The Evolution Of Ronnie James Dio: Craig Goldy Remembers Metal’s Bruce Lee


Edited by Brett Buchanan

A little over six years ago,metal lost one of it’s greatest legends, Ronnie James Dio. To celebrate his legacy, we will be getting a box set called A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993. The CD version of the box set is scheduled for July 22nd, while the vinyl version is set for an October 4th date. This collection contains the first five Dio albums.  I was able to speak with former Dio guitarist Craig Goldy to promote the release. He also discussed his friendship with the artist and how he was similar to Bruce Lee.

Can you tell us a bit about this new box set?

I am happy this is going to happen. We started the Dio’s Disciples band several years after Ronnie passed away. We did it because every family that loses a family member, they will often do things to keep the loved ones memory alive. So that is how that band got birthed. What we started noticing, is that a lot of teen age fans were coming to the shows. They told us about how they discovered Dio because their parents were fans of his or how they first heard “Holy Diver” when it was in Guitar Hero: Rock The 80’s. It was really interesting that a newer generation had emerged. We felt it was a great idea to have the first ten years of Dio’s solo band remastered and re-introduced for both the people who have always been there as well people who will be hearing these albums for the first time.

Are their any plans for the next set of albums to be released in a box set like this?

Yes. We definitely will. I think they just wanted to do it in sets instead of doing the whole entire thing at once. I can’t really speak for Wendy Dio myself, but there are certain albums that certain record companies control the rights to certain albums. Its not really a mater of control, but more of a matter of everyone wants to do it and of who to contact to put the deal together. I can only speak for myself but, I think they decided to do it in halves. Almost like The Very Best of Dio Vol 1 and 2. So their are other albums like Magica and a few others that will be remaster for re-release. What they could be waiting for is this track me and Ronnie were writing for Magica II. There is an unfinished song that the band plans on finishing and releasing. That will either be part of Magica as a bonus track or released as a single on its on. It’s all just speculation right now.

When you first joined Dio for the Dream Evil album, were you nervous and or excited about playing with one of metal’s biggest vocalists?

Yes, extremely nervous and extremely excited. He was and still is my favorite singer. Me joining his band stems back to when we first met. We first met during auditions for Rough Cutt. When Jake E. Lee left the band to join Ozzy after Randy Rhoads died, there was an opening in Rough Cutt. At the time I was working with a singer named Terry Mcarty. Him and I were in a local San Diego band together. He would then leave to join a band called Warrior. Warrior was friends with Rough Cutt who were managed by Wendy Dio and produced by Ronnie James Dio, so they were having auditions to replace Jake, and everyone in L.A was ready to go. They were all established from playing in local bands. But I had made a demo, living in my car cause I grew up in a abusive family. I left home at the age of 14 and I was living in my car.

With the last 20 dollars I made giving guitar lessons, I made a demo. Since the singer was now in Warrior, the copies of the demo got to Rough Cutt and then to Ronnie James Dio, who said “we have to get this kid up here”. The only problem was how do you find a kid who lives in his car? Somehow they found me. They set me up there with Wendy and Ronnie. They rented amps and cables for me. Dio and I became friend immediately. One night when we were working on demos for Rough Cutt, Ronnie turned me and told me if Vivian Campbell ever left his band, I would be his first choice. When Vivian left, since Ronnie was a man of his word and we had a great relationship, I was added to his band.

It must be awesome that your musical idol became one of your closest friends.

It really is. It’s really surreal. I never got over it. It never became secondary or common place. Somewhere deep inside I was this nervous little kid. “Man I’m on stage with Ronnie James Dio”. “I’m recording an album with Ronnie James Dio.” It never went away. I think that is why Ronnie was always loved by fans. He treated his fans like family cause he started out as one and didn’t forget where he came from. He knows how its like to meet his own heroes and work beside them, like with Richie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. He saw the excited and ready to go me and it reminded him about how he felt joining Rainbow and Black Sabbath.

Speaking of Rainbow, what are your thoughts on Dio’s older projects? As in the ones before Rainbow.

Well I was never a big fan of Elf, but they do have some good tracks and you can hear a lot of the Elf influences on the first Rainbow record. Elf was opening up for Deep Purple. This was when Richie Blackmore was not pleased with the direction Deep Purple was heading. Every night of that tour Richie would hear Dio’s voice during their set and was very impressed. One night he told Ronnie that he didn’t want to be in Deep Purple anymore and Rainbow was born. On their second record, Rainbow Rising, the band changed heavy metal and hard rock forever. I never really got a chance to hear much of what he did before Elf. I remember one time I was on tour with Dio and I watched the video for “Love Is All” by Roger Glover and I could have sworn the singer sounded like Ronnie. I asked him and he said yes. The Ronnie James Dio I am mostly a fan of is Rainbow and later.

Same here. Dio found who he really was when he joined Rainbow.

Exactly. There is an evolution to everything. It’s kind of like how Bruce Lee was Kato on the Green Hornet and Batman shows and then later became the martial arts hero he will forever be remembered for. This hero was who he was all along, he just needed to grow into that. Same can be said for Ronnie. He always had that universe inside of him, he just had to find a way to harness it. Even in Rainbow and Black Sabbath he was still evolving. When he formed his solo band is when he was able to reach his full potential. The man was a master of lyric writing and he peaked at this with his solo band.