“Goblin is a very weird and uncommon band, in my opinion, even being a part of it.”
Maurizio Guarini is right: Goblin is a weird band. They are the soundtrack to three generations of nightmares, forty years of terror, and countless sleepless nights. Since their first collaboration with Italian horror auteur Dario Argento on the terrifying Profondo Rosso (released in the U.S. as Deep Red and the reason we’re still afraid to close our eyes with a doll in the room) Goblin have been synonymous with the greatest era in horror cinema.
Their uncommon approach to progressive rock—atmospheric, intense, with a jazz-like sense of freedom and symphonic approach to scope—has defined the way we fear the mise-en-scene.
“At that time we had to deal with, how you say, transformational acoustic instruments. Inventing sound effects because at that time, in the ’70s, there were not so many computer synthesizers that were able to do anything,” says Guarini, on the phone from Toronto where Goblin is rehearsing for their upcoming first-ever North American tour, which includes this Tuesday’s sold-out show at The Sinclair.
Goblin’s experimentalism and inventiveness helped grow the band’s legend long after the film’s cinematic runs, passing their analog existence on VHS through the DVD and Blu-Ray era and into the age of streaming ubiquity. The funky percussion and ominous synth swells of “Zombi” from the George Romero capitalist-apocalypse classic Dawn of The Dead; the ominous, childlike chimes and proto-black metal chants of “Suspiria” from Argento’s bone-chilling film of the same name; the funky, freaky vocoder funk of “Tenebre,”
these have all become classic, influencing the worlds of dance, metal, hip-hop and more with astounding sound design and challenging arrangements.
“We’ve been a dormant band, oh, since the mid-’80s. People have got to know our work from the ’70s through the internet, YouTube. Maybe it’s not the same people [from before], but they found our stuff,” says Guarini.
“We never imagined twenty years ago that today we would be so popular. We feel gifted about this happening for us. We never planned, never had an idea of this happening before.”
For fans, it is just as unexpected: while Goblin have been touring other continents for the last half-decade, few expected them to ever arrive on these shores. We can all thank Pantera/Down singer Phil Anselmo for inviting Goblin to perform at his Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin. Once the Housecore Show was on the agenda, fans at The Windish Agency (home to some of the most popular bands in independent music) jumped in to propose a full-fledged tour and the first such American outing in Goblin’s history. And though there maybe a forty year-gap between the band’s genesis and its current excursion, onstage it’s like not a moment has lapsed.
“These musicians have some sort of connection when we play, and we found ourselves [playing] like we had just played the day before, even if we were [apart] for over thirty years. It’s just another demonstration that the music is timeless.”
And while the music may be timeless, it is not encased in amber: the band’s current success has the gears turning, and has them contemplating the future and looking toward a new creative destiny.
“Now that we are ready to show what we have done in the past forty years to all the world, [like] we already did in Europe, Japan and Australia, and now the U.S.,” says Guarini, “it will be time to do something new.”
W/ SECRET CHEFS 3