Craig Goldy: Quite honestly, I agree with you. Yes, I see what you see and hear what you hear. I think the fans heard it too. I think the stage set saved that record [‘Sacred Heart’] but there were some very good songs on it. There were a few songs that I was unsure about; a song like “Shoot, Shoot.” I was like “Hmmmm….I’m not sure about that.” It was more polished. I think Ronnie was caught up in trying to compete with the stuff that was coming out around that time. I think he was starting to feel pressure from the record company. After all, it is a business. I remember sitting in the studio when we were recording ‘Dream Evil’ and at the end of “I Could Have Been A Dreamer,” I was supposed to go back to your favorite line in that song “Running with the Wolf Pack…” It was supposed to end with that. It was going to be badass! Then the record company stepped in and said we needed to go out with the chorus because they felt it could be a hit song. Ronnie said, “Okay.” I was so bummed out.
At the time, I didn’t understand how things worked. That was my first introduction into how artists and record companies have to co-exist and how sometimes we have to make compromises. That was a real eye opener. From what I understand there was a little more of that happening during the production of the ‘Sacred Heart’ album. Ronnie said that when I came in for the ‘Dream Evil’ album, I revitalized the band. When they were writing the ‘Sacred Heart’ album, some of the guys in the band had become disenchanted. They weren’t giving it their all. When I came in there was a new fire that was lit because it was such a new thing for me. It was contagious among the band.
Sleaze Roxx: You departed prior to the writing for ‘Lock Up The Wolves.’ What transpired there?
Craig Goldy: I haven’t ever told anyone the reason why I left. I will someday. I will put it in a way that people will understand. I know where I was right and where I was wrong. I also know where he was right and where I was wrong. I will put it in way that I won’t be taking a stab at a guy that isn’t around to defend himself. There’s a lot of people that think that I do too much to put Ronnie on a pedestal. That needs to be dealt with correctly. One day, that will come out but for now I can say that it’s something that needed to happen.
Sleaze Roxx: Fair enough. You returned to Dio for the ‘Magica’ album which was issued in 2000. This was to be one of a trilogy of albums. How did you reconnect with Ronnie?
Craig Goldy: We stayed friends. When I set out to do my first record, I was still managed by Wendy Dio. Ronnie came to my second wedding. We’d go out to dinner and stuff like that. I approached Ronnie about coming back. For the same reasons as I stated, I know what I did wrong and I know what I did right. He said “If that situation ever comes up, I will let you know.” I planted the seed. Ronnie contacted me and said that he was tired of not hearing the classic Blackmore and Iommi guitar sound and spirit behind the songs. It’s funny — two nights before I got the call from Ronnie, I had a dream that I was back in the studio writing with him. I realized how much I really missed that. I get a call from Wendy saying “Ronnie would like you back in the band.” I had two days to pack and get on a plane to Los Angeles to meet up with him at his house.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s amazing that it wasn’t until 2000 that Ronnie wrote and recorded a concept record.
Craig Goldy: Oh, he wanted to do a concept album for a while. In fact, the album after ‘Dream Evil’ was going to be a concept record so he’d wanted to tackle that for a while. He had already written three songs by the time we began to work on ‘Magica.’ I had some songs on one of my solo records where the songs ran together — like a concept record. Ronnie liked that idea and in fact, he listened to some more songs and we actually stole from my solo record for ‘Magica.’ He came in with “Fever Dreams,” “Lord of the Last Day” and the opening scene I believe he had written already. It was so exciting to map out the storyline and write the songs for that record.
Sleaze Roxx: I was thinking about this last night. How many musicians exit that went from one band to another band to another band and had success straight across the board? Ronnie went from Rainbow to Sabbath to Dio. The only other person that comes to mind is Sammy Hagar when he went from Montrose to solo artist to Van Halen.
Craig Goldy: That’s right. Lucky for us fans there were those bands for those guys to land in. There are facets of Ronnie that didn’t get exposed when he was in Rainbow that were exposed when he joined Sabbath and facets that weren’t exposed until he formed Dio. He had those attributes going back to when he was still in Elf.
Sleaze Roxx: Moving forward, I feel one of the most underrated Dio records is ‘Master Of The Moon.’ The record from the artwork to the production and songwriting is top notch.
Craig Goldy: It’s interesting because there’s stuff on that record both in the production and the songwriting of places or areas where Ronnie didn’t allow himself to go on previous efforts. There were things that I was encouraging him to do. There’s a vocal bridge on the song “The Man Who Would Be King” where the drums turn around and drum is on one and the kick is on two and the bass is this syncopated part and there’s the guitar and there’s another guitar. So bass and the kick drum are in unison, the snare is a counterpart, the guitar is a counterpart, there’s another guitar counterpart that doubles up with the keyboard and Ronnie’s vocal is a counterpart. Ronnie listened to it and he looks at me and says “Are you sure about this Goldy [laughs]?” I go “Yep!” and he says “Okaaaaaaaay! [laughs]” There’s a lot of great memories in the creation of that record.
Sleaze Roxx: In closing, is there a particular Ronnie story that you’d like to share with us?
Craig Goldy: I remember one time, it was really cold… Ronnie was the first to get there and he was the last to leave. He’d go out with the crew and he’d hang out with the fans afterwards. I’d just hang out with him because I wanted to learn from him. That band [Dio] was run like family and the band members were like family members. I can’t stress this enough. The band was run in such a special way. While the crew was packing up, the fans were gone and the band was gone, Ronnie would go back into the venue and help the crew pack stuff up. He’d talk to the crew, the caterers and the truck drivers. I always thought that was cool. There was this limousine waiting for us at about 3 am I think. We had something like a 6 am lobby call to get on the bus to get to the next city in time for soundcheck.
I remember that it started raining. We’re in this stretch limousine. He’s on one side and I’m on the other. We start driving away and we see these two kids huddling in the corner of the coliseum standing in the rain. Ronnie says to the driver “Wait! Pull over!” Ronnie rolls down the window and calls the kids over. They were waiting outside hoping to meet Ronnie and they didn’t get to. So, one comes over on one side and one on the other. We started talking to them and it started raining even harder and the rain was coming inside! So Ronnie and I looked at each other and we both said “Fuck this!” at the same time. The kids look at us and said “We’re sorry! [laughs]” So Ronnie says “No, no, no. If you can stay out in the rain and wait for us, we can stand out in the rain and sign autographs for you.” So we both step out of the limousine. We should have invited them into the limousine, which would have made more of statement. We stood out in the rain with them and signed all their stuff. Somewhere, there’s two kids who have the other side of that story.