Only a few drummers have affected all levels of rock and metal music in the across-the-board fashion of Carmine Appice. Be it through his influence work with ’60s psych-rockers Vanilla Fudge, his enduring influence on John Bonham, his songwriting with Rod Stewart, or his work as a hair metal icon with King Kobra and Blue Murder, there’s no doubt about it, Carmine Appice transcends time, space, and genres.
In the ’60s, with his soft velvet suits proving a stark contrast to his ear-imploding double bass drumming, Appice was a trendsetter and set the standard for what a heavy metal drummer could be through droves of monstrous fills, technical prowess, and innovation.
And in the ’70s, Appice further broke ground with blues-rock outfit Cactus, who toured alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Black Sabbath before joining Rod Stewart’s band and co-writing the still iconic disco-rock cut “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” while also making a cameo on Paul Stanley of Kiss’s solo record, 1978’s Paul Stanley.
But Appice didn’t stop there, and to be sure, the ’80s were kind to him, as he dipped his toe into the metal scene with Vinnie Vincent, Ozzy Osbourne, King Kobra, and finally, Blue Murder, further cementing his legacy as an eternal perpetrator of all things rock—especially as it pertains to the drums.
These days, Appice is still at it, releasing a myriad of projects with Cactus, King Kobra, and alongside his brother, Vinny Appice. Business aside, Appice’s drumming and influence remain most staggering, all of which comes from somewhere. To that end, Carmine Appice beamed in with ClassicRockHistory.com to recount the ten albums that changed his life.
# 10 – Krupa and Rich by Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich (1956)
These guys changed drumming when I first started. Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa were and still are my mentors on drums. I learned a lot from both of them and applied all of it to rock. And I even still use some of this stuff in my drum solos today.
# 9 – Rich Versus Roach by Buddy Rich and Max Roach (1959)
Max Roach was another of my mentors. With him playing opposite Buddy Rich, it was amazing for me. I got a lot of my stuff from Max and applied it to rock with at first a single bass drum. And then, I did that again with a double bass drum.
# 8 – The Gene Krupa Story Soundtrack by Gene Krupa and Various Artists (1959)
Because Gene was an idol of mine, I saw the movie, and I loved it. And when I got the soundtrack, I learned every note of it. It helped my playing and showmanship. Gene inspired all the twirls and showmanship I have shown through the years with my bands.
# 7 – Revolver by The Beatles (1966)
When I first heard this album, it changed my way of thinking. The Vanilla Fudge was working on songs that were to become our first album, and this is the album we used for inspiration. All the totally crazy arrangements and vocals, taking songs like “Eleanor Rigby” and changing it to mood, etc. This album did it for us.
# 6 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (1967)
This was a continuation of our [Vanilla Fudge] inspiration of The Beatles’ musical genius. We based many of our ideas in Vanilla Fudge from what The Beatles were doing back then.
# 5 – The Inner Mounting Flame by Mahavishnu Orchestra (1971)
When this came out, I was floored by the musicianship of this band. I loved all the time signatures that they played. I especially love Billy Cobham and his feel and his drum fills. The way he free-formed in these time signatures was amazing to me. I always love songs with time signatures. This band was the ultimate in that they were an awesome band in every respect.
# 4 – Birds of Fire by Mahavishnu Orchestra (1973)
This was a continuation of what I loved on the first record. I used to drive in a car with Jeff Beck in our Beck, Bogert & Appice days and played all this stuff, and we both loved it. I eventually started playing and was able to free-form in these time signatures.
# 3 – Spectrum by Billy Cobham (1973)
This was the same as the Mahavishnu albums, except it was a little funkier and had more drums. A little more rock! By adding Tommy Bolin to the mix, this album became more of a rock instrumental album, with the drums up front. Billy was and still is an amazing player. I loved it all.
# 2 – Regatta de Blanc by The Police (1979)
I started hearing about reggae when I was with Beck, Bogart & Appice in the U.K. I was listening to it with Rod Stewart as well. Phil Chen, the bassist from Rod’s band, was Jamaican and Chinese, and he taught me how to play reggae. I loved it. So, The Police became my favorite band after they came out. The first album was so raw and full of energy, and the combination of punk rock and reggae was wonderful. I immediately loved it.
# 1 – Synchronicity by The Police (1983)
Just the same thing here. I loved the grooves and the drum parts that Stewart Copeland plays. The vocals by Sting, his reggae bass playing, and Andy [Summers’] spacey reggae guitar blew me away. Great stuff. I still love all their work. There is no other band like The Police.
Carmine Appice Interview: 10 Albums That Changed My Life article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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