By Martin Popoff
Today (June 25th), DIO’s lone concept album Magica will be reissued in 2CD format featuring a live set and two studio bonus tracks. BraveWords caught up with guitarist CRAIG GOLDY to comment on the reissue program, Craig beginning with the two studio additions...
“Well, ‘Electra’, there was a time when I believe TONY IOMMI had to have some sort of surgery done,” begins the ROUGH CUTT, GIUFFRIA, DIO legend. “I think there was something going on with his carpal tunnel or something, and Ronnie wanted to do a Dio tune, and I was already on my way to Poland, so I couldn’t do it. Or rather I was already in Poland, so at the same time they did that short tour, they recorded another song that was going to be geared towards Magica II and III. And that was with Doug Aldrich. And then while I was out there, I got a text telling me about Ronnie’s condition. And then, because everybody knows about all that information, there was a time when the doctor sort of gave Ronnie a clear bill of health, and said that you can do whatever you want. And so Wendy looked over at Ronnie, and said, ‘What do you wanna do?’ And he said, ‘Write with Craig.’ So we started writing. So there is going to be some unreleased material coming out when the time is right, for it. But ‘Electra’ was one of the first towards that, towards Magica II and III, and we started on it, so there will be another one. And ‘Annica’ was an instrumental that I had done, and Ronnie had heard it said, wow, that’s great, let’s use it as the bonus track for Japan. So that’s where ‘Annica’ came from.
And what do you think the personality is of Magica, compared to the next and last one, Master Of The Moon?
“For one, Ronnie and I used to... we’d kind of like challenge each other a little bit, without even knowing it. Because we would want to come up with the best parts that we could possibly come up with. Not that we didn’t do that for Master Of The Moon. But because Master Of The Moon wasn’t a concept record, there was no storyline, there was no songs created around a character or a story... I’d just done a solo album where I’d strung all the songs together like Dark Side Of The Moon, so I thought that would be a great thing to do for Magica. And also that was kind of a new endeavour for us, because we had to write the songs and write parts in-between the songs, and come up with sound effect scenarios for the alien and stuff like that. So we kind of wrote music for in-between the music as well (laughs).”
Apparently, the idea to do a concept record reaches way, way back in Ronnie’s run with the Dio band...
“Yes, well actually, right around when Dream Evil first came out, when we finished that tour, Ronnie and I went out for dinner together, he wanted to do a concept album back then. So he’s had that desire to do a concept album way back then. So jump forward to this particular time, the way he put it to me was that he got tired of people complaining about Tracy. Him and I both loved what he did with Tracy, and I love what Tracy does, but apparently some of the fans were complaining, and Ronnie said he needed somebody more virtuoso-esque, who could do Blackmore, Iommi, Viv, and the some of the stuff that him and I did, together all in one, without losing any of the originality. That’s the way he put it to me. He said, ‘Once I defined it into those terms,’ he goes, ‘You are the only one that could fit that bill, so I had Wendy call you.’”
“So it was also an excitement for us, because we had talked about how great it would be to work together again, and then finally we were. And so that kind of… There were all sorts of things swirling around Magica, and he started working on the idea, he had three song ideas already, and maybe 30 to 40% of the story, and I had the idea of linking these songs together like Dark Side Of The Moon, and I had some song ideas. So when we first met, it was the excitement of the reunion and the idea of doing something that Ronnie hadn’t done before. And so it was kind of like, the impetus of Magica was that whole excitement that it was a one-of-a-kind situation for both of us.”
Magica may continue in some form, because as is public knowledge, Ronnie planned there to be a Magica II and III.
“I’m not quite sure if I’m able to say where the story was supposed to go at this point,” continues Goldy, “because I think Wendy would probably like to let that be something, some sort of surprise, when in fact some of that unreleased material comes out. But it was heading in a really cool direction, and there was one song that was almost near to completed. I know it was just a vocal parts the we didn’t get a chance to record. So most likely what we’ll do is bring in someone who was one of Ronnie’s close friends, or somebody who’s really tight and close in the Dio family, to do it, because now after his passing, we try to keep his memory alive, and so we use guest vocalists and stuff like that. And then release it. But that’s primarily up to Wendy. She said she wanted to do it, but I’m not sure when. When the time is right.”
“She has his notes and all that, and if I’m not mistaken, she’s got all the music that was in, that he was writing, in the computer, that wasn’t completed. It’s a hard thing, because Ronnie was so loved all over the world. He’s kind of a different… I think he was loved in a different way, because he was so good to fans, and he was so hands-on, and didn’t ever leave until everybody was taken care of, and that meant sometimes us being there until three or four o’clock in the morning, before we’d leave for the next city. Nobody ever does that anymore. I mean, we tried to do that in DIO DISCIPLES, when we did it live, but sometimes we can’t always stay as long as we like, because we do have to get to the next city. There’s a lot more requirements for drivers when and when they cannot drive, and how long they can drive for. Before we would just go, ‘Let’s just go,’ and the driver would just go. Now they’re required to take a break at a certain amount of mileage; there’s all sorts of stuff involved that now limits our ability to do that. But trying to keep his memory alive... a lot of people think that we’re trying to cash in on his passing. It’s just heartbreaking to think that, because he’s family to us. Any family member, or main family member that passes away, often the surviving members of that family that were left behind do things throughout the year to keep their loved ones’ memory alive. And that’s just what we’re doing. But while their family is just that—that family—Ronnie’s family was the whole world (laughs).”
As for more immediate future plans, “We’ve been working on some original material,” notes Craig. “I haven’t put out anything that way for a while, just because, on the day of his memorial I said that, you know, I’m hoping that someday when I do write some music and put out some original material, that it’s supposed to be indicative of what I had learned from Ronnie, that he would be proud. I’ve written some music for other people and stuff, but never really stamped it: ‘This is what I think, this is what I’m proud of.’ So I’ve got two songs—one is about Ronnie’s passing, about how I felt and how the band felt, and maybe how the fans might’ve felt about it. And when Wendy heard it, she just said, ‘Wow, Ronnie would be proud of you.’ So we’re going to do some original material, Dio Disciples-wise. I don’t know if it’s going to be in the format of a live album with two bonus tracks, you know, two studio bonus tracks. But there is going to be some original material, and so far, it’s coming out really good. I’m really proud of it.”