Vinny Appice; All in the Family; Part One

“I was always banging on things …” Admits legendary drummer Vinny Appice.

” I started at around ten years of age.  My brother Carmine, who is eleven years older than me – showed me some things but he was, at that point,  always on the road. I took lessons from the same guy that taught him.”

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Vinny and Carmine Appice are drum playing brothers from Brooklyn, New York. There may have been a few years between them yet their paths in life collided with rock star status. Lately, the pair have collided in the same room as they travel around with their Drum Wars / Clinics. Something, says Vinny, that is both fun and competitive …

” We started to do drum clinics together but that turned into drum duets. Then we realized that was not enough and we wanted to play. That led into introducing music into our show and a tour. We decided to play four – five songs from my history and the same from Carmine’s. We do Dio and Sabbath from my repertoire and Ozzy, Cactus and Rod Stewart from Carmine’s past. We play eleven or so songs, then a duet.  You don’t usually see two drummers, so it is really exciting.”

Vinnie-ir-Carmine-Appice

Vinny – according to Vinny, plays louder and faster than Carmine and his brother plays with more feel. There are things Vinny does that Carmine  does  not do and the same the other way. There is also a lot of comedy involved – which makes for a great night of entertainment.

” If there are musicians in town that we know, like Rick Derringer or something, we get them on stage.” Says Vinny. ” It can turn into something real cool.”

What is really cool is what happened to Vinny when he was sixteen years old. Something that very few drummers can claim fame to…

vinny1“What happened was that I ended up playing in a band in 1975 in New York. The guitar player knew Jimmy Lovine, the producer, and he brought us into his studio where he worked to rehearse. Him and Roy Cicala ended up liking us and gave us a management deal and a room in The Record Plant Studio*  to rehearse. ”

The Record Plant Studio, a place where Aerosmith recorded ‘Get Your Wings in 1974, was the place where Lovine  showed up one day looking for guys to do hand-claps for a couple of  fellows that were rehearsing nearby. Two guys that were … somewhat ‘famous’.

” Jimmy said he was looking for about nine guys to add some sound for Elton John and John Lennon who were working in another room. It was like ‘wow’ – there’s John Lennon! We did not get to meet him then but a couple of days later, he heard our band playing and asked who we were. Then he started coming up and hanging out with us. We were playing pool and everything. I ended up doing a few gigs with him but at that time he was producing Yoko’s song or album. It was pretty cool for a kid like me.  Something I won’t forget …!”

Another thing the younger Appice does not lose from his memory are the guys who influenced him growing up. Guys aside from his older brother Carmine who was and is – a huge influence …

Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Coghland were the main guys.” Says Vinny. ” Really – those are the guys who I studied to death!”

Following his ‘stint’ with John Lennon, Appice joined forces with Rick Derringer. A guitar player who Vinny had the opportunity to play with on three albums. ‘Derringer’ in 1976, ‘Derringer – Sweet’ in 1977 and ‘Derringer – Live‘ in the same year.

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Appice then joined the band Axis and followed that up on Ray Gomez’ disc – ‘Volume’ in 1980. Then, the fun started …

” I met Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. He had heard me play and asked who I was. Someone told him that I was Carmine’s younger brother and he asked me if I wanted to play with Sabbath.

“Well … ya ….!”

Stay tuned for Part Two!

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