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Italian prog-horror soundtrack masters Claudio Simonetti's Goblin return to the Castro

SAN FRANCISCO -- Best known for their haunting '70s soundtracks used in the films of gory giallo director Dario Argento, progressive-rock outfit Claudio Simonetti's Goblin provides the live score for the '80s Italian horror cult favorite Demons at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on Oct. 27th.

Initially working under the monikers Oliver and Cherry Five after being founded by guitarist Massimo Morante and keyboardist Claudio Simonetti in 1972, the band got its start emulating the bombastic sounds of British bands Yes, King Crimson and Genesis. At one point while visiting England, noted Yes producer Eddie Offord heard their early demos and actually expressed interest in the group, but nothing came of it.

GOBLIN "PROFONDO ROSSO" (DEEP RED) on Italian tv by Brian Horrorwitz / Official Trash Palace on YouTube

Goblin didn't truly take flight until it was commissioned to score director Dario Argento's 1975 bloody masterwork Profondo Rosso (aka Deep Red). The atmospheric menace of the soundtrack — especially keyboardist Simonetti's syncopated synth melody and gothic church organ on the indelible title theme — established Goblin as Argento's go-to collaborators on films that would follow including the equally groundbreaking SuspiriaTenebre and Phenomena.

The notoriety of the band's work with Argento also led the band to connecting with George A. Romero on his famed 1978 zombie apocalypse sequel Dawn of the Dead. While infighting between members would hampered the band as the '80s progressed, its mix of foreboding ambiance, sinewy Lalo Schifrin-style jazz-funk, and creepy wordless vocals has found an audience among record collectors and horror-film fans in the decades since.

Claudio Simonetti's Goblin - Suspiria - Live @ NDF 3 2018 by Heavy-D on YouTube

After over two decades apart, the Goblin principles reunited to work with Argento on his 2001 film Non Ho Sonno only to disband for much of the 2000s. A reunited lineup featuring Simonetti, Morante, and keyboard player Maurizio Guarini came together to perform Goblin's uneasy-listening hits on the band's first-ever U.S. tour in 2013, but even the rave reviews and packed houses of that successful jaunt could not keep the members together. Simonettii departed to found his own splinter version of the group while Morante brought on original members Fabio Pignatelli on bass and Agostino Marangolo on drums to fill out his line-up of Goblin.

Claudio Simonetti live on piano at MEI - Faenza (RA) October, 3 2020 by Claudio Simonetti's Goblin on YouTube

In 2019, the keyboard virtuoso and songwriter brought his group to the U.S. for a string of dates that kicked off with an appearance at the Days of Darkness Festival in Baltimore and capitalized on a resurgence of interest surrounding director Luca Guadagnino's remake of Suspiria that featured a new soundtrack by Radiohead's Thom Yorke. The group also released an album of new material that year entitled The Devil Is Back. Simonetti has remained active with his version of the band, touring the U.S. multiple times on both sides of the COVID-forced hiatus on live concerts as well as issuing new 45th anniversary editions of the soundtracks to Suspiria and Profundo Rosso. Sadly, the possibility of a reconciliation with the other principle original members of Goblin ended last year with the passing of Morante .

Claudio Simonetti's Goblin returns to the Bay Area with the current line-up featuring guitarist Daniele Amador, bassist Cecilia Nappo and drummer Frederico Maragoni, performing a live score for a screening of the Argento-produced, Lamberto Brava directed 1985 cult Italian horror favorite Demons at the Castro Theatre Friday night along with an additional second set of Goblin classics. The band also appears at Cafe Colonial in Sacramento on Thursday

Claudio Simonetti's Goblin
Friday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m. $29.50-$69.50
Castro Theatre

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