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Guitarist Jimmy Fleming chats with Craig Goldy Guitar player of Dio about his experiences over the Years

In this in-depth discussion, veteran guitarist Craig Goldy takes a trip down memory lane to delve into his journey into the music world, showcasing the melodic power of his guitar playing that has made him a constant in my playlist ever since the 1980s. I remember being hooked onto the rhythm of Rough Cutt, one of Goldy's prominent earlier endeavors, when I began reading Guitar Player and Guitar World Magazine. Although I happened to miss parts of his tenure with GIUFFRIA due to diversifying my music taste, it was his collaboration with Ronnie James Dio that brought him back into my auditory spectrum and remains a highlight in my music favorites until this day. In this illuminating conversation, you'll find Goldy opening up about the trials and triumphs of his career, the symbolic significance of his favorite guitar, and the resilience that helped anchor him in the face of failure. In the dynamic landscape of the music industry, Goldy's insights on its current quintessence, particularly the digital side of it, are enlightening. Seamlessly balancing retrospection with the present, Goldy also teases ongoing projects and shares his social media handles and website links for those eager to keep up with his awe-inspiring work. This dialogue offers an extensive understanding of why Craig Goldy is more than just his great guitar playing.

 I found a quick response from a very Lovely down to earth fellow. I’ve admired the man’s work for way over half my life, in our correspondence I came to simply admire the man. I presented him with the same basic questions I do most everyone, but I knew the answers were going to be a whole different story.

He was most generous with his time and thoughtful replies and the back and forth questions and talks of timelines or deadlines he was Genuine in his interest and apologized for his delays and I can tell you he cares about the people he speaks to. The following speaks volumes about that aspect of his character.

Even if he were not the Legend he has become, I would still want him as a friend. We wish him all good things and welcome him to our extended family. Craig, you are the Tops brother!

“What brought you together with music? ” Inspirations, People who made you want to play”. 

I was always a music lover…..when I was just a little guy…..my favourite Aunt said that she thought it was cute when I was nodding my head up and down while listening to the radio in their car…..I didn’t even know I was doing that! My parents had a radio in the front room of our house we grew up in, and I would land on one station and like it……thinking that this type of music was my favourite……but then got bored eventually…..this happened with Jazz, Blues, Rock, Classical, R & B…..even though I mostly stayed with R & B. 

Then one day I was at a friend’s house and I heard the song “Burn” by Deep Purple come on the radio…..I thought to myself……”Who is that!!??” So, I bought the “Burn” album…..and there it was….all my favourite types of music in one band! Ian Paice was Jazz-based, Glenn Hughes sounded like a white Stevie Wonder and his bass lines were very different than in most rock bands…..  Jon Lord had classical music mixed in his solos…David Coverdale had that cool thick bluesy rock sound to his voice…..and Ritchie Blackmore was on another planet!! It was at that time that I wanted to try and learn how to play like Ritchie Blackmore!! Little did I know I was in for the ride of my life!! 

Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow a Favorite of Craig Goldy Guitar Player of Dio

Dio – Rainbow In The Dark Live ( Finding the Sacred Heart – Live in Philly 1986 ) 60FPS

Dio – Sacred Heart (1985) – Interview With Ronnie James Dio & Craig Goldie

Have you a favourite guitar and why? 

I still love and miss playing the Fender Strat…..but my favourite is the ESP Mark II. I’ve tried just about every brand of guitar……and the Mark II allows me to do the things that I want to do…..it doesn’t limit me. I learned the hard way that the type of wood and pick-ups make a huge difference nearly more than the type of amplifier being used. It took me a while to finally narrow it down to the ESP Mark II.  

How long have you been active in music?  What are career highlights or dreams? 

My first real professional band was Rough Cutt around 1983-84. I’ll never forget both the day I was asked to join Dio…..especially since Ronnie James Dio was and still is my favorite singer! And the night we headlined Madison Square Garden……I called my Dad and he said…..” After all these years of telling you that you can’t do it……I’ll be damned if you didn’t do it…..I’m proud of you”. 

That was a very big deal for me! There are so many highlights that it’s almost like being the “Forest Gump” of Heavy Metal……cause like in that movie…..it’s almost impossible to believe that one person could have that many different experiences in one lifetime! One of the biggest was the night Ritchie Blackmore asked me…..”You’ll have to show me how you do that?”!

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! After all the years of trying to learn his solos note for note…..there he was asking me to show him, how I did something I just played guitar. It was the one-handed soloing thing that I do. It was created by all the years of writing out solos note for note for my students. While I was writing the solos in Tablature with my right hand…..I was checking to make sure I was writing the right note, string, and position on the Fretboard, which made me tap the neck with my left hand. I thought to myself…..” I wonder if I could play this with one hand?”…..Since it is part percussive with my left hand having to tap harder on the Fretboard to make up for the times I went up the stings and my first finger position was always picked……there was no picking now……so, I had to hit the neck harder than normal……The percussiveness….made the other strings ring out……and it sounded like noise…..so my first instinct was to mute the strings with my right hand.

Eventually, I got it down and it became one of the things that set me apart from the other guitarists in San Diego where I grew up. 

Craig Goldy Guitar Solo with Dio (1988)

Black Knights Rising – Mistreated – XG Extreme Guitar Tour – Agora – 2015

Inspirations. any advice for new people in music , or picking up an instrument etc. 

Dare to dream! A lot of people don’t even allow themselves to even dream of something that they wish to achieve that on the surface seems impossible to reach! When a pure heart makes a wish and leaves no stone unturned……something magical will happen.  

What have you learned from your success or even failures? 

Good question! Not many people ask about “Failures”! Many of my greatest achievements were gained by prior failures! One of my demos that had some songs on it that I thought were quite good got turned down…..so, I submitted them to Warner Bros. for the song publisher I was assigned to, to try and place them with another band.

The very next day my girlfriend at the time answered the phone and looked at it like the President of The United States was on the other end. Then she handed me the phone with such wonder in her eyes.

I didn’t know what to expect. I said “hello?” and on the other end was David Lee Roth told me that he loved my songs and could we meet at his producer’s house to discuss writing more songs.

At that time he was working with Bob Ezrin…..I wasn’t familiar with all that he had done…I just remember listening to the “Pink Floyd” album he produced with Carmine Appice on it that we listened to on the tour bus while in Dio.

Next thing I know…..I’m at Bob Ezrin’s house talking with him and DLR. Then…….the next thing I know……I’ve been invited to DLR’s private residence to keep writing with him. And that is how I got my first Gold Record. 

Many times when life forces me down a path that I don’t like…….once the dust settles…..I often find myself in a place and/or situation better than originally planned. 

Success ……..success was and is an entirely different situation for a guy like me! I came from an abusive family…..physically and verbally…..in and out of the hospital, ER, stitches, and surgeries

So, I left home at a very young age, bought a car I was too young to own, and got a job I was too young to have. I could only sleep in my car on the streets of San Diego, California.

Had a wind-up clock to wake me for work. Had two 7up bottles with water….one to wet my hair and one to rinse. Shaved in the side view mirror and my clothes were in the trunk.

So, when I found myself on a Headlining stage with my favourite singer Ronnie James of Dio……I found that this new status also comes with a certain amount of influence over certain fans.  

Ronnie was the voice for the downtrodden, the black Sheep of the Globe, and the Secretly Hurting. I know…..I was one of them!! When they saw us on stage they saw “Rock Stars”…..so they wanted to meet us…..but when they met us…..it was not a “Rock Star” that they got.

We all know and love how Ronnie treated his fans….but with me…..I’d usually find someone who was secretly hurting inside….eventually they would open up about their life situation and almost every time it would end with them saying-“You don’t Know What It Feels Like”!….And I got the chance to put my arm around them…..look them straight into their eyes and say….”I know EXACTLY what that feels like”! And this would start a whole new kind of conversation that would ultimately end with them coming back the next year we were in their town all cleaned up, happy and successful! And that became my ultimate passion.

To use what I once hated as a child & teenager growing up & it becoming like a “Super Power” to help others. Ronnie often used his money and talent to build shelters for the homeless and broken kids who moved to Los Angeles in search of a dream and wound up in very bad situations and some into prostitution.

He even paid a fan’s rent when he heard that fan was in trouble. So, imagine my disappointment when I finally worked my way up the ladder to get the “Lion’s Share” and utilize it to help even more people……only to find streaming took over……and that means little or no money at all!! I’ll get into that in another question of yours…..but money is a tool.

Money was not to buy a golden toilet seat for my mansion on a hill……it was supposed to go to help others who often get tossed aside because of their dreams! We kinda covered that! Hopefully, things will change and I can help more people someday soon!  

Are you more comfortable in the studio or onstage when it comes to Craig Goldy Guitar Playing? 

Sometimes that question is like asking “ if you could only pick one…….which would you choose…..to inhale or exhale?”! 

It really depends on the situation……but in all…..if I had to pick only one…..it would be the studio. 

This all started because of my love for the creative process. But when you factor in the fans……getting to treat them as good as Ronnie James Dio treated his fans……and trying to make sure that his way didn’t die with him……cause his music will live on forever no matter what …….and no matter who plays in a Dio tribute band…….but his way with the fans was so very special!  

I got a chance to stand next to him while he signed and took pictures and interacted with his fans…..and I got a chance to develop a relationship with many of them…..and during the “Dio Disciples” concerts…I got a chance to try and treat his fans as well as I could possibly reach. And that was magical! It was difficult because we all love and miss Ronnie…….and there’s nothing like the original……and Ronnie was the first and the last of his kind…..but I can at least try!!  

How do you feel about the state of the digital music industry 

Well, on one hand, it has given anyone the capability to become the famous Craig Goldy Guitar player from the first note pick I made to the player I am Today. No matter skill level or talent, or none at all. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing…..I was trying to start a program to help unknown musicians break into the music industry……but they had to have a certain amount of skill and/or talent. 

Not in a bad way……if we consider that when Eddie Van Halen was still with us…..AC/DC’s Angus Young skill-wise couldn’t even touch him……but that didn’t keep him from being one of the best lead guitarists on the planet in the hearts and minds of millions of Rock fans.

It’s very similar to the difference between McDonald’s and Red Lobster. Both are very famous restaurants…..but even though McDonald’s isn’t known for its quality food that can be good for you…..in fact…..if you ate a “Big Mac” every day…..chances are you’d be in poor health within a very short period of time……yet it doesn’t keep Mcdonald’s from being one of the most popular restaurants in the world. However, we now have a totally different game. 

At first, I thought that what the internet had done for the music industry was quite good. Even though it made things totally different, and more difficult for me for decades! and lot’s of lost sleep. However, the process of creating music that pierces the very heart and soul of people making them want to buy that music……that process is still the same and it always will be. But with streaming…..they misspelled the word…..cause it’s Stealing! 

I understand how it all came about…..but nowadays no matter how great you are…..making a living as only a musician is nearly as impossible as it was before, but for different reasons.

This whole thing can be traced back to the days of “Desert Storm”. That war created a nationwide recession. Then around that very same time…..Michael Jackson demanded a billion-dollar advance……which he got and did not recoup. Then Madonna heard about that and did the very same thing…..she got a billion-dollar advance and did not recoup.

That created a recession within a recession. So, the record companies started tightening their belts when it came to recording advances. This made some of the best Rock bands have to work just as hard……but for much less money.

This created resentment towards the industry and why fans started to complain about buying a $15 CD with 10-12 songs on it ……and only getting 3 good songs. I understand the whole “YouTube” thing……when I had to brush up on my Deep Purple and Rainbow songs before going out on tour dates with Joe Lynn Turner.

I often used YouTube, I had already bought the album on Vinyl, Cassette, 8-track, and the CD. So, I felt ok with using YouTube for the reasons that I did. Then When Netflix came out……it was great…..I still went to the movie theatre, bought tickets, and even paid extra for the 3-D experience in certain theatres.

Then those very same movies came out on cable TV with “On Demand”, Then “HBO”, then rentals, and so forth. But the industry didn’t suffer for the sake of Netflix back then.

The music industry is suffering due to Streaming. I get people telling me on Facebook…..”Hey, I’m listening to you on sites like Spotify right now…..you rock”! 

And I can’t help but think to myself…..”Thanks for the .000003% of a penny”! 

I worked very hard to get to the level of making the “Lion’s Share” in Album sales, Merchandise and Ticket sales……as did with the musicians that came before me! I was paid as a sideman…..like many of them were….and they worked their way up the ladder and earned their keep!  

But now……it’s so bad that bands are hiking up ticket prices and forcing fans to buy something first before they get a chance to get an autograph or get a picture with their favourite band at a paid meet & greet!  

This just causes resentment within the hearts of the fans……who are being let down by their favourite bands……yet these bands feel forced to do this all due to streaming…..which causes resentment within the hearts of the bands.  

It is my sincere hope that proper balance is restored with the bands and their fans….like it was in the ’80s. 

That was a great era! I understand that there is so much new music being released on nearly a daily basis……that it’s impossible to purchase all the new music that’s coming out. However, over saturation of the marketplace shouldn’t be an excuse to basically steal music. 

Some people still refuse to stream the music they love. God Bless them!! They like having a physical item like a CD or on Vinyl. What’s even more pathetic…..is that Vinyl has become a “fad”……and many people that buy the Vinyl……don’t even have a record player. But God Bless them for at least buying it! 

I was watching a talk show with a very snotty young girl who now because of her exposure on that talk show has given her a “Global Platform” in which to do and release many questionable acts and videos…..and these kids are becoming millionaires as long as they are willing to basically cut their Grandmother’s throat while strangling a kitten in the other hand….meanwhile crushing a child’s head under their feet……as long as it gets “Likes”, “Views” and “Clicks”. 

I know that’s a bit of an exaggeration……but the point is still the same! There was a young boy on that very same talk show who also was granted a “Global Platform” in which to become an absolute nuisance to his neighbourhood and neighbours in order to gain recognition on YouTube becoming a multi-millionaire simply by being overly annoying and shameless.  

Where is the skill level and talent in that? Has the world gotten to the point where we call being a nuisance and overly annoying and interrupting and bothering innocent people a skill? A talent? 

I certainly hope not! Thank you and believe it or not…..I’m actually quite optimistic about the future! I still have a few tricks under my sleeve!! If you could also add this to the interview….it would help me greatly!! My website is under reconstruction by a very good friend of mine: Jay Wilson. To see a sample of his work click the link below: 


Dream Child – “Under The Wire” (Official Music Video) Craig Goldy Guitar

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