Five Cool Songs Carmine Appice Drummed In Honor of His 65th Birthday

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Carmine Appice (pronounced "uh-pees" despite his brother Vinny claiming it is "a-puh-see" -- weird) is one of rock music's most recognized (and not just for the Fu Manchu 'stache) and longest tenured rock drummers. He also happens to be a somewhat polarizing figure. Despite being a contemporary and even predecessor to some of rock's finest stick wielders, Appice never garnered the acclaim as players like John Bonham and Ian Pace.

Some of that is simply because Appice's playing was not as complicated, some because he never played with a huge band, despite working with Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart and others. Ultimately, Appice is known for playing heavier music, which also probably contributed to his only moderate appeal.

Still, the guy has been a performing rock drummer for five decades, a feat rarely seen in music, and he's also a pretty nice guy. I got to meet him and chauffer him around when I was 20 for a drum clinic he was doing in Houston. He was as friendly and good natured as you could imagine, which was not how he was portrayed by some in the industry at the time.

So, here's to you, Carmine Appice. Happy 65th!

Cactus - Parchman Farm

Cactus was one of Appice's early '70s projects that again included Tim Bogert, who would play with him for many years, and was supposed to feature Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, but Beck had to take nearly two years off from music after a serious car accident and Stewart had already joined Faces.

Blue Murder - Valley of the Kings

Back in the late 1980's, I was, admittedly, into hard rock music. One band that I liked enough to go see at Numbers was Blue Murder, which was, in essence, guitarist John Sykes angry response to his firing from Whitesnake. The trio had marginal success, but turned out at least one interesting record.

Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hanging On

Vanilla Fudge was Appice's first significant band, formed with Bogert, Vince Martell and Mark Stein. They were one earliest hard rock bands, contemporaries of Cream and Led Zeppelin, and fairly underrated. This is a performance of the Supremes classic and Fudge's biggest hit on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Beck, Bogert & Appice - Superstitious

In what was another attempt to unite this trio -- a reoccurring theme for Appice over the course of nearly 30 years -- Beck, Bogert and Appice spit out one record that included the Stevie Wonder hit, "Superstitious," not to be confused with "I Ain't Superstitious," which Beck recorded with Stewart on his album Truth... without Appice.

Rod Stewart - Young Turks

Appice did play on several Stewart records including Tonight I'm Yours, which spawned this early '80s radio hit.

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I am a student of Carmine's and known him for close to 39 years and what you have said in your brief summary is a little off!! First of all, Carmine can and has played some of the most complicated drumming on the planet. He can play in any time signature fluidly and any type of beat displacement conceivable....yes, he does play heavy and that is his legacy, no one can play heavier than Carmine but to say that he is not a complicated player is just ignorance. I am not saying that you are slighting Carmine....I know that you are not..but I just wanted to set the record straight....Carmine set the standard for heavy and sophisticated playing....if he simplified specific playing it was because he felt it was justified to do so...not out of lack of incredible skill...I have spent a lot of my life analyzing Carmine's playing and style and believe me if he wants to get complicated, good luck trying to figure out what he is doing.....warm regards....Gregg Bowman

Lonnie Jones
Lonnie Jones

Actually, the true Italian pronunciation is more like Ah-PEACH-ay.


Nice post. Love that first Cactus album. Now you should do a post on how their singer, rusty day, met his demise. Hint: it involves large amounts of cocaine and sub-machine guns.

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