Get Ready To Roll! recently conducted an interview with DIO/ex-AC/DC drummer Simon Wright. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Get Ready To Roll!: In the '90s you toured with UFO for the "Walk On Water" tour, and earlier this year you stood in for Andy Parker yet again, after Andy tried to walk on water and ended up breaking his leg! How did the two UFO tours compare — the first being with Michael Schenker on guitar, and then this recent one with Vinnie Moore?
Simon: Well, first of all, you're talking about two incredible guitarists, with different personalities. In '95/'98 the band had just kinda reformed again, so I think there was more pressure around, for all — but we managed to do some great shows. Michael was outstanding. So was Vinnie this past year. Things seemed a lot more relaxed this time, but still very tight and professional. Vinnie is an exceptional guitar player and a great bloke.
Get Ready To Roll!: Going back to earlier times.... AC/DC — what are your favorite memories?
Simon: Lots of good memories with AC/DC. Brian [Johnson] is the funniest bloke I have ever met. Ten jokes a minute! He would have you crying with laughter. As for the shows, well there were some massive shows that would make your hair stand up. All great memories and I'm proud to have been a part of it.
Get Ready To Roll!: And even earlier.... how did you get started in the music business in the first place?
Simon: I started work in the construction industry and enjoyed some of the work, but I could hear the drums along the motorway calling me in the distance, ha! So off I went, left the job and joined a Manchester band called AIIZ.
Get Ready To Roll!: And how did your career progress from there to playing wth AC/DC and then DIO? Is it true that you answered an ad in Sounds magazine for a drummer?
Simon: I have been asked this question a few times, and yes, that's exactly how I got the job in AC/DC! It's always worth looking in the classified section of your local music paper under "Musicians Wanted." As regards joining DIO, I got to know Ronnie back when we were doing the Monsters Of Rock festivals in the late '80s. I loved his work in RAINBOW, SABBATH, and his own band DIO. What a voice! So powerful, and a brilliant songwriter. My time with AC/DC was coming to an end, and as a drummer I needed to stretch out a bit. I still enjoyed the music, but it was a mutual thing that I move onwards — and onwards I did move, as luck would have it, to start rehearsing and recording for the DIO album "Lock Up The Wolves" — and we've been great friends ever since.
Get Ready To Roll!: Who are your top three musical heroes — and why?
Simon: 1 - Ronnie James Dio. I have worked with a lot of musicians throughout my career, but none has had the same standards and self-belief as Ron. He's smart, savvy, there's no bullshit, he has a relentless work ethic, and he has a wicked sense of humour too. For me, he's the king of rock 'n' roll. He's not a bad singer either. (Did he bribe me to say that? You decide!)
2 - Malcom Young. When I joined AC/DC, I was basically a kid, 18 going on 19 years old. I thought I knew it all. Haha, I didnt have a clue. How could I — I'd never been in one of the biggest rock 'n' roll bands in the world before! Anyhow, Malcolm (who would definitely hate the word "hero") always had time for me to ask what the fuck is going on with this or that. That helped me out a lot... So, thanks mate!
3 - John Bonham. Many things have been said about Mr. Bonham. Why? Because he redefined what drums were about. There were great drummers around, but in "The Song Remains The Same", and in "Dazed And Confused", when they go back into the main riff, after the middle section — there is a note he hits on the bass drum which I have never heard any other drummer get close to. I keep trying to of course! Yes, the late great Mr. John Bonham. R.I.P.
Read the entire interview at Get Ready To Roll!