Carmine Appice Stick It!


Submitted by Sandy Graham

As drummer for Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice set the grooves for the groundbreaking band’s 1967 psychedelic debut, inadvertently inventing Stoner Rock in the process. The Fudge had no precedent. The band was totally unique. No rock group, up until that point, had ever so lugubriously s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out well-known pop tunes like the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and “Ticket To Ride,” Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” Sonny & Cher’s “Bang Bang” Rod Argent’s “She’s Not There” and, most famously, The Supremes’ Motown classic “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” to such hippie heights. With Mark Stein’s mysterioso wash of Grand Guignol keyboard theatrics, Tim Bogert’s amazing and trippy bass runs, and guitarist Vince Martell’s era-happy soloing, Appice boomed like no other drummer in rock history. Their debut album still stands today as a Hard Rock classic. Vanilla Fudge went on to tour with Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and even had Led Zeppelin as an opening act.

Post-Fudge, Bogert and Appice formed Cactus (seen as an influence on King’s X and Van Halen). Post-Cactus, the rhythm section found Grammy-winning Guitar Hero Jeff Beck to form the first supergroup: Beck, Bogert & Appice (BBA).

Cashbox caught up with Carmine at his home, and the voice on the other end of the phone sounded like a 20 year old. His enthusiasm and love of music shone through, and words tumbled out of his mouth as fast as his percussion rhythms on drums.  A truly fascinating musician but also a remarkably sharp businessman. He is a reflective person, and grateful and humble for the music career he has had to date. 

“I was brought up in an Italian family, my mother Mary was always singing. I was influenced by my cousin who played drums. Music was a major part of our household. When I was about 11 years old I was listening to Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. I was hooked.” And he never looked back. Music was his life and life was his music. 

He also talked of his ‘duel life’ as a teenager. “During the day I was a Catholic school boy and at night we were causing mischief and running from the cops. If my parents had known what I was up to there would have been hell to pay. But in retrospect we were just normal kids getting into the usual trouble.”

By the time he was twelve years old, around the 6th Grade, Carmine was playing in the school orchestra. Heavily influenced by that he took Classical training, studying drums and became head of percussion drum section. “Anything I could bang or make noise with I played. Cymbals, triangle, drums. It also gave me the experience to learn to read music. You might not think that would serve me well in my future rock world but it did. My mentor was my drum teacher who was a huge influence on me. He was the one who inspired me to major in music.”

One of the premier showmen in rock, Appice became known worldwide for his astonishing live performances, in addition to becoming a highly sought-after session drummer, recording with countless artists throughout his career. In ’76, he joined Rod Stewart’s band, touring, recording and writing two of Stewart’s biggest hits, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks.” He left Stewart to record his first solo album, Rockers, and tour Japan and North America with an allstar band. . In the early ‘80s, he toured with OZZY Osborne,Ted Nugent.  In the mid ‘80s, he formed King Kobra for two Capitol albums and international touring And in the late 80s, Carmine played on a Pink Floyd record "Momentary Lapse of Reason and formed Blue Murder with Whitesnake’s John Sykes and The Firm’s Tony Franklin. In the early ‘90s, he pounded away soul-style for The Edgar Winter Group.

Carmine Appice Stick It! Book.jpgCarmine Appice Stick It! Book.jpgAs an educator, Carmine was the first to legitimize rock drumming with his landmark book, The Realistic Rock Drum Method, selling over 400,000 copies (now in video format). He was the first Rock Drummer and Rock Musician to conduct instructional clinics and symposiums around the world, a tradition he continues. In appreciation for his universal appeal, Los Angeles was one of four cities that have had “Carmine Appice Day.” In ’91, he was forever immortalized via his induction in cement to the Hollywood’s Rock Walk (next to his idols, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich).

Some of his various accomplishments include being  Inducted into the Guitar Center Rock Walk Of Fame in 1991. In 1995 Guitar Zeus album has Appice producing, writing and playing with guest artist Motley Crue’s Mick Mars, Queen’s Brian May, Ted Nugent, Slash and Jennifer Batten. 1997 was the “Lifetime Achievement” honor from the Los Angeles Music Awards. 1998 brought the opportunity of being in the Chasing Destiny movie in which Carmine appears with Denny Laine of Wings, Roger Daltrey of The Who and Christopher Lloyd. The movie contains five of his co-written songs.

In 1999, with bassist Bogert and legendary Japanese guitarist Char, he forms Char, Bogert & Appice (CBA) for nine sold-out Japanese shows including a historic Christmas Day Budokan concert. 2000 Appice appeared on VH-1’s Rockshow along with Plant & Page, Def Leppard and Kid Rock. Also in the year 2000 Modern Drummer presented him with its “Editor’s Achievement Award.”

In 2001 with bassist Bogert, he teamed up with Rick Derringer for Derringer, Bogert, and Appice (DBA). In 2002 The Ultimate Realistic Rock Drum Method was published by Warner Brothers.

2004 was a very good year with Sabian Cymbals presenting Carmine another “Lifetime Achievement Award” and he he also released the “It Takes a Lot Of Balls’ album with Pat Travers, and in 2005 two album releases; one live/one studio, are released: Travers & Appice Live Featuring TM Stevens At The House Of Blues (Escapi), and Bazooka (Cleopatra).

2005 Vanilla Fudge would reunite to rock the house during a taping of VH1-Classic’s Decades. Summer tour with the Doors which led to Carmine producing a Vanilla Fudge CD in 2006 of Led Zepplin songs.

2007 Carmine receives a Lifetime Achievement award from the KOSA Drum Festival, 2008 Carmine creates CARMINE APPICE'S SLAMM a new theatrical ROCK DRUM SPECTACULAR, Carmine and Slamm record and new song and Video for ESPN NASCAR that was shown each week on ESPN2 Nascar races. Pete Mitchell of BBC radio 2 broadcast THE CARMINE APPICE STORY to an audience of 6 million people across the UK.

2008 Realistic rock book and Dvd receive awards for readers polls for both DRUM magazine and MODERN DRUMMER Magzine and Carmine signs a new drum company DDRUM and becomes the Educational Adviser.

2009 DDRUM Releases first of Carmine signature products including ES Set,Classic 70s kit, Shade cymbal and Brass signature snare and there was the  release of Realistic Rock for kids DVD.2010 Micheal Schecker tours and the Guitar Center legends Award and 2011 brought about a tour of South America with MSG.

2011 Recording with Spanish guitarist Javier Vargus and tour ,recording new KING KOBRA CD and as well that year was the new book release on Hudson Music of Realistic Drum Fills-Replacements and at the same Carmine began writing his new auto-biography. At the same time he started Drum Wars with his brother Vinny, drawing large crowds at their performances.  Vanilla Fudge also did a farewell tour to sell out crowds all over the USA, landing them on appearance on the Jimmy Fallon Show and Carmine appeared on VH! Classics THAT METAL SHOW.

2011 had many accomplishments and mentions, a major switch to Istanbul Mehmet cymbals, he received a special award for charity work with the station fire victims-Providence RI, received the DRUM ICON AWARD -Vegas Rock Awards, Touring with Spanish Guitar Hereo-Javiar Vargas, Istanbul Mehmet cymbals gets ready the Carmine Realistic Rock cymbal line, Carmine Appice Classics is released on Fuel records, Istanbul Mehmet cymbals first ever drum clinics in Izmir and Istanbul Turkey with Carmine.

In 2012, Carmine started writing his autobiography  for VH1 Books along with writer Ian Gittins who also wrote the Nikki Sixx boo"The Heroine Diaries".

In 2013, he received BONZO BASH LEGEND award, filmed 2 episodes of THAT METAL SHOW  VH1 Classic TV drumming into commercials  air throughout June 2013, he appeared in movie BEWARE OF MR. BAKER and in 2014  he was inducted into the Modern Drummer  Hall Of Fame.

Still continuing to ‘get out there’ in 2015, he  recorded a new Cactus Cd Black Dawn (for 2016 release) In June, he  signed a  new Book Deal woth Chicago Review Press USA Omibus Press UK , that Summer inducted into the Classic Drummer magazine HALL Of FAME,  and became part of the STICK IT to Breast cancer charity.

When asked how he felt about all the amazing accomplishments Carmine said, ‘I was heavily influenced by my Dad, who taught me the value of hard work. If you want to to something you have to work for it. He had tremendous work ethics and that was something I grew up. He told me to chose what I want to do and then it do it wisely. I think it helped me to stay balanced with all the crazy times I had in the rock ‘n’ roll world.” And crazy times indeed.

Carmine Appice has a new book called ‘Stick It!’ which is chock full of some amazing stories, some shocking, some hugely entertaining and all of them are true. I won’t fill you in on it because you should buy the book, but there are some great anecdotes on Sharon Osbourne, Rod Stewart, and the royalty of rock members. Some inside and intimate views of the world of the psychedelic sixties, the tours, the groupies, the drugs. All throughout the book you are given the chance to share ‘the best seat in the house’ from Carmine’s spot behind the drum kit.

He is still touring and is currently out there with The Platinum Rock All Stars, a combination of the ‘best of the best’ super band.

As a true artist, Carmine stretches the limits of his talents, always pursuing new experiences with a broad spectrum of musicians. His high standards have earned him the respect of the world’s most admired performers as well as captivating the loyalty of legions of fans. He has reshaped the path of music education, redesigned the very instrument he plays, and recreates excitement with every performance.

With decades of the music business experiences behind him, it doesn’t look like he is slowing down anytime soon. “I love this business of music. I have about 100 ideas a minute going on in my thoughts. I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon but I am now happy in the life I have now. I have a wonderful woman, a wonderful career and a wonderful life. What more could a man want? I get to do what I want every day of my life. And that my friends is rock ‘n’ roll!’

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