Having composed and performed the haunting soundtracks for some of the most iconic and influential horror films of the 1970s and 1980s, Italian rockers Goblin are touring the United States for the very first time this month, stopping at the Warfield on October 20, just in time for Halloween.
Creating scores that utilized state-of-the-art synthesizers and a foundation in progressive rock, Goblin brought life to an all new and sinister style of horror film soundtrack, melding a variety of styles and sounds into their pieces, much like a mad scientist from the monster movies of old might have done.
Goblin’s laboratory was not a cobweb-draped castle dungeon, however, it was the modern recording studio where they layered their creepy compositions that would help set the terrifying tone for legendary cult films such as “Deep Red,” “Tenebre,” and “Suspiria,” all directed by Italian horror master Dario Argento.
The band, which has had several incarnations over the years, and its individual members also contributed music for many other movies including George Romero’s 1978 classic “Dawn of The Dead.” The U.S. version used three of their tracks, while Argento’s European cut of the film—released as “Zombi”—used Goblin’s material much more extensively.
More than three decades after the release of their most well-known music, the members of Goblin have found themselves to be more popular than ever, and the key musicians behind the band have reunited for their first trek across the United States.
“It happened sort of randomly,” says Goblin keyboardist and composer Maurizio Guarini. “I did a soundtrack for a new movie called ‘The Profane Exhibit,’ which is being presented at a screening at the end of October in Austin, and the organizer told me, ‘Why don’t you play ‘Suspiria’ live?’ I said sure, and I contacted the others and we announced it on the internet.”
“Agents started contacting us asking if we were interested in doing a tour in the U.S., and of course we were—nobody had ever offered that before, so it was sort of a series of coincidences that brought this about,” he says. “We are so very happy that this happened, so finally we are here.”
Goblin began their tour earlier this month on the East Coast, and the band has been extremely busy going from show to show, meeting fans, and conducting interviews—in fact, Guarini was in the back of a cab in New York when he took the phone call for this article.
“I think the shows have been going incredibly well, most of them have been sold out and there has been an incredible energy exchange between ourselves and the audience,” he says. “The age range of the audience is so wide, from our age to 20 year olds that know our songs—we are so happy to see this extended popularity that we have, I think we really cannot ask more than this.”
“I think it is mostly due to social networks, the internet, YouTube; people from younger generations became aware of what we were doing years and years ago, and it has become more popular,” Guarini says.
He says fans can expect to hear a mix of material on this tour—with the first part of the show concentrating on Goblin’s earlier progressive rock productions, such as their album “Roller,” while the second half promises to feature their famous scores, which will be accompanied by visuals and movie footage.
A special new vinyl tour EP will be available for fans to buy at the concerts, featuring new recordings of classic tracks “Profondo Rosso,” “Roller,” “Suspiria,” and “Tenebre.”
“We decided to re-record the songs, to make fresh versions—they are mostly the same arrangements,” Guarini says. “We didn’t change much, but there are lots of people that don’t have our albums. This one includes four of I think the most significant songs for our career.”
If You Go:
With Secret Chiefs 3 and DJ Omar Perez
Sunday, October 20
8 p.m., $28-$65
982 Market St., SF