Metal Addicts: Hi, Carmine. It’s such an honor to be talking to you. You are one of the most iconic rock/metal drummers and your music has been inspiring many kids to become drummers throughout the years.
First of all, I’d like you to tell in brief how was your career and the bands you played with. Which one did you like the most? Can you tell us? Or with which one did you have the best experiences?
Carmine Appice: “It is really hard to pick which one was the best or which one I liked the most. Playing with Rod was the biggest, and we played the biggest gigs with him. Vanilla Fudge was the first, and it was special. Cactus was great energy. BBA was big with great playing, so it’s hard to pick. Oy has a really great band. I’ve been blessed to be able to playing all thee great situations.”
Metal Addicts: You are from a generation of rock drummers who are self-taught, but you had a classical training, am I right? I believe that this shaped the way you played the drums and gave that magical touch. Could you tell us how was your drums learning experience and how you think it influenced your technique and the way you play them? How do you feel by having influenced generations of drummers?
Carmine Appice: “Well, I was self-taught for about 1 year. Then I saw a drummer my age, who was a lot better than I was. So I asked him how he got so good. Was it just practice? He said, no, he took private drum lessons from a guy in Brooklyn. I got the teacher’s number; his name was Dick Bennett. I talked to my parents about paying for drum lessons. They agreed, so I took the lessons for 3-4 years. I went through all the classic books with him. My playing improved immensely. The lessons improved my time, my speed, my knowledge, my rudiments—everything. I became a much, much better drummer.”
“I, also, played in all the school bands, orchestras, marching bands, jazz bands—all of it. How do I feel about influencing other drummers? I feel blessed that I came up at a time when new ideas were being launched in music, and my band—Vanilla Fudge—was part of it. I created a drummer style of volume technique speed, and power because there were no concert sound systems yet. So to compete with the big amps, I had to play hard with all the technical skills and showmanship.”
“I didn’t know I was creating a new kind of drumming at the time. I just was doing what ended to be seen and heard. Again, I feel blessed and proud that I ended up influencing so many drummers.”
Metal Addicts: Besides music, you have a parallel career in art. Two years ago, you released an art collection using the new technology of combining LED lights, cutting-edge photography and powerful drumming. How can you cope with such different things? How do you find the time? Are you still working with art?
Carmine Appice: “The drum art was simple on my part. Most of the other drummers that did this just played with the L.E.D. drum sticks with a groove. I approach it from a visual point of view. I used 4 L.E.D. drum stick twirls and spinners, etc., to look good and not sound good. It was about the visuals, so it only took me 3-4 hours one day to do all the different versions in my catalog.”
“To put the rest together, it was up to the photographer and the editing.”
“They are still selling the first run of art. I also do that look with kiddie art with Ed Heck, and we’ve sold some pieces around the world.”
Metal Addicts: Two years ago, you released “Sinister” an album that you worked for the first time with your brother Vinnie. How was it? Do you guys plan to work together again?
Carmine Appice: “Yes, we booked shows in July, and are working on a new record deal for a new CD.”
Metal Addicts: Ok, thank you very much for the opportunity. Just one more question: What advice would you give to young drummers?
Carmine Appice: “I would say practice. Really learn your instrument. Have a positive attitude. Be easy to work with, and go for it. You don’t have to make it as a rock star. You just need to make a living in music. It beats a 9-5 job. Thanks, guys!”