By: Joseph Suto
Guitarist Craig Goldy is back with an all new project called Resurrection Kings. The band is comprised of vocalist Chas West (Bonham. Lynch Mob, Tribe of Gypsies), bassist Sean McNabb (Great White, Dokken, Quiet Riot) and drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio). The album was produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio who has worked with Revolution Saints, Hardline and Rated X. We had the chance to catch up with Craig and discuss his latest venture.We also talked about his time in Giuffria and Dio. Sit back and enjoy.
Rock Show Critique: You have a fantastic new project called Resurrection Kings. Can you tell us how this all came together?
Craig Goldy: Actually I got an e-mail from the president of the record label Frontier Records. At first it was just going to be a recording project, they asked me if I wanted to be the guitar player with other guys who made names for themselves in the 80s. They wanted to steer the record towards a Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Rainbow-ish type of sound and I was like yeah, count me in. They said do you have any songs that you’d like to submit?, I said as a matter of fact I do. I submitted a song called “Livin’ Out Loud” and they liked it. It grew on them so much they were thinking about calling the band and the album title Livin’ Out Loud (laughs). The singer they had in mind at first also played bass. So that fell through so that meant we need two guys, a bass player and a singer. The first person I thought of was Chas because him and I wrote that song together. “Livin’ Out Loud” was pretty much geared towards his range and styling of singing. I asked him if he was available and sure enough he was. Then I went straight to Sean McNabb. I saw him and Chas perform together one night and I sat in with them and there was such an amazing chemistry. We were gonna form a band several years ago but it never panned out. Things happen, touring schedules and other projects come in that you have to do and so on. So I contacted Sean and he was available and interested, so he was on board. The drummer they had lined up fell through. Me and Vinny had stayed friends from the Dio days. So I asked Vinny and he said Yeah I’ll do it. To the naked eye what looked like a project falling apart at the seams was becoming stronger, more powerful. It just kind of snowballed and it became a much stronger, more powerful album.
RSC: Fans who have enjoyed your work with Giuffria and Dio will really like Resurrection Kings. I must say that I do not think there is one throwaway/filler track on the album. What tracks standout for you?
CG: Well thank you for saying that I’m glad. We did a lot of work on that record and some of the songs I was able to rewrite. Alessandro Del Vecchio, the producer of the band wrote a major portion of the record. He’s a great singer one of these days I want to do an album with him so people can hear just what kind of a singer he is. Each song really did start to become like a real strong entity on its own. I agree I don’t think there is one throwaway song either. People would think I would say that cause I’m biased. A lot of its because I didn’t write the whole entire album. It was a collaboration and a collective effort. I think that’s what makes this album so special.
I would say “Livin’ Out Loud” would be the signature song. That was the song that me and Chas had written prior to all this. That’s what started the direction of the album was that particular song. “Falling For You”, I like all of them really. “Silent Wonder” is kind of an interesting song that me and Alessandro wrote together. Even the ballad because that gave me a chance to paint. So when Alessandro sent me that song “Never Say Goodbye” it went from a pencil sketch into a painting. If you really listen to it with headphones there’s actually at one given point twenty-nine different guitar tracks going on simultaneously. That song I’m really proud of because I got to paint with my guitar for the very first time.
RSC: Will there be a touring version of Resurrection Kings?
CG: We were all so impressed with the way this album came out, that we are in negotiations with managers and agents right now to put a tour together in support of the record. We all would like to do another album together.
RSC: If you are able to tour would you be able to get everyone together with their schedules or would you have to get different players for the tour?
CG: Well that is a little bit of an obstacle that we’re encountering but we’re trying to do the best we can. We were all paid as sideman back in the eighties. So none of us got a big piece of the pie. As a result of that, the global marketplace has smiled once again on the 80s based music there’s more opportunities. We still have to do ten different projects just to equal the amount we would have made in one project. For a guy like me its hard because I won’t do anything unless I believe in it. I just don’t go where the money is. So there are a lot of scheduling conflicts. Each one of these guys are really good at what they do so they deserve to make a living as a musician.
RSC: You recently played a show with Giuffria members David Glen Eisley and Alan Krigger. How did it go and will we see more shows down the road?
CG: It all started off with a promoter here in San Diego where I grew up and was finally able to move back to. He asked me to do a past, present, future concert. I got guys from local bands that I played with in San Diego, some of the guys from Dio Disciples and Black Nights Rising. I asked Dave Eisley and Krigger if they’d do a short Giuffria set and everybody came together. Apparently one of the guys from London flew in to see that. He put it together for us to do an entire set together for Rockingham in Nottingham. It was great, the audience was great. It’s just at the time I think they were expecting an actual Giuffria reunion and it really wasn’t. It was three of the original members getting together, putting together some songs and playing. It became such a stir that now Frontiers has asked Dave Eisley and myself to put together an album in the Giuffria vein. So we got an album like that coming out soon.
RSC: I had interviewed David a few years ago and I was hoping he would get out and play some live shows. I’ve only seen you once live when you play the old Aud in Buffalo opening for Foreigner. I still remember your solo it’s still etched in my mind as the highlight of your set.
CG: Dave was such a team player those were special times. Who nowadays would do that for their guitar player, come out and be the guitar stand so I could play it like a piano. It was just cool. It was something that him and I put together and we remained friends since those days. It was a special lineup and a special band that just got hit by all the corruption going on at the time. That band could have gotten a lot further than it did but everything works out for a reason.
RSC: One question I had was the first Giuffria album did fairly decent on the charts on the strength of “Call To The Heart”, what caused you to leave at that point.
CG: Well there was a mixture of the corruption that was going on behind closed doors and no one could get a straight answer from the record company on just how many albums were being sold. We found out there was a lot of payola going on at the time. It was just a mess. At the time me and Ronnie had stayed friends since the days I worked with him in the studio with Rough Cutt. So when he was doing the Stars/Hear ‘N’ Aid project, Giuffria was on tour and he flew me in for that. Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge had just left Ozzy and were forming a band together and they were there. The three of us decided to put a band together and that was going to be closer to the vein that I like. I loved the Randy Rhoads Ozzy stuff. I loved Deep Purple and Rainbow so we were gonna have that kind of flavor to the band. We were together for about a year and a half and that’s when I got the call to join Dio.
RSC: Dream Evil was the first album you recorded with Dio. How did the writing process go since you were heavily involved?
CG: It was a dream come true for one thing. I came from an abusive family both physically and verbally, so I lived on the streets. So I came from living on the streets homeless, to headlining Madison Square Garden. Headlining 20,000 seat arenas with my favorite singer doing songs we wrote together. So it was an absolute dream come true. Because I was a fan and still am a fan. Ronnie was and still is my favorite singer. That album was special because that was my first full length album. Every time him and I did an album that day forward him and I did a major portion of the writing because of the working relationship we developed when I was in Rough Cutt. It was at that time that he looked at me and said if Vivian didn’t work out that I would be his first choice. That’s why there were no auditions when Vivian was out, I was in and that was it. Because Ronnie knew it would work, he knew me and we remained friends and we had already developed a really great working relationship, writing and recording together with the Rough Cutt demos.
When I joined Dio, normally the protocol was Jimmy and Ronnie get together and write the major portion of the record, then they’d bring Viv in and then they would bring the rest of the guys in. That’s what they were going to do with Dream Evil. At the time I guess Jimmy was a little disenchanted. So while I was waiting for my turn I started writing ideas. I had accumulated 135 song ideas. Ronnie called me one day and said kid you’re up. So I went over to his house and we played each other our ideas. I was a true fan of Ronnie’s music, Ritchie Blackmore’s my favorite guitar player. He’s the whole reason why I started playing guitar in the first place. Deep Purple and Rainbow was all I ever listened to. Going back for a second when I did the audition for Rough Cutt, I was still living on the streets. Ronnie and Wendy had to rent gear for my audition. They were being good to me before I ever met them. There was a conversation he and I had prior to my audition, that little did I know I had broken his code and that meant something to him. It sparked a relationship that last for decades. I did not know how deep that went. Ronnie didn’t like to sit in with other bands but he was inspired by the audition and sat in and we performed “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Heaven And Hell”. It started from the very beginning. When we were writing for Dream Evil it was everything combined. My love for his music, my love for Ritchie Blackmore’s contributions to Rainbow and Deep Purple, my love for what he did for Rainbow and Black Sabbath. It was our working relationship that had developed in the studio and we were also friends. We would write and record the entire album at his house first and then go into the studio and record the record.
RSC: It seems every Dio album had an epic song on it. Tell us about how “All The Fools Sailed Away” came about?
CG: It starts off with a clean guitar intro, then when the full band comes in that’s what we called the theme. When I first heard the theme music which Ronnie wrote, I just said wow. We looked at each other and said this is gonna be big so we knew that was going to be the epic. That was the first time him and I put together an epic. Prior to that he had “Egypt”, in Rainbow he had “Stargazer” and “Gates Of Babylon”. My favorite Sabbath song is “Lonely Is The Word”, that is the perfect merger of strength of Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi that there ever was. Because of my love for Deep Purple I was the reason why there is a keyboard solo in “All The Fools Sailed Away”. Dio never had any type of keyboard solo, nor any type of Blackmore influence. So Claude came up with a really cool solo and it worked. Ronnie knew how to create. That song will always be a very special song to me.
RSC: Do you have any other favorite tracks from Dream Evil?
CG: “Dream Evil” itself, “Sunset Superman” and “When A Woman Cries”. The intro up to the first verse of “When A Woman Cries” is really cool. That came from a riff I had way back. If you watch the full video of “We’re Stars” just as they show the guitars, there’s a riff being played and that is actually the riff.
RSC: Dream Evil is a very underrated album. It didn’t receive the kind of airplay Dio’s previous albums did but listening to it now, it sounds so amazing.
CG: I think rock fans are a lot like sports fans. They can be brutal. I know that I’m not every Dio fans favorite guitarist. Me and Ronnie had a very special relationship, we were friends and we loved working together. I think we wrote really well together. There’s Magica and there are a lot of great songs on Master Of The Moon but Dream Evil I think came at a time when people didn’t know who I was. I was this big haired kid from Giuffria. It didn’t make sense to them. At the time the studio production was different too. I don’t think it was what people were expecting. It was a little more dry and raw. I think now that time has passed I think people have gotten over the shock that Viv is out and Craig is in. They’ve actually had the chance to really absorb the songs as songs. I think people are starting to go you know what that’s not such a bad album after all (laughs).
RSC: You also recorded “Time To Burn” from Intermission.
CG: That’s right. Not lot of people know this but I played that whole album except for the solos on the live songs. That was a really great concert and strangely enough it was in San Diego where I grew up. Vivian was out of tune so Ronnie asked me to overdub his guitar rhythms. They kept his solos because they were able to run that through a harmonizer that way it can match the pitch to the song. That was interesting because back then we didn’t have the technology we have now. There were certain songs Viv would start on his own and there was no count off. So I had to listen for a whistle or a sound in the audience and then try and make up a count that would match when he would start the song. Because it was a live album they were also using the room mikes. So if I wasn’t playing exactly along with how he played and how he started it, it wouldn’t match the room sound. It was a trip but it was a lot of fun. Originally it was supposed to be an in between, a live concert with Viv and then a bonus track with me as an introduction to the new guitar player.
RSC: Which do you enjoy more being in the recording studio or out on the road playing live?
CG: (laughs) I tell people when they ask me that question its a lot like saying if you had to choose between one or the other which would you prefer to inhale or exhale? They are both just as important. I really do enjoy the creative process, writing and recording. There’s a lot of ups and downs to both so it’s really hard to say. If I had to choose between the both, I don’t think I could because there are so many special moments live. Because I am a fan this music means a lot to me. That’s why most of the time I just stand there and play. Every note, every chord, every solo and every note in that solo means something to me because that music was a big part of my life. When we play and everything clicks and the band connects with the audience there’s nothing on this earth that can replace that kind of experience. There’s nothing like being able to record and have your songs come to life and listen to them with the kind of production value we have like on the Resurrection Kings album. So it’s really hard to choose between the two because they’re both just as important as one another.
Special thanks to Jon Freeman for setting us up with the interview and to Craig Goldy for being so generous with his time.
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