Legendary drummer Vinny Appice (BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, DIO, LAST IN LINE) spoke to Artisan News at this past Monday's (March 17) exclusive VIP listening party for the Ronnie James Dio tribute album "This Is Your Life" and awards gala at the Avalon in Hollywood, California. Asked about his decision to leave KILL DEVIL HILL, Vinny said: "It was kind of mutual. It just was hard to do what I do and contribute to the band. They have a different way they wanna go with it, and it wasn't as much fun anymore for me. I like to be in something that's fun and happy and making great music. But it was mutually agreed upon, so everything's fine."
During a recent interview with rock journalist Mitch Lafon, Vinny elaborated on his exit from KILL DEVIL HILL, saying: "It wasn't a musical breakup at all. It was more of… What you wanna do with… I mean, I started the band; it was my band and then Rex [Brown, former PANTERA and DOWN bassist] came into the band and he was a known dude and strong personality, and it became a great band. So it's not a musical problem at all; it's more a business thing where… scheduling and the idea of how to make this work, the time involved, and all the different things. Obviously, I had a lot of stuff on my plate, and it's hard to devote to one thing when these other really good things are happening too. So it was just a mutual thing where… 'Look, I think it's better if you guys continue and get somebody else,' and see what happens."
He continued: "Actually, [KILL DEVIL HILL] was started at the end of 2009, when I started doing this. You devote four years, almost five years to this thing. And it's, like, 'Wow! What does it take to get this across?' Especially when Rex joined the band. It's, like, people know Rex, people know me. It's not like it's a bunch of new guys trying to make it. And it was, like, 'Wow! It's really, really hard to get this thing off the ground.' It seems to be doing better now. And it comes down to getting people around you that know what they're doing, like record companies, managers, agents and different things. That's a real important part of being in a band. Unless it's an all-star band; then it's easy to go out and do stuff. Like LAST IN LINE is a lot more sellable on this level than KILL DEVIL HILL when it comes to agents booking gigs. That's the way the business works; people wanna see, or hear music that they know.
"It's a crazy business right now. Rex and I were shocked that… 'Wow! This is the third tour already, and we're still struggling to get this thing off the ground.'… You're going out and you're making merch money, but it's all going back into keeping this thing alive. There's no tour support, there's no advertising… Where do you advertise? You can only advertise on the Internet, really; there's no more [print] magazines. And even then, it's hard to get a budget for advertising. Videos… You do videos… Basically, it seems like you just need somebody that does social media that you just hire 24 hours a day, every day, 16 hours a day, get on the Internet and get it everywhere. That seems to be the way to do it."
KILL DEVIL HILL has recruited Johnny Kelly (TYPE O NEGATIVE, DANZIG, A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH) to replace Appice
"I'm really excited about coming on board with KILL DEVIL HILL," said Kelly. "I've been a fan since their debut and have known the guys for a long time. It's also clear that I have some really big shoes to fill. I'm ready for that challenge as I prepare for KILL DEVIL HILL's next chapter. This is gonna be a blast!"
KILL DEVIL HILL will play their first shows with Kelly behind the kit April 4-6, three warm-up shows before embarking on an Australian run with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. More expansive North American dates will be announced shortly.
Added KILL DEVIL HILL bassist Rex Brown: "We all have a lot of love and respect for Vinny and have been honored to have jammed with him over the last few years. We wish Vinny well with all his future endeavors, it has been a blast!"
"It's been a great musical adventure from the beginning, but the time has now come to go our separate ways and continue to make music that we love," says Appice of his decision to leave the band.
KILL DEVIL HILL's sophomore album, "Revolution Rise", sold around 2,150 copies in the United States in its first week of release. Released on October 29, 2013 via Century Media Records, the CD was produced by KILL DEVIL HILL and Jeff Pilson (DOKKEN, FOREIGNER, DIO) and was mixed by Jay Ruston (STONE SOUR, ANTHRAX, STEEL PANTHER). The cover artwork was created by Sam Shearon, who has previously worked with ROB ZOMBIE, IRON MAIDEN and FEAR FACTORY, to name just a few.