Patrick Douglas of The Culture Shock recently conducted an interview with recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal drummer Vinny Appice (HEAVEN AND HELL, BLACK SABBATH, DIO). A few excerpts from the chat follow:
The Culture Shock: Do you think the Dio era of BLACK SABBATH has been somewhat overlooked by rock historians when talking about SABBATH?
Vinny Appice: I don't know. I haven't really followed that. It might have been overlooked because they did so much with Ozzy recently. That was pretty big. It might have overlooked a little bit of the Ronnie years. Right now, everything's become so classic. It's been long enough now that all the Dio stuff with SABBATH, and with me, has become pretty much of a classic album and albums and stuff. I think they're always gonna focus on the Ozzy years first because obviously that's the way they started. This is kind of like the second SABBATH that all these people are talking about now. It might be because of the Ozzy thing.
The Culture Shock: I see you're conducting drum clinics at every city of the Canadian tour. What's involved in one of your clinics and how do people participate?
Vinny Appice: I'm gonna be doing about seven drum clinics. Some of them, a couple of them are in-store, so the in-store will obviously be a "Come meet Vinny" thing and ask questions. The drum clinics, what I do is, I like to teach a lot. I wrote a couple of books and videos out over the years. I like to do the drum clinics. I like to play for everybody and I like to hear the questions they have on what I'm playing or what I did in my career or what do you do while you're recording and how do you get the sound. All the cool questions. I like to demonstrate a lot of the techniques I used over the years and the way I approach things and the way my attitude is when I go into a band or into a session. You get an insight of how I approach it, which is cool because I think everybody should learn something when they go to clinics. I go to clinics and if a guy's good, you come out of there and go "Wow, that's a really good idea he has there," or "That's a good approach. He takes this and he twists it around and then he uses it three or four different ways." It gives people different insight on it. I like doing these clinics, so there'll be a bunch of clinics posted on the Vinny with an "ie" on MySpace. I'm looking forward to that. They're all throughout Canada, almost at every show, in every town.
The Culture Shock: What was it about drums that initially piqued your interest?
Vinny Appice: My brother Carmine is a drummer and he's eleven years older than I am, so when I was a kid, there were drums in the house, which was cool. Then when I got a little older to understand what they really were, he was doing the VANILLA FUDGE, and they were getting big. Their album came out and it was gold and LED ZEPPELIN and things. Then I used to go see the concerts. I was like nine years old and it was inspiring me to go, "Wow, I wanna do this." So I started banging away and Carmine would show me a couple of things here and there and then he suggested to take me to drum lessons from the same guy that he went to, to see what he thinks. So, my parents took me there and he said "Yeah, Vinny's good. Continue." So I started going to lessons for three years. Learned how to read, learned out of all the traditional books. I took it very seriously. Carmine, he was known as one of the best rock drummers, so I took it very seriously. Practicing and doing my lesson each week and make sure that when I went back to the teacher, I knew the lesson, and moved on. That made me focus on never letting up, just always trying to play the best you can.
The Culture Shock: If you could share the stage with any bands past or present, which ones would you choose?
Vinny Appice: As a drummer?
The Culture Shock: Yeah. Drumming with these guys.
Vinny Appice: It'd be fun to play with ZEPPELIN. That's the stuff I grew up listening to. It'd be fun playing with THE WHO. Those are all things I listen to because of the drum parts. Those weren't ordinary drummers. They were Keith Moon and John Bonham. There were drum parts on those songs that were a big part of those songs. If you had Joe Schmo playing drums, those songs wouldn't sound like that. That's something to think about when you're recording and making records and stuff. That's what I kind of do. I wanna put a stamp on each song and make sure the drums are important and drummers that are listening can get inspired by some of the licks on the record. You've gotta put some licks on there.
The Culture Shock: I always tell people, if you ever wanna get your young teenager into playing music, bust out any of those ZEPPELIN DVDs and you can focus on any of those guys. They're super human.
Vinny Appice: Absolutely. In rock, people don't play like that anymore, it seems like. People play differently. A lot of it's done on computer. There's a lot of copy and paste. First verse or the second verse. Some of it's got great energy, but some of it's machine-like. Whereas some of the old stuff, there's some great licks and great chops and it's played from the feel, from the heart. I think that's important when you're learning how to play, is to grab a little bit of that. You grab everything. That's what it's there for. You listen to everything and you grab what you need. The old ZEPPELIN stuff, THE WHO and HENDRIX, those guys just basically went in the studio in the early days and pressed record and ran the songs down as a set list. There's some great performances on there. I think that's important to absorb that, if you're trying to be a musician.
Read the entire interview at www.thecultureshock.com.