Legendary drummer Carmine Appice on New York, Los Angeles, sports & The Rascals
An inductee into many music-related halls of fame, Carmine Appice is one of rock's true pioneering drummers. A founding member of Vanilla Fudge -- which took Led Zeppelin out on its first American tour -- Appice was a noted influence on many other legendary drummers including Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain, Aerosmith's Joey Kramer, Queen's Roger Taylor, Rush's Neil Peart, Rush's Neil Peart, and Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee. After Vanilla Fudge disbanded for the first time in 1970, Appice went on to form a series of supergroups (including Beck, Bogert & Cactus with Jeff Beck) before joining Rod Stewart's band; he notably co-wrote the hit song "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" with Stewart.
After parting ways with Rod Stewart, Appice became an in-demand session player and sideman, playing with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Stanley Clarke, Ted Nugent, Pink Floyd, and Paul Stanley of KISS. He was also part of Blue Murder and King Kobra, which both had major label deals in the 1980s. He has released a lot of solo albums under the Guitar Zeus moniker, most recently 2009's Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes.
These days, Appice continues to play with a variety of high-profile artists, and one of them is The Rascals. This regrouping of The Rascals -- as led by Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish -- marks the first time that 2 of the Rascals' founders have toured together in 5 years. Upcoming shows include July 20th at New York's Theatre At Westbury, August 17th at Canada's Casino Rama and September 21st at New Jersey's Mayo Center For The Performing Arts.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Appice about sports and more. Carmine Appice can be visited online at www.carmineappice.net, while more tour dates of Appice with Felix Cavaliere & Gene Cornish's Rascals can be found at www.felixcavalieremusic.com.
A lot of musicians I know were big sports fans before they found music. Was that the case for you?
Carmine Appice: No, I was never a sports guy.
Did you play a lot of sports growing up?
Carmine Appice: No, not really, I played drums.
Word has it that you were a Lakers fan. Did that come from living in Los Angeles?
Carmine Appice: It came from my son, he loves the Lakers. He got me into them... I went to many Lakers and Clippers games with him. I like the speed of basketball, it's high-energy. Verses baseball to me is like watching grass grow compared to basketball.
I have also read that your son got you into baseball. Have you been to a game lately?
Carmine Appice: No, I haven’t been lately.
A lot of professional athletes have bands and musical projects. Bernie Williams, John McEnroe and Joe Barksdale are examples of that. Are there any athletes that you feel are doing it right as musicians?
Carmine Appice: I played with Bernie, he is pretty good. John played on my Guitar Zeus CD -- only rhythm guitar but he seemed OK.
To stay in great shape as a drummer, do you have a regular workout you do?
Carmine Appice: I do, especially at my age! Every other day mostly I do a 45 to 60-minute workout, but playing the way I do is a workout! I try to eat and sleep well also.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Carmine Appice: I love cars. I have a Maserati GT Coupe, I take care of it. I like movies. I also dabble in buying real estate, I love doing that, getting good deals. Years ago I read [Donald] Trump’s book, it inspired me to buy real estate, as well as my original manager of [Vanilla] Fudge told me to buy real estate, "real estate is wealth," so I listened to him.
Finally, what’s the last concert you went to for fun?
Carmine Appice: Big concert? Iron Maiden. Regular shows? The Zombies on a cruise, The Family Stone...all good.