by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist —
One of the most innovative and powerful drummers Carmine Appice has a Rock ‘N’ Roll resume that any musician would be proud of. Carmine has worked with some of the top alumni in the music business. His powerhouse drumming has defined him as one of the top musicians in the music business. From Vanilla Fudge to Cactus to Blue Murder, Carmine has set the bar high with his stellar musicianship.
Carmine Appice has just launched Rocker Records. The label has released four digital recordings: TNA – Travers and Appice/Live In Europe, Bogert/Appice and Friends, Cactus – Live in Japan, Cactus – Live in the USA.
These albums are rare collectible gems for any Carmine Appice fan. In this Exclusive interview for Hardrock Haven, Carmine discusses the launching of his new label Rocker Records and new band Legacy X featuring Joe Lynn Turner.
Exclusive Carmine Appice Discusses The launching of Rocker Records
HRH: Carmine welcome to Hardrock Haven. It is an honor to speak with you. Tell us how Rocker Records came to fruition.
Carmine: Well basically my partner who was just on the phone Mike Cusanelli, he is like a record guy. He has worked with some Indie Labels. He does all the business stuff. He signs up distributors. He also helped me with my book. I did a deal with VH1 for my book. I am probably three quarters through on that. We were sitting around talking one day and talking and he asked me if I had some product lying around that maybe you want to get released? I said I think I might have some stuff why? He said you are at the point in your career maybe it would be a good idea to have a label that you could do that. It would be not only for you but also for your friends. I was just telling Mike that my brother Vinny had a band Three Legged Dog. We could take his product and release it and add a couple of bonus tracks and re-release it worldwide. He said I think I could get a deal on eOne. They are a pretty big distributor. So we went and had some meetings and they were interested. It took three months to get it all together. I used to have a label in the eighties Rocker Records. We released King Cobra III. It was on Relativity Records back then. I said lets just revive the name Rocker Records. I always liked the name. So we revived it. I spent a couple months putting together these four releases that were just released. Cactus – Live In Japan and Cactus – Live in the USA, which is the first live gig that Cactus ever did in 2006. Last time we did a gig like that was in the ‘70s.So it has Tim Bogert on that one. The singer is dead. So we got a new singer. The one in Japan, Tim is retired so we have Pete Bremy from Vanilla Fudge playing on there. So I said lets get those two out. Then someone sent me a CD of me and Pat Travers live in Europe. It just sounded so good. I played it for Mike and he said this sounds great. It is really a kick-ass component. So we added a bonus track to that. And then these other ones were just arrangements of songs that me and Tim Bogert were doing. It is a version of Vanilla Fudge and this includes the original band. We were mixed these arrangements. They were just sitting on my computer. I said this would be a good thing. We could just call it Bogert, Appice, and Friends. We put these pieces together. We had to remaster. It took a little work but now those are released. They are digital.
HRH: What is your view on digital vs. analogue?
Carmine: I love analogue. I am an analogue guy. Any recording I do I try and do it on analogue. I am doing a new album that we are releasing on Frontiers Records called Legacy X including me, Joe Lynn Turner, Jeff Watson of Night Ranger, and Tony Franklin is the bass player.
HRH: So that is going to be a new band correct?
Carmine: It is a new band. We are going to release it next year. We ended up doing twelve tracks on pro-tools. It sounded pretty good. Best drum sound I ever got. So we are going to balance it all on analogue 24-track tape.
HRH: Do you think you will tour with this band?
Carmine: We are going to tour with this band. A lot of it is going to be out of the country. With the members of this band like in Japan it should be very well received. Because of the fact that Joe Lynn Turner was in Deep Purple and Rainbow. They were huge in Japan. Night Ranger was big in Japan. I worked with Rod Stewart in Japan. Tony Franklin was with me in Japan. Japan will be a big market for us. Europe is the same kind of story. Another big market will be South America.
HRH: You have to come to Vegas. I saw Joe with Raiding The Vault here. He was amazing. He has a huge following in Vegas. You and your brother Vinny have such a legacy.
Carmine: We’ll probably do some dates. I am not exactly sure where they will be. We might do some festivals like M3 or Rock America. Maybe a few of those? Maybe some outdoor gigs that kind of thing. We’re not sure yet. We are going to do our history songs plus new songs. It should be cool. I will be able to play “Smoke On The Water” and “Stone Cold.” Joe will be able to sing Blue Murder songs. It should be fun. I record analogue most of the time. The reason why we didn’t do these because three of these albums were live. Live albums are repetitions of stuff that has been out before. We are going to try it on the next album. We are doing a Vanilla Fudge live album. We are going to release that on a CD and some vinyl. We also have a new Cactus album we are working on. That will come out on vinyl. Those are some of the products we are looking at the first of the year.
HRH: These are collective items in essence. Fans will really want these. That era was so great. There are really a gem and kind of a diamond in the rough for collectibles.
Carmine: Yes, that is Tony Franklin playing bass on the Travers album. They are gems. They are collectibles. To get the label going, we thought we would do these digitally first. Unless a band is touring you make hard copies. And sell them at the gigs. You are not going to get these at Wal-Mart. They only take only huge bands at Wal-Mart.
HRH: How has the industry changed since back in the day? Do you think it is harder for the younger bands today to get started?
Carmine: I think it is and it isn’t. With this You tube and this other stuff if a young band goes on there somehow they know how to work these computer things. They end up getting a million hits on you tube. And somebody will sign them. Now everybody and their brother make a CD. Before it was special. You used to say Ma I made a record. You would have to be signed to make a record or spend a lot of money making a record and put it out yourself. Now it is ridiculous. A guy sits in his house with pro-tools with out even a drum set and make a record. Do the artwork go buy jewel cases and print some CD’s and say I made a CD. It is just the specialty matter. Now everybody and his brother have a CD.
HRH: You are part of a generation that inspired so many drummers. You and the late John Bonham and Keith Moon. Did you ever work with John Bonham?
Carmine: Yes, I am the one who got him the Ludwig endorsement. They played their very first gig and a bunch of gigs and the opening act was Vanilla Fudge. We heard their album before anybody. They played on our first gig. Jon Bonham loved the drums that I had. He wanted a set. I called up Ludwig and said I think this man is going to be big. Now I say it was an understatement in my case. He got the same drums I got. He played them. We went on tour again and they got so big so fast. I worked with Keith Moon many times. These were all my friends.
HRH: Now getting back to Paul Shortino. You recently released King Kobra ll album correct?
Carmine: That is right. We did the drums in Vegas. Analogue by the way. We did a lot of the vocals and we did our video there at Vamp’d with Danny. He is a big TV star now. I always loved his car collection. I never thought he end up doing a TV show. That album we did on Frontiers. That did a lot better than our first album. We sold more in the first ten days.
HRH: You also did the Drums Wars with your brother at Vamp’d.
Carmine: Yes, we did the Drums Wars a couple of times. It is a great club.
HRH: Yes, it is the best club in Vegas. Do you think you will do another Drum Wars with Vinny?
Carmine: I heard we might go back to Boulder Station.
HRH: Will your book be out next year?
Carmine: Definitely out next year. I think it is going to be called Stick It: Encounters With Rock Legends. My book is a lot different than most peoples books. A lot of peoples books that come out, they are with one band. They talk about that band all day. Well for me it wasn’t one band. It was all these different bands. It is about meeting Buddy Rich my idol and hanging out with him. These guys like Mel Torme. It is hard to believe looking back at my career it was me.
HRH: Carmine, it has been great talking with you. We wish you the best with Rocker Records. Hope to see you perform soon.
Carmine: I am having fun these days with the launching of Rocker Records. Mike does all the business stuff and I do all the creative stuff.
Visit Carmine Appice online: http://www.carmineappice.com/