Rant ‘N’ Roll: One-On-One With Carmine Appice

Stick It: My Life Of Sex, Drums & Rock ‘n’ Roll by Carmine Appice with Ian Gittins (Chicago Review Press, $26.99) is a double-dong doozy. I spent many a late night/early morning because I just couldn’t put it down. And it was over all too soon. Suffice it to say, I loved it. Then he called.

Aquarian Weekly: So five marriages, an estimated 4,500 vaginas…

Carmine Appice: Most of them were just mouths.

AW: Still, this book rocks. The balls-out honesty, the back-stabbing, the women, the music…wow, I can’t believe how Jeff Beck totally screwed you.

CA: Happens.

AW: You might have very well grown up to be a wise guy…

CA: …had it not been for the drums, right. I’ve got some friends in jail for murder. Growing up in Brooklyn was rough. I brushed up against the mob many times.

AW: Any regrets?

CA: I wish we would never have released that awful second Vanilla Fudge album, The Beat Goes On.

AW: Do you regret how you treated women and how you treated hotel rooms? You were a bit of an asshole.

CA: Of course! We were young rock stars with huge egos. We got away with murder. We disrespected women, yes. We trashed hotel property constantly yes. Cars too. Everything. It was crazy. And we wound up paying for it all without knowing it. I think about my 26-year old-daughter now and shudder at the thought of anyone doing to her what we did to much younger girls.

AW: Was there any kind of etiquette when it comes to trashing a hotel room? Did you start with throwing the television out the window into the pool or did you start by throwing food around? Similarly, what was the accepted norm of behavior if you saw your roadie getting a blowjob? Would you just drop your drawers, take it out and get on line? Or would you give them privacy?

CA: Privacy? [laughs] Hell no. You just wait your turn. Without a doubt. We had no shame. Fudge [bassist] Tim [Bogert] and I would go into the bathroom, walk out nude together, and see which girls would stick around.

AW: Maybe you’re alive today because you weren’t one of the bigger cocaine cowboys of your day.

CA: Never liked cocaine. In Cactus, I remember doing acid, pot, Quaaludes and peyote when Tim and [guitarist] Jim [McCarty] were totally into cocaine. And I only did drugs in conjunction with an event, like smoking pot before seeing the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the ‘80s, so many of my friends were doing cocaine, they’d ask me if I minded because they knew I wasn’t into it. Ludwig Drums even came out with a mirror with a cocaine logo.

AW: Where’s Tim nowadays?

CA: Retired in California with his three motorcycles and money in the bank from royalties and good investments. He doesn’t have to work and he just didn’t want to do it anymore despite Vanilla Fudge going strong again these days.

AW: You have some disparaging things to say about original Fudge guitarist Vinnie Martell.

CA: That could be another book in itself: “Guitar Players I Have Worked With.” We’re going on 50 years in Vanilla Fudge. He still can’t get a guitar sound easily. But he’s in the band and we have shows as I also have drum-war shows with my brother Vinny [ex-Dio] plus King Kobra and Cactus shows. I even do shows with “The Rod Stewart Experience” where I can play all the songs I used to play with Rod with the guys from that band minus Rod, of course. I’m also in the process of putting together a history-of-rock speaking tour for corporate events. I did drum clinics for so many years that this, to me, is an outgrowth of something like that.

AW: Well, for what it’s worth, I loved your book.

CA: Thank you.


Carmine Appice returns to New Jersey on Thursday, June 30, for a book signing at Books And Greetings in Northvale, NJ. For more information, go to carmineappice.net.