Craig Goldy is an American musician best known as the guitarist of the band Dio. Before joining Dio, he played in groups such as Vengeance, Rough Cutt, and Giuffria. Goldy became a member of Dio in 1985. He played on the latter part of the “Sacred Heart” tour and also on the “Intermission” EP (1986). In 1987 Goldy played on the album “Dream Evil” (1987), but he left the band in the middle of the following tour for unknown reasons in 1988. Later on, he formed Craig Goldy’s Ritual and put out two solo albums through Shrapnel Records. In the ’90s, among other things, he collaborated with David Lee Roth and worked many years with Christian evangelist and ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Jeff Fenholt. In 2000, Goldy returned to Dio and helped write and record “Magica,” but soon after, he left the band again due to family commitments. However, Goldy was back in the Dio in 2004 and played on “Master of the Moon,” which turned out to be the band’s final studio album. The band dissolved after Ronnie James Dio sadly lost his battle with stomach cancer and died in May of 2010. In 2011 Goldy and several former members of the band and friends close to Ronnie decided to create Dio Disciples. The band performs a setlist based on classic Dio songs and songs from his time on Black Sabbath and Rainbow. The band is still touring. In 2015, Goldy formed a new band called Resurrection Kings and released its debut album in 2016. Now the band is back with their second-year album “Skygazer.” Now it was the perfect time to grab the phone, call the man, and ask for the latest news. Goldy was in a very good mood, and that’s why the interview became massive. It took over two hours, but here it is now, split in two episodes: Craig Goldy’s entire career in a nutshell.
RESURRECTION KINGS AND THE FRONTIERS
Let’s first talk a bit about the history of the Resurrection Kings. I remember when the first album came out, and I was convinced how it sounded, and the lineup (Vinny Appice on drums, Chas West on vocals, and Sean McNabb) was impressive. However, the band never did much touring, at least not here in Europe.
Craig Goldy: Well, here in California, we did shows with Resurrection Kings. There are some that you can find actually on YouTube, but it’s just that we didn’t get a chance to tour. Much of it is due to this new streaming thing where many musicians’ income has been completely stolen, so people have to do ten different things simultaneously. So, trying to get everybody scheduled to line up is difficult. Even back in the days of the first Resurrection Kings record, budgets were cut so poorly because of the streaming. We were supposed to go on tour with Whitesnake. And we were set to be on that tour, and the budget was just so incredibly low that we couldn’t do it. It was something like $500 for the whole band per week.
Wow. Does that sound like the same amount of payment offered to the bands in the 70s or early 80s? [Laughs.]
Craig Goldy: Yeah, yeah, before you started. Yeah, so it was just like, “Wow.” So, there’s a lot of that because of the streaming thing, and it’s forcing musicians to do like ten different projects at once just to make a living. So it is nearly impossible to find five people who have to do that and then align their schedules so that they can commit to a couple of weeks or a month of touring.
When that first album, “Resurrection Kings”, was released, it got good feedback, but it also passed very quickly. At least that’s what it looked like.
Craig Goldy: Yeah, it sure did, didn’t it? [Laughs.] I thought there were some good songs on there, and I thought it was going to do much better than it did. And unfortunately, I guess it didn’t. [Laughs.]
Yeah, but nowadays, every musician knows that most of the money comes from touring and merchandise these days. Back in the day, it was almost the opposite.
Craig Goldy: Well, that’s the problem, again, once again with streaming is that– and I understand because what happened was it started a while back ago, back when Desert Storm hit for here in America, especially, we had a recession as a result of that war. And then, at the same time, Michael Jackson and Madonna both demanded a billion-dollar advance from their record companies, which they got. But they didn’t recoup. So now the record companies are in a deficit. So, there was a recession in the music industry inside of a recession in the nation. So, record companies started tightening their belts. And bands like Whitesnake, I’m just using them as an example because they were like– in “1987”, that album was just the perfect album, and it had everything. There wasn’t one song on there that somebody couldn’t connect with. So, no wonder it sold millions and millions of records. And David Coverdale worked himself up the ladder by being in Deep Purple first. And now this was his band. And he was able to get the lion’s share. So, he worked himself up to– it was just amazing what he had done because of what a great songwriter and singer he was and still is, but he was able to enjoy the time when people actually bought CDs and t-shirts and concerts and all that kind of thing. So now, with the recession within a recession, guys like that had to have a smaller advance. People like that we’re used to having record companies; the advances for a record for $500,000 was their budget, at least. And so now, they have to– now all of a sudden because of Michael Jackson and Madonna were not recouping a billion dollars. So that’s $2 billion that didn’t cope. So now, because of these two pop artists, everybody had to work just as hard as before but for less money. So, they started to resent that. So, they didn’t work as hard. And it started to not necessarily Whitesnake, but just some of the bands, it started to show. So, people started getting tired of buying CDs for $15 US dollars and getting only three good songs. And that kind of started the whole streaming thing. I understand it because I myself, my favorite bands are Deep Purple and Rainbow. And so, I bought the vinyl. I bought the eight-track. I bought the cassette. I bought the CD. I did the download. So sometimes, when I go off and do some concerts with Jovan Turner, I might turn to YouTube really quick for a refresher course so that I can remind myself of the songs that I’ve already learned that I bought four times already. So, I don’t mind going on there and listening to a song for free because I bought it four times.
But the record companies needed to start making money. That’s why all of a sudden, instead of nine songs per CD, it was 12 and 13 songs per CD. And then, all of a sudden, when the Seattle sound hit, that took everybody out. And so then that made things even worse. So, when a movie comes out, even nowadays, there are still movies that come out to the theatre, and then it goes to on-demand and then it goes to HBO, then it goes to Netflix and streaming. But nowadays, the music goes straight to streaming. And now that I’ve worked myself up to a point where I contractually have the lion’s share, I get nothing. And it’s heart-breaking.
Between the lines, would you just say that Lars Ulrich was right about his Napster comments back in the day?
Craig Goldy: In many ways. I didn’t watch everything that he said. But I do remember that they tried very hard to fight the new business model that was coming. And yes. I definitely believe what they were trying to do was the right thing. They might not have gone about it the right way, might have come across as hateful.
However, Resurrection Kings released the second album, “Skygazer,” last July. When did you start working on the album, and when was the recording finished?
Craig Goldy: Almost two years ago. It was just, once again, this whole streaming thing kind of got in the way, and so many times, the people we were working with had to stop and work on something else. And so, a lot of times, sometimes Frontiers would have to have Alessandra work on other projects. Sometimes I would have to do something else, Chas and Vinny. So, it was kind of hard to get all of our schedules together at first. Contractually, we had a set time and date which everybody kind of opened their– I couldn’t believe it. For the first time, everybody had the same schedule as one another, but then other things happened. And so, then there was a delay caused by Frontiers. I’m not trying to throw them under the bus. It’s just what happened. So then one thing led to another, and it took a long time to put it together because everybody, once again, was scrambling because they were doing eight million different things because of the streaming thing. I’m sorry to harp on the streaming thing. It’s just that the problem is that money is a tool. Ronnie used to do things where he’d build a shelter because a lot of people would come to Los Angeles in search of a dream and end up getting drunk, being addicted to drugs, and prostitution. And so, there was a doctor that was going out on the streets, rescuing these poor kids but didn’t really have any more room for them. So, Ronnie built them a shelter. And later on, a few years back, when Ronnie was still with us, they made a reunion of all the people that that particular shelter helped. Some of them were high-ranking military officials, and they went on to do some productive things, but they were, at one point, on the streets, addicted to drugs and stuck into prostitution. And that was where money became a tool. Ronnie would sometimes pay the rent of his fans when they were having trouble paying rent. And so, when I saw things like that, I wanted to do something similar too, so that’s really why the money thing I hope eventually will– hopefully this thing with– the touring, you’re right. That’s the only way we make money, but unfortunately, the bands went overboard and started charging too much money for tickets and forcing people to buy something on the merchandise table before they’d even get a signature or an autograph or a picture. And so, hopefully, we’ll go back to a proper balance again. I’m hoping that eventually, people will get tired of this and go back because back in the ’80s, there was a great balance between fan and band. And right now, it’s so imbalanced. And hopefully, we’ll get back to that, so.
A couple of years ago, you released an album called “Until Death Do We Meet Again,” and the band was called Dream Child.
Craig Goldy: Yes.
There’s an impressive lineup on that album. Rudy Sarzo on bass, Simon Wright on drums, Wayne Findley on guitars/keyboards, and the impressive Diego Valdez on vocals. The album was a killer, and if you ask me, it sounded like the lost Dio album.
Craig Goldy: Thank you for saying that. Yeah, that was really the reason behind it. It was more like a tribute, especially if people listening to this go back and there’s a thing called ”Meet the Band”. And so, Rudy has an interview, and he puts it really well about how this is more of “a thank you” to those people who made that kind of music. And it is a kind of a tribute to that. It’s not like we’re trying to replace anybody. And I think you even read the press release on how it even started. Is it Serafino and I were talking about something else from Frontiers.
And when I go on YouTube to do a refresher course, sometimes I’ll notice the Deep Purple and Rainbow stuff. There are comments where people say, “They don’t make music like that anymore.” And that was the whole idea. I told that to Serafino, and he goes, “Well, can you?” I said, “Yeah.” And stop me if you’ve heard this story before, but then he goes, “Well, can you get me Rudy Sarzo?” That’s how it all started. I was like, “Yeah.” And luckily, he was available and interested. “Can you get me, Simon Wright?” So, he asked for those people specifically. And I’m like, “Yeah.” And luckily, Simon was available and interested. Then he goes, “Who would you like to write with?” So, I said, “Well, Wayne Findley. He and I write very well together; he’s the second guitarist and keyboardist for Michael Schenker. In fact, he and I both live here in San Diego in California.” So, we were trying to do a similar thing, but it didn’t get off the ground. And then me and Doogie White had written some stuff together. Me and Jeff Pilson had written stuff together. Me and Chas West have written stuff together. Me and Alessandro Del Vecchio had written some stuff together, so we knew that the writing was covered.
So, then he goes, “Who would you have to sing?” [Laughs.] And 11 years ago, almost right after Ronnie had passed, a friend of mine, Diego Valdes, sent me a song that was a remake of the song “Push” that Ronnie and I wrote. And it was so close. It was chilling. It sounded like Ronnie had done a cover of his own song. That’s how close it was. I was like, “Oh my God.” But it was way too soon. So, I got ahold of his friend and said, “Who is this guy? And how do I get in touch with him?” So, he hooked me up with Diego, and Diego and I became friends, and we waited for almost 11 years. And then I said, “I think it’s time.” So, when Serafino goes, “Who would you have to sing on this album?” I said, “Hang on a second. I’m going to send you an Mp3.” So, I sent him that. [Laughs.] And I woke up the next morning and with a contract for an album in my inbox the very next morning. [Laughs.]
I’m not surprised. It’s a great album. And it’s also the Dio album Rudy never played on.
Craig Goldy: Wow, that’s a good way to put it. That’s cool. I never thought of it that way. Thank you.
Yeah, because I’ve read many of his interviews where he says he’s disappointed and sorry that he never had a chance to play on a Dio album. Of course, this is not the same, but it was the closest thing possible.
Craig Goldy: I understand what you mean. Yeah. But I just got to say I’m sure he told you many stories about him and Ronnie but being able to watch those two because I was in a band with Rudy before I joined Dio. So, I know what it’s like to be in a band with Rudy, and obviously, I know what it’s like to be in a band with Ronnie. So, when Ronnie was considering Rudy, it was like, “Oh, this is going to be too good.” And they became so close. They were just almost inseparable because they were so alike. It was just Ronnie just loved Rudy, and it was just great having him in the band.
When you say that you were in the band with Rudy, are you pointing to Project: Driver band?
Craig Goldy: Oh, it was just before that. Yeah, because that’s when Rudy and Tommy joined up with Tony MacAlpine. For some reason, I am getting a blind spot.
THE OLD DAYS IN SAN DIEGO
You’re originally from San Diego, and recently, I’ve been following the new documentary about Stephen Pearcy. In that document, there’s a lot of talk and discussion about San Diego’s music scene in the ’70s and ’80s. Have you seen that?
Craig Goldy: Oh, Stephen Pearcy, yeah, yeah. I didn’t get a chance to see that, but I saw that it was out. I’ve been meaning to watch that.
I live in Finland, and from our point of view, everything important in the music world always happens in Los Angeles and New York; okay, nowadays in Nashville and Las Vegas as well. But it was really interesting to watch that documentary and learn what an active music scene you had in San Diego, and how many future rock stars were coming from there.
Craig Goldy: Yes, that’s true. That’s true. I think it comes in seasons, too, because, as you said, Nashville, New York, Chicago, Detroit, there’s a lot of epicenters for music. And I think it just kind of goes in seasons of what is popular and what isn’t. Seattle that only happened because, quite honestly, there was a record company executive that I knew. And it was just before the Seattle sound hit. We were sitting at the Rainbow. We were sitting there, and he said, “I’m going to go on vacation, and I want to talk to you about a project coming up when I get back.” So, I’m thinking about maybe he’s going to go to Fiji or Hawaii. I go, “Where are you going?” He goes, “Seattle.” I thought, “What?” Back in those days, girls were willing to perform sexual acts on each other while he sat and watched. That’s why he was going to Seattle. And he had what was called signing power, meaning that he had signed a bunch of bands that went multi-platinum. So, if he signed a band and they flopped, he’d still have a good job waiting for him. And he didn’t have to go to his superior to get permission to do so. So, when he went to Seattle, the girls were saying, “Oh, can we stop at the bar? My girlfriend’s friend’s band is playing there,” because he wanted one more girl to accompany them. And he’s like, “Sure.”
So, he’s in the club, and he’s listening to this band that sounds like doing everything against the rules, but something about it he loved. And they were wearing flannel shirts and stuff, not as a fashion statement because it was freezing out there. [laughter] And they were breaking the rules. They looked like they didn’t care. They sounded like they didn’t care. And a lot of it was because they just plain didn’t care because Seattle wasn’t a hub like Chicago, Detroit, New York, Las Vegas, LA. And so, when he signed that band, he only signed them for like $30,000. But they sold like 30 million records, and that changed everything. And it’s interesting how that kind of stuff happens behind the scenes. But, yeah, it’s a crazy industry, yeah. Hopefully, it’ll restore balance. But I think at the time, Jake, Jake E. Lee from San Diego, was in a cover band, and he scared me. He was so good. He was doing everything that Eddie Van Halen could– anything that Eddie Van Halen could do, Jay could do. And he had a look and everything. And I think it was Jake that started the whole San Diego thing because when he moved up to LA, they snatched him up right away. And then the band Ratt was called Mickey Ratt. There were guys in there from Rough Cut who eventually became in Rough Cut and Ratt. So, when the guys from Mickey Ratt went up to LA to try to form their own band, that’s when they decided just to call it Ratt. So, there was a ton of people from San Diego. It was just like a season. There’s a lot of famous actors and actresses from San Diego. It’s just like a season. And suddenly, the one good thing about the music industry or the entertainment industry is that everybody has a chance. But in a way, it’s kind of watered things down because as long as you’re willing to do some really crazy stuff on YouTube to get a bunch of views and likes, then you can become a millionaire. But you got to be willing to slit your grandmother’s throat while you strangle a cat and crush a child’s head under your feet.
I find it interesting how many San Diego musicians played in the same bands one after another. You replaced Jake in Rough Cutt at some point, Jake was briefly in Ratt, and Warren replaced him, the Rough Cutt guys played with everybody, and the list goes on. It must have been a really interesting time, and the competition was tough?
Craig Goldy: [Laughs.] Yeah. When Jake left San Diego, he was in a band called Vengeance before he went into a band called Teaser. The band Teaser was the Van Halen-like tribute band. That’s what got him up in LA. But prior to that, there was a band called Vengeance he was in. And when he left to form Teaser. I took his place in Vengeance. That was the demo. That was the demo that got into the hands of Ronnie James Dio that got me the audition for Rough Cut when Jake left to join Ozzy.
Oh, it’s a small world.
Craig Goldy: Yes, exactly.
By the way, when it comes to Ratt, did you ever see the band Mickey Ratt live in San Diego?
Craig Goldy: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. It was interesting because they definitely had their own sound even though they were doing covers. And it was the same thing with Jake. I mean, they did covers of Van Halen or a bunch of other stuff, but there always came a time when Jake would improvise. They’d have a spot where he would just go off. And that’s when he shined the most was when he was just himself. It was the same thing with Mickey Ratt. All those guys were so– like Warren DeMartini, I mean, just all the guys in that band were quite talented. I don’t really call Stephen Pearcy a singer. He’s more of an entertainer. But what he does is great. I mean, he couldn’t touch a guy like Ronnie James Dio or David Coverdale or Glen Hughes. He’s more in the Ozzy Osborne, Vince Neil kind of category.
I got your point.
Craig Goldy: And that’s okay. I don’t have any problem with that. I mean, I like the way they sounded. There’s something about them. I understand why they did as well as they did. They were all really– they just had their own sound.
Since you played a lot in different bands in San Diego, did you ever play in the same band with Stephen Pearcy at any time?
Craig Goldy: No, no. I think we were talking about it at one point, but we never did hook up to do that. At one point, there was a time when he and I were talking backstage about– it would be really cool to do something together someday, but we never got a chance to do it.
THE DIO YEARS
As you mentioned earlier, in the early ’80s you moved to LA. You had earlier played with Vengeance, which Wendy Dio once managed. Now you were a member of Rough Cutt, whose demo Ronnie James Dio was producing. And soon later, you joined the band Giuffria, but however. When you moved to LA, you lived years at Ronnie’s house. I find it interesting that so many people have lived there at some point, including Rough Cutt vocalist Paul Shortino and your Dio Disciples band colleague Oni Logan. It must have been a special place to stay at that point in your career.
Craig Goldy: Well, yeah, it was just because of Ronnie’s heart. He wanted to make sure that everybody had a place to go, food in their belly, a roof over their head, a bed to sleep in, a shower to get clean in, and a way to make– an opportunity for them to be heard by the world. And he was just really good that way. There were a lot of magazines that were just starting out that he helped many of those because he was the biggest name that came across that magazine, to begin with. Sometimes, I remember in the early days, and I was watching him get together with these people early in the morning. And they were just a magazine printed out on a copy machine like a Xerox copy machine, and then they would just kind of hand them out to their friends. And I’m thinking, “Why are you doing this?” I’m thinking to myself, “You’re such a big name.” I almost thought he was wasting his time.
And I didn’t realize that, at that point, there were magazines like Kerrang! and stuff like that really– when you go all the way back to the beginning, there are certain deejays on radio stations like Eddie Trunk. A bunch of different magazines started off with very little circulation. And because Ronnie agreed to do interviews with them, that opened up the door for other people to go, “Oh, you did an interview with Ronnie. Okay, I’ll do an interview with you.” And then, little by little, they became a world-circulated magazine. Eddie Trunk became a huge name. And it’s just interesting how many careers he started with people in the crew, lighting directors, mix, front-of-house monitors. All these guys ended up getting really good jobs with other bands, and they ended up making more money than they did with him. But it was an open-door policy, and it was run like a family, and it just was amazing.
When you lived in Ronnie’s place, did you ever meet any surprising familiar faces there?
Craig Goldy: There was only one time when me and Matt, the bass player from Rough Cutt, were staying there at the same time. Usually, Ronnie kind of– because it’s his home, he is kind of private. So, he is kind of selective, although it doesn’t seem like it. [Laughs.] But that’s another reason why Oni was in Dio Disciples because that band was supposed to be. The only way to be in that band was that you had to have a close relationship with either Ronnie or Wendy, or both, or either, or be a member of Dio. Those were the two things– and in many ways, it limited us. But at the same time, that’s what made us great because even Tim “Ripper” Owens– Ronnie loved him. He wanted to be– he wanted to make Tim his protege, and took him under his wing, and wanted Wendy to manage him. So, Wendy managed him for a while. When we were doing ”Magica”, I remember there were times when Ronnie would stop recording. So that way, Tim could come in. And those two could just sit and visit for a couple of hours because Tim was in town. And then we’d go back to recording. That’s how much he cared about Tim. And so, when Ripper comes and joins Dio Disciples, it’s because of that connection.
Oh, that I didn’t know.
Craig Goldy: Yeah. But the only thing is, Tim is such a different entertainer. He’s got such a great sense of humor. And the way he relates with the audience is totally different than how Ronnie connected with the audience. So, because he uses humor– and sometimes, he kind of is almost like– do you know of a famous American comedian called Don Rickles?
Craig Goldy: Yeah, so Tim can be a little bit like that. Well, he’ll talk to the audience almost like, “Hey, what are you doing, you idiot?” but he doesn’t really mean it. But to some Dio fans, it can seem like he’s– when he talks about Ronnie and while we’re doing this, it almost comes across as him being insincere. And that’s the problem because it’s not insincere. Tim has a way of– he’s more light-hearted and kinder of more of a– using humor and light-heartedness to entertain rather than deep dark subjects. And so, I think that confused people. Tim is a good guy. He is.
TIME TO BURN AND DREAM EVIL
Everyone knows the story of how Dio split with Vivian Campbell in 1985, and you then replaced him in the band. At the time, you still played with Giuffria, and you also had that Project Driver band in the process. Was it a difficult decision then to leave those other things behind and join Dio?
Craig Goldy: Well, there were a few things, because you mentioned Giuffria, and then you mentioned that the band was called Driver. That’s why they called it Project: Driver, but the band I had with Rudy and Tommy was called Driver. It was back in the days of Rough Cutt that Ronnie– when we were doing late-night recording sessions, there were a few things that I had done that I guess impressed him. If you can imagine, picture me being 19, sitting on the floor with my guitar right next to Ronnie’s chair, and Ronnie leaning down and saying, “Can you try this?” and he’d sing me a melody and ask,, “You mean like this?” And it was kind of– I hate to use the word cute, but now that I think about it, if I had been in that room, I would have thought, wow, that’s really cool, because I was such a huge Ronnie fan. He was, and still is, my favorite singer. So, one night, he turns to me and goes, “Goldy, if Vivian ever doesn’t work out, you’d be my first choice.” And that was it. That’s why there were no auditions or anything. It was because he and I had worked in the studio so much during those Rough Cutt demos, and we wrote together for those Rough Cutt demos, and we enjoyed working together so much. There were so many times during that era where it was just me and Ronnie sitting on his couch, hanging out, watching old Rainbow videos, and he would show me stuff and ask,” What did you think just happened there? And I’d go, “Well, it looked like this.” Well, no. And then he’d explain to me what really happened, then he’d rewind it, and I’d be like, “Oh.” So, he was constantly showing me behind-the-scenes stuff, and they’d bring me into record company negotiations, and I wasn’t even in the band yet. And it was crazy. So then, when I had to leave Rough Cutt, just before they got a record deal on Warner Brothers, that was a big deal because it was a big risk because they had just gotten a record deal on Warner Brothers. Giuffria had no record deal and no monetary support. Plus, at the time, Greg had a bad reputation. But when I went to see David Glen Eisley and Greg together, and I just saw it. This is going to be big. So, I had to leave Rough Cutt. And everybody thought I was crazy, except for Ronnie. So, Ronnie told me– he goes, “Look, kid. Don’t get your feelings hurt if I have to pretend as I hate you when I’m around the Rough Cutt people.” [Laughs.] He goes, “But I know what you’re doing and good luck, and I hope it turns out.” So, a year later, Rough Cutt gets dropped off the label, and Giuffria had a hit song, and I was touring with Deep Purple, “Perfect Strangers”, my favorite band, and I got a chance to meet Ritchie Blackmore.
So, in a way, everybody won then?
Craig Goldy: Yeah. Well, sort of. Rough Cutt got dropped off the label.
You had recorded with Ronnie before, not only for Roug Cutt demos, but you also played on his Stars project in early 1985. But once you officially joined Dio, the first thing you did with the band was to write and record the song “Time to Burn,” which was then released on the “Intermission” EP in the summer of 1986.
Craig Goldy: Yes.
How was that writing/recording experience, and how was it to work with Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice in the studio?
Craig Goldy: Well, because Rough Cutt did a lot of opening up for Dio, I got a chance to know the guys. Jimmy and I were friends, and Vinnie was– I looked up to him as a big brother because he had a great sense of humor, but he was really sharp. And Ronnie loved Vinnie. I mean, at the time, that was– Vinnie was Ronnie’s best friend, basically, except for the tour assistant, Willie, that was Ronnie’s best friend. But anyways. So, I got a chance to have kind of a friendship with those guys because Rough Cutt, unfortunately, was very– everybody in that band had their own agenda. And so that was the trouble with Rough Cutt. Everybody wanted to work their own ways, and there wasn’t one; there was no one vision. So, a lot of them in Rough Cutt walked around with a sense of entitlement. And so that didn’t go over very well with the rest of the guys in Dio because I was the only one who was just happy to be there because I’m a fan. I’m just a fan who got in the band. So, I was treating them with the utmost respect, and I think that went a long way when I ended up being in the band.
They didn’t want Vivian to go, so I knew that. It was tough for them because they were all friends. And so that was hard, that was a difficult deal for them. But at the same time, we had already known each other, and we only had six rehearsals before we left to go on tour and to go on live television. So, Ronnie wanted to do an EP with one studio track, but the live concert that they did was actually from San Diego, but Vivian’s guitar was out of tune. So I was actually in the studio, overdubbing all of Vivian’s rhythms for that “Intermission” album. And so, because back then, the only thing they could do to make him sound in tune was during his solos because they were mainly one-note. So, they ran that through a harmonizer, so they were able to adjust the pitch. But they kept all of his solos, but they used me to do the rhythms. Not very many people know that.
And so, while we were doing that, we wrote ”Time to Burn” in the studio. So then, when we were done with that, we went in and recorded that song in another studio. And if you listen to that guitar tone, especially in the very beginning, the first two chords, and then there’s a chunk afterward, that right there is so percussive and aggressive. Still, it wasn’t the amps that we ended up using for “Dream Evil”, and that was a bummer because I was looking forward to using those amps that I was using for the “Time to Burn” recording for the “Dream Evil” recording. And there were a few mishaps that happened during that album. And at the time, people didn’t like it. They didn’t like the guitar sound; they didn’t like the drum sound. Now people are starting to like it because it’s becoming more of a classic because it’s more of a look back. And so, as they look back, I’m getting all these comments, people saying, “Man, every time I listen to it, I hear something new.” And so, it’s great that people– some people even say it’s their favorite album, but at the time, it was kind of a let-down for everybody.
I do remember when the “Dream Evil” came out, and that I then thought that the album sound was very different from the early Dio stuff. The album sounded more, should I say, dry compared to the first three albums.
Craig Goldy: The biggest thing was that, for some reason, the engineer forgot to put a microphone on the hi-hat. So, he was using the bleed of the hi-hat into the snare microphone, but he put a gate on the microphone for the snare. A gate means– I’m sure you know what it is, but for anybody out there who might be listening, who doesn’t know what it is, it’s a piece of equipment that shuts the microphone off until it reaches a certain decibel level and then it turns on. So, if they were using the bleed of the hi-hat to be heard, a lot of times, if they’re making eighth notes, they only heard the quarter notes of the hi-hat because that’s when the microphone would open up for the hit of the snare. So, in a lot of the songs, you didn’t hear the eighth note pattern of the hi-hat; you only heard the quarter notes, which made it sound very different. And there was a lot less reverb and stuff on the drums, too. And I was forced to use only a stock JCM 800 Marshall head that, no, it couldn’t be a modified head. It couldn’t be anything. Luckily, I was able to use a foot pedal that actually had a tube in it that kind of recreated having an extra preamp tube, but it still didn’t sound as good as time to burn. But now that people look back on it, it’s nice because it’s become more of a classic, and people are able to kind of be a little more forgiving, and they overlook some of the problematic portions of it and start to see it for what it really was. It was almost kind of like me being able to bring a Rainbow type of influence to the band, Dio. So, it was the first time that Dio had more of a Rainbow sound to it.
You filmed two music videos to promote the album. Do you have special memories of those video shooting sessions?
Craig Goldy: One very special memory was that during “All The Fools Sailed Away“; it was some of the best and worst experiences because, at the time, Ronnie and I would do a lot of planning together. It was a lot of fun. So, we went to the director of the video for ”All the Fools Sailed Away” together, and we talked about it. And so, actually, the person who comes up and whispers into the ear who’s all dressed in black. It was my idea for the video. I said, maybe we should have a deceiver all dressed in black that goes to all sorts of different people of all different types of people. That’s why they have a football player and a businessman and all that kind of stuff because there’s a little deceiver that comes in and whispers into the ear wonderful things that they all just– “Come with me, I’ll make your dreams come true, and all the fools sailed away.” And so, while we were doing that video, it was really cool. We were on the beach, and they had these gas pipes hidden in the rocks so the fire could come out of the water. So, it was a cool effect. And a couple of times, there’s one little spot in there, I think even where it says, “We give you pain lyrically,” as you can see me kind of playing with the fire with my guitar, but I got burnt really bad because the fire, during the chorus, they turned the fire up so big because they wanted to make it visually bigger for each chorus, I actually got singed the first time it went up, so my nerves couldn’t tell me that I was burnt. So, the second and third time, it just kept getting worse and worse. So, I got third-degree burns on my leg that were burnt all the way to the muscle that took a whole year to close.
Meanwhile, I went on tour with a hole in my leg, and I had to have a couple of pain pills that would help. And during the guitar solo, when I was shooting a laser at the spider, the laser cable would run down the back of the neck. And it was thin but just thick enough to make the distance between my thumb and my fingers a much longer reach. So, I was limited on how I could play the guitar because of that cable running up the back of my guitar. It was very, very interesting to tour and an interesting time.
SACRED HEART TOUR TALK
Your first public live performance with Dio was in April of 1986, and it was a live television show called the Tube in the UK.
Craig Goldy: It was. I thought the first show was live television. Did you hear the story of what happened before we went to The Tube?
Craig Goldy: Well, we got the equipment that I was using to get the sound for ”Time to Burn” and the rhythms for ”Intermission.” But my gear didn’t clear customs, and that means the guitar, amps, everything. So, we were sitting in the studio, and there were two guitars; neither of them worked right. So, the guitar tech had to build one guitar out of two, and we had to rent gear. So, six minutes before we went on live television, everything got put together. I had six minutes to get everything together before we went on live television.
But you were lucky because no one was watching the show! [Laughs.] (There was a HUGE crowd watching the show.)
Craig Goldy: I didn’t know that. It was literally that nobody was watching. [Laughs.] I’ll never forget that. That’s a good one. Thank you, Marko. I’m going to remember that; that’s a good one. But luckily for me, no one was watching. [Laughs.]
However, your first actual real live gig with Dio happened here in Helsinki.
Craig Goldy: Wow. Okay, I didn’t know that.
Yeah, it was.
Craig Goldy: Well, I’ll take your word for it. I’d have to go back. I got a box full of old itineraries. I’ll have to go back and look at it. Not that I don’t believe you. I believe you, because why would you say if it wasn’t true.
The stage show was huge on the “Sacred Heart” tour. There was that massive dragon on stage, and on there were lasers, tons of pyro, and a lot of other stuff. I still remember that the tour was advertised as “The biggest rock show on Earth” in Finland, and it indeed was it at the time. It must have been amazing to be on stage on that tour.
Craig Goldy: That was amazing. Yeah. Because for the first time now, I’m in a headlining band. And so, the stage seems so big. It seemed like it was just like a city inside of a city. And so, there was so much room. And at the time, I’m glad I was able to– Ronnie had such a great crew. There was one guy that they nicknamed Ferret. He helped me with the wireless unit because, at the time, I didn’t like the way the wireless would change the guitar sound. So, he went inside and put some sort of a capacitor in it or something that allowed my guitar to sound the same but still use the wireless. And that changed everything because Ronnie wanted me to be able to use the area that I was given. And if I was using an actual cable, it would have severely limited what I was able to do. And at the same time, I haven’t been able to– ever since then, I haven’t been able to find a wireless unit that didn’t change the guitar sound enough. And so, Ronnie and I would make sure that we wouldn’t cross our cables because one time, we got tangled up on stage, and that was no fun. But yeah. It was an actual– the fire really worked. I mean, there were a couple of nights– every single night, somebody like a fire marshal or some sort of authority figure would have to come in during soundcheck. So, we would show them how the fire would work on the dragon. And they would either tell us yes or no based on the laws of that city, whether we could use it or not. And that was interesting because sometimes, it would come out like lava, and the stage was made out of the carpet. So, I would have to literally stamp out the fire while I was playing guitar. And other times, the fire worked beautifully. It was just unbelievable, that stage. Not only was it a dream come true to be in the band with Ronnie James Dio, my favorite singer, but also that amazing stage and a headlining stage. It was just zero to 10 in a flash. It was unbelievable.
Keel was the opening band on that European leg of the tour. The Helsinki show was also their first show outside of the US. I personally know Ron Keel, so I need to ask if you have special memories of him or the band from that tour?
Craig Goldy: Well, I remember that it was nice watching Ronnie work the way he worked because he really cared about every opening act. In fact, I started taking on that same way after we lost him because I wanted to make sure that his way never got lost. Because during soundcheck, he was always making sure that the opening act would have time for a soundcheck unless there was some severe problems. And at that point, if the opening act didn’t have time for a soundcheck, he would literally walk over to them in their dressing room and stand there and apologize to them and explain to them what happened. And he was really, really heartfelt about how bad he felt that they didn’t get a soundcheck. And every singer that had talent, Ronnie would kind of take them under his wing during that tour. And I remember Ron Keel and Ronnie spending a lot of time together just sitting and talking. Because Ronnie really liked Mr. Keel. And so, they actually– it was nice watching them connect together and talk and spending time and seeing how Ronnie worked behind the scenes. He never called them an opening act to their face. He would say, “You’re not an opening act. We are just merely sharing the same stage tonight.” And I thought that was really cool. So, whenever the Dio Disciples would go off, I would do the same thing, make sure that the opening band would have a soundcheck. And if they didn’t, I’d go in and apologize to them and tell them, “You are not the opening act. We’re just sharing the same stage.” And to see how much it meant to them coming for me, only because I was next in line– right next to Ronnie, but we had lost him. So I can only imagine what it must have felt for them to have the actual man himself walk in and do something like that for them. I thought that was really cool, that he did that.
DREAM EVIL TOUR AND THE END OF AN ERA
“Dream Evil” was your first full album with the band, and it was released in July of 1987 The band played one-off special “Children of the Night” concert in Irvine in August, but, once again. The actual tour started from Finland. And it was an outdoor festival called Giants of Rock, in Hämeenlinna. Do you have any memories from that show?
Craig Goldy: Some. For me, it was a blur because I was still trying to better myself at a constant rate. And so, to me, every day was the same because we would– after the show where–Angelo was so great. The soundman was the same man who did the mixing and engineering for the albums. Angelo Arcuri. So, he was our sound man, in front of the house. So, he would make recordings of the entire show. Then he would give them to me so I could listen to them on the bus on the way to the next city. And so, when I would hear something that needed to be worked on, I had a little four-track and a drum machine and a guitar and a little guitar processor that I would take to my room.
I’d go straight from the bus to my room. And if I didn’t have any sleep because I was working it out in my mind, I’d try to get some rest and then do some work and then try to better myself and then go straight in from the hotel to the concert. And then the only thing that I remember is that everybody else would leave and go back to the hotel, but Ronnie. Ronnie would stay and hang out with all the fans. And so, I thought that was really cool, so I started hanging out with him. And so, I got a chance to kind of develop a little bit of a relationship with the fans and stuff. And so that’s when I started noticing how European– I think that’s why Ronnie has made– a lot of his friends and his favorite places are in Europe and not America because, thank God for you guys, because you just like what you like. You’re not, at least back then, especially; you weren’t subject to the latest trends. You just liked what you liked. It didn’t matter if it was popular. If it was good, that’s what you liked. And Ronnie really liked that. And you guys are very noble people, and I think Ronnie liked that.
I think that’s why Tapio was so close with Ronnie because Tapio was kind of a representative of Finland for me. Because so when I met Tapio, I mean, I just liked him right away. And he and I became very friendly. And in all the places in Germany and all sorts of places in Europe where Ronnie had special friends who were the President of the fan club in that area, not only would he spend time with them and take them to dinner and stuff, but sometimes he would ride on the bus with us. So those are the kind of memories I have mainly for that is that Tapio, when he got married and had a baby, would come to the hotel with his baby, and Ronnie would always take time out, you know. And I remember that I didn’t get a chance to see much of the countryside. But I did remember how beautiful it was out there and how wonderful the people were there. Finland had always made a mark on me. I always remember how good I felt whenever we were in Finland. I rarely feel good inside because I’m always kind of– I’m not at ease very often, even today, but I remember feeling at ease, and it was because of the people and just the way of life out there. I thought that was very interesting.
Compared to the massive “Sacred Heart” show, this “Dream Evil” stage looked like a stripped-down version of it. Was that just a financial decision?
Craig Goldy: Yeah. I mean, a lot. That was also because there were things that we needed to bring. It was very, very expensive to bring the same stage set that would fit in a 20,000-seat arena to the venues that– we couldn’t bring the same stage props and everything that we could in America to Europe a lot of the time, so we did have to kind of strip it down a little bit. And so that was kind of a bummer because, at the very beginning of the “Dream Evil” tour, we were still designing the set. [Laughs.]
Now comes the long-awaited million-dollar question. In the middle of the tour, you left the band. What happened?
Craig Goldy: Oh, you mean, why did I leave the first time?
Craig Goldy: Well, at some point, I’ll tell you that story. I’ll let you know what it wasn’t. I had no intention of leaving whatsoever. And I did not ever– it was never like, “Okay. Thanks, Ronnie. I’m out of here. I’m going to do a solo album now. I think I’m great.” It wasn’t that. But the story needs to be told a certain way so when it comes out, I’ll be able to– I need to make sure, not that I don’t trust you because this is being recorded, but I mean, I want to be sure that it gets told a certain way. Because I remember the things that I did right, and I remember the things I did wrong. Ronnie remembers the things he did right, and he remembers the things he did wrong. And we remain friends. Even though he said a couple of unflattering things at first, I didn’t want to have another feud. So, I just focused on all of his positive aspects in the press. He came to my wedding, and he came to my cousin’s house for the reception during that– I mean, so that says a lot about Ronnie James Dio that, even though I left, he would not only come to my wedding, but he would come to my cousin’s house. He knew he was going to be hounded by people, but he did it anyway, you know. And then we stayed friends, and that’s why I was later on invited back. It was because we stayed friends. But at some point, I will tell the story because it kind of ran deep. But what had happened, and what caused it to happen, ran kind of deep, but it wasn’t deep enough to sever the strong friendship ties that we had.
THE EARLY 90’S AND THE SOLO ALBUMS
In the early ’90s, you released two solo albums through the Shrapnel label. You worked with interesting people like Jeff Pilson, David Glenn Eisley, Mike Stone, and Matt Bradley. Still, either of these albums didn’t succeed very well, and those albums never received the attention they deserved. That must have been a difficult time overall?
Craig Goldy: Yeah, that was rough because once the “Seattle sound” hit, nobody wanted to know anything about anybody from the ’80s, and it was very brutal. But the first solo album was great because it was in a proper studio with a proper engineer, and I got a chance to– even though I didn’t get credit for it, it didn’t matter. The engineer and I were the ones who produced the songs and the way they came out. Mike Stone did a great job. David Glenn Aisley did a great job. The second one, “Insufficient Therapy”–I love the title, “Insufficient Therapy”– and the artwork. And Jeff Pilson did a great job, but what got released were actually the demos. The budget was supposed to be set aside for us to– once he approved the demos that we go into– you can take the machines, go into a proper studio, transfer all those tracks into a proper studio, and mix in a proper studio. But at the time, the record company had it in their heads that because they had the guy who mastered the “Dark Side of the Moon” for Pink Floyd, he was willing to master that album. So that’s where the budget went. So basically, the poor guy was just polishing a turd because that “Insufficient Therapy” album sounds horrible because those are the demos. They were supposed to be transferred into a proper studio and then mixed properly, and then mastered in a proper way. But it was the prestige of having the guy who mastered the “Dark Side of the Moon” to master my album was what was the big carrot dangling over the record company, and it was just mismanagement of funds.
The second one was a very– that’s why it didn’t do a third. I was signed to do three albums with Shrapnel, but I didn’t do a third because the second one had a similar thing. Matt Bradley was great. God bless him. He took his own life, unfortunately, but he was such a great guy to work with, and there were some interesting songs on there because I was getting into some really bizarre stuff. But once again, there wasn’t the proper budget to mix, and the budget was spent on mastering. But at the time, I had to go from one situation to another, so there wasn’t enough time to listen to it. And the digital copies that were made are distorted, and it’s crazy how those other two solo albums are just crap because of the way it sounds. There’s some good material on there, but it just sounds like crap. So, it’s very embarrassing, those two. But I’m proud of the first one.
Shrapnel was a highly successful record company in the ’80s, and many of the biggest “guitar heroes” of that time like Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, and Greg Howe, worked with them. What went wrong with your collaboration with Shrapnel?
Craig Goldy: Yeah, well, I just think that– a lot of it’s because– I believe what people say they’re going to do. What’s in the contract and what they say, I believe. And that’s what the problem was; I should have raised more hell than I did. But apparently, I didn’t have the– I guess I just didn’t have it in me to be able to fight more than I fought because, after a while, it got to the point where then, “Okay, well, if that’s the way you feel about it, we just won’t even do anything.” It was just weird because I think at that time the record company got kind of a– you know how sometimes people get when they get famous, they get kind of big-headed. But then, after a while, they settle down. Well, I think at that time, the record company was kind of big-headed. And they didn’t care as much as they did before. Now they do. I mean, me and Mike Varney are good friends again. Once again, even though I was wronged basically by him several times, I still– we remain, friends because there’s no point in killing our friendship over something like that.
WORKING WITH DAVID LEE ROTH
In the early ’90s, you also worked briefly with the legendary frontman David Lee Roth. Was it purely a songwriting collaboration, or was there a discussion that you would also have joined his band then?
Craig Goldy: Well, it was kind of a little bit of– it accidentally turned into both. Writing with David Lee Roth came actually from a failure of another project. Back in those days when the record companies were strong, and they had representatives, I’m sure you’ve heard of– the guy is named John Kalodner?
Yes, of course.
Craig Goldy: Well, John Kalodner wanted David Glen Eisley to go and try an audition for Blue Murder when John Sykes left. And then and then John Kalodner called me and said, “Don’t sign any contracts, Goldie. I want you to be the next guitar player on Whitesnake.” And that didn’t turn out because Steve Vai came in. I mean, dear Lord, there’s no way that I’m going to beat out Steve Vai for anything. I mean, that guy can do everything. So, because then it didn’t work out with David Glenn Aisley and Blue Murder, John Kalodner said, “Well, why don’t I just put Goldie and Dave Eisley together to see what they come up with?” But he failed to tell us he was looking for a Bad Company sound. So, he put us in the studio. We come up with some good stuff. And he says he passes on it because he wanted a Bad Company sound. He should have said so in the first place, but. So that demo, it’s called “First Rights Refusal”. So, once they refused it, that demo became our possession. So, I sent it to Warner Brothers to see if somebody might be interested in using some of those songs. The very next day, I get a phone call, and my girlfriend picks up at the time– picks up the phone, answers it, and looks like she’s talking to the President of the United States. So, she hands me the phone, and I am like, “Hello.” And I hear, “Hey, man, love your shit. David Lee Roth here. I love your shit, man. Can we get together and write? Here’s my producer.” And at the time, he was working with Bob Ezrin. And I only remember him. I didn’t know what a large catalog he had. I just remember that I had listened to the Pink Floyd album he did. So, all of a sudden, this failure from trying to get things launched with John Kalodner turned into a phone call at my home with David Lee Roth and my first gold record. [Laughs.] And he was a nice guy. It turns out he wanted me to be the guitar player at the same time. And quite honestly, I rarely say this to anybody. But I knew that I was not the right guy. I’ve been a sideman for a long time, and I didn’t want to be a sideman again. But after doing albums with Steve Vai like that– I mean, he needed somebody he could just play everything and anything, and I was just not that guy. So, I didn’t want to be his guitar player because I knew that I wasn’t the right guy for the gig. I just knew it. But for some reason, that seemed to make him want me even more, almost like a girl turning down a guy for a date. I mean, he would start taking me out to dinner and taking me places, and we wrote for like three months. I’d go to his home, his private home. He’d have his band downstairs with all the Van Halen tour cases and stuff, and he’d listen to my ideas and send the ideas down to his band to learn. And it was great. I mean, it was a great experience, and afterward, it was just him and I sitting there talking outside. He had a triple-level backyard, and one of the levels was a pool where he had the rock-climbing things around the perimeter of the pool. So, one night, it was just him and I doing the rock-climbing thing. Seeing if I could go from one side of the pool to the other without having to start over. [Laughs.]
I remember hearing similar stories about David Lee Roth from his former guitarist John5, a great guy and a fantastic player.
Craig Goldy: John5, I like him. He was at one of the Rock and Roll Fantasy camps I did, and what a great guy, what a great guy. Yeah, and he’s one of those guys; there’s nothing you can throw at Steve Vai that he can’t play. There’s nothing you can throw at John5 that he can’t play. And even Jason Becker at the time, the strange story is that after they picked “Lady Luck“, they called me down to Dave’s house to show Jason Becker how to play the riff. Can you believe that? It’s like you don’t teach Jason Becker anything. He doesn’t need– what happened is it was just the difference between legato and staccato because that riff and ”Lady Luck” is kind of “Blackmoreish“. It’s very staccato, and then the very legato parts were a little bit more of– it’s kind of hard to explain. The way it was meant to be just kind of behind the beat and slow. And so, Jason was playing the legato parts staccato, and playing the staccato parts legato is what the problem was. So, they asked me to come down to his house and show Jason how to play that riff because they wanted him to emulate the way I played it. I thought that was crazy, but I got a chance to meet Jason, and what a great guy, man. And another one of those, there’s isn’t a single thing you can throw at them that he couldn’t play.
I remember that I saw that “A Little Ain’t Enough” tour in Helsinki, and Joe Holmes (ex-Lizzy Borden) was playing the guitar on that tour.
Craig Goldy: Oh, Joe Holmes.
And did a fine job. Later on, I saw Joe playing with Ozzy Osbourne in Donington; I think it was in 1996? I believe that he’s a great guitar player, but he never had the chance to play on any “big records” with Dave or Ozzy, etc.
Craig Goldy: Right. Well, I understand how you would get that impression. I remember Joe from the days we would rehearse at this place called Mates in North Hollywood. And he was another one of those guys that just could pick up the guitar and play almost anything. And unfortunately, back then, that was the beginning of the end for opportunities for the ’80s sound. I think that’s why it was difficult for him to find a gig because I think had that window of opportunity stayed open a little bit longer, he would have that’s just fine.
WORKING WITH JEFF FENHOLT
One very interesting thing you did in the ’90s was the collaboration with the well-known Christian evangelist and former Black Sabbath vocalist Jeff Fenholt (RIP 2019). Tell us something about this project?
Craig Goldy: Oh, well, because I believe in God, it bothers me that– not that if people have their own opinion, and they can have their own choice, that’s not a big deal. It’s just that I started realizing– back in those days, and I noticed that many people got turned off to God because of the way church people and Christians were treating them. And that bothered me. So, a friend of mine who was in Driver at the time, Jeff Fenholt, was working on that Christian channel called TBN. And he had his own show that went out to like 30 million people. And he asked me to be a guest on his show. And so, I did, and I did an impression making fun of TV preachers, almost like, “The emperor has no clothes,” kind of thing. And it became the sixth most requested episode ever on TBN. This heavy metal guitar player was making fun of TV preachers. Apparently, they loved it. They could actually take a joke. And so, he just kept having me come back, and we would do some songs and stuff together. I do like these backing tracks. And so, at one point, this church wanted us to come to play. So, I had to create these backing tracks for us to record to play to. And it was a lot of fun. But what happened is that because I was the guitar player from Dio, and Jeff had had a short stint in Black Sabbath. Many of the kids who were trying to stay away from the church as much as possible were suddenly reading these fliers because back in those days, it was flyers. There was no Facebook. They’d be, “The guitar player from Dio and singer from Black Sabbath are going to be speaking and performing at the church.” They’re like, “What?” So, they had to go, “I got to check this out.” And so, the cool thing was, is that the message really was, you don’t have to be a weirdo. And I even had a pastor admit to it. I was a guest speaker at a church, and I was saying, “If you don’t read your Bible every day and you don’t go to church every Sunday, and you smoke pot, and you drink alcohol, and you might curse a little bit, that doesn’t mean that you’re definitely 100% going to hell. Does it, pastor?” [Laughs.] And the whole church looked at him, and he had to look back and go, “He’s right.” And it seemed to change everything. It was a nice way of saying, “Hey, look, it’s different than you think about this belief in God. It’s not about rules and regulations and this cold-hearted person that allows horrible things to happen and just sits there and watches. There’s so much to it, and I can go on forever about that.
But it was hell– because I had a really horrible childhood, and I was in and out of hospitals. And because I had beatings to the point where I had to have stitches and surgeries from the beatings that I would get as a child. And at one point, I actually couldn’t pee because the injury was so extreme that there was scar tissue in my urethra tube. And I couldn’t pee. So, I had to have a metal tube stuck down my urethra tube and have a liquid shot into it to try to dissolve the scar tissue; lots of fun when you’re 11 years old. But all these things, I hated. But it wasn’t until we started headlining these big giant arenas that I would turn to in times of trouble because Ronnie was like also– he was my voice.
After almost every beating, I would listen to Ronnie’s song because he was my go-to voice to make me feel better. And I noticed that his kind of song was calling to the downtrodden and the black sheep of the globe and the people that were secretly hurting. So, when they came to these concerts, a lot of times they’d come to the concerts because they were trying to get away from their everyday lives, and sometimes, not always but many. So, when they would make it backstage, Ronnie was always so good. He would always turn it around and “Hey, can I get you anything? Can I do anything for you?” He’d have to be so kind to them that their minds were just blown. They just wanted to meet him. They didn’t realize that Ronnie was going to become their servant, blow their minds with kindness. So, I would often ask people, “Hey, how are you doing?” and eventually get them to talk about their lives instead of me. And they would always end up with the same comment, “You don’t know what it feels like.” And I got a chance to put my arm around him and look him straight in the eye and say, “You know what? I know exactly what it feels like.” And it changed everything. And so it was that was the whole reason why I thought that maybe I would make money and be famous is to do things like that because of how wonderful that feels that all the things I hated that happened to me growing up suddenly became my superpower. I was able to reach people who were unreachable. So, when we would go to these church things.
Some guys were from Vietnam and had post-traumatic stress disorder, and they had lost their families and stuff and were ready to commit suicide, and I would sit with them and talk with them. And I would come home, and I would get a message on my machine saying, “Hey, thanks for doing that. We found him a home, a shelter. We reunited him with his two kids. It turns out he’s a journeyman carpenter. So, we got him a job.” Things like that. And that was a really good ride during those times because we are able– instead of feeling sorry for myself, that now it’s the ’90s and people don’t care about me anymore, I was able to turn it around and just try to help other people. And I liked that a lot. It was great.
So, how long time you worked with Jeff Fenholt?
Craig Goldy: It goes like between ’93 and ’96, something like that.
Because you worked closely with Jeff, did you ever meet another former Black Sabbath singer David Donato, who also became a well-known preacher after this rock musician career?
Craig Goldy: No, I never got a chance to. I mean, I did get an opportunity to work with a couple of guys that have been in Black Sabbath when we did this thing called the classic rock All-Stars in Russia. There was a couple of times I got to do some stuff but actually with Jeff Nichols before he passed away. And there was Tony Martin. He sang on “Headless Cross” and Bobby Rondinelli, who played with Rainbow and Black Sabbath. And then I’ve been able to work with Vinny Appice again, but I never met David Donato.
He was a couple of months in Sabbath, and I think it was Jeff who then replaced him in the band.
Craig Goldy: Oh, wow. Okay, because that sounds like the same era that Jeff Fenholt did some demos with the band.
Jeff sadly died in 2019, and now also David Donato passed away last February.
Craig Goldy: Oh no, I didn’t know that. I’m sorry. No, I didn’t. I’ve been kind of out of the loop with this– I was in a car accident. I had a bit of an injury. And so, I’ve been kind of out of the loop for a while. But I’ll make a full recovery. It’s just been kind of a bummer.
…. Part 2 of the interview will be published tomorrow at 3 pm CET.