Simon - you've recently teamed up with Rhino
Bucket again, after a gap of a few years.
How did this come about, and who's currently in
I have kept in touch with Georg over the years
- he's a big Man Utd fan like myself. With time
off from Dio at the moment, he asked me if I wanted
to do some shows with them, so I agreed. The line-up
is Georg Dolivo on lead vocals and guitar, Brian
Forsythe on lead guitar and vocals, Reeve Downes
on bass and vocals, and myself on drums.
played on the Rhino Bucket album Pain back in
1994 and this has just been re-issued with bonus
tracks under the new title Pain And Suffering.
Which songs from this cd are in the setlist, and
how does it feel being back in the rhino saddle?
the set at the moment is 'I Was Told', and 'Bird
On A Wire', but we will probrably add some other
tracks as the tour progresses. It feels good to
be doing these songs again. When 'Pain' was first
released we didn't tour it very much for one reason
or another - just California and Texas.
have the Rhino Bucket shows been going so far?
They've been great! We've done just three so far
and there are another twenty or so to go, with
more being added.
USA dates stretch into November. Any plans for
a UK/European tour, or a new album?
No plans at the moment to tour in Europe, but
there might be some dates in Australia with The
Angels. And we may be recording some of the shows
for a live album, which should be good - Rhino
Bucket are a great live band!
currently getting a long break from Dio, whilst
Ronnie goes out on the road with Heaven And Hell.
How did you feel about that, when the idea was
I felt fine about the idea, really - the thought
of those musicians being on the same stage again
after all the years, well, it had to be done!
You see I look at it from a fan's point of view,
and there are a lot of fans who never got to see
it first time round, so as far as I'm concerned
it's all good!
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
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.
back to earlier times.... AC/DC - what are your
of good memories with AC/DC. Brian 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.
And even earlier.... how did you get started in
the music business in the first place?
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.
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?
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.
are your top three musical heroes - and why?
- 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 rocknroll. 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 rocknroll
bands in the world before! Anyhow Malcom (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.
is the proudest moment in your career?
are three actually. When I was in AC/DC my family
came to see the show at Castle Donington. All
my hard slog had finally paid off and I'll never
forget that day... marvellous. Also playing six
nights in Chicago with UFO... and thirdly, Ronnie
receiving his lifetime acheivement award at Wacken
festival - we stood there on the stage, with 40,000
fans singing Dio. A very proud moment for us all!
has been your most Spinal Tap moment on the road?
has been the odd funny moment, [the guilty shall
remain nameless!]. Picture this if you will...
a very sick, flu-ridden bassplayer somewhere in
Scandinavia, laying down resting on the couch
before the gig, when suddenly all hell breaks
loose, the singer and the guitarist start screaming
at each other, face to face, full on, fists are
about to fly. The bassplayer pulls himself up
off the couch saying 'C,mon guys, stop it, c,mon
guys....' Totally ignored, he hobbles back to
the couch, coughing and sniffling, sits down,
whereupon the couch collapses and swallows him
up, and all we can see is a pair of legs sticking
out - and all we can hear is a little voice weakly
about being on the road with Simon Wright, that
brings us neatly to your dvd, which is called....
On The Road with Simon Wright. What's that all
dvd was filmed in 2004 with Dio on the Scorpions/Deep
Purple tour in the US. It's an overview of what
it's like being on the road. There's technical
stuff and some not-so-technical stuff, haha. I
answer some often-asked questions, my drum-tech
Scott gives you a guided tour of my drum-kit and
also answers questions. It turned out well, I
think! I didn't want it to be a serious drum dvd,
so it's light-hearted but informative as well.
You can order it from my MySpace
page. I hope you like it!
I first met you, you didn't know one end of a
computer from the other. And now you have your
own MySpace page which you contribute to with
bulletins, blogs and butterflies. What happened???
I am really enjoying my time now on the
old computer. I finally crawled out of the dark
ages of pencils and paper, candles, abacuses etc...
I guess I just got hip, hahaha! I'm not too keen
on the butterflies or the sparkling hamsters though!
we already mentioned, Manchester United Football
Club is quite important to you. Do you get to
see many of their matches? What was the best match
you saw them play? And what are their chances
in Europe with the 2007/2008 squad?
I love watching Man Utd! I've been a fan since
I was a kid, used to have season tickets back
in the day. Lost track for a couple of years though
when I moved to the USA in 1988. There is a channel
from Canada that I watch most of the games on
called Fox Soccer Channel which is like a lifeline
for me! The best games were when they did the
treble - outstanding achievement! What a team!
They were a little shaky at the start of this
season, with new players needing to find their
feet, but the more games they play they should
get stronger for the Champions League. Glory Man
that you're based in LA, how much of the Mancunian
Simon Wright is still there? Apart from being
able to go to Man Utd games, what other things
do you miss about Manchester?
though I've lived in the US for about 20 years
now, I still feel Mancunian. It's my heritage.
I do miss the obvious things - my family, the
pubs, great fish n chips, haha. I don't miss the
bad weather, high prices, dog shit everywhere
and the unemployment though! I guess every city
and country has its problems. Every time I get
back to Manchester I'm amazed at the changes.
It's a fantastic city with great people and a
brilliant football team - sorry, I'm talking about
Man Utd again! Mine's a pint of John Smith's -
all the best - cheers!
What would you like to be
doing in five years time?