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May 14, 2016

Carmine Appice Stick It!

My Life of Sex, Drums and Rock N' Roll review By Mike Walton

posted by Mike Walton

When Rod was forming his first touring band in 1976 I read every music press story to find out who the new members were, including Rod's Rolling Stone interview where Rod said it was unfair to name any of the new band other than Kenney Jones who would be playing drums.
When , later on in the year the European tour dates along with the band members were announced in Record Mirror I read down the list with excitement..Don't know him..dont know him...nor him..The guy who did the brilliant guitar solo on 'Come up and see me make me smile'...Whow ... Carmine Appice, Rod's got CARMINE APPICE ! I went from disappointed not to see Kenney's name to excited at seeing Carmine's who was already a drumming legend and I already knew a lot of his work from Beck , Bogart and Appice and Vanilla Fudge [and soon caught up with the rest]

Carmine has always been one of my favourite RSG members and if ever I wanted to read a rock book this was it he has enjoyed the ultimate rock-and-roll life and now we get get to see what went one behind the scenes in this outrageous autobiography.

Carmine was Rod's drummer from 1976 -1981, co writing among others the massive hits "Young Turks" and "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy." he also played with Ozzy Osbourne getting thrown off the tour by Ozzy's wife, Sharon, for overshadowing Ozzy on stage. He's kept time for Bo Diddley, David Gilmour, Stanley Clarke, and dozens of other big names and super groups.

Most books start off with butt-kissing foreword written by a close friend or a well written journalist but this is not most books..this foreword is a light hearted character assassination written by Rod and sets the book up nicely.."When I joined up with Rod, I was there seven years, that story alone could have been a book. While I was with Rod, I was hanging out with all these movie stars", says Carmine

Carmine tells of patrolling hotel hallways as a member of the “Sex Police.” with Rod and the rest of the band listening for anyone in the band or crew having sex with a girl they had got lucky with and sabotage these encounters any way they could.After donning their official “Sex Police” T-shirts, the crew would “charge down the hotel corridor to that persons room, singing our theme song as we went: ‘Sex Police, we’re the Sex Police. Sex Police, we’re the Sex Police!’ ” once inside the room, they would “cause as much mayhem as possible. Beds might get tipped over; sometimes the chick would be thrown out of the room without her clothes. Normally she would take one look at the 10 to 15 guys bursting into the room and leave of her own accord anyway.”

In 1964, while playing with Jimi Hendrix [who was still Jimi James ] in the band Thursday’s Children Carmine first learned the sexual power of rock. When he began playing with them at 17, he was a virgin. By the following year, he had slept with over 300 women!. “As the band started playing shows most evenings, it became normal to have a different chick every night of the week. Sometimes it was two,” he writes. “I would have a quickie with a girl in the back of the club, then another one would take me back to her apartment after the show.”

Three years later with his band Vanilla Fudge, he had a big hit with a cover of the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” That he later recorded a fantastic version with Rod for the album Footloose And Fancy Free. One of Vanilla Fudge’s early opening acts was a new band called Led Zeppelin who in 1969 did a joint tour with Vanilla Fudge and when the tour hit Seattle both bands would participate in the most notorious groupie incident in rock history. Carmine was there, and gives a full, disgustingly detailed recounting of the infamous Led Zeppelin mud-shark story, wherein Bonham and/or Zeppelin’s tour manager, Richard Cole, have long been said to have pleasured a young woman with a shark. According to Carmine, the story is not only true but much more intricate and debauched than most tellings have conveyed. In the book Carmine gives a full detailed account of the night at The Edgewater Inn. He also tells of the next day, when he saw Frank Zappa at the airport and shared the story with him, and Zappa immortalized the tale in a 1971 song called “The Mud Shark.”

As you would imagine the book features a few stories about Jeff Beck and if you think Rod and Jeff had troubles wait until you read how Jeff treated Carmine, "I loved playing with him even if I didn't like him; he's like a difficult brother." says Carmine. Rod seems to have been the total opposite though with Carmine writing "Some guys are weird about sharing credit or money, but Rod did it well, shared songwriting credits, tour-merch money, the whole nine yards," .

All the stories are remembered in a funny and fast moving way and it's great to know the story ends well with Carmine in great health and eventually settled down with partner of 13 years, Leslie Gold, who had insisted on working out how many women he had slept with over the years. While Carmine had no idea of the figure himself, Leslie eventually worked out, by means of a spreadsheet, a rough total of 4,500. He said: 'Leslie asked me a loaded question, and the shocking answer was 4,500. But number 4,501 was the one that mattered most.'

As our long time members will know Carmine has known us here at SMILER since day one, when we used to see him not only on tour with Rod but doing the highly informative drum clinics and he has promised he will give one lucky member a signed copy of Stick it! when we see him on his next visit to the UK..Watch this space!

Any of our US members who would like a signed copy can buy one direct from Carmines website

Stick It! My Life of Sex, Drums, and Rock 'N' Roll, penned with Ian Gittins and published by Omnibus Press is on sale now.

Montage by Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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