Clint Switzer of the “Music Mania” podcast recently conducted an interview with legendary drummer Carmine Appice (BLUE MURDER, KING KOBRA, VANILLA FUDGE). You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On “Sinister”, the new collaborative studio album from him and his brother, fellow legendary drummer Vinny:
Carmine: “We had a good time doing it. We’ve already done these ‘Drum Wars’ shows; I don’t know how many shows around the world we’ve done — 80 shows in the last five years, six years. We never really thought about doing a record until last year. We did a live record thinking that would be a good thing to do. The live record was just a live show. But, our manager that we hooked up with last year said, ‘You know, it would be a really good idea to do a record and really establish you guys as a rock act and not just a show where people wonder if it’s a drum clinic, is it a rock show? What is it?’ We said, ‘That’s a good idea.’ He said we can do a PledgeMusic campaign. Because we said, ‘It costs money to do a record. Record deals today are not very good for rock artists.’ Even VAN HALEN and people like that, nobody’s on major labels anymore. He said, ‘Well look, we can do a Pledge campaign.’ I said, ‘Okay, I never did one. I heard about them, but I never did one.’ He manages ANVIL, too. He said, ‘We did it with ANVIL and it worked great.’ So, we did that. Right in the middle of that, we got the idea to use this song ‘Monsters And Heroes’ that I had recorded with KING KOBRA and we had given it to Wendy Dio for Ronnie James Dio‘s cancer foundation. I played it for Vinny and Vinny loved it. Then we said, ‘We could use this song as the demo possibly to get a record deal.’ And we did and they loved the song and they loved the idea. The guy that sang the song, Paul Shortino, used to be managed by Ronnie. I knew Ronnie for years and Vinny played with Ronnie, so it was natural. Then we had a PledgeMusic campaign happening, then we got a record deal. I said ‘Wow, this is pretty cool.’ Once we got the deal, then it was, like, ‘Okay, we have to make the record.'”
On the challenges of recording drums alongside Vinny:
Carmine: “We recorded differently. Basically, when we started doing the record, we had songs. We had the idea to do sort of like what we did in our stage show where I played some historical songs and Vinny played some historical songs by himself. We figured we’d do at least one historical song a piece that we can do by ourselves. With Vinny, we did the ‘Sabbath Mash’. With me, we did ‘Riot’ with BLUE MURDER. The ‘Sabbath Mash’ we did live anyway, so we knew how to play that, so we got two Japanese girls to play with us, the Okai Sisters, who played bass and guitar. We rehearsed with them and we went into the studio basically with six song ideas. We went out here in L.A., we went into [the studio of] Jorgen Carlsson, who plays with GOV’T MULE, the bass player. We went into his little studio, we put down those six tracks. When we used the second drum set, we could only have one drum set on at one time, so when I put a track down and Vinny would put a track down, he’d use my drums. We re-tuned the bass drum. We put a different snare drum on there, we put a couple of his toms on my kit, then we’d have a different-sounding kit for him. He would play with the click and play his parts against what I did. We did that on the first six songs and then, after that, then we got guitar players in that sent us tapes or tracks online with the files and we took those tracks and first we would give it to Paul Shortino to write a song or give it to [vocalist] Jim Crean to make a song out of it with lyrics and melody. Then we put the bass on it, then I would do drums and I would send it to Vinny and he would do drums and send it back to me. That’s basically how it went down. Then we had the idea to do the right and the left drums in the mix from the get-go. We didn’t use it on the whole album. One track we did called ‘Suddenly’, Vinny started and then I played, then Vinny and me went down the middle of the mix, but we played different sections of the song. We liked that but it didn’t work as good to me as the right and left, and Vinny, too. Next record we’ll do, we’ll do the right and left pretty much on all the songs except the ones we play individually.”
On the reception to his “Stick It!: My Life Of Sex, Drums, And Rock ‘N’ Roll” autobiography:
Carmine: “The book came out and it did okay. It was originally supposed to come out on VH1 Books. I think it would have done a lot better on VH1 Books. It came out on a big indie label. The big indie label doesn’t have the clout as a major book label. It’s just like a record company. It did okay, but I think it would have done better if it had come out on the original deal. Unfortunately, VH1 Books went out of business just before we finished the book. That was really too bad because the writer [Ian Gittins], who wrote my book and Nikki Sixx‘s ‘Heroin Diaries’, he did such a great job, re-writing stories and making it really compelling and stuff. We worked hard on that book. We worked hard on it for a year. Before that, I had been working on this book for 20 years and more. I started it in the ’80s. I wasn’t that happy with the results, but what are you going to do? I’m over it and on to other things. I got it out and maybe somebody will read it or a producer or screenwriter will say, ‘Hey, this will make a good movie’ and make a movie out of it.”
“Sinister” was released on October 27 through SPV/Steamhammer as CD digipack, double gatefold vinyl, download and stream.
“Stick It!: My Life Of Sex, Drums, And Rock ‘N’ Roll” was released in May of 2016 by Chicago Review Press.