is a powerhouse amongst drummers,
highly acclaimed for his work with AC/DC, UFO,
caught up with him a few days into
his current tour with the hard-rockin
to talk about the 'pain and suffering' of being
'on the road'!
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 the
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
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
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 first discussed?
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!
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?
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 favourite
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
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
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. R.I.P.
What 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 wimpering ''HELPPPPP.....''
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 about?
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.
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
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
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 Utd!
Now 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
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?
on the link on the right
to find out if Rhino Bucket will
be coming to a town near you!
© Get Ready To Roll - 16th September 2007