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In 38 years Goblin has not once toured on American soil.
A progressive-rock outfit best known for its synthesizer-heavy soundtracks to horror movies Dawn of the Dead, Profondo rosso and Suspiria, the Italian group announced this summer that it would be doing its first-ever American tour, featuring founding members Maurizio Guarini and Massimo Morante.
Goblin's origin story is one filled with twists and turns. With a constantly evolving cast since its inception in 1972, the band was initially called the Cherry Five, and released an album on Italian record label Cinevox Record. A short time after its release, the album attracted the attention of the acclaimed horror director Dario Argento, who tapped the young musicians to score the horror classic Profondo rosso (U.S. title: Deep Red). Soon, the newly renamed Goblin produced soundtracks for a vast number of '70s and '80s Italian slashers, finding for itself a comfortable niche even as it endured constant, tumultuous lineup changes.
By 1982 Goblin had effectively disbanded, only partially re-forming to work on the score for Argento's film Tenebrae. It would be eighteen long years before the band was heard from again, thanks to its work on the film Non ho sonno (U.S. title: Sleepless) in 2000. The return of Goblin was met with high praise, and the band was scheduled to do a reunion show which, incidentally, never happened.
Another five years passed and an incarnation of the band known as Back to the Goblin recorded an album with limited Web distribution and a few live performances. From 2010 to 2012 three different incarnations of the band surfaced: New Goblin, Goblin Rebirth and the Goblin Keys, all of which performed live. But none in the United States.
The first leg of Goblin's North American tour was in October. The second leg begins on November 30 and hits St. Louis on Tuesday, December 3, at 2720 Cherokee. In anticipation of the show, we spoke with keyboardist Maurizio Guarini about Goblin's history and the momentous nature of the trip.
You are best known for your work with Dario Argento, scoring films that include, Zombi, Profondo rosso and Suspiria. Were film soundtracks your initial goal?
No doubt that we are best known for our work with soundtracks, especially with Dario, but film soundtracks were not our original goal. Then, some magic happened.
What is your opinion on the state of horror films today? Are there any modern composers in the genre that you enjoy?
Not really. There are very interesting things, but it's more about playing around with stereotypes than trying to research something new.
Goblin has had a revolving lineup of accomplished musicians join, leave and return. How has this constant lineup shift affected the direction of the band?
I think this frequent change of lineups made the sound of Goblin even richer and even more unique. No doubt you can detect differences in style, sounds and musical choices if you compare different lineups, but I think everything is related. You can notice different colors, and maybe some lineup is more rock or more classical, heavier or lighter, but I think our "sound" is always the Goblin sound.
Founding member Claudio Simonetti will not be on the second leg of this tour, but Fabio Pignatelli and Agostino Marangolo are both reuniting with the band instead. Was this planned all along? Or were there scheduling conflicts that caused this shift?
This was already planned before the October tour. Claudio didn't share the same interests as Goblin recently, so we decided to follow different paths. This is great news for us and our fans. The unmistakable sound of the Goblin original rhythm section is back. The December tour will be an incredible experience, and in 2014 we have already planned some new production, now that we are back to the four-fifths of the original lineup.
As a band that started on large analog synthesizers, how do you feel about the shift to digital technology?
In a way, we feel the same as when we were using analog synths. After all, that was the new technology at that time, the one available at that moment. You can't avoid following technology. We always tried to be innovative; technology is going very fast and is always welcome if it allows you to be more creative. Of course, we like to still use analog too, when possible, to re-create our original sounds.
You recently played the Housecore Horror Film Festival, which was put together by Phil Anselmo [Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual]. Was this the catalyst to finally do the full U.S. tour, or was the tour already being planned prior to the invite?
Everything has started from there. Phil, together with Corey Mitchell, invited us initially to play Suspiria live. Actually, the initial invitation was just directed to me and then was extended to the rest of Goblin. Once the announcement of our arrival in North America was released, we were contacted by one of the major booking agencies in U.S., asking us if we were interested in touring U.S. — for the first time in 38 years!