By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Former DIO guitarist – Craig Goldy, has resurfaced with an exciting new band called Resurrection Kings. In addition to the 54 year old guitarist, Resurrection Kings also consists of noteworthy, hard rock music veterans Vinny Appice – drums, Sean McNabb – bass and Chas West – vocals. The Resurrection Kings will be releasing their debut album on Jan 29th on Frontiers Records. This classic rock inspired, 11 track release will appeal to any fan of Whitesnake, Deep Purple and “Dream Evil” era DIO.
For Goldy, this may be his impressive release yet, his guitar tone and playing has never been better.
In addition to Resurrection Kings, Goldy is currently still involved several other projects, including the Ronnie James Dio tribute band – DIO Disciples and a project with vocalist David Glen Eisey, who was also in the band, Giuffria with Goldy during the early 80’s.
What follows is an exclusive RMS interview with Craig Goldy. During this interview we discuss his new project the Resurrection Kings, his time in the DIO band and much more.
Craig Goldy: I was approached by Frontiers Records about doing a recording project, with the idea of it having an 80s kind of feel with the Deep Purple, Whitesnake kind of vibe to it. They had a list of band members that they suggested to be involved. But, as things progressed, different members came and went.
One of the first guys that I was working with was a bass player that sang lead, and he left. So, I approached vocalist, Chas West, to get him involved. I had previously sat in with a band that Chas was in, along with bassist, Sean McNabb, and I was really impressed with those guys, so much that we talked about putting a band together. Chas and I had written a song called, “Living Out Loud,” which had already been approved by Frontiers to be included on the record. His voice was perfect for that song. So, then I thought of getting Sean involved as well, and he was into it.
Then, the drummer they wanted fell through, so I got Vinny involved. I had played with him prior, in Dio, and he played a few gigs with the Dio Disciples. We were actually already doing a recording session together for another project that we were both involved with. So, he was into it. Before you know, this whole thing snowballed from being a little project, to a band that we are all excited to be part of; we now have a much stronger line-up. So, we are currently looking into putting together some tour dates and recording another record.
RMS: The album is solid, with great songwriting, playing, and production. I really like the song, “Living Out Loud.”
CG: Yes, thank you. I have to give a lot of credit to Frontiers’ in-house writer and producer, Alessandro Del Vecchio; he produced and mixed the album. He and I worked very closely together on the album. We tried to keep the production of “Living Out Loud,” as close to the original demo version, because it was so special – the way that Chas had sung it – and there was certain texturizing that we did with his vocals on the demo that we wanted to keep for the album. I think that he sounds awesome on that track. He sounds great on every track, but on “Living Out Loud,” it really shows the singer that he is.
RMS: The power ballad, “Never Say Goodbye,” is another great song. Chas really shines on that one, as well.
CG: Oh, thank you for saying that. That song was written by Alessandro, as well – actually most of the songs were written by him. He is a great songwriter and producer, and he also sings great. I can’t wait until he does his own album, with him actually singing on it. If you listen to that song with headphones on, there is one point in which there are 29 guitar tracks going on. There is a lot of layers on that track; one will go off the left and then one to the right. It’s almost like a painting, but with my guitar, with all of the different layers. That was a very special song for me because of that, it was the first time that I was really able to do it that way. So, thank you for bringing it up.
RMS: Do you feel that you had more freedom on this release than any prior one in your career?
CG: Yes! And by saying that, I’m not saying anything bad about the time that I was in DIO. Ronnie and I had a very special relationship. We were friends, and that band was run like family. I was really in a learning mode during that period. I was like a sponge with all the information he gave me. Some of the other guitar players, like Doug Aldridge, Rowan Robertson, Tracey G. and Vivian Campbell – the stuff they did on the DIO records was amazing. They really got to stretch their wings. In some ways, I was a little jealous, but I understand it now. I wasn’t really ready. I think that Ronnie was trying to teach me things, and to show me not to rely on technology or other things, and do things the right way. So, this was the first time that I was really able to stretch my wings. I attribute that to all the people that I’ve been able to work with side-by-side and utilizing what I learned from them.
RMS: The first I remember hearing your guitar playing was in Giuffria in 1985. The first single, “Call From the Heart,” was a huge crossover hit. I thought your solo on that track was perfect for the song.
CG: Thank you. Yes, we decided to do a slide solo in that one. It sounds silly, but if you listen, the song will tell you what it needs. I learned that from Greg Giuffria, and also from Ronnie. But, that album kind of got screwed, because that’s when all the industry corruption came to the surface. It was on its way to be a big release, but then the record company got caught for some corruption.
RMS: It must have been devastating to be that close, and have something like that derail it.
CG: It was a real bummer. But, it all worked out, because Ronnie and I had remained friends from the time that I was in Rough Cutt (band that was managed by Ronnie’s wife, Wendy) so he flew me to LA to have me record for the “We are Stars,” project that he was working on. And, during that time, I met up with Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge, who had just left Ozzy’s band. They were putting together a new band, and asked if I wanted to be their guitarist. So, that was more along the lines of the music that I was into anyways – hard rock, heavy metal. I was with them for about one and a half years.
But, after that, I got the offer to join DIO. So, it all kind of worked out. Luckily, I did a concert about a year ago, and asked Dave (Glen) Eisley to play a portion of it. They asked me to do a past, present, and future concert here, in San Diego. So, I had a bunch of the bands from the past, and the present, and the future. There was a guy in the audience, from London, who saw us, and had the three of us come out and do almost a whole entire concert – like a Giuffria original member reunion.
And now, me and David Glen Eisley are going to be doing a Giuffria-eque album. David is such an underrated vocalist. There’s a song on my first solo record called, “Over And Over,” that he sings on. The way he sings it is just so – I mean – he can do anything from a ballad… there’s a song on there called, “Forever More,” and then a song on there called, “Over And Over.” It goes from ballad to heavy metal. On the first Guiffria record there’s, “Turn Me On,” “Don’t Tear Me Down,” “Do Me Right,” and “Trouble Again.” Those are all real rock songs. There’s a scream at the end of “Turn Me On” that would rival any heavy metal singer. If you go back and listen to the end of “Turn Me On,” it’s just amazing what that man can do with his voice. So, hopefully, with this next record, people will go, “Oh yeah, I remember him. Wow, I forgot how great he really is.”
RMS: Yeah, his voice and your guitar – especially where you’ve progressed as a guitar player – I can’t wait to hear that. I think it’s going to be incredible.
CG: I’m really excited about being able to do another project with him.
RMS: Absolutely. You were also involved in a band prior to Resurrection Kings, called Black Knight Rising. What became of that band?
CG: Well, we’re still doing that. One of the members had to go into surgery, so we’re waiting for them to heal, and everything’s going good. We were actually going to do some original material from that band, too, at one point. The chance to perform with this band was a dream come true, because of all the Rainbow records that I listen to. Vinny Appice is a great guy. What a great guy. It’s just been nice, being able to do as many projects as I’ve been able to do with Vinny. He’s such an amazing drummer. He’s really one of a kind. For the same reason that our brain has a conscious and a subconscious brain – I think the band is a lot like that. The conscious brain is kind of like, symbolic of the guitar player and the singer, and the subconscious brain is symbolic of the bass player and the drummer. The bass player and the drummer don’t often get thought of as songwriters.
But, there’s a real gift to being able to build a song, and make the momentum build, from the intro to the main riff, to the verse, the pre-chorus, the chorus, re-intro, second verse, second pre-chorus, chorus, solo or bridge, and out section. There’s a way to build that on drums and bass that – you have to have a gift. Vinny and Sean have that gift. It really is subconscious. People don’t really recognize just how much effort goes into that. Ian Paice had that; Deep Purple, Zeppelin, Whitesnake – all those bands had that thing where, it was just something that you couldn’t really – the intangible element. They had guys in the band that knew how to build a song. Even though they weren’t really in the spotlight, they did their part, and they did their part well.
Vinny’s one of those guys that just really knows how to build a song. That’s another reason why this album is so special – because of this particular lineup, and their own particular skill, and craft, and gift that each one of them possesses. And, they were all willing to put in their best effort, even though we didn’t all write the songs. A lot of times, guys won’t put in their best efforts because they weren’t the ones that wrote it, and that’s sad, but true. But, this particular lineup was special enough – they were like, “No, we’ll do it!” We’re all friends, we like each other, we believed in putting an album out together. It just kind of snowballed into something special.
RMS: I just hope that you are able to promote it and get out on the stages this summer and play some festivals, or get a slot opening for some arena acts. People are going to be blown away when they see you guys live.
CG: Well, I certainly hope so. We are in negotiation with managers and agents to put a tour together in support of this record, and we do want to do another album together.
RMS: Are you also involved in the Dio Disciples at all? Is that project still going on?
CG: Oh, definitely. For many reasons, we kind of took a little bit of a hiatus. We are going to be putting out an original material album. Some of the songs that we’re going to be doing are just outstanding. It took a while for a lot of people to understand what we were trying to do. A lot of people thought that we were just trying to cash in on Ronnie’s passing. People don’t really understand that, you know, the DIO band was run like a famiy. When a family member dies, the family left behind often tries to keep their loved one’s memory alive. That’s all that we were trying to do, was just try to keep his memory alive.
Ronnie was so loved around the world, that people just got offended by us going out and playing his music. It wasn’t because they had hate in their hearts; it’s because they loved Ronnie so much, and they didn’t understand what we were trying to do. Most of the time, we’d come back from tour, and we’d be out of pocket. So, it wasn’t like we were cashing in on anything. It’s just that, we loved him. He was our family, and we lost him; the most beloved family member. There’s a fact that, if a large group of people gather in the same room together with the same heart and mind and purpose as one another, something very special will always happen – it’s just a fact. So, that’s what would happen a lot of the time at the Dio Disciples’ concerts.
The real, true DIO fans knew where our hearts were. Each guy in the band was either a member of DIO at one given point, or a very close friend of Ronnie, or very close family. So, the love was there. We never knew when it was going to happen, but we always knew it would happen eventually, where, at one point during the concert, the band and the audience would connect. The next thing you know, you can see these guys looking up at the skies, singing, and tears are dripping down their face – they love him so much. It’s like they’re singing to him in Heaven, saying, “Ronnie, we love you. We miss you.” And that’s really beautiful – I get chills just thinking about it. That’s what that whole thing was all about. They’re in this room with this big PA, and this powerful music. It’s like a memorial service, really, disguised as a rock concert. It took people a while to understand what we were really trying to do.
RMS: Well, I know, myself, when I heard about his passing, I was devastated. I was glad that something like that happened, because it was almost like closure, going to that concert. I needed that as a fan.
CG: Thank you! Thank you. Exactly! I’m gonna start using that, if you don’t mind. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is supposed to be.
RMS: It was such a devastating loss. When I was a record store manager, I was fortunate enough to do an in-store with Ronnie. You’re exactly right – he made me feel like I knew him forever, and I was his best friend that day. I walked away thinking, “Hey, Ronnie James Dio is my friend, now.”
CG: (Laughs) Thank you for saying that. That’s so well put. The good part about it is that it was true. It wasn’t an act that he was putting on. In Ronnie’s world, that’s what fans were; they were friends. And some of them were just friends that he hadn’t met yet. With those in-stores, that’s exactly what it was. It was – you are now a friend of his in person, and not just a fan. You are a friend who happens to be a fan. He treats people that way because that’s how he feels about them. He’ll look you dead in the eye and make you feel like you’re the only one in the room; the only one that matters for that length of time when you guys are talking. And it’s true, because you are the only one that matters, and you are the most important person in the room, and you are his friend. That’s what is in his heart, and that’s what transfers from his heart to yours. That’s why, till this day, you still feel like you were a friend of Ronnie James Dio, and not just a fan.
RMS: Yeah. I’ve met a lot of musicians over the years, and that was the one meeting that was different than any other.
CG: Yeah. I took it upon myself to try and keep that way alive, so that kind of thing didn’t die with him. I try my best to be like that, too. I’m a fan, Ronnie was a fan; we all start off as fans. Somewhere along the line, we get this ego, and we forget where we came from. Ronnie never forgot where he came from. Ronnie always appreciated his fans and loved his fans. I have that love, too. I try as best as I can to do the very same thing. When I’m talking to a fan, I look them dead in the eye, and I try to make them feel just as special and as important, and that they’re the only one that matters during that time. It’s not just trying to have good customer service, or trying to force Ronnie’s way. It just comes natural because my grandfather was like that, for one reason. You can’t work and live side-by-side with a man like Ronnie James Dio and not have a little bit of that rub off on you.
RMS: Absolutely. It’s been a rough week for rock fans, with the passing of Lemmy and David Bowie; I just wanted to get your thoughts on those two, and in what way did they inspire you? Do you have any short stories that you could tell us about either of those musicians?
CG: Well, I think it is sad, with Scott Weiland, as well. It’s almost like it’s an end of an era. I never met David Bowie, but I saw some interviews. He seemed like a really genuine, nice guy. Earl Slick was in a band with David Glenn Eisley. Earl Slick had played with David Bowie, and he had nothing but great things to say about him. Scott Weiland; I didn’t know him, personally, but I know people who knew him – same thing. Lemmy was a friend of Ronnie’s, and we toured with Motörhead quite extensively. We all grew to love that man; he was a real rock star. He was a good guy. He had a good heart; you could just see it in his eyes.
The funny thing was that, I could never understand what he said; he had such a thick accent. But, Ronnie could understand him perfectly. The three of us would be backstage talking, 2 and I would hear Lemmy go, rarararar, and Ronnie would talk back. I never felt more like a nerd in my life. I’m not a rock star – I’m just a musician who happened to be in a band where people think I’m a rock star. But, I’m the furthest thing from a rock star that you could ever get. He was such a great guy. He never once got mad at me for saying, “What??” He was really funny. Him and Ronnie would laugh and spend time together. He’d invite us to the studio when they were recording in LA. He’s really going to be missed.
David Bowie is a legend. It’s just sad that we’re losing a lot of the legends that paved their own way. Not only did they create their own music and their own style, but they dug that path. And now, a lot of other people are able to enjoy walking down that path as musicians. But, those were the guys that paved the way.
RMS: Absolutely. Listen, Craig, I really appreciate your time. I’m hoping that I get to see you guys perform live sometime in Buffalo very soon.
CG: Me, too. Thank you so much, Tom. I really appreciate your time. Thank you for the nice interview. I’ve been doing this for like, 30 years; it’s not often that you get to enjoy the interviews. Thank you for making it enjoyable.