There’s a famous joke that says: “Do you know how to make Italians shut up? Tie their hands.” Italians talk with their hands. It’s a commonly known fact, like the fact that Germans are punctual and the Spanish like to go out at night. So it really wouldn’t be too much of a stretch if you included the use of some Italian hands holding a pair of drumsticks as an extension of that form of communication. What then would be two pairs of Italian hands both gripping hold of said sticks? Perhaps rhythmically speaking, a whole lot of emphatic gestures. There’s so much to say, and it doesn’t always have to be with your mouth. So it’s really wonderful that two expressive people both from the same Italian family decided to follow very similar paths. The drumming brothers Carmine and Vinny Appice are two of Americas most influential musicians. If you’ve never heard of these guys and all their accomplishments by now I’m sure there’s a hand gesture with your name on it of fatalistic proportions.
Carmine cites his cousin Joey as a big influence on his drumming when he was younger. As an Italian family they were always visiting relatives and Carmine would jump on his older cousins drums. Even before that, as a kid, Carmine would bang on pots and pans until his parents eventually bought him a kid drum set which he promptly destroyed about a month later. Around the age of 11 his parents took him to a music store in Brooklyn, NY and for Birthday/Christmas Carmine received a new $55 drum kit. In his grandparents 3-family home that was shared with cousins and inhabited by Carmine’s family as well, a small stage was set up by flipping over a table and setting it on blocks. There Carmine would practice down in the cellar made of stone walls. There were no big stereos back then to listen to so he would just play. He didn’t know any drum rudiments at the time but his grandfather who was a shoemaker would come down and be banging in one tempo while Carmine banged in another. Carmine would ask his grandfather to play in a different tempo and his grandfather would get pissed off and curse him out in Italian and go back upstairs. After playing on his own for about six months, Carmine eventually would end up taking drum lessons after he saw a guy in a battle of bands contest who was really good. Younger brother Vinny was by no surprise influenced by Carmine who was older by eleven years. Back at the house in Brooklyn Vinny would watch his older brothers band rehearse. That sparked his imagination and he decided he wanted to get into it. Vinny also had a list of other drummers that he stated were an inspiration to play. He listened to drummers such as John Bonham, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell and many more. Vinny also took lessons for three years from the same teacher that Carmine went to. He went through all the drum books and from there he got into bands and was in the right place at the right time which allowed him to be able to start early going on the road. Both brothers agree that lessons help you learn quicker and although Carmine admits to not practicing any longer saying he no longer has the patience for it, Vinny still very much does. Carmine uses the drum pad to warm up from time to time.
Kim Sullivan: Do you come from a musical family background and do you play any other instruments?
Carmine Appice: Not really. My mother liked to sing to the radio. My father played the saxophone. Besides the drums I play the bass guitar, keyboards and write songs.
Vinny Appice: Other than drums, I play a little bit of bass.
Kim: If you had not become a musician what other occupation do you think you may have migrated to?
Carmine: I think I would have been interested in Chemistry. I use to build rockets and they would explode in my backyard. I would make gunpowder in a laboratory that was set up by my drums in the cellar. My older brother Frank graduated with a degree in chemistry and he went on to make and sell spices to huge corporations like Costco.
Vinny: Engineering, I like the way things are built. I love jet engines, so I may have been a mechanic. Really love mechanical things like that.
Carmine: Myself, my brothers Frank and Vinny and my younger sister have all done well in life. I credit my parents for raising us to go after our dreams.
Kim: What are some of your hobbies and other projects?
Carmine: I’m producing and managing a young band by the name of Kodiak. I compare the 18 year old guitar player to someone like Eddie Van Halen. The band has genuine playing skills and signature moves which I greatly appreciate.
I’m also currently writing Christian songs. I suffer from an enlarged vein in my nose that keeps growing and just never know when it could break open. Three years ago I almost died from a rupture while I was in another country. I was being transported about and eventually needed to be air-lifted to a doctor who stated since the packing in my nose had become infected, another 24 hours I would have been dead. During this time I began a spiritual journey and started going to Christian churches. It was here that I connected with the bands that were playing. Upon moving to my current residence in Florida, a friend informed me of a church, so I began to attend and found the most amazing band. All except for they had electronic drums and it was awful. I ended up getting them a kit through the ddrum company that I use. I’m trying to put together a book with the 24 year old church drummer if I can ever lock down the young man to commit. I’ve yet to jump on stage and play but I am working on writing and co-writing three Christian songs with the guitar player and singer who is an awesome vocalist. Even got some of the female vocalists to lend their time and talent to the project as background vocals. My buddy Pat Regan who mixes Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Mr. Big, Kiss and the Vanilla Fudge Orchestra is mixing the second Christian song written by me. I’m trying to ink a deal in Nashville with some Christian labels.
I used to do about 30 to 40 drum clinics a year but those have since faded away.
My landmark book, “The Realistic Rock Drum Method,” sold more than 400,000 copies. I’ve written many more but no longer doing that. I am working on something with Modern Drummer which is an online childrens book of rhythms that I’m interested in putting animation to.
Vinny: Since like 1995 I’ve built computers. I’m Microsoft Certified and I did all the tests for that as well as Cisco Routers. I had a whole business going on back in the early 2000’s. Nowadays I mainly utilize my skills for a couple of people and family members.
Because of my involvement with Black Sabbath and Dio I get booked to do horror conventions and I really enjoy that.
I did a ton of instructional drum clinics back in the day and I enjoy doing those. There aren’t really many of those anymore though but I still feel like they’re a more productive way to learn. A live in your face drummer is better than watching YouTube videos.
I love teaching so I give online drum lessons through Zoom and have a couple of students.
I wrote a drum book a long time ago back in the 80’s called “Rock Steady.” I do some similar things related to drumming techniques on the computer but don’t believe I’ll be doing any other books at this time due to a very busy work schedule. With such easy access to videos being available nowadays people try to learn songs the quick way and don’t bother with books much anymore.
Something I’ve been doing every Tuesday at 4PM PST / 7PM EST is my stream called “Behind The Kit” that can be watched live on the Vinny Appice Official Facebook Page.
Kim: You host a live show on Facebook every Thursday at 7PM EST called Hangin’ & Bangin’ sponsored by Artists On Lockdown. Can you talk a little bit about these Live Events you’re both a part of along with one other host Ron Onesti? Also, how did you get involved with Ron?
Carmine: We host the biggest names in rock music along with Ron Onesti of The Arcada Theatre in Chicago, IL. Myself and Vinny have played Ron’s venues over the years. I did the Rod Stewart thing called “The Rod Experience” where I played with members of the Rod Stewart Group and we played at Ron’s Arcada Theatre. We became part of the Artists on Lockdown network when that started during the Pandemic and Ron was interested in being the host. Artists on Lockdown launched with the mission to provide opportunities to performing artists, musicians, producers, and other industry professionals. Keeping artists in the spotlight when Covid was going on.
Vinny: I’m starting to get really busy so unfortunately I may be missing quite a few of these shows starting soon. This Thursdays episode will actually have Melody Cristea of Liliac co-hosting in my place while I’m on tour. That shows guests will include Lzzy Hale of Halestorm and Tyler Bryant of Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown.
Kim: What’s the status of Drum Wars?
Carmine: Drum Wars will be starting back up on September 19 at The Cutting Room in NYC which happens to be the same place Vinny and I played before Covid started. February of 2020 was the last time we did any live gigs together. We do songs from music such as Mob Rules and Bark at the Moon from my Ozzy days. Also Riot from my time in Blue Murder. During the show I put the snare drum on a guitar strap and turn it to the back and play it with a guitar pick!
Vinny: It’s a high energy show. We have a full band play, we talk about our history and we play material from both of our lengthy careers. For instance I do Holy Diver and We Rock from Dio. Myself together with Carmine do Crazy Train since we both played with Ozzy. Also together we do Stand Up and Shout and a Black Sabbath tribute since Carmine played with Ozzy and I played with Sabbath. The show culminates in a pound-off between the two of us.
DRUM WARS UPCOMING LIVE APPEARANCES
09-19-21 – Drum Wars Live – The Cutting Room – New York, NY
09-22-21 – Drum Wars Live – Jergel’s Rhythm Grill – Warrendale, PA
09-24-21 – Drum Wars Live – Milford Performance Center – Mildford, CT
09-25-21 – Drum Wars Live – The Rapids Theatre – Niagara Falls, NY
More Dates Coming Soon!
Kim: You both just recently attended Rocknpod in Nashville August 6 – 8. Talk a little bit about that?
Carmine: Friday night a jam. Saturday sold merchandise and autographs. Interviews and Meet & Greets. Sunday we both had Master Classes. Did some Rock History from our perspectives and more Interviews. My drum company ddrums supplied the kits for the appearance.
Kim: What advice do you have for the younger generation of musicians just starting out musically and in the music business aspect of their careers? Personally & Professionally so to speak
Carmine: Get to know your instruments.
Learn to read music so you can get a lot of session work.
As far as how to make it anymore, I have no idea!
Vinny: Practice a lot.
Learn how to play drums nice and steady.
Listen to metronomes and practice to them.
Create your own licks.
Watch what you sign on contracts and make sure if you do sign something and someone is going to pay you that the checks come directly to you and not a middle man like a manger for example.
Be on time for things, don’t let down the people who are waiting for you.
Kim: Any other projects or productions you would like readers to know about?
Carmine: “Cactus” I rebuilt this legendary rock band with a powerful new line-up. We were called “The American Led Zeppelin” back in 1970. Our current release “Tightrope” came out in April 2021. Due to some health issues with guitarist Paul Warren there will not be any tours most likely till November. Dates are currently lined up for November 5, 6 and 7 in Chicago. The next song Cactus will be releasing is “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” off the Tightrope Album. After the Chicago shows there will likely be five or six gigs in New York.
“Vanilla Fudge” was one of the first American groups to infuse psychedelia into a heavy rock sound to create “psychedelic symphonic rock” an eclectic genre which would, among its many off shoots, eventually morph into heavy metal. A new release is set for September 16, 2021. Pre-order begins August 19 through Golden Robot Records. Sometime after September I’ll fly to Chicago and meet the Fudge guys there to rehearse for a day or so and then play the venue with Vanilla Fudge and Robby Krieger best known as the guitarist of the Doors on September 29 and 30. There wil be a lot of Vanilla Fudge gigs coming up. I was able to get Tim Bogert who passed away this past January 2021 on the last Vanilla Fudge song that will be released September 6. “Stop! In The Name Of Love” originally by The Supremes. We slowed it down and rearranged it. Tim had Stage 4 Brain Cancer and was in bad shape. He usually played a 6-string bass but showed up at the studio with a 4-string because he knew I loved the way he played the 4-string. We recorded it at the studio of Jorgen Carlsson who plays for Gov’t Mule. I realized the drums had a ton of leakage from being recorded at an earlier time in NY. So I re-did the drums at his studio in Florida so it could lock up good with the recording done with Tim which was really good. We did a video and dedicated it to Tim. It’s going to be on a vinyl single, on the B-side is myself, keyboardist Mark Stein And Vinny talking about Tim, like a tribute with little blips of our music. Video clips of the Fudge on the Ed Sullivan show, all that psychedelic light show you would see at The Fillmore going there and posters of Vanilla Fudge and Hendrix as well as Vanilla Fudge and Led Zeppelin and all the history of the band.
“King Kobra” Releases Deluxe Edition Of Their Live Set From Sweden Rock Festival through Deko Entertainment. There are currently about ten songs written so far and once I get my studio back up and running since my lighting strike fried computers and stuff I will do the drum tracks and then the guitars will follow. The hardest part was writing the songs which all had to be done via the internet and through phone calls due to Covid.
Drummer Carmine Appice, Vocalist Paul Shortino formerly of Rough Cutt, Bass Guitarist Johnny Rod who was active in King Kobra from 1984-1986 before joining W.A.S.P. along with Jack Russell’s Great White Guitarist Robby Lochner and Guitarist Rowan Robertson from the current Dio band. Coming up from this new partnership will be the Deluxe Edition of the 2010 self-titled King Kobra release.
There will be 3 bonus tracks. One of them is Monsters and Heros that we play on the show. We actually gave that to Wendy Dio for Ronnie Dio’s charity so any money made on that record went to the charity. Eventually we got the song back and we played it at the Sweden Rock Festival. Before that, myself and Vinny did a mix of it and put it on the album. It was a different sound.
“Carmine Appice’s Guitar Zeus” which I consider the best thing I’ve ever done in my career. Soundgarden meets The Beatles meets Blue Murder. Three tracks with myself, Tony Franklin, Kelly Keeling. Solos with a bunch of guys like Brian May, Yngwie Malmsteen, Richie Sambora, Slash, Ted Nugent, Zakk Wylde, Leslie West, Jennifer Batten, Steve Morse, Ty Tabor, Dug Pinnick, Edgar Winter, Mick Mars and more.
I’ve now done three new bonus tracks. One with Tommy Thayer from Kiss, a second with keyboardist Derek Sherinian and a third with Chris Biggiani from Kodiak.
I also have tracks without any vocals or guitars that people can play too.
There’s going to be 4 LP’s ~ 3 CD’s
New interviews with a lot of the guitar players.
You can buy a stainless steel medallion with my face logo on it and a chain.
This is all going to be in the box-set being released in October of 2021.
It’s already been released now on my label Rocker Records but now it’s going to be released as a box-set with the neat perks. The digital is all on Spotify now. There are also videos on YouTube you can watch such as the one with Brian May and Tony Franklin called “Nobody Knew.”
I’m releasing an instrumental album titled “Energy Overload” September 24, 2021 with Fernando Perdomo on Cleopatra Records.
Vinny: “Last in Line” was formed in 2011, when myself, Jimmy Bain, and Vivian Campbell, (Ronnie James Dio’s co-conspirators and co-writers on the “Holy Diver”, “Last In Line” – the album from which they took their name, and “Sacred Heart” albums) teamed up with esteemed vocalist Andrew Freeman. The debut album “Heavy Crown” was released in February 2016. Bassist Jimmy Bain unexpectedly passed away at the age of 68 on January 23, 2016. Last In Line, honoring what they knew would be Bain’s wish to keep the band moving, brought in renowned bassist Phil Soussan (ex-Ozzy Osbourne). In late 2017, the band gathered in L.A. to start the recording of the second album, which was produced by the band members and Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, The End: machine, ex-Dokken), who also produced the debut album. We switched record companies and are now working on our third album. We’re about halfway done and should be getting together in the next two weeks to finish writing and rehearsing for the gigs that are coming up. We haven’t played together in a bit. The new album will probably be next year, and we hope to have that out in the first quarter. Last in Line will begin touring August 19.
DRUM! lists both Carmine & Vinny Appice as one of the
60 Best Rock Drummers of All Time ~
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS ~