Legendary Rock drummer Carmine Appice made an appearance at J&R Music World in lower Manhattan the other day and folks who attended were treated to a quick performance on the drums and a brief Q&A session. After this was done Carmine would sign copies of his “Carmine Appice’s Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes” CD for those fans who wanted him to personalize it.
Artist: Carmine Appice
Venue: J&R Music World (New York, NY)
Event: “Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes” CD Signing & Performance
Label: Rocket Science Records
You know his name and legendary drumming from bands such as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Rod Stewart, Blue Murder and even King Kobra but the resume of Carmine Appice reaches so deep into the history of modern Rock and Metal music that it would take several articles just to line out the full roster of talent that he has worked with over the course of his career. Today, J&R Music World down in lower Manhattan would continue their presenting artists such as Carmine to the general public and allow the drummer to do a short performance and question and answer session before he would sign copies of his latest album “Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes”.
“GZCH” is a double disc affair that finds the drummer playing with a healthy batch of the world’s greatest guitar gods while musicians like Tony Franklin and Kelly Keeling join in and provide extra support for the songs. The great thing about the release is that it gives you the chance to hear what a band that features guitar player “X” in the band if Carmine Appice was also on the drums. I found that much to be rather cool. He would sit behind a beautiful DDrum kit for the performance and it was a double bass setup with two rack mounted toms and a single floor tom. He had about six or seven Sabian Cymbals mounted around which were a blend of China type and conventional crashes. Carmine took to the small stage and played against three of the albums tracks with the first one being a rocking number that features “Uncle” Ted Nugent on guitar. He would also do the tunes “Stash” and “Gonna Rain” which feature Steve Salas and Richie Sambora respectively. It was a fun event and there was a surprise celebrity guest in Ramones drummer Marky Ramone. He made sure to be up front and center during the jam and was making Carmine chuckle a little bit based on how close his proximity was.
After a rousing but brief set of material based on Carmine not having any additional tracks ready for such an event, afterward he would take questions from the audience and while a number of them reflected the albums composition and how the guitar players were selected some of the others related to the eventual touring or possibility of this coming to the live stage. I liked how he said this all came together and how much interest he had in it from the amazing guitar slingers that are present. He told us how guys like Yngwie wanted to play with King’s X’s Dug while a dude like Mick Mars wanted to play against the Edgar Winter sung track. The album also features the talents of bassist Tony Franklin and singer Kelly Keeling who had worked with Appice in other projects over the years. The fans in the crowd this evening had not only brought along the new CD but also some vintage Fudge albums and even a copy of King Kobra’s “Ready To Strike” was seen. That has long been one of my own favorite Melodic Hard Rock albums and yes, there was even some Rod Stewart brought to the signing table since Carmine had co-written two of the singer’s monster hits. If you were not aware of this both “Do You Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks” had the Appice touch to them. Through it all Carmine seemed engaging and interested in talking to everyone about what was on their mind. It was nice to see as opposed to the patrons being rushed past the table and out of the store.
Please be aware that “Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes” is a compilation that previously existed on two distinct releases under the “GZ” title but these are long out of print and hard to find. I think that there is enough solid drumming and interesting guitar playing on the two discs to merit this as a worthy purchase so check it out when you can.
1. Days Are Nights
3. Gonna Rain
For the event Carmine would be slamming it down on a sweet double bass drum kit manufactured by DDrum. It had a blend between crashes and china models. We snapped a few shots of the kit before he arrived so the drummers that might be reading the article can enjoy its layout from an almost catalog perspective.
As Carmine arrived at the small stage that J&R keeps for these events, he did so to the sound of “Guitar Zeus” playing over the stores stereo system. If you look carefully at the above photo you will see a very familiar face behind Carmine, well, that is if you really know your drummers and your history of Punk Rock that is.
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you and this is none other than Marky Ramone from the legendary Ramones. We spoke for a moment and Marky had the idea of having his photo taken in front of the “popular” sign. You might be wondering if he was going to play as well and while that would have been super cool, it would not be the case.
Carmine climbed aboard the sleek drum set and spoke to the crowd for a couple of minutes before getting down to business. He thanked everyone for coming and said he was going to play a few songs from the album and then take some questions if anyone had any. He wanted this to be a little bit of a performance meets drum clinic if he could. He also mentioned that he had never been in this store before today which was a bit of a surprise. He mentioned how he used to go to the long shuttered Tower Records that used to be based a little further uptown.
The drummer would get down to business now, and begin playing to tracks from “Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes” and begin with the rocking number “Days Are Nights”. This track features Ted Nugent on guitar and should appease Uncle Ted fans worldwide.
Continuing on, Carmine paused between tunes and chuckled aloud and said to the audience that he was finding it hard to concentrate with a drummer like Mark Ramone standing only a couple of feet in front of him. It was definitely cool for Appice to send this shout out to his friend and it made the legendary Punk drummer smile a bit as well. The next song Carmine would play from the album was called “Stash” and it featured Steve Salas on guitar. I guess we can use our imagination as to what the subject matter for this one could have been.
“Gonna Rain” was the next and sadly the last track that Appice would deliver and this one he said was a lot of work and featured the guitar talents of Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi. As he played the thing that became clear about this double CD release was how different and interesting a number of its tracks were.
It was amazing to see Carmine doing his thing in such close quarters and his sound was as full as we were accustomed to it being. He has a powerful style that also is loaded with flair and during the all too brief performance piece he would also twirl and toss the drumsticks without missing a beat.
Before sitting down at the signing table, Carmine took a few short questions from the people in the audience and for the most part it was about the album and the players involved. The release also features the talents of axe slingers like Yngwie Malmsteen and Mick Mars on top of many others. He made people laugh when he informed them on how each unique player had their own equally unique choice of who they wanted to play with. Yngiw wanted to be on the track that King’s X Dug Pinnick sang while Mick Mars wanted to be on another. If you have not guessed by now, the release features a ton of differently styled guitar gods and hence the title of “Guitar Zeus”.
Carmine also mentioned the cymbal on his kit that slightly resembled a lampshade and you can see it in the photo above as the one directly in the center. The medium sized implement of percussiveness is a creation of the drummer and made by both DDrum and Sabian if I heard him correctly. He laughed about it being a lampshade and said how it was a blend of what one gets when you crossed a China Cymbal together with a Splash Cymbal. I had to admit that it had an interesting sound and if you are a drummer that requires such a tool then I advise that you give this particular cymbal a try when you next go equipment shopping.
A couple of people asked if this would be something taken to the live stage and while it might be awesome I didn’t see the logistics of being able to do it. Even though I was close enough to ask him, I refrained from inquiring about when we would see him working on some future Cactus or Vanilla Fudge stuff. Part of me wanted to ask about a possible King Kobra reunion since one of the fans had the album “Ready to Strike“ in their hands. If you have never heard that release believe me its a powerhouse of eighties Melodic Hard Rock and a recommendation.
Carmine was very friendly to the fans who had taken the time to come down to see and hear him do his thing today and was visibly willing to sign anything that they had brought along with them. I liked seeing this and was happy to find that the J&R staff were not regulating this to a “one item that you bought here” kind of mindset. I even saw some people purchasing releases that featured the drummer from the very racks around us and then getting on the signing line and that is never bad for business.
There seemed to be a good amount of drummers in the crowd and most certainly long time fans of the things that the man did. Someone even had the Rod Stewart album with “Do You Think I’m Sexy” on it and another with “Young Turks” which Appice had co-written. He would also sign the stores marquee announcement sign which I believe will eventually hang in the store somewhere for those who sadly missed the day to see again and again.
After the event was done and the business pleasantries had finished Carmine got to catch up with his friend Marky Ramone and I was happy to get this photo of two drumming legends. Each of them inspired more drummers than can be counted in their own fashion and having them in one place together was awesome.
I couldn’t let the chance to snare a candid with Marky pass me by, especially since I had long been a fan of their music and would eventually form a short lived Ramones tribute act of my own way back in the day.
And of course a moment with the main man of the event was snapped as well. Carmine and his friends would head off to dinner after this and no, I didn’t join in on that or we would have never finished the article. It was a fun time and I was happy to have been a part of it. Make sure you look into a copy of “Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes” soon as it is a truly rocking endeavor that crosses a number of Rock styles and holds appeal for many.
Over the past couple of years, PiercingMetal.com has covered some of the other events that J&R Music World hosted especially when the artists were those that were important to the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock genre. We think its awesome that the store even does these kinds of things and hope that many more are to come. Check out our reports on these past adventures by clicking HERE.
Official Website: http://www.carmineappice.com