APPICE – Skin(s) To Win
October 31, 2017, 10 months ago
The Appice brothers, Carmine and Vinnie, are two of the most celebrated drummers in rock ‘n’ roll history who both have incredible resumes. The older and “wiser” Carmine began his career in the ’60s with Vanilla Fudge before joining Cactus, Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne, among others. Vinny, 13 years Carmine’s junior, cut his teeth with heavy hitters Black Sabbath and Dio. Together, along with several celebrated guest musicians, brothers Appice makes a great team on its debut release, Sinister (released October 27th via Steamhammer/SPV). It’s a collection of 13 scorching hard rock and metal tunes that totally rocks. Calling from his home in Los Angeles, Vinny spoke with BraveWords writer Kelley Simms about the new album and more.
BraveWords: With the exception of your 2014 Drum Wars - Live! album, there has been no direct collaboration between you and Carmine until now with this new album Sinister. What took so long?
Vinny Appice: “We just didn’t have the thoughts of doing it before, and our schedules have always been nuts. We just didn’t have the time to do it. Now’s a great time for both of us and we decided we’d better do it now or we’ll never get to do it. Luckily, we’ve both been pretty busy in our careers and hadn’t been able to set aside time to do it.”
BraveWords: Were you gathering material for a while or were the songs recently written once you knew which players were participating on the album?
Vinny Appice: “When we decided to do it, we put together material. Some of the material I wrote with guitar-player friends. Some of it he (Carmine) wrote with friends, and he wrote one or two songs by himself. Then we asked everybody to send us ideas, songs and different things that we liked. Then we worked on those and made them into what we thought we could use. It was all written recently. It wasn’t stuff from years and years ago.”
BraveWords: With yours and Carmines influences and with so many varied guests and different styles melding together, the songs came out so diverse. I hear a great blend of ’70s rock mixed with ’80s metal. Did these influences just thrown in a pot?
Vinny Appice: “Every album comes out just the way it comes out. Nobody ever says, ‘Let’s make it sound like this.’ And that includes Dio and Black Sabbath and all the bands I’ve been with. It works the way the people who are involved contribute, either in a band or like his (Carmine’s) situation. The songs come out the way they do because of all the different people’s personalities. None of it was preconceived.”
BraveWords: Can you compare and contrast both yours and Carmine’s drumming styles?
Vinny Appice: “We always kind of compare it to Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. He’s Gene Krupa and I’m more Buddy Rich. I’ve always played heavier music than Carmine and I play a lot more precise, harder and a little bit more behind the beat. Carmine grew up in a different age than I did. There’s different styles of how we play.”
BraveWords: Sinister was recorded at different locations?
Vinny Appice: “The drums were recorded at all different places at different times. I did a lot of stuff at my home studio and then Carmine did a lot of stuff at a studio in New Jersey. They were all different places and different drums. One song was done here (in L.A.) with my drums that Carmine played.”
BraveWords: How did you get all these amazing vocalists to sing on the album?
Vinny Appice: “They’re really good friends of ours. Paul Shortino’s a good friend and we’ve known him for years. Jim Crean’s been playing with us for a long time. A couple of the guys are good friends of Carmines. A lot of people wanted to be involved and play on the album.”
BraveWords: Did you have to turn anyone down?
Vinny Appice: “Not turn down, but it was just too late. A few people wanted to be involved when they heard we were doing a record together. But it was too late so we had to tell them next time."
BraveWords: “Sabbath Mash” is a fun little tune. How come no songs from your time period in the band appear in it?
Vinny Appice: “This was something we did live and we’d already played “Mob Rules” in the set. That’s the only Sabbath one we usually play. We didn’t play any other Sabbath songs than that. It was my idea to mix it up and do different things to it. Then we put it together for the live situation and we said let’s record it because it sounded great. Then we put that crazy piano thing in it. That was something on the spur of the moment that we found out the guitar player and the bass player we were using, these two Japanese sisters, were virtuoso piano players. So we heard them play and put that piece of music in the song.”
BraveWords: What are some of your most fondest memories playing with Sabbath and Dio?
Vinny Appice: “There’s a lot of them. There’s so many highlights in the career. One of them is the first gold record. Sabbath was easy because it was a big band, Dio we built from the beginning so that was a little bit more work. So when we got our first gold record, that was pretty cool. Being from New York and getting to play at Madison Square Garden for the first time was a highlight, and I’m lucky to have all those highlights.”
BraveWords: Who makes up the Appice live band?
Vinny Appice: “The thing we do with the live band is right now, we can’t fly everybody in to do a gig, it’s just too expensive to do it that way. What we do is, Jim Crean sings on some of the gigs and our good buddy Chas West on some of the gigs. We’re going to the East coast first and we already have a band there. We use Arty who wrote Sinister, he’s a guitar player. There’s Jimmy who plays with Carmine in Cactus. When we play out, we use different people.”
BraveWords: Is there anything else in the works?
Vinny Appice: “Tomorrow we start recording for a new album for Last in Line. I’m doing Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp with Judas Priest next week, then we got some dates with Carmine. There’s a lot of things in the pipe line. I’m doing a lot of stuff, which is pretty cool.”
(Photos by: Joey Wester)