Legendary drummer Carmine Appice (SLAMM, VANILLA FUDGE, ROD STEWART, OZZY OSBOURNE, TED NUGENT) was recently interviewed by antiMusic.com's Morley Seaver. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
antiMusic: How did SLAMM come about and how long ago did you start thinking of something like this?
Carmine: Well, it came about at the beginning of last year. I guess it was in 2005 and 2006, we were doing the original VANILLA FUDGE and it didn't go great. Whenever we get the original band together it never really goes great. I got fed up with all these complaints and everything and I was working with CACTUS also and one of the guys from CACTUS was always complaining about something so I just said, you know, I'm just really sick and tired of hearing these people complaining. It's like, I just want to go out and play and have a good time, you know, not complain. My girlfriend suggested to me, well, if you had the chance to do something that you want to do, what would you do? So I started thinking about it, I said, you know, in 1983 I did a drum show and it was really a lot of fun because it's a lot easier dealing with drummers than it is with full bands of bass players and guitar players and singers, different kinds of egos. Drummers are all the same kind of people. They just want to have a good time and play and you know all that. So she said well maybe you should think about doing that. So I started thinking about it. And I basically came up with this concept of mixing up urban stuff with rock drumming and mixing it up with like guitar or an instrument or a melody instrument. At first I thought of a keyboard because you can get a lot more out of a keyboard but then we ended up actually getting a guitar player who can play keyboards. And then, once I had the idea I went on the Internet and researched different kinds of percussion ensembles that are out there and came up with the idea of putting the melody instrument in with the percussion with no bass because the bass just clouds up the bottom end of the bass drums and the big 55 gallon tubs we have.
antiMusic: VANILLA FUDGE was the prototype for heavy bands, with your drumming setting the course for a generation to come. What was your mindset when starting this band in terms of how you approach the rhythm to these songs?
Carmine: Well, in those days, it was different from today. There were no p.a. systems, and my style evolved from necessity because I had to flip the sticks backwards. I had to bang on the drums hard which eventually led me to get bigger drums. It's like anything: bigger amp, bigger louder sound. Bigger drums, louder sound. So I ended up getting oversized drums, which ended up becoming a fad. And then I ended up getting John Bonham the drum set that he wanted which was the same as my drum set. It became the LED ZEPPELIN drum set. So indirectly I was involved in creating that LED ZEPPELIN drum set which indirectly helped get the LED ZEPPELIN drum sound. Then I look at even SPINAL TAP, they have the drummer on a riser with two Chinese cymbals and a gong. Those are the two things that I brought. One of the things that I brought was the gong. The other thing was the two Chinas on the boom stand. And the other thing was just the big drum set, the big oversized drum set which became sort of the epitome of what the rock drummer was and with all the twirls and everything, it's probably a combination of me and Keith Moon on that one. So I did it out of necessity. And then looking back, and people going "wow, you created a whole new genre of rock playing that's still going on today." And I go, "Yeah, I guess you're right, but I didn't sit down and go, hmmm, I need to create a new genre of rock playing. Let me see how I can do that." You know? And that's usually how things happen. When LED ZEPPELIN first opened for VANILLA FUDGE, John Bonham and Robert Plant were brand new kids. They were green. Nobody knew how big this group was going to be. And that's the way things happen. THE BEATLES when they got together, they never thought they were going to change the world. They just wanted to play music and have fun, you know. But they ended up changing the world.”
You can read the whole interview at antiMusic.com.