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| 7 November 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Carmine Appice has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and rising studio star Fernando Perdomo to form The Appice Perdomo Project (aka APP), whose debut album ENERGY OVERLOAD was released September 24, 2021 on Cleopatra Records. The first single, “Rocket to The Sun,” dropped on August 31st. The album is an all-instrumental, rock-oriented tour de force with fusion influences also readily apparent.  Carmine’s always-amazing drumming and Perdomo’s blazing guitar licks and riffs make Energy Overload a tour de force of sound, texture and non-stop heaviness. Carmine has pounded the skins for such iconic rockers like Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (Carmine co-wrote the hits “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks” with Rod) and is a founding member of legendary 60’s rock bands Vanilla Fudge (“You Keep Me Hanging On” was the band’s classic hit in 1967…it was featured prominently in Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and he’s a founding member of Cactus.  Both the Fudge and Cactus still tour.” We were able to get some phone time with Carmine to discuss pronunciation, new music, writing, and much more…

Toddstar: Carmine, thanks for taking time out. It’s not often I get to talk to a legend.

Carmine: Oh, thank you very much. Thank you, man.

Toddstar: You are out with Vanilla Fudge on tour, but one of the things that prompted this conversation was, you got a great new album and project out right now, the Appice Perdomo Project release Energy Overload. [ed. I mispronounced Carmine’s last name to mimic Vinny’s pronunciation]

Carmine: Well, I’m “Apiece.” I mean, my brother’s Appice. I was Appice. I changed it in 1976 when I went with Rod Stewart, because Rod said to me, “You’re like five different people. What do I call you, when I’m done with your solo? Do I call you “Apiece”, Appice, “Apeachy”, “Aparty”?” So, we settled on “Apiece.” And so, from then on, I’ve been “Apiece.” And then, every night I’d do my solo, he’d say, “Carmine Appice on drums.” And my drum company at the time did an ad that said, “Everyone wants a piece of Appice.” And then, that was good until 1980, my brother came out with Sabbath and he got a lot a press, and all of a sudden he was Vinny Appice. So, everybody was confused. So now, it’s so confused. That’s why I did that DVD, Drum Wars DVD, initially. We said, “Whoever wins the drum battle, wins the name.” And then my older brother actually came out and said “They’re both wrong, it’s Apeachy.” So, it’s been a thing. Every time I do an interview with somebody, he goes, “I got to ask you something, I saw Appice.” I know it’s coming.

Toddstar: Well, the reason I went to the other is, when the tribute video for Dio came out, I was able to interview Vinny, and he clarified the last name for me. So, I said, “Oh cool. When I talk to Carmine, I can run with it.”

Carmine: Yeah, that’s what he goes by. I don’t go by that, even though I was that. It was Beck, Bogert & Appice back in the today. And, we have a new album coming out. It’s getting real close to signing the deal. And, I had Tim Bogert sign the deal before he passed away. So, it’s BBA Live at the London Rainbow, 1974. It’s got seven new songs on it. And, there’s a song called “Jizz Whizz,” which is the bridge between Jeff Beck playing with us and doing Blow by Blow. I originally was on Blow by Blow with him, but we couldn’t work out a deal with the label. So, they ended up taking me off. But, I worked with George Martin. And, I worked with Jeff on it, and we worked on songs and everything. And then, it didn’t work out. And then, I ended up getting a solo deal with a label. Then, I did an album similar to that. I used Max Middleton, who was on that record. And, I used Jimmy Haslip, great bass player, and all these great musicians. And then, when I delivered it, the label says, “Oh, well, you’re not known for this jazz rock, so we’re not going to release it.” And then, 20 years later, I released it on my own, I got the rights back. And, it’s an album called V8 and it’s an instrumental. So, when we were doing this Appice Perdomo Project, I call it APP, A-P-P. So, you can tell people, “Oh, go get the APP, go get your APP. Get your copy of your APP, download the APP,” all that stuff. And so, we started working together. And, it started out instrumentally, because that’s what we had going at the time. And, basically, we didn’t think about a singer. Actually, the way it got together was interesting, if you want to hear that?

Toddstar: You’ve given me the perfect segue.

Carmine: So, the way it got together was the great producer, Tom Dowd’s daughter said to me, Tom’s been dead for a few years, she said, “Look, there’s this guy that Tom was working with. I think it would really be a good idea to have this kid call you, because this kid is really talented. Tom was going to work with him, but he couldn’t do it, because he passed away, obviously.” So, I said, “Oh, well, that’s interesting. What does he do?” She said, “He plays guitar and he plays bass, and he’s very, very talented.” I said, “Oh, okay. So, let’s check it out.” So, I did. He called me. And, at the time, I’d just moved to Florida. And, in moving to Florida, I built a studio in my house; my brother, Vinny, actually built the studio. He’s a computer geek, totally. And so, he built the studio and tested it out and showed me how to use it. But, the more I could use it, the better, to learn how to use it. So, Fernando called me and he told me, he plays this and that and the other thing. I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll send you a track that I wrote on my iPad. It’s an instrumental track. I’ll send it to you, and you do your thing to it and send it back to me. Let’s see what it sounds like.” So, he did that. And, have you heard the album?

Toddstar: I have.

Carmine: Okay. So, that first track ended up being a track called “Thunder.” When I got it back from him, I said, “Wow, it’s pretty cool.” And, I said, “Oh, here’s another one.” So, I sent him another one called “Funky Jackson.” And, he sent it back to me and I put drums on them. We mixed both those songs and they sounded great. I said, “Well, let’s keep going.” So, we had no idea of a record deal or anything, and we just kept going and going and going. And then, after a while, we had 18 tracks down. And, it was interesting, because what I did was, initially I was giving him songs, and then he was sending me songs. It was really cool. And, this song called “Big Havana, Little Havana,” it’s like a Latin thing, Latin jazz rock thing. And, I said, “You know what? I’m going to add something to the end of it.” So, I added this press roll, and then I went into this really fast Cactus shuffle. And then, I did accents and drum fills and stuff. I said, “Why don’t you try and put something to this?” I said, “I wanted to connect this song to a bit more rock.” And, he said, “Okay.” So, he sends back what came to be “Big Havana.” And, it was great. I said, “Wow, that’s some really cool stuff you wrote to that drum track.” He says, “Yeah, I really like writing to your drum chapters. You play melodically, and I could hear where cord changes are and everything.” I said, “Well, let’s try another one.” I said, “I have some drum tracks. Why don’t I just send you a drum track and see how it goes?” He said, “Okay.” So, I sent him a drum track, and that drum track became “Rocket to the Sun.”

Toddstar: The first single.

Carmine: Yeah. So, he wrote it to my drums. So then, I said, “Oh, I have some other drum tracks, if you want to try it?” So, we send more drum tracks. And now, the next video’s going to be “Flower Child,” and that was a drum I sent him. And then, I sent him “Pure Ecstasy,” and I sent him “Blown Speaker Boogie.” And, he said, “Wow, I love writing to your drum tracks.” He says, “They’re melodic, they’re dynamic. I could feel where cord changes are and where choruses are.” So, out of the 18 songs, we wrote maybe five songs to drum tracks And, a really a unique way of writing. And now, I’m doing a new King Kobra record and Paul Shortino’s my singer. And, I’m letting him produce it, because I don’t have enough time to get involved. He’s like the hub, and everybody’s sending him tracks and he’s organizing it on Pro Tools and all that. So, he was writing with a drum machine and I said, “You still have of those multi tracks of the two King Kobra records we did? He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Why don’t you take some of the drum tracks and write new songs to them? And then, I’ll put new drums on it, and the song is actually a song?” He said, “Oh, that’s a great idea.” So, we’ve been in that same technique now with King Kobra too, and it’s really working great. But, versus writing songs through a drum machine, that’s very sterile and there’s no dynamics to it, unless you build the dynamics, it’s much cooler to write to an actual human drum track, even if the drum track is being played to a click.

Toddstar: You can’t replace the feel of playing in the pocket.

Carmine: Exactly. Yeah. So, that’s how we did a lot of this album, and that’s how we’re doing this King Kobra record, and it’s really interesting.

Toddstar: Well, that I can hardly wait for. I didn’t even know something from King Kobra was in the works, and I’ve been a fan since ’85.

Carmine: Well, it’s been just changed around now, Nick and Dave didn’t want do it, but Jonny Robb’s still with us. But, Nick and Dave didn’t want to do it. They said, “Eh, the business sucks now. You spend all that time creating music and then nobody buys it. And, it’s so hard to get it out there. I’d just rather pass.” So, I said, “Okay.” So, we got Rowan Robertson from Dio playing guitar. And, I think we have Carlos Cavazo. He’s hard to get a hold of, but he’s already done some work on a couple of tracks. And, I want to do some shows next year. The music is really good. And then, there’s the two Frontier records we did. It’s really good too. And, Paul’s an awesome singer. Next month coming out is my 25th Anniversary Guitar Zeus box set. It’s got four LPs, three CDs. It’s got a booklet with new interviews with the guitar players. You can buy a bundle. It has a T-shirt, an autographed picture of me with my new look. That was the label’s idea, not mine. Believe me. And then, it has a medallion, like a Carmine logo medallion with a Guitar Zeus pick attached to it on a black chain. So, it’s the whole package. I don’t know the price of it. But, it’s going to be out at the end of November for Christmas. And, we did three new tracks on that.

Toddstar: You mentioned Cactus. You guys have a new album out. At this point in the game Carmine, what still drives you?

Carmine: I just like playing. That’s what I told the guys in King Kobra. I said, “Look, it’s not about making money.” I mean, all the big money was made already. I mean, even songs like “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” “Young Turks,” they don’t make money as songs anymore, unless you get them placed in a movie, like Vanilla Fudge just had “Hangin’ On,” in the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood movie. That quadrupled our royalties somehow. But, all the big, big money, I used to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year just on the royalties from “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” Now, I had to sell it back to Warner Brothers, and I bought real estate with it. That makes money. So, I just do it. I’m just driven to play. Now I got the studio and it’s so easy. I walk through my garage, I walk into the guest house and my drums are set up. I got the old bass drums and an old sling on snare and an old electric snare, and it’s already mic’d. And, I just walk in there, and I don’t have to do anything. Usually, I’d have to call my roadie, the roadie brings the drums down, we set the drums up. If we set the drums up, then we get the drum sound. And then, we cut the track. By the time I get to the track, it’s four or five hours I’m in the studio already, and I’m half fried. And, we cut to a click anyway, so I can redo drums anytime. The good thing about my studio, everything’s set up. I can do a drum track today, and then I go in tomorrow and listen to it. I go, “I want to fix the verse.” I could punch in the verse, and then it has the exact same drum sound, because nothing’s changed. No mic’s been moved, the drums in the same position. It’s wonderful. So, I’ve been creating all this stuff, the new single we did with Vanilla Fudge, Stop in the Name of Love. I did the drums at my house. And, that was another story. And, really, a lot of it was because I was working with Fernando. Because, Fernando, he’s a producer himself. He’s 42 years old. I mean, he’s not young, but to me he’s young. I mean, I’m going to be 75 in December. Anyway, we did some shows with Vinny two weeks ago, and I did this drum solo in Buffalo. We did three shows, first two drum solos were mediocre. And, finally, I got it. The last thing we did, it was great. And so, Vinny comes out and goes, “My brother, Carmine, on drums!” Says, “Who do you know that kicks ass like that at 75?” And, whole place cheered. I felt good about that. That’s my thing. I just love playing, and I love music. Last night we had such a horrible show. It’s one of these things where, we’re starting to get a sound check, all of a sudden we see the doors open and all these people are coming in. We’re going, “What the fuck is going on?” And, they said, “Oh, well it said, ‘early doors.'” Because, the people, they get dinner before the show. I said, “Oh, man! That’s not cool. We can’t even get a sound check.” We’re not going to sit in front of the audience and get a sound check. And so, we didn’t really, we got more of a line check. And, when we hit the stage, and they had a band going on before us, so anything that we did anyway, would change anyway. And, it was a freaking nightmare. What we did in the end, the people get ready where it’s just vocals. And, oh my God, it was all flat notes and stuff, because we couldn’t hear each other. It was messed up. We came off the stage and said, “Oh my God, this is one of the worst gigs we ever did.”But, you know what? It’s unbelievable. And, my manager told me this, one of my managers anyway. He said that everybody’s reporting lack of attendance, but the merch has been crazy. And, I have to agree. We sold more merch last night. Actually, we almost sold more merch than that at one at time, than in the last 10 years or more. I had to get on the phone this morning and order more T-shirts, because we have three shows with Robby Krieger now come up, which are going to be bigger audiences. And, I said, “No, we only got 10 shirts left.” And, we sell these drum heads with this really beautiful artwork on it. And, I said, “We’re down on everything, drum sticks, everything.” So, I had to re-order. I’m trying to get everything sent to the hotel overnight tomorrow, so we have some product to sell, once we’re out. But, it’s crazy. It’s really crazy. But, I’m out there, I’m doing these interviews, I’m promoting the APP album, Energy Overload, and the title really describes that album.

Toddstar: I love it from top to bottom, and I love the feel of it, but it takes me back. And, maybe, it’s the way he wrote. You can tell he knows your catalog and your history. Sonically, it takes me through your career, and it has some of those big seventies guitars to go with your big fills. It has some of the 80’s melodic stuff that you were doing, like you said, with Kobra. He really used his talent to embrace your legacy, in my mind, in listening to it.

Carmine: Well, I appreciate that. That’s a good way to look at it. I never looked at it like that. I mean, I looked at it as using this guy to help me learn how to use my studio, that was really my thing. And, that was my thought, when Tom Dowd’s daughter called me. Said, “Well, this guy wants you play on a couple of tracks, or so, on an album he’s doing.” So then, when we talked, I said, “Well, I don’t know about playing on your album, but let’s see if we can put something together that works on both of us.” And, he said, “Oh, yeah, I’d love that.” And, that’s how it started. And then, after we had 18 tracks done, I said, “You know what? Let me call my buddy and let’s see if we can put some sort of a deal together where we could release this stuff.” So, he said, “Oh, that would be great.” So now, we did that. I got a whole album and we released it. So, we had 18 songs and decided to release 12 songs. So, we have six songs now in the can for the next record. So, we’re going to release on November 9th, the second video, single. It will be “Flower Child.” And then, we’re going to go in, maybe next week, and do another video for the “Pure Ecstasy,” because I got a studio, I got a green screen in the studio. I got a couple of cameras I can film on. And, he’s got a green screen in his studio. And then, we got people that do editing, so very easy to do new songs. So, we’re going to do the next song, and keep it going. You see, I don’t even know if it’s selling or not selling, but reviews have been great. Everyone I talk to, loves the idea of it and loves the album. And, some people have said, “Well, it’s a sounds like you’re bringing back the days of the instrumental album, but it’s not like jazz. It’s really rock-oriented.” I said, “Yeah, without a doubt.” So, I’m happy with it. He’s a good guy, he’s a good worker, and he’s a go-getter. Because, this is his first real, big thing. We got him a two page spread in guitar player and he’s all gaga about that. And, he just loves it, and we’re doing some interviews with him. It’s awesome, and it’s good to see his energy.

Toddstar: Well, listen, Carmine, I know you’re packing up to get the hell out of where you were at, and I’m coming down to Florida next week myself, for the next six months. I’m hoping I can catch Carmine behind a kit, somewhere in Florida over the next six months.

Carmine: Well, that might be possible. We’re thinking of doing a gig with Fernando. He’s from Miami. He comes back every three months. So, we’re thinking of putting together some musicians, and doing a show down there, maybe at the Funky Biscuit, to promote the record.

Toddstar: Very cool. Well, listen, man, safe travels. And, again, thank you so much.

Carmine: Thank you, brother.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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