Craig Goldy says that performing with a hologram of Ronnie James Dio is a "very surreal" and "heart-wrenching" experience.
Goldy joined DIO during the "Sacred Heart" tour in 1986 after original guitarist Vivian Campbell was fired from the band following a contentious business disagreement with the singer and Ronnie's management.
For the past several years, Goldy has played sporadic shows with DIO DISCIPLES, which is made up of former members of DIO, along with a rotating lineup of singers, including former JUDAS PRIEST frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens.
Billed as a "celebration of the music and legacy of the greatest singer in the world, Ronnie James Dio," DIO DISCIPLES has just completed the first European leg of a world tour during which it is fronted by Ronnie's hologram for select songs.
Speaking to Classic Rock Revisited, Craig stated that playing shows with the Dio hologram is "very surreal," explaining that he finds it "both heart-wrenching and at home performing to the sound of his voice. The hologram is really more of a grand gesture on the part of [Ronnie's wife and manager] Wendy Dio to the fans and the new generation that is getting to know him for the very first time," he said. "Watching those young faces see, basically, in their minds and in their eyes, PlayStation 4 come alive, and to hear it with a live rock band, they are just mesmerized. And that can often be rewarding at times."
When asked if he thinks hologram performances are the future of classic rock and classic metal, Craig said: "I'm hoping that the future of classic rock and classic metal will be what I'm trying to do with the album I'm working on now" — apparently referring to his recently announced DREAM CHILD project — "and that holograms will be for those who are missed so badly by those fans around the globe… that a hologram is the future for that particular scenario."
Craig also addressed the "cash-grab" accusations leveled at the "Dio Returns" organizers and musicians, with some fans thinking the performance didn't live up to the real thing or saying that it was just plain creepy. "Quite frankly, I have done so much of [defending the hologram], and it's literally all over the Internet," he said. "I am done trying to convince people where the heart of this is. If they don't know my stance and the true heart behind this by now, they never will. I would only be repeating myself if I fall for this again."
Owens said in a recent interview that Wendy Dio, who is also a member of the Eyellusion team, "spent a fortune" creating the Ronnie James Dio hologram and ultimately just "wants to please the fans." Goldy also disputed the assertion that he was doing the "Dio Returns" tour as a way of "cashing in," explaining that he is "always out of pocket on these things."
In 2018, "Dio Returns: The World Tour" will make stops throughout Scandinavia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, United States, Venezuela and other countries, with many more dates to be announced.
In addition to Goldy, DREAM CHILD features Wayne Findlay (MSG) on guitar and keyboards, Simon Wright (AC/DC, DIO, OPERATION: MINDCRIME) on drums, Rudy Sarzo (QUIET RIOT, OZZY OSBOURNE, WHITESNAKE, DIO) on bass and Diego Valdez (HELKER) on vocals. The band's debut album is tentatively due later in the year via Frontiers Music Srl.