Interview and live pictures by Marko Syrjala
There’s no doubt that Carmine Appice is a living drum legend. His career started already in the mid-’60s with Vanilla Fudge, and since then, he’s been working with such names as Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, Rod Stewart, Blue Murder, King Kobra, among many others. Metal-Rules.com caught Carmine at the Sweden Rock festival just a few hours before he would hit on the stage with another classic band of his, Cactus. As a result of our length discussion, here’s an update of Carmine’s current projects, past bands, and future plans. Enjoy!!!
Last year you toured in Sweden with Travers & Appice, and now you’re doing a reunion show here in Sweden Rock with your old band Cactus. I also just heard that you guys are even releasing a brand new album with a new singer?
CARMINE: Everything’s true, “laughs.”
Well, how did you get that idea about putting this band back together, and what will happen next with Cactus?
CARMINE: Well, we did some songs in Randy’s [Pratt, Lizards] studio, and last December we got the call to do the festival, so then our label decided to sign Cactus and try and put out some of those songs, and that’s what “Cactus Five” [The new album] is songs that we’ve been working on for the last few years. Jimmy Kunes came in to sing, and we put all the songs together with him, and Randy played harmonica. So really, this Sweden Rock Festival was one of the reasons we’re actually together doing this at all. Now we’re going to go out and support the record in America and Europe in the fall. We’re going to work on touring, just going to try and sell the record. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re shooting and are going to release a couple of DVDs and see where it goes?
You started Cactus in the late ’60s, and it was originally formed because you and Tim Bogert tried to get a band together with Jeff Beck at the time, but some things went wrong then, right?
CARMINE: Well, we were playing with Vanilla Fudge, and we liked the fact that a lot of the bands coming out were more hard rock, and we wanted to play more in a hard rock vein, so we started thinking about doing this band with Jeff Beck, and it was going to be Jeff and Rod Stewart, but it never really happened, so we got Jim McCarthy and Rusty Day, and we continued the Cactus idea. You’ve got to understand that Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart weren’t that big yet. In those days, Vanilla Fudge was bigger than both those in those days. In 1969, Jeff Beck only had one album out, and it didn’t go gold. We had our album on the way to platinum with Vanilla Fudge, and Rod Stewart didn’t have any hit records yet. It put it in a different perspective; now you say, “Oh Jeff and Rod, two giant stars.”, but they weren’t giant stars back then.
On the fourth Cactus album, “Ot’n Sweaty,” you had Peter French on vocals.
CARMINE: Yes, he was our second singer, because the first singer died. End of the story.
Have you tried working with Peter since then?
CARMINE: Yes, we have tried, but it’s been a while. Actually, he’s here at the festival area. We ran into Peter, me and Timmy, the other night at the hotel.
Vanilla Fudge in the early days…
What is the status of Vanilla Fudge at this point?
CARMINE: We are going to do a new album during the summer, we’re going to play Led Zeppelin in Vanilla Fudge style in its entirety, and then we’re doing a bunch of dates in July on the west coast of America, California.
Do you have any plans to come over to Europe at some point?
CARMINE: Actually, we’re thinking of bringing Vanilla Fudge and Cactus to Europe on the same bill. That’s something different. And maybe another band too. We’re talking about it, we’ll see?
You have many bands going at the same time: Cactus, Travers & Appice, Vanilla Fudge, and even King Kobra is apparently still alive? How do you have time and interest to keep everything running?
CARMINE: Well, King Kobra, it’s not alive in my itinerary, everyoneï¿½s spread around, as you might know, Mark Free is a woman now and…
Jimmy Kunes (chimes in): That might be a good selling point? “laughs.”
CARMINE: …Yeah, I know. I told him a couple of years ago, we did a King Kobra tour, would he wear a skirt on stage with short underwear “laughs.”
Jimmy Kunes: Is he a good-looking woman?
CARMINE: No, he was better looking like a guy.
Carmine at Swedenrock 2006
Tell us something about a band KGB which you had in the late ’70s?
CARMINE: Quick, very quick, there’s not much about it. We did the album with Mike Bloomfield; he’s a crazy guy, he OD’d [overdosed] himself, he was a great blues player, but he just had a lot of mental problems. He did a bad article in the L.A. Times saying that he would never play with a band like us; it was a management thing that put this together. I said, “What’s wrong with you, dude? You don’t say something like that in the press.”. So, he was out. The second album with a different bass player, Rich Grech, was getting back into heroin, which was the end of Rich Grech. So we continued…
Jimmy Kunes: Carmine manages to play with all these people with crazy drug problems, and he’s never done drugs himself. You just keep a level head; it’s all business, you’re just above the fray, you know?
CARMINE: Yeah, I know, but it wasn’t business yet. I learned to do the business around that time when I kept getting screwed out of money.
But overall, the first KGB album sold pretty well, right?
CARMINE: Not really, it didn’t really do that much. In those days, the record companies couldn’t control the charts. I think it went Top 60 or 70 in America, had number one airplay, but it never really was a big record, you know?
Ok. Next, you started to work with Rod Stewart, and that collaboration was successful?
CARMINE: That’s when Rod was at his peak, I think. It was amazing, I learned a lot of stuff about songwriting, about the image, about putting on a great show, and we had a great band. We used to always, in reviews, be compared to The Rolling Stones. It was a great time.
I think that the song “Do You Think I’m Sexy,” which you co-wrote with him, is still one of the biggest songs he ever had?
CARMINE: The biggest song he’s ever had. You know, on “Guitar Zeus” I have a heavy version of it, with me and Pat Travers, studio version, it’s really cool actually.
So you’re still getting royalties from that song?
CARMINE: Oh yeah. I just saw the Revolting Cocks in L.A.; they did a version of it; it was really cool. The guy came out, the singer, looking like Hitler, and he had a woman’s necklace and army boots on, and he sang ‘Do You Think I’m Sexy,’ very cool “laughs.”
In 1976, you recorded with one-time Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin. Tell me something more about that project?
CARMINE: Right. I don’t remember much about it, I did a couple of tracks, and I think they used one. I knew Tommy from when Cactus used to be around, he had a group called Zephyr, and he opened up for us a lot; that’s when I met Tommy, we became friends. When BBA [Beck, Bogert & Appice] broke up, I went out to Denver to see him, to see if maybe we could do something together, but he was a big drugged out too. It’s very difficult to work with people when they’re drugged out.
How about working with Paul Stanley in 1978. Did you play on some tracks on his solo album?
CARMINE: That was interesting because I had just come in from Thailand with Rod Stewart, and I was really jetlagged, and again we made five tracks, and they only used one, and I never remember which one it was. When I used to do drum clinics a few years ago, people would ask me what I did on that record; I never remembered the songs. I did like a two-week drum clinic, and every day somebody asked me about that song, and it was like ten years after I recorded that song. I had to ask somebody at the store if they had a copy of the album so that I could listen to it. I finally listened to it and learned what I did, and showed it at the clinics.
Talking about Paul Stanley, how do you like KISS by yourself. Have you ever been a fan of theirs?
CARMINE: A Kiss fan? No, I was never a Kiss fan, not my cup of tea.
So you never thought about auditioning for them in 1980 when Peter Criss left?
CARMINE: I mean, I could have played drums for them, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be a fan. I played with Ozzy. They’d have probably thought I was too old anyway?
You also did lots of albums with artists like Eddie Money, Eric Carmen, and Ron Wood in the late ’70s?
CARMINE: That was just session work, you know, when I was with Rod, I was getting a lot of attention on a lot of levels. Solo artists like those guys would want me to play with them because I was playing with Rod.
You did one record and tour with Ted Nugent in 1982?
CARMINE: Yes. I have known Ted since the Vanilla Fudge days. We did an award show together with Rod and Ted. Ted said, “When you’re done playing wimpy rock, and you want to play man rock, you give me a call.” So when I was done with Rod, I called him. We toured, we did about 60-70 shows in America.
Who did others play on Ted Nugent’s band at the time?
CARMINE: Derek St. Holmes and the bass player was Bobby… something?
In 1981 you released a solo album called “Carmine Appice”…
CARMINE: Right, The Rockers. I had been trying to do albums with drums as the lead instrument, where the drums were loud and the vocals were loud. I had a couple of drum singles there. I wanted to do as Sandy Nelson did, Let There Be Drums, Drum Boogie like Jim Cooper, my idol, you know. But when we released it, we sold OK worldwide and did some touring, but I never really got the hit single. They said the drums were too loud. I said, “Excuse me, whose album is it?”.
Has that album ever been released on CD?
CARMINE: That album, no. But there are some bootlegs of it. I have it on the website; in the members-only area, you can hear the whole album. A few of the albums that are not out on CD, like the Derringer & Appice album I did in 1982 or 1983 it’s on my website; you can hear it there. That album, The Rockers album, The BBA Live, at CarmineAppice.com, YEAH!
You do have interesting players on the solo album, like Danny Johnson and your younger brother Vinnie?
CARMINE: Rod [Stewart] likes that album. He likes the feel of the album; it was on Rod’s label. So from listening to my album, he brought Jay Davis and Denny into the Rod Stewart Group. I wanted my brother [Vinny Appice] on there to play some drums with me.
Was that Vinnie’s very first recording?
CARMINE: Well, he did a group called Axis before that “laughs.”
If I remember right, right before joining Ozzy’s band, you had a project called DNA?
CARMINE: Derringer and Appice, yeah, with Rick Derringer. Well, that was… I actually forgot that came about, but Rick had a manager in L.A. that we knew, and my brother worked with Rick, and I said, “Why don’t we do an album together?”. When I was promoting ‘The Rockers’ album, I took Rick to Japan with me, and it was Rick, Tom Petersen on bass, me, Eric Carmen on piano and vocals, and Wayne Hitchings. We did a tour, played the Budokan and a lot of cool places. I said, “Why don’t we celebrate that we work together and do an album?”. Marshall said they were going to release it, so we went in, and in one week, we did the whole thing, wrote the songs and everything in a week. It was an EP. It came out great, and we did a video. It was on MTV five times a day in America, and the record company went out of business, World Wide Records, so that was a drag. I then had the offer to go on Ozzy.
After that album, you did some more rock stuff with Jeff Beck and the reunited Vanilla Fudge. Also, in between, you played with Ozzy Osbourne for a while?
CARMINE: Ozzy was fun. I was in France, just hanging out on vacation when I heard that Ozzy was looking for me. I called up somebody and got Ozzy’s management number, and when I called him, I said, “What’s up?” and he said, “Tommy Aldridge is out, and we want to know if you’re interested in joining the band.”. I said “Sure.”. and went to London for an “audition.” The “audition” was in the pub to see if I liked to drink with him. And I don’t drink, so… I got in the band, and soon Sharon fired me. She said my name was too big. She didn’t like the fact that I was my own person. I had my own T-shirts, which she OK’d on tour, I had my own publicist, I did interviews. At the time in America, Ozzy was not a really liked person at the time. He had pissed on the Alamo, and the American press didn’t want to talk to him, so a lot of them talked to me since I was on tour. So I was getting a lot of press, and she didn’t like it. On MTV, I had VJ’s who were friends of mine, and they were going “Here’s the Ozzy tour with the legendary drummer Carmine Appice.” She was pushing Jake E. Lee as well. I needed to start my own band. So I started King Kobra, and it went pretty good actually.
Have you got any memories from shooting the classic “Bark at the Moon” video?
CARMINE: Oh yeah, it was unbelievable, I think. That place was an old institute for the crazy people in England. I was with Don Airey the other night, Don was in the band with me, and we were talking about walking around that crazy house with Bob Daisley, me, Don, and Jake [E. Lee] and we found like baby embryos in bottles and just weird things like “Help me!” written on blackboards, like “Whoa, this is weird, man!”. It was kind of scary, you know.
How was Jake E. Lee work with?
CARMINE: Jake was a great great player, a very quiet guy, always kept to himself. He and he were always the last ones on the bus to go to sleep. We’d stay up late and watch the movies. Bob [Daisley] was a really nice guy, and I did another band called Mother’s Army with Bob. Bob is a great writer. Bob wrote all the lyrics for Ozzy. All the great albums Ozzy sold big numbers for, Bobby wrote the lyrics and melodies.
… and how do you like Ozzy himself?
CARMINE: I like Ozzy. He’s a nice guy. He was always really nice to me. Actually, I had a phone call from him a month ago [in May], a friend of mine was in a club where he was, and he put him on the phone, it was nice.
As you mentioned earlier, Sharon Osbourne pushed you to form your own band, which would be King Kobra?
CARMINE: Yeah. That band started when Sharon told me to start my own band. While I was on Ozzy, Mötley Crue was opening up for us. I noticed there were three black-haired guys and one blonde, so I said, “You know, I’m gonna do a band with all blondes, and I’ll be the black-haired guy, and I’m gonna put cobra colors in the hair as an image. But they’re gonna be really good players and a good singer.”. So, I knew what I wanted and went after getting it.
You really had “a look” at that point!
CARMINE: We had a look, yeah. Actually, Poison stole our look and made it big with it, “laughs.”
How did you choose players for the first record?
CARMINE: Actually, I had Mark Free already, and we had done a demo when I was with Ozzy, some songs I had Earl Slick playing on. I used that demo when I had Mark doing the vocals. Later on, I had Johnny Rod put the bass on it too, so it was more “King Kobryish.” And then I put ads in the paper, Music Connection in L.A., and auditioned everyone. We got tapes, me and Mark listed to them and little by little we found everybody. Johnny Rod came from St. Louis, a really aggressive cool guy, a great bass player.
When King Kobra first started, many hard rock bands like Ratt and Mötley Crue were already big names and sold many records. There must have been a tough competition between all bands?
CARMINE: For sure, there were some “laughs.”
In your own opinion, what was the selling point of King Kobra back then? What made you different compared to other bands?
CARMINE: The only difference was that my band were players; everybody in the band was a great player. There was Ratt and Mötley Crue, but Vince Neil can’t sing, Stephen Pearcy can’t sing, a nice guy, but not a great singer, great frontman, but Mark Free was a fucking singer, he was a great singer. Our guitar player would smoke any of those guitar players, and you know the drummers were OK, Tommy [Lee] was good, but I was the originator of all this shit Tommy was doing, the heavy drums, you know. So we had a lot to offer, we had some cool songs, we had a look.
In a business-related way, the first two albums did quite well. Did you ever go into “gold status” with King Kobra?
CARMINE: No, we never did. It might even have gone gold here [in Europe]. I took King Kobra to Spain, and we had four thousand people, and then the label said we sold a hundred and fifty thousand records in Europe, so it must have been gold in a few places, but they never told us. Then I knew it was a big… a medium-sized name here.
After those two albums, you had some radical changes in the lineup. Johnny was the first to leave, and soon Mark followed. What happened in the band back then?
CARMINE: Well, that was normal, Johnny Rod went with W.A.S.P., and then we got Lonnie Vincent in, and then we tried doing some demos since we lost the Capitol deal, trying to get a new deal, it was a bit of a mess in those days. We didn’t know where to go, and then we started rehearsing with that band, and then Mark Free left, and we got Marq Torien. So before you, it was almost the Bullet Boys. That first Bullet Boys album was all King Kobra material,90 percent. When they left, they did all the material, they ripped off all the ideas we had, and then they got a gold record for it. They know they did that because they gave me a gold record for it because they felt guilty.
King Kobra with Marq Torien
On the “King Kobra III” album, you have once again some Kiss tie-ins. The former KISS drummer Peter Criss is singing backing vocals on the album, and then you also recorded a couple of songs co-written by Gene Simmons?
CARMINE: We’re just friends. Peter, at the time, was doing nothing, so he needed to do something. I was trying to help him get going again because we’re friends, we used to go on vacation together, Pete’s from Brooklyn, I’m from Brooklyn, and I’ve known him since 1976 when he was with Kiss. So I said, “Look, I’m doing this album. Why don’t you come in and do some background, man?” so he came in. His wife at the time was in the King Kobra video for “Take It Off.” We were talking to Gene about signing King Kobra to his label, so he said, “Here’s a song you guys could do great.” and he gave us the “Legends Never Die” song, so we did it. I loved it. It was a great song. We did it so much better than his demo. The other song, which the Plasmatics did before, was cool, so we did that. I released that album on my own label.
The “King Kobra III” album is tough to find these days.
CARMINE: You know, I might try to get the album out on Escape and tell them to re-release it. I know we’d get some sales. I only have three in my house, that’s it… four actually, one out of the package and three in the package. I would change the cover though, that’s horrible “laughs.”
King Kobra at the studio with C.C Deville
The last King Kobra album, “Hollywood Trash,” has a completely new line-up, and it sounds quite different compared to older albums. In your opinion, is that album “a real” King Kobra album?
CARMINE: Well, you know, what happened there, was that I signed the deal with MTM, I talked to Johnny Rod, David Michael Phillips, and Mick. Marcie Free didn’t want to do it. I was going to do the original band with Kelly, and then as we started getting into it, everybody started falling out. Johnny Rod got arrested. He was in jail. I don’t even know why. David Michael Phillips didn’t want to do it without Mark, so he was out. So the only one left was Mick, so it was me, Mick, and Kelly. Kelly and I wrote a bunch of songs for King Kobra. Kelly played bass. I even sent Johnny [Rod] a ticket to come to L.A.
I didn’t know that he was in jail. So it was just a screw-up, a mess. When you do that, you just got to continue and do the best you can. Mick came in a play, and it was great. Steve Fister played on the album. He’s a great guitar player. I even had C.C. Deville on the album, but they didn’t put the album’s track. They only listed him and had a picture because they’re stupid. They have a picture of the band with C.C. Deville and list that he’s on the album, but they took his track off, silly.
Now afterward, how do you like that album overall?
CARMINE: I think it could have always been better, you know. I like the album, but I think we could have done a better mix. That’s when I decided, you know, I did two albums on digital, Protools, this one [which one?] and “Hollywood Trash.” Both of them made me realize how I wanted to do it in analog. I don’t like drums sounds like you get on digital; too thin. “Guitar Zeus” is analog, Travers & Appice debut is analog, ‘Bazooka’ by Travers & Appice is analog, I just… I love analog.
The next big band after King Kobra was Blue Murder. That band was a kind of supergroup right from the beginning. Do you agree with that?
CARMINE: Blue Murder got me back into playing with guys own my caliber, the Kobra guys were good, but they were new. I told them to go backstage and see Van Halen, but don’t ask for autographs, and they asked for autographs. It was embarrassing when you’re a peer versus a fan. In Blue Murder, there was Tony Franklin, John Sykes, top of the line musicians. It was a great record; we had a great following in Japan. We were huge in Japan. They had articles in magazines that said “Blue Murder, the new trio. Then it had another trio like Jimi Hendrix, Queen and Beck, Bogert & Appice. I said, “This is funny, I’m in the old one, and I’m in the new one.”. That was pretty cool.
Blue Murder at 1989
There are many different stories around about John Sykes, but how did you two work together?
CARMINE: I got along with him fine. You see, the problem with Blue Murder was we were so sure our record was going to go big that we never set up the business for us to fail, for the album not to go big. It didn’t go big, so we didn’t know what to do financially or with the next album. John flipped out because we put a lot of hard work into that album, we wanted it to be a big seller, and everybody told us it was going to be a big seller, Geffen, Bob Rock, everyone. Touring, we opened up for Bon Jovi driving everyone crazy. Everything was great, and then it just didn’t go, so John got depressed. He didn’t want to go in and do anything new for a year, and he was getting Whitesnake royalties making millions of dollars. The rest of us were like, “Let’s go; this is our living.”. We’re actually talking about doing a show in November. We’ll see how it goes?
There is the second Blue Murder album, “Nothing But Trouble,” released in 1993. Because you have some credits on the album, then you’ve probably played at least something on that album too?
CARMINE: Well, after we had split up and Tony left, Mike Stone called me up and said, “Look, we’re doing the second Blue Murder album, trying some drummers,” and I said, “Cool. I’ll do it as a session.”. I didn’t want to get involved in the politics of Blue Murder. I know how John works. It takes him forever to do songs. I wanted an “X” amount of dollars a day, and he agreed to it, so that’s what we did. I played 80% of the second album.
In the early days of Blue Murder, you tried out different singers. You had great guys like Tony Martin and Ray Gillen. What went wrong with those guys, or were there other reasons why you decided not to choose any of them?
CARMINE: Tony Martin, he didn’t show up. He was supposed to get on the plane and come to Vancouver, but he just didn’t show up. The day before, he said he wasn’t going to come. So we talked with Bob Rock, talked to Sykes about what we wanted to do, and Bob said, “Let’s just work on the music and find a singer later.”
But Tony did write one song with you guys, “Valley of the Kings”?
CARMINE: Yeah, he helped write that. But basically, in the end, Bob just said “John, you can sing, you sound good.” and in the end everybody liked it, John Kalodner, Bob liked it, his manager at the time liked it, and he wasn’t sure of himself, but we pushed him, and he did it.
How about Ray Gillen?
CARMINE: I wasn’t there with Ray Gillen. It was Cozy [Powell]. I mean, they went through some much money. Blue Murder was a supergroup; so many people went through that band before the album came out. I was actually jealous because Cozy was in the band, and I loved John, and I loved Tony as a player, you know. And I said, “Damn, Cozy gets all these good gigs.” and then the next thing I know, Cozy is out. So, I went to London, and my brother Vinny was playing Hammersmith Odeon with Dio for three nights. I figured everyone I know in the business of heavy metal is going to be there, and somebody got to know how to get hold of Sykes. Chris Welch gave me Sykes’ number, and I called him. I had to rent a car, I drove up to him, and from the very moment we played, we all looked at each other and said, “This is fucking magic.” and we knew that was it.
Mother’s Army at 1993
Mother’s Army was another all-star band featuring Joe Lynn Turner, Bob Daisley, and Jeff Watson. What was that band about?
CARMINE: Well, that was my idea. I always loved Bob Daisley. I had met Jeff Watson a few times at different gigs and stuff, and I knew he was out, he called me to do his solo album, and I recommended Bob Daisley. Bob was living in L.A., and then we liked it and decided to and put a band together, we had a young guy singing, I forgot his name, Will… something, it didn’t work, we did a couple of gigs and went to Japan as Lone Ranger with this guy. Basically, it was not happening. Then we ran into Joe Lynn Turner at a NAMM show, and I said, “Joe, I’ve got me, Bob and Jeff, would you like to sing with us, man?” and he goes, “Yeah, that sounds great.”. So we flew him out, we had a record deal, and we did it. We never did any gigs after that.
Because that was right in the middle of the grunge thing, 1992, 1993, it was… the whole grunge thing put all of us out of business, man. We all went to Japan to make our living. I did a lot of great stuff in Japan, 1994-1995, up to 1999 after the grunge thing, then the classic rock thing started coming back. In the late ’90s, everybody was out of work. Slash was out of Guns n’ Roses. Brian May had nothing going on. Ted Nugent had nothing going on, Zakk Wylde was just playing with Ozzy to get known as a solo guy, Ritchie Sambora, Bon Jovi wasn’t happening, Mick Mars, Mötley Crue was dead, Neil Schon was out of Journey. But now, everybody’s big again, it’s unbelievable.
You did two albums with Mother’s Army, but there’s also a third album released under that name…?
CARMINE: Yeah, I did two albums. At the time we did the second album, I was doing “Guitar Zeus” in late 1995, 1996, and Bob and Jeff wanted to write the songs. They were really boring songs for me. I thought they were boring. They said they were trying to be Pink Floyd, but I’m sorry, even though I played on a Pink Floyd album, I didn’t play as they play in Pink Floyd. I played like me. Pink Floyd can be really boring as far as music goes. They’re huge, great, people love them, I like a lot of their stuff, but I couldn’t do a whole album that sounds like Pink Floyd. So Joe and I let Bob and Jeff write the songs. For the first album that we did, I was involved in a lot of the writing. I didn’t get the credit because I was signed to Warner Brothers, and I didn’t want to give them the thing, so it’s like one of those deals. But you can hear the difference. The first album was rocking, the second album boring, but I didn’t care because I was doing the “Guitar Zeus” album and loving it.
Say something about a project “Heaven & Earth” you had with guitarist Stuart Smith in 1999?
CARMINE: That was just… I just made two tracks. I did that because he was going to help me get in contact with Ritchie Sambora. I didn’t know how to reach Ritchie, and he helped me out. Stuart was married to Ritchie’s wife Heather’s [Locklear] sister. So that’s how that happened.
One of the most recent things for you is Travers & Appice. At least for me, you and Pat are quite a strange combination?
CARMINE: Travers & Appice, T n’ A, tits and ass, that was great. I love Pat. But again, that was supposed to be an album with Rick Derringer because SPV noticed that we were getting more airplay on VH1 Classic for a Derringer & Appice song with a video. So Rick went born again, and I told Rick that I wanted a rock album and not a Christian album, as we did an album with me and Tim and Rick, and it was a bit light. He said, “I already got my wife working on lyrics, and she’s a Christian.” I said, “Your wife? I don’t want your wife working on lyrics. It’s got to be the band. It’s got to be heavy. So he said, “Well, if my wife can’t do it, then I don’t know…” and we kept waiting for him and his schedule kept being busy, and we thought, “Let’s just forget it.”I had the record deal, so my co-producer called Pat Travers, and he called me and said, “I’d love to do that album.” It was great, he came out, and we wrote some songs, it was heavy, it was cool, and we did the whole fucking record in nine days. I had a bass player that’s playing with Whitesnake tonight, Uriah Duffy. I found him playing in a local band up in San Francisco and asked if he wanted to do a record with Pat and me, so that’s sort of what started him off, and now he’s headlining over me here. What the fuck is that? “laughs.”
On the second Travers & Appice album, you also have some interesting guests like Steve Lukather and Chuck Wright?
CARMINE: Well, that was Cleopatra’s idea to do that, me and Pat didn’t think we needed it, but we did it for them. Actually, now they took the track that Rick Derringer is on, and they put Pat and me on his album, the “Bazooka” track, which I wrote, all of it pretty much.
Are you going to keep working with Pat in the future?
CARMINE: Yeah, we’re doing stuff. We’re trying to get to Hawaii in August to do a show, Pat’s flying in next week to do my DVD, and we’re going to play songs from the Travers & Appice record on my DVD, my instructional book, they sell like maybe five, six, seven thousand every year for years. It’s not like a DVD that sells and goes away.
One final question about Blue Murder, you mentioned that a possible reunion is in the works?
CARMINE: Not a record. We’re just going to do a tour and see how it goes. We’re going to go to Japan, in Japan we were huge. We’ll see how it goes. If everybody gets along daily, because we don’t live together anymore, it’s like you get divorced and then you get the marriage back together, you know, you don’t know if it’s going to work.
About two years ago, persistent rumors were going around about a Blue Murder reunion. What was that all about?
CARMINE: We never could get together with John. John, I love him, he’s like a brother, but he’s a bit… you never know with John.
Ok … our time is up now. Thanks for your time, and see you again.
CARMINE: No problem. See you later!
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Special thanks to Lars Chriss from Escapi Music Group for getting this interview done !!!
PICTURES FROM CACTUS REUNION SHOW AT SWEDEN ROCK 2006