In a brand new, exclusive extensive interview conducted by Rock N Roll Universe drum legend Carmine Appice discusses his entire career, from his early days in VANILLA FUDGE, CACTUS, BECK, BOGERT & APPICE, through his years spent with ROD STEWART, KING KOBRA, OZZY OSBOURNE and BLUE MURDER, working with PINK FLOYD, all the way to his present activities with TRAVERS & APPICE. Also covered in the interview are the drummer's recollections of LED ZEPPELIN's first U.S. tour where the rock legends opened for VANILLA FUDGE, the upcoming CACTUS reunion at this summer's Sweden Rock Festival, as well as possible BLUE MURDER and BECK, BOGERT & APPICE reunions. An excerpt from the interview follows:
Rock N Roll Universe: You did the tour with OZZY OSBOURNE on the "Bark At The Moon" tour. What was that like for you, and was Ozzy as fried out then as he seems to be today?
Carmine Appice: "No, Ozzy used to get drunk, and there were some times when he'd do a lot of interviews and he'd get fried before he got onstage. He'd say, 'Carmine, I'm knackered.' I'd say, 'C'mon, Oz, we're going on stage, MÖTLEY CRÜE's gonna kick our ass.' But it was a great experience. We played good-sized buildings. Then again, he gave me a great drum solo, the band was tremendous, Bob Daisley on bass, Jake E. Lee, Don Airey, great musicians all of them. I've always said Ozzy was the weakest part of the band. (Laughs) But he's always been with all his bands. But, he's an icon. I give credit to Sharon. She did an amazing job in making him into a dynasty. I used to sit with him in the early '80's at The Rainbow and he couldn't even talk. He'd be so out of it, you'd be talking to him, next thing you'd turn around and his face would be in a bowl of spaghetti. She took that, and turned it into a success in every media. She was really ruthless but brilliant. She fired people, musicans sued her over royalties. She fired me, I sued them and won. Ozzy told me, 'Look, I know you have problems with my Missus, but I hope we can still be friends.' We were friends. All through that, he always said he wanted to be an actor. So, I guess he got his little chance on his TV show. But by then he was fried. When that came out, I couldn't believe that he or she let that out because it made him look so stupid, and he wasn't. He was an intelligent guy. He was out of it a lot, but he was an intelligent guy. He wasn't stupid. That show made him look stupid. I talked to one of Ozzy's sound or light guys and I asked, 'Doesn't he care what he looks like?' He looked to me and said, 'When did Ozzy care about anything?' I said, 'You're right, he never did care.' (Laughs) Because he was so out of it he never knew what was going on. But during the daytime, before he started drinking, he was more alert and more honest. That's when you'd see the real Ozzy and he was a cool guy. I used to really love Ozzy. I haven't seen him or talked to him in a long time, but he was always a nice guy."
Rock N Roll Universe: The reality show really kind of tore down a lot of credibility that he had with the hard rock/metal community unfortunately..
Carmine Appice: "Yeah, but look what she built. She built up Ozzfest, it's unbelievable. It's amazing what she did. She got cancer... I guess we were always considered 'the enemy' with Sharon after that because I sued her. What she said in the press. The same thing she said about Billy Corgan, 'He left for medical reasons, he made me sick.' When I heard her say that about him I said, 'God, can't you think up a new one? You said that 20 years ago about me.' But had I stayed with them it would've been great. Because when I went with them, I told Ozzy and Sharon, 'I'm looking for a home, I don't want to be jumping around anymore I want to stay with a band.' I had offers to go out on tour with other people for big money, but I decided to go with them because they were looking for someone to stay with them, too. I let her know that I always got a lot of press in America, which I did at the time. They didn't like the fact that I was doing sold-out master classes in every market, making a lot of money from it. I had my own press agent, I had my own t-shirts on tour, which she okay'd the deal. You can read about that in the MÖTLEY CRÜE book, 'The Dirt'. She cut the heads off my t shirts, hundreds of my t shirts. How long does that take to do? (Laughs) I couldn't believe one day my one drum riser didn't work, when I had a full-page ad in the Cincinnati paper that talked about the drum solo was the biggest effect. It wasn't my idea, it was their idea. I said that in the article. That they designed it, I'm just the one that plays it. But it is the biggest effect in the show. Unfortunately that night, it didn't work. So, I asked Bob Daisley, 'Hey, Bob, would she sabotage her own show to try and make me look stupid?' Bob looked at me and said, 'Oh, without a doubt.' So, next thing I know, four weeks later, maybe sooner, she fired me. She said, 'Your name is too big, you need to start your own band. We need someone who's more of a sideman, like Tommy Aldridge.' Gee, thanks. (Laughs)"
Rock N Roll Universe: What do you think of that whole situation with the re-recording of Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake's parts on the "Blizzard Of Ozz" and "Diary of A Madman" albums, where they replaced them with other musicians for the re-releases?
Carmine Appice: "I think that's so ridiculous. You know what, I know Bob really well. You know, you look at that first album, it's called the 'Blizzard of Ozz'. It wasn't called 'The Blizzard Of Ozz' by Ozzy Osbourne. The second album, same thing, right? That was the name of the BAND. The four people in the band, they were supposed to get a 25 percent share of the artist's royalties. But because Sharon was in charge, she made it into more of an Ozzy Osbourne deal. Everything went through their company. They got screwed. That album sold 10 million copies. Same thing with 'Bark At The Moon'. My deal with them for 'Bark At The Moon' worldwide was for every 500,000 albums that was sold, I was supposed to get a big bonus. I figured that out, and it would've turned into a lot of money for me had I stayed with the band. But that was probably the way she worked it. I don't know, maybe she thought she'd promise me the deal then get rid of me, then they'd renege on the deal. But anyway, Bob and Lee got screwed out of that, so they sued them. And they lost, too. It was a drag, I don't know how they lost. It's ridculous. It's like going in and taking the rhythm section off a ROLLING STONES song, and putting some new guy on it. Number one, it's not the same, and number two, they did it digitally, with ProTools, so it totally didn't have the same sound. They didn't play the same parts, and it's a rip-off of the audience. I can hear them on the radio when they play them, and you can hear the difference. Those are classic albums. It's just like taking Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr off the fuckin' BEATLES albums. Or John Bonham and John Paul Jones off the first LED ZEPPELIN album and putting two new guys on it. You lose the magic, it's gone, and I thought that was in really bad taste."
Rock N Roll Universe: There's been a lot of talk recently concerning some sort of BLUE MURDER reunion. Are there any plans for that?
Carmine Appice: "Let's put it this way. Me, Tony (Franklin) and John (Sykes) got together, I think, in October, we played, and it was magic. We were gonna try and do some shows in Japan in December, but John had dates booked with THIN LIZZY, they were confirmed, then they weren't, but he didn't know what he was doing. So we couldn't do them. We started talking, we really liked it. So far, we're all up to doing it, it's just a matter of finding the right time. Hopefully this year, we can find a month where we can do some shows, or maybe even do a new record. We're talking about it seriously. We'll probably start it off in Japan. That'll be fun. I love Tony, he's my favorite bass player. I've probably played with Tony more than anyone. We brought him out on tour with us in TRAVERS & APPICE, in Europe, and Pat loved him too. Tony's my favorite bass player to play with. On the 'Guitar Zeus' albums, he plays incredible."
Read the entire interview at www.rocknrolluniverse.com.