Interview: Claudio Simonetti (Goblin)

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HIT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: September 2014. We had the great honour to talk with a very talented person: Claudio Simonetti. He was the keyboard player of Goblin, a legendary Italian progressive rock band. Goblin are famous for their soundtracks for Dario Argento’s films “Profondo Rosso” (1975) and “Suspiria” (1977) and George A. Romero’s film “Dawn of the Dead” (“Zombi”), released in 1978. Currently he’s active with Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin. Read below the very interesting things he told us:


What are the current plans of Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin? You have three gigs until early November and you will play at the Roadburn Festival in April 2015.

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I was invited this year to play at the Roadburn Festival by Mikael Akerfeldt who plays in Opeth, and he asked my band, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin to play a concert and it was great. It was a great festival with a great audience. And then the same festival invited me to play next year, in April, again but not a concert. We will play the music we did for the films: George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” and Dario Argento’s “Suspiria”. They asked the band not to play a concert, but to play the scores.


Did you have fun playing at the Roadburn Festival last April?

Yes, I enjoyed it a lot. It was a big festival with a lot of people.


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How much room for experimentation do you have when you play the Goblin soundtracks live?

Actually, when we play the scores, we play exactly the same music that was in the film. Maybe, we play it a little more heavy. We try to play exactly the same. We play the same instruments too. We play the Greek bouzouki in “Suspiria”.


How did you first come in contact with Dario Argento?

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We were very lucky. We were very young when we started working with Dario Argento. When I did “Profondo Rosso”, our first score, I was 22 years old. Dario Argento was looking for a band to play in his films. He had called bands like Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Our producer, Carlo Bixio, was also a publisher of the soundtracks of Dario Argento. We were very fortunate that when we were working on the Cherry Five album, he said to Dario: “Listen to this band I work with” and Dario said: “Yes”. He listened to our album and he loved our music. It was a great thing for us, because we were very young then and he was a very famous director. We first met Dario Argento in 1974, now it’s 40 years.


Did you expect that the soundtrack for “Profondo Rosso” (1975) would sell more than 3 million copies?

No, never (laughs). It was unbelievable. I never believed that after 40 years people will know very well the music of “Profondo Rosso”. When we play concerts, the audience, the young people, they know very well our music. I don’t know why and how.


Is it true that Dario Argento approached Pink Floyd to write the music for “Profondo Rosso”?

I don’t know exactly if he called Pink Floyd. For sure, I know that he contacted with Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. He called them but it never happened to write the music for “Profondo Rosso”. I don’t know if Dario contacted Pink Floyd too.


Are you proud of your work on “Suspiria” (1977) soundtrack? For many people, this is the best Goblin album!

Oh, yes! For sure, this is the masterpiece of Goblin. We had very exotic sounds. We wrote a lot of experimental music. We had instruments like tabla and bouzouki. We stayed for almost a month in the studio for “Suspiria”. We are very proud of this album.


Why Goblin had so many line-up changes?

Oh, I don’t know. Like many other bands, the original members of Goblin broke up in 1978. Then, I had my own career and we reunited in 1982 for Dario Argento’s film, “Tenebrae”. Goblin had a lot of line-up changes, but I don’t know why this happened. It’s like a divorce with a wife. This has finished. Now, I have my own personal line-up.


What really happened with the producer of Yes, Eddy Offord? You met him in London when the band’s name was Oliver.

We met Eddy Offord in 1974. I had just started to play with guitar player, Massimo Morante. With our record producer, Giancarlo Sorbello, we had recorded a demo. Then, we went to London and we met Eddy Offord and we were looking for an English producer for us to record the Oliver album. And we met Offord at Advision Studios and we had a great time. He loved our music but of course he couldn’t work with us as producer. He had a tour to do with Yes. That’s why we didn’t work with Eddy Offord. We came back to Italy, we did a record with the band Oliver and then we worked on Dario Argento’s films.


Tell us a few words about your meeting with Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) at Roadburn Festival 2014? He’s a huge Goblin fan!

Yes, I always knew that he was a fan of Goblin. Now, the new album of Opeth, has a song called “Goblin”. He wrote me directly and he told me that he is a huge fan of Goblin and he always loved the band. So, he wrote me directly and he asked me to play at the Roadburn Festival. I said “yes” and he a very kind person. It was very nice to share the same stage with Opeth.


You collaborated with director Lucio Fulci in the film “Conquest” (1983). Was Lucio Fulci an easy-going person to work with?

No, I never met Lucio Fulci. When I was called to write the music for “Conquest”, he was no longer in the production, because he had problems with the producer. I worked with the editor. I never met him.


How did it happen to work with Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) on “The Mother of Tears” soundtrack (2007)?

When I wrote the music of the title track for “The Mother of Tears”, I wanted to have a voice like Dani Filth’s. I like Cradle of Filth, so when I recorded the demo, I imitated the voice of Dani Filth. After I finished the demo, I had a chance to contact directly Dani Filth and he was very happy to do it because he is a very big fan of Dario Argento. I sent him by email the demo and he loved it and he did the vocals and wrote the vocals lines for the film. But I met Dani Flith personally, one year and a half later when he played in Rome. So, I had a chance to meet him because previously we contacted by email.


Do you like today your Italo-disco works in the ‘80s?

Yes, I love it.  I had a great time. I did this kind of music for about 6 years.


Is there any director you would like to work with for a soundtrack?

I don’t know. Maybe with the great horror film director, John Carpenter (laughs). And with David Lynch too.


Is Keith Emerson your biggest musical influence?

Yes, he’s one of my favourite musical players of course. I met Keith Emerson two times when he came to Rome. I also like Brian Auger. I love both of them. But they are different players. Brian Auger is a more jazz player. I also love many other old players like Rick Wakeman (Yes) and Tony Banks (Genesis).


Did you like the music of other Italian progressive rock bands like Premiata Forneria Marconi and Biglietto per l’ Inferno?

Yes, I like a lot Premiata, but I also had the chance to play with them two times: one in Japan and one in Italy. We played in Tokyo and the concert was organized by the wife of Premiata’s drummer (ed: Franz Di Cioccio). And we played one show in Italy too. I like the music of Premiata.


Are you happy with the triumphant return of the vinyl?

I like it. I love vinyls. I am very happy because we sell many vinyls in our concerts. More than we used to do in the past.


Did you play any concerts with famous bands in the ‘70s. For example, Van der Graaf Generator were very popular in Italy.

Yes, it’s nice to say this, because I played with Van der Graaf Generator before I was in Goblin. I had another band called Il Ritratto Di Dorian Gray. I played as support to them at the Piper Club in Rome in 1971. It’s the most famous club and many bands played there. I played there as support. But the funny thing is that three years ago, I played in Japan with Goblin and Van der Graaf Generator were our support! We played with them in Japan, it was a nice show, but we were the headliners. Van der Graaf Generator were the support.


How possible is to play in Greece with Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin?

I don’t know. I would be very happy to play in Greece.


Have you ever got an offer to play in Greece?

I’m trying to organize some things, right now.


So, is it possible to play here?!

Yes, yes. Of course.


I’m very happy!! Which month?

I don’t know.


A huge “THANK YOU” to Claudio Simonetti for his time. Also, I would like to thank Michele Ricciardi and Dalila Orefice for their valuable help.

Official Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin website:

Official Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin Facebook page:

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