At long last, prog rockers Goblin tour U.S. 

click to enlarge Goblin
  • courtesy photo
  • Italy’s Goblin — known for work with horror-film master Dario Argento in the 1970s — appears locally in its first North American tour this weekend.
Maurizio Guarini thought his gorehound days were behind him — until he got an unexpected phone call from original Goblin guitarist Massimo Morante in 2003 asking if he wanted to regroup for some sinister recording, and later, in 2009, to tour. The keyboardist had joined the Italian prog-rock outfit as it completed work on the soundtrack for Dario Argento’s 1975 giallo-school classic “Profundo Rosso” (“Deep Red”), and was there for the even spookier 1977 “Suspiria.” But by 1999, he had moved to Toronto to work as a software designer for video games. Backing the “Live in Roma” album and a new EP, Goblin at last tours in America, four decades on.

How does one add the proper background music to a “Suspiria” scene where someone tumbles into a room full of razor wire? Ah! The scene with the wires! You know, sometimes you just have to go by your first impression. And keep in mind, at that time there were not so many studio-type bands who could invent something unusual. So we would play it by instinct and try and make something that would make audiences feel the way the director wanted. At the beginning, we actually wrote a lot of the music before seeing any scenes. Dario had just asked us to come up with something unique for the very first “Suspiria” scene, after the lullaby.

Why move to Canada? I did some software for a Canadian company, and I had to go to Toronto to meet with these guys. But I really liked the place. And I liked the idea of moving to an unknown city without knowing anybody. So I had a starting point with my work there. And then I started up being a musician again after I got there.

You have a recent solo album, too — “Creatures From a Drawer”? Yes. After years and years! The title explains that the drawer is where these creatures — the songs — are lying dormant until I released them, like a lot of different souls. Some of it is very Goblinish.

What did you learn from a master like Argento? Dario was so determined, so sure of what he needed, he told me personally that sometimes to achieve a goal, you had to be totally focused and not listen to anybody. So even before seeing a scene, we would listen to his suggestions. And his films might be 40 years old, but they are still creepy.

So what truly frightens you? Well, that [Roman] Polanski movie “The Tenant,” about the third-floor apartment resident. Now that’s something that’s really scary!

IF YOU GO

Goblin

Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $28 to $75

Contact: (888) 929-7849, www.axs.com

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Tom Lanham

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