Reviewed: February 2018
Released: 2017, Chicago Review Press
Carmine Appice started his career as a drummer way before I became a music fan. He really first came into my sphere of influence and recognition with his band, King Kobra. To me, he has always been about King Kobra. I knew he was in all those other bands (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Rod Stewart) etc…but I never listened to those bands. Therefore reading this book was a bit of a double edged-sword. On one side there was very little info about the band I wanted to read most about, King Kobra, but on the other side I learned a ton about this amazing musician.
STICK IT! is a nice paperback, with about 20 photos on glossy plates in the middle. He has a bit more flair than some authors I’ve read, with interesting chapters names, titles and mini-synopses of each chapter. It is a quick easy read, and he has a charming , albeit unsophisticated writing style…he’s a rocker! What more should we expect? We get to follow his career chronologically from his days being a young lad, running with Mob hoodlums in Brooklyn in the 60’s. Through music he escaped and had quite an amount of success and at an early age, was rich, wild and touring the world,in an age of free-love. He claims to have racked up 4500 sexual encounters. Gene Simmons would be proud! I was less thrilled with his constant and rather graphic descriptions of various sordid encounters but it was nice (in a reverse sport for way) to have a first hand account of the legendary Led Zep ‘mud-shark’ incident from someone who was actually in the room. Later in the book he does express remorse for his past behaviour, but makes no excuses, it was a different ages than these politically correct times. If yo are looking for the sex in ‘sex. drums and rock ‘n’ roll, this book has it spades! Appice also cleared up the debate about the pronunciation of his name, Ah-puh-see vs. Apeace. Well, it’s both! His family pronunciation is the former but on the suggestion of Rod Stewart he changed it to the latter. He still hangs out with Rod a bit who was nice enough to pen the foreward.
I also wrote a book review this month of the new Scott Ian book. In that review I gave Ian some grief for needlessly name-dropping people he has hung out with. Appice does the same but at least it is in context with his music career, hanging out with Buddy Rich, Ozzy, Prince, and and so on. He has been a session guy for decades and has met a ton of people. This is where he shows his age about talking excitedly about Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis, people who may not have the same cache with younger readers like myself. Appice is 71 years old after all, so it excusable for him to talk about meeting his childhood heroes. He looks great as well, because he largely stayed away from extensive drinking and drug use. Being sober and talented was an asset for his long career, when so many other failed and fell. A big drawback of his narrative is that he skips out huge chunks of his career. Sometimes entire years are reduced to a sentence or two. What if fans want to know about DBA or some of his other later-era ‘acronym’ bands? I was very excited to read about the reunion of King Kobra, his one true band, but it’s gets left out. Essentially, and sadly, he skips the last almost two decades of his professional career. Much of it only gets a passing mention.
In the end, this book is too short. His career is too big to cover , the book would have to be double or triple in size to cover it all. There are too many descriptions of blowjobs and not enough about his music career. In that sense it is a quintessential Rock ‘n’ roll tell-all biography and the sub-title of Sex, Drums And Rock ‘n’ Roll is very appropriate. Despite myself, perhaps, I really enjoyed his book and I learned a lot of music history and his life. I’d recommend it to any rock fan young or old.