Fredrik Polback of classic rock program "Radio Fireball" (Twitter) in Jönköping, Sweden recently conducted an interview with legendary drummer Vinny Appice (BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, DIO, LAST IN LINE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On Ronnie James Dio:
Vinny: "We were like brothers. We had a lot of things in common. Both from New York, both Italian. We liked a lot of the same food, we hated a lot of the same food. The only big difference is he was totally into sports and I'm totally not into sports. I never was. And that was the funny part. When he would be watching games, I would watch it with him and he'd explain to me all the rules. I don't know what's going on. 'Why did he do that?' Ronnie would love to explain it to me. We got along great. He was an amazing singer, amazing creative person. It was great being able to play with somebody like that in a career. I feel honored to have played with him. He was a workaholic. If it was up to Ronnie, he'd work 15 hours a day on the music. He was just focused on that. His life was music. His life was his fans. He was always trying to make it better and better and better. He was always writing. Always wanted to tour. He never stopped touring all of his career. Some people say he was a perfectionist, but he just wanted it to get as best as it could and I found it easy to work with Ronnie. Some people didn't, some people felt a little stressed, but most of us felt was he was trying to do and we worked hard at it. When we where recording 'Dehumanizer' and 'The Devil You Know', we recorded it in Wales. We had to live there for a month so it was like being away from home for a long time. And we would go for walks all the time, talking. Stuff like that where just priceless. After all the craziness of everything around us — we toured and played and interviews and this and that — it was just an innocent walk. Those were cool times. Same with Tony [Iommi] and Geezer [Butler]. Sometimes we'd all go for a walk, the whole band. Just four friends going for a walk, talking."
On touring with DIO, BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN & HELL:
Vinny: "We always stayed in the same hotel rooms. Everybody had the same room. We didn't stay in one room, everybody had their own room. [Laughs] With DIO, a lot of times we flew whatever we could do. If we could do business class, we flew it, if not, we just flew. In the later years, Ronnie had a lot of points and he would upgrade to business class. And so would I. With SABBATH, we always flew business class and stayed in nice hotels. Actually, some of the hotels with HEAVEN & HELL were so nice, but they where far away from the gig and Ronnie wanted to stay closer. So we would downgrade. Instead of staying at the Ritz-Carlton, we would stay at Marriott or Hyatt. Something closer to town."
On why he didn't get the call to play with BLACK SABBATH after original SABBATH drummer Bill Ward dropped out of the band's reunion in early 2012:
Vinny: "I think it has something to probably do with we did four years with HEAVEN & HELL and it was Tony, Geezer and I. If I was in [SABBATH today], it'd be Tony, Geezer, I and Ozzy. Maybe Ozzy felt weird that way, or maybe the band felt weird, like it was HEAVEN & HELL with Ozzy and they wanted to keep it different. And there was different producers involved. Rick Rubin was involved. He knows the drummer that was in the band, Brad [Wilk of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE]. He doesn't know me. It could be a number of things. They know I would love to do it and I'm here for them if they need me."