Dave Reffett of GuitarWorld.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Craig Goldy. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
GuitarWorld.com: How did the idea for the DIO DISCIPLES come about?
Craig: Ronnie [James Dio] was family to us, and he was family to me. When a main family member passes away, the family members left behind often a couple of times throughout the year, try to keep the loved one’s memory alive. Ronnie was family to the whole world, so there was a long mourning and grieving process. During that time, there were a lot of tributes to Ronnie, with a lot of bands coming out, doing stuff. Some of them had good hearts and good intentions. Others had no business to do it and were just taking advantage of it. At one point, we were talking about it, saying, “You know, we really should do something.” So Wendy [Dio, Ronnie‘s manager and wife], Simon Wright [DIO DISCIPLES/ex-DIO drummer] and I sat down and talked and said, “OK, it’s time.” We wanted to make sure it was done in the most respectful way; that’s how it all started.
GuitarWorld.com: What do you think when people are not happy about these types of tributes?
Craig: I understand it, because Ronnie was so revered that there are going to be people who are apprehensive of what we’re doing. It’s really not a for-profit thing. If people think it’s a for-profit thing, I have no problem with them checking my bank account balance. [laughs] I mean, we’re barely squeaking by over our expenses. It’s very expensive to do this kind of thing. There is money involved, but money is not the priority. The priority is to make sure Ronnie‘s memory is kept alive. Even if we did nothing, he was so loved around the world that there are people who will always remember him, but if we just left alone and did nothing, these special moments with the band and the crowd would not have happened. So many people have come backstage to us and said, “That was the greatest experience ever,” and that’s what we say about this. It’s not really a concert, it’s an experience. Ronnie and his music were so loved that it became such a huge part of people’s lives. The songs we’re playing have been a huge part of people’s lives for decades. It really means something to them.
GuitarWorld.com: What’s the most important you learned from Ronnie?
Craig: There are so many, but a lot of it is first the music has to feel good. The groove has to be great because a lot of guitar players write for the riff first. The way he wrote songs was special too, because he really toiled. The law of hit songwriting is melody first, lyrics second. A lot of people don’t do that, a lot of singers sit around with their notebooks filled with lyrics and they try to cram their lyrics into a song. So the two have already been sitting around collecting dust and they try to call it an original song. That’s not the way you do it. You’ve got to start from scratch. He would really toil because it’s hard to tell a story and hit people in the heart with the limited amount of syllables you have in a song. It’s not an easy task, but I watched him do that and I learned from him. There is going to be some original material coming out, and I have a song about Ronnie‘s passing and how the band feels and how the fans might feel, and it’s coming out really good. When Wendy heard it, she said, “Ronnie would be really proud of you.”
Read the entire interview from GuitarWorld.com.