Talks New Projects,
The Rock Hall,
New King Kobra
Legendary drummer, Carmine Appice has just released a new instrumental album with guitarist Fernando Perdomo titled Energy Overload. The Appice Perdomo Project, or App Project as Carmine likes to call it will surly get your toes tapping and your head banging.
Not to rest on his laurels, Appice has also just released a box set honoring the 25th Anniversary of his Guitar Zeus records.
We had the opportunity to do a Zoom interview with Carmine where he talked about these albums, making a new King Kobra album, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and his memories of Cleveland among other things!
Greg Drugan: Congratulations on your new album with the Appice Perdomo Project, Energy Overload. How did this project come about with Fernando?
Carmine Appice: Thank you! First of all, I’ve been calling it the App Project. I’ve been telling people to download the App at iTunes and please don’t do it on Spotify. Or buy the album because on Spotify, musicians make nothing and we’re trying to keep our careers going here! Not so much for me, but Fernando does this for a living. Anyway, I met him through Tom Dowd’s family. His daughter called me and told me that before Tom died, he wanted to work with Fernando. Fernando called her last year and said that he wanted me to play on a track of his. Normally, I don’t play on records of people that are unknown but I just moved to Florida and put a studio in the house and I needed some experience working in this studio. So we started working on one song at a time and over a period of months, we had eighteen songs done. They were all instrumentals and I said, these are pretty damn good! I made a call to Cleopatra Records, I know the owner. I said this was a pretty cool concept for an album, there haven’t been many of these out there lately, what do you think? They liked it, so we put a deal together which included a couple of videos. We picked twelve of the eighteen songs so we have six songs in the can for the next album.
GD: Very good! I really like “Rocket To The Sun.” I liked his slide playing and of course your playing on it.
CA: He’s awesome. He’s so talented. There’s a new single after that one called “Flower Child.” “Rocket to the Sun” was one where we tried something different. Instead of using a click, I said I’m going to send you a drum track and see what you can do with it. Then he came up with the “Rocket To The Sun” idea. He used the dynamics, and the flow of the drums and where the fills are played to initiate the song to where it was going. He said that my drums have a melody to it and he could tell where things went. We did four other ones (songs) like that. So we did five songs starting with the drums instead of the guitar. It was an interesting concept. We’re doing a new King Kobra record and we’re doing the same thing. I said let’s grab some of the drums and let’s write the songs to the drums. Now we have ten or eleven songs and on one or two of them, we have the drums starting the track. We have Roan Robertson from Dio playing on it and we have Carlos Cavazo from Quiet Riot playing with us, Johnny Rod- the original bass player, me and Paul Shortino. But with the experience I had with Fernando, I said let’s use the drum track instead of the click.
GD: I can’t wait to hear the new King Kobra, that’s exciting news!
CA: It’s pretty bad ass.
GD: Do you have plans to play live with Fernando?
CA: The plan is to get this album going as much as we can, do another video. Then when I’m done with the King Kobra record or in between, do five or six more songs with Fernando and do a second album. Release that in 2022 and then do some smaller gigs, like some club gigs in Florida or New York. Places where we know musicians where we can go in and rehearse with them and then we can do some shows.
GD: Now is there an actual physical copy of the record. I always like having a physical copy either vinyl or CD.
CA: Yeah, there’s CD’s. I thought they were going to do vinyl too, but now I have to ask them about that. Maybe they can print up x amount of vinyls when we release the new video so they can do a relaunch.
GD: Right! I’m old school. I like holding the vinyl, looking at the artwork and reading the liner notes.
CA: You can do that with a CD too. That’s why there’s no more new icons. Even these new bands who are doing well selling a couple, two or three thousand seats, there’s not a lot of press on who’s who. You download something, even on iTunes, they don’t tell you who the drummer is or the guitar player. Tell me the last new guitar icon from a new band that everybody knows that’s really big?
GD: You can’t!
CA: I can’t either! That’s the bad part about it because that’s affecting all the musical instrument companies. All the bass playing, drumming and guitar playing is kinda negative in the music store area. There’s no more clinics for those instruments anymore because not a lot of people are buying guitars, basses and drums. They are buying keyboards and making pop songs.
GD: You also just released your Guitar Zeus box set. How many new tunes are on the album?
CA: There’s three new songs and there’s three songs. Then there’s three songs with rough mixes that don’t have any guitar on it. So if you are a guitar player, you can play along to it or if you are a singer, you can sing with that. Then there’s one song with a vocal but no guitar. Then there’s some songs that I never released on an album over here.
It has thirty-nine tracks on it. It has a booklet with a brand new interview. It’s got four lp’s. Then there’s a bundle you can buy where there’s a medallion that has my logo on it, made of silver and also a turquoise Guitar Zeus pick on a black chain, which is pretty cool. Then we have a t-shirt and an autographed picture.
GD: The new song with Tommy Thayer as a psychedelic kinda feel to it. Who is the singer on that track?
CA: That’s Kelly Keeling! He’s on the whole record except for two tracks. One track has Edgar Winter with Mick Mars on it and the other track has the King’s X singer Doug Pinnick. It’s funny because on that Doug Pinnick track, Yngwie wanted to be on that track with Doug. Mick Mars wanted to be on a track with Edgar Winter so I paired them off. We released these in 1995 and you hear the new song, “Mystify” it sounds like today. It’s kinda like Blue Murder meets Soundgarden meets The Beatles. I’m very happy with that song.
GD: There are a bunch of great guitarists on this record. Do you have a favorite that you worked with on this project?
CA: It’s like going to Baskin Robbins, what’s your favorite flavor? I don’t really have a favorite flavor, they are all so different and so good. Even Steven Segal! He did a blues song, he’s pretty elementary but he did a good job. I put him on there with Seymour Duncan, do you know who that is? He makes the pickups for everybody. He’s a great guitar player. Back then, I told him that he’s going to do a blues song with Steven Segal.
GD: You’ve played with everybody! I can’t imagine someone you haven’t played with!
CA: We have John McEnroe the tennis player, he played on it! I put him on a song called “Stash.” He does this rhythm guitar part and he does some fills. If you want to play guitar and you're a name, an actor, whatever, come and play.
GD: Wow, that’s a great project.
CA: Yes, it was a great project. For me, it was one of the best projects I ever did. It was my idea, my concept, I produced it and I gathered all the parts. The whole thing was my baby. I think it’s the best stuff that I’ve done in my career.
GD: That’s good stuff. So, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just happened and you made some comments that made the news a few weeks ago. I agree with you that there are a ton of Classic Rock artists that aren’t in the Hall of Fame Hall that should be like Grand Funk, Foreigner and others.
CA: Did Alice Cooper make it finally?
GD: Yes, he got in a couple of years ago.
CA: Good! He should have been in from the beginning. He should have gotten in before Kiss. Vanilla Fudge should be in. I thought it was about inspiration and all that stuff and influence on people. The GoGos got in? What did they influence? I know them and they are nice people, but come on, man! They should call it the Music Hall of Fame. They should have it for not influence and not what the hall was originally made for. I’m in the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and I’m in there for my influence and what I’ve done for drumming. Long Island has a Music Hall of Fame and Vanilla Fudge is in there for the same reason. I’m in the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame for the influence. I’m not in there for how many records I’ve sold. In the beginning, they put Chuck Berry in there for his influence. They didn’t care how many records he sold. Why do they leave out groups like Foreigner and Vanilla Fudge. We should be in there before Deep Purple. We’ve influenced so many bands, we created a whole genre of music! We were there when the FM radio stations were starting. We’re still doing it, we’re still alive. So many people aren’t. The one good thing they did is they showed Tim Bogart’s picture in with the people who died. I’m happy they did that. Otherwise, change the name! They’re putting rappers in there, they are putting in people that have nothing to do with rock. The GoGos, I mean how rock is the GoGos?
GD: That’s a pop band. But I will give them credit for being an all female band.
CA: So what, The Runaways aren’t in it! They were all female, and they were the first all female band. See, that’s about influence! It’s stupid. People say, don’t you care that you aren’t in the Rock Hall of Fame? I don’t really care because it’s getting cheesy now. It’s fine, but I know people that are in there and it didn’t change their career. It did nothing for them except get an HBO special that you can see.
GD: And that’s what it’s become, it’s a TV show. There always used to be a jam session at the end with everybody, but this year HBO cut it short and said they ran out of time. What do you mean you ran out of time?
CA: It’s bull. I don’t care. I have a beautiful house, I’ve got cars, I’ve got a studio. I’ve got a great wife, my dog, my kids grew up and my daughter got married. Life is good! I don’t care if I’m in the Rock Hall of Fame or I’m not! I was in Rolling Stone’s Top Drummers of All Time at twenty-eight.
GD: That’s pretty impressive. Talking about influence, I was just talking with Kasim Sulton and he mentioned that one of his first shows was seeing Cactus out on Long Island when he was a kid. He said it is surreal that he has become friends with you. I bet you have a bunch of stories like that.
CA: Oh yeah! I think that show he was talking about was the same show that we did with Alice Cooper. That show was the first time that I met Paul Stanley and he told me that he and Gene were fans of Cactus. He said they saw Alice Cooper and Cactus together and that’s where they got the idea of doing Kiss. He said if we do Cactus energy and rawness with a show like Alice Cooper, maybe we’ll have something cool. He probably won’t say that now! (laughs) I love those guys. They put me on tour with King Kobra. Paul put me on his album. They are good people.
GD: The last time we spoke, I forgot to ask you about playing on “The Dogs Of War” by Pink Floyd. How did that session come about?
CA: I got a message from Bob Ezerin. He left a message and said he’s producing a band that is just gleaning for Carmine drum fills. I called Bob and said “Hey Bob, who’s the band?” He said, “Pink Floyd.” I said, “Pink Floyd, where’s Nick?” He said, “Oh, he’ll be there.” I said, “Why isn’t he playing?” He said, “Well, his calluses are soft, he’s been racing his Ferrari’s and they want to get some new blood.” So I went in and spent the day with them but I never got to hear the finished product until it came out. I played to a four-track and I filled up I don’t know how many fifteen minute reel to reels. There were a lot of drums on there. I would call him up and say “How’s the drum part?” He would say, “wonderful, fantastic, unbelievable!” Finally, I was up in Canada doing a movie called “Black Roses” it had Big Pussy from The Sopranos in it, and we became friends from that movie. I heard the Pink Floyd album was released, so I went downstairs in the underground mall and I bought the cassette and I put it on my Walkman and I heard it and I was blown away! That’s a great drum part! Then I saw them on that tour and I saw Nick trying to play my drum parts. I thought that was funny seeing Nick Mason trying to play Carmine Appice’s drum part.
GD: That’s awesome. I have to ask you if you have any memories of playing in Cleveland back in the 70s and did you ever stay at the legendary Swingos?
CA: Of course we stayed at Swingos when we were with Rod Stewart. We stayed there all the time. What a wild hotel! Every room was different, they were crazy rooms. I can’t even remember what the rooms were like it’s been so long ago. Ido remember that they were different and decadent is the word I believe. It looked like a whorehouse!
GD: I think part of it was!
CA: That’s what it looked like.
GD: Did you meet up with other bands, I know a lot of bands stayed there coming through town.
CA: I don’t know, we stayed there with Rod and we had like forty people with us. There wasn’t much room for other bands. Is it gone now?
GD: Yeah, it’s been gone for a while now, I think they tore it down in the early ‘80s. It seems that a lot of bands have gotten back together over the past couple of years. Guns N Roses, The Black Crowes, Rage Against The Machine etc. Is there any chance of a Blue Murder reunion? I loved that first album.
CA: Dude, me too! If you can get John Sykes out of his house and on the road, I’m ready! We almost did it. John wanted to do a tour of his history: Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and Blue Murder. I said if we're going to do that, why not do my history too? People know a lot about my history too but I don’t want to do that, I want to do Blue Murder. So what we agreed upon was that he was going to do that tour then we were going to do something. I ran into him last year at the Heavy Metal Awards, everything was fine and we were friendly. He even introduced me to his young, black drummer who was dying to meet me. I said look, when you are done with this, let’s do Blue Murder because so many people want to hear Blue Murder. Every interview I hear, there’s always Blue Murder. We played a couple of years ago, it was just him, me and Tony (Franklin) just for the hell of it and it was tight! It was like riding a bike. We had a good time, we’d be smoking pot and drinking tea and having a good time.
GD: What are your plans for 2022? Are you hitting the road with any of your bands or your brother?
CA: We don’t have anything really booked yet. I’m talking to a new manager to try and book and help me and my brother with The Appice Brothers Project. Probably going to finish another album with Fernando, and we are definitely going to do King Kobra shows.
GD: Well if you do anything, Cleveland loves you guys! We’d love to see you.
CA: Cleveland was always a great rock town! Was there some kind of oasis bar there or some sort of ballroom in Cleveland?
GD: You mean The Agora?
CA: There is The Agora. I played The Agora myself when I did the drum-off. We did a drum show there with Michael Derosier from Heart. We played The Agora and it sold out. But lately, there was something that reminded me of a beach.
GD: The Beachland Ballroom?
CA: Yes! I played there in the early 2000’s with Vanilla Fudge. I always loved Cleveland. I just got a new tour manager and he’s from Youngstown. He’s great and we’re going to keep using him.
GD: Any incarnation that you are in, Cactus, King Kobra, we’d love to see that supergroup. Carmine, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you again. I wish you all the best with both of your albums and I will get the word out and tell people to buy it up!
CA: Thank you! Take care.
Make sure you check out The Appice Perdomo Project on iTunes and not Spotify! Also check out Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus box set and order it from his website that you can access here.
You can also watch our Zoom interview below!