Ritchie Blackmore’s Trial by Fire for Supporting Guitarists
Former Dio guitarist Craig Goldy revealed the trial by fire experience of opening for Deep Purple in the ‘80s as a result of Ritchie Blackmore’s ban on the junior band playing solos, which the British veteran expected would lead to tension. That led to a series of potentially explosive moments, which Goldy successfully navigated because he believed Blackmore deserved the respect he was demanding.
Goldy was a member of Giuffra when they were chosen to support on Purple’s Perfect Strangers tour in 1984 – but he was already in contact with future boss Ronnie James Dio, who was able to warn him about how to deal with Blackmore.
“He didn’t like having a guitar competition,” the longtime Blackmore fan, told Metalholic in a recent interview (via Blabbermouth). “We had an emergency meeting and we got fired off the first night. They said, ‘If Goldy doesn’t do his solo, and you guys tone down your set just a little bit, you guys can stay on the tour.’ All eyes on me, and I said, ‘Sure, of course.’”
You can listen to the interview below:
On the last night of the tour, with the risk of being fired gone, Goldy performed his usual solo spot. Afterwards, he recalled, “We were walking down the hallway and Ritchie comes up to me and goes, ‘You have to show me how to do that.’ I went, ‘What?’ … I spent so many years trying to learn his solos and he’s asking me how to do something. I really quickly gave him a summary and ran and hit.”
He later thought better of his decision, but he was aware that Dio had said no one should ever knock on Blackmore’s dressing room door. He did it anyway. “He opened the door and I said, ‘I’ve idolized you for years,’ and he kind of rolled his eyes… But apparently everybody had done that he toured with, that he’d [told] ‘no guitar solos.’ … ‘I idolized you for years. Fuck you’ – that’s what he was expecting me to say.”
When Goldy said instead that he carried no hard feelings, Blackmore invited him into the dressing room. But the trial wasn’t over: “We're kicking the soccer ball to trying break one of his Strats and we're talking and he's trying to stump me with songs that I told him how hard it was for me to learn. He goes, 'You mean such and such title.' I actually had to tell him, 'No, that's not the title of the song. It's this title.' He's testing me; I actually had to tell him no.
“He knew the only way to get the truth out of me was for him to say the wrong title on purpose and for me to go, 'No. It's not that. It's this one.' He was a total gentleman and we had a blast because I gave him the proper respect that he deserved.”