CARMINE APPICE: I Know For A ‘Fact’ That JOHN BONHAM Was Influenced By My Drumming

John Bonham Carmine Appice

In a recent interview with RadioBypass, legendary drummer Carmine Appice was asked if he thought LED ZEPPELIN‘s John Bonham learned any “tricks” from him when ZEPPELIN opened for VANILLA FUDGE early in their career.

“I know [it] as a fact,” Carmine responded (as transcribed by Blabbermouth). “[John] were friends, and he told me that I was his idol. You’ve gotta understand this. Nobody could really get this now. When [LED ZEPPELIN] came over [to the U.S. for the first time], nobody knew them. They opened up for VANILLA FUDGE. They were THE NEW YARDBIRDS, and then they changed the name to LED ZEPPELIN [after THE WHO drummer] Keith Moon said, ‘Oh, you go down like a lead zeppelin,’ which means down. It’s hard to believe now that nobody knew Robert Plant, nobody knew John Bonham. They were brand new kids — younger than us — and [John] told me he’d been listening to my records.”

Reiterating the claim that one of Bonham‘s licks—a triplet bass drum motif featured prominently on “Good Times, Bad Times,” the opening track of LED ZEPPELIN‘s debut album—was inspired by something Carmine did on either the first VANILLA FUDGE album or the Renaissance record, Appice said: “I told [John], I think [what] you’re doing [on] ‘Good Times, Bad Times’. I love it. It’s fantastic.’ He said he got it from me. I said, ‘I don’t even do that. What do you mean?’ He showed me on one of my songs somewhere in my catalog, I did it once, and he just did it and repeated it. And then I was blown away. He loved my drum set. I got him the same set that I had. Exactly the same set… And we became friends.

“I used to do the spin like I do on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and grab the cymbal. So he used to go, ‘Hey…’ He’d be playing one time. He’d go, ‘Watch this.’ He’d do the spin and grab the cymbal. And then when they became big, he was doing that. So people grabbed that from him and indirectly got it from me, like Tommy Lee [MÖTLEY CRÜE]. I saw him doing it when [MÖTLEY CRÜE] opened up for Ozzy [Osbourne], when I was [playing] with Ozzy. I said, ‘Where’d you get that?’ He goes, ‘From John Bonham.’ I said, ‘Well, indirectly, you got it from me.’ He goes, ‘No way, dude. I got it from John Bonham.’ ‘Cause John Bonham was the guy. Then I showed him some videos of ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ before ZEPPELIN came out as my proof, and he said, ‘Wow, dude. I can’t believe it.’ I said, ‘Look, things have to start somewhere.'”

“[John and I] were good friends,” Carmine added. “He would come to L.A. and I’d go hang with him, go to the gigs, get backstage, hang out with the guys. So when I see John Bonham [voted the] number one [drummer] in all the [polls], I feel good because he got a lot of his stuff from what I did.

“I saw a thing on the Internet where a girl was saying, ‘The John Bonham triplets.’ I did it before John Bonham, but I got it from Max Roach, the jazz drummer. So it’s not John Bonham triplets, it ain’t my triplets — it’s just the triplet.”