Ralph Santolla (born December 8, 1967) is an Italian-American metal guitarist. He has played in many bands in the past, most recently Deicide, but also including Eyewitness, Death (he never recorded any of their albums, but toured with them in 1993 and appeared in "The Philosopher" video), Millenium, Iced Earth, and the Sebastian Bach band. As of June 3, 2007, it was announced that Santolla would replace Allen West in Obituary for their album Xecutioner's Return. Ralph is very proud of his Italian heritage and he plays guitars by Jackson and Ibanez with the Italian flag painted on them. He has recently been playing Jackson Guitars, though he has also been associated with ESP Guitars, Dean Guitars and many others. He has also been using Randall Amplifiers. He is well known for his shred guitar playing style.
At a 2006 Deicide gig in Laredo, Texas that got out of control, Ralph Santolla was arrested for allegedly throwing a Red Bull can at an officer after Deicide was forced to stop playing. Santolla has always avidly proclaimed his innocence and stated that the allegations were wholesale created by the Laredo Police Department, which has been corroborated by many eyewitnesses on the scene. Charges were never filed and in fact the Webb County, Texas, District Attorney has confirmed and certified that the matter will not be prosecuted due to lack of evidence.
Santolla is a practicing Roman Catholic, which has caused controversy with Deicide fans, many of whom are against Christianity and are aware of frontman Glen Benton's open Satanism. Many were surprised that Benton even let Santolla join the band, due to his frequent criticism of the religion. However, Ralph stated that he is "not going to pretend to be some dark and evil person just so people think I'm metal," and also stated that he respects Benton, despite differences in their religion and beliefs, for not being afraid to be true to himself. In a recent interview on Australian radio, Benton stated that he had no problems working with Santolla because of his religion, saying, "Ralph's what I like to call a part-timer... I mean, his favourite song on the new album is "Death to Jesus".
He has frequently talked about starting his own band with Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan, both of whom he worked with in Death. He is currently working on a new solo instrumental album, titled Requiem for Hope. This is his second solo album, his first was Shaolin Monks in the Temple of Metal. On May 24, 2007, Santolla left Deicide for reason not publicly known, but many believe that numerous death threats involving his religious beliefs, which greatly contradicted that of Deicide frontman Glen Benton. Recently though, Santolla released statements citing that it is more of a business issue than a religious one, as he claims to want to "get as far away from Earache Records as possible when the new album is done." Steve Asheim said in a recent interview that Ralph left because Deicide was not touring much. He is also a Republican.
Also in 2007, Santolla was called in to fill the spot on Obituary's newest album Xecutioner's Return and the subsequent Left To Die EP, replacing Allen West after he was incarcerated until 2008. It is unknown if Santolla will stay with Obituary after West returns to the band. In 2010 he rejoined Deicide. In 2011, he departed Deicide.
Santolla is also a guitar instructor around Tampa. His students have included Nocturnus guitarist Mike Davis and Order of Ennead`s John Li.
He also plays guitar on Deathembers debut album "Going Postal" track 9 " Hailing Down"
As of 2013 Ralph Santolla became member of thrash metal band Toxik.