6 career defining records of Vinny Appice

20th Jan 2010 | 10:35

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
Vinny Appice
Black Sabbath/Dio/Heaven & Hell drummer chooses his six best

Carmine Appice’s little brother Vinny cut his rock drumming teeth with likes of Black Sabbath and Dio. From a back-catalogue of classics, here Vinny Appice picks the six records which have most defined his career, telling Rhythm Magazine why they mattered so much along the way.

Next: keeping the drum throne warm for Bill Ward

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
Mob Rules (1981)
Black Sabbath

Vinny was brought into Black Sabbath to keep the drum seat warm for Bill Ward. But he soon became a permanent fixture and put his indelible stamp on the band with the excellent Mob Rules.

Vinny Appice says:

“They were about midway into the Heaven And Hell album tour when I got in. As the tour went on, it became obvious that Bill wasn’t coming back so we started getting tighter and tighter and becoming a band.”

“Then it was, ‘Alright, we’re going to do an album.’ ‘Okay, fantastic!’ We recorded in LA with Martin Birch producing. I had to play like myself and yet I had to think, ‘What would Bill do?’”

“The way Mob Rules came about was that Warner Brothers had an offer for us to do a song for an animated movie called Heavy Metal. We had three days off and we went over to Ringo Starr’s studio. It used to be John Lennon’s house where he recorded Imagine. We recorded The Mob Rules there. The one that’s on the Heavy Metal album is a different version from the one on our album.”

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
Holy Diver (1983)

After Sabbath, expectations were sky high for Dio’s debut solo release. The album became a revered heavy metal classic. “I think I switched over to Slingerland at that point,” Vinny remembers…

Vinny Appice says:

“Ronnie and I thought ‘Everybody’s going to start comparing this to Sabbath’, but we just wrote and played what we felt and that’s the way it came out. That album is pretty aggressive. With a new band there are not many rules. The first Dio record was, ‘Let’s have some fun and tear it up’.”

“Tony [Iommi] has such a huge guitar sound that it fills up a heck of a lot of space. Geezer [Butler] is a busier bass player than Jimmy Bain and he fills up the bottom end, so I just find my way in between those two.”

“With Dio, Jimmy Bain allows me to play a lot more than I would with Geezer. He lays the foundation and I play over it. Viv [Campbell] is a great guitar player and his guitar sound was not as huge as Tony’s, so there was more room for the drums to move around.”

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
The Last In Line (1984)

“We did that album up in Colorado at Caribou Ranch,” says Vinny. “We just wanted to be as good as Holy Diver. The pressure was still on.” The album became Dio’s first platinum selling record.

Vinny Appice says:

“What we used to do back then, if we had six songs we’d go in and do a song a day to get the basic tracks. That was the drums and the bass mainly. Sometimes we kept the guitars but we’d have all the rhythm tracks in one day for each song. Then Ronnie could start doing vocals, we could do guitar solos and embellishments and any keyboards. We built it like that.”

“I think on that record I had double-headed toms, which I never used live. I wasn’t used to the bottom heads because I’d always played with single heads, the punch was there and they didn’t ring that much. I played a lot of fast things with Dio, so I thought those were much better suited for playing live.”

“Every time I tried double heads, I could feel the air in the drum and it wasn’t as punchy.”

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
World War III (1990)
World War III

This overlooked release was nothing if not loud. “It had a theme, sex and heavy music, that’s pretty much it. It was a good time. I’m really sorry that band never went further,” says Vinny regretfully…

Vinny Appice says:

“That was a band that Jimmy Bain turned me onto. He was playing with [guitarist] Tracy G and Mandy Lion (pictured above) on vocals. They had a drummer and it wasn’t working out so Jimmy said, ‘Hey, I’ll give Vinny a call.’

“They played me a demo and I loved it. So we rehearsed for about two weeks, ran down the songs then went in the studio and cut them. We didn’t have a big budget so we put it all together.”

“I really like that band, I like the album, the drum sound. Mike Slammer was the producer and I thought he did a great job. I thought the band was ahead of its time with the screaming vocals, a lot of stuff that singers have done in the last 10 years and are still doing now, Mandy was doing back then when nobody had really heard that kind of stuff. It was a heavy band for sure.”

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
Dehumanizer (1992)
Black Sabbath

Recorded at Rockfield Studios on a farm in the Welsh countryside, Dehumanizer brought Iommi, Geezer, Dio and Vinny back together for the first time in 10 years. Though at the time grunge ruled the roost.

Vinny Appice says:

“That’s a punchy album, a pretty aggressive sound. What happened was, I wasn’t there during the mix. They were concerned that the drums weren’t loud enough. They actually had them pretty far up in the mix. If I was there I probably would have suggested they were a little too loud.”

“I remember Ronnie coming back from Europe, coming over to my house and we played it on my system, cranked the hell out of it. ‘Wow! Those drums are way up!’ I said. ‘Man, I won’t come to any more mixes if that’s the final mix.’ I love the sound on it, there was a lot of room sound and bite to it.”

“That came out at a funny time when grunge was all the rage. Metal was going down and that’s why it didn’t get the recognition that it probably would have got at a better time.”

6 career defining records of Vinny Appice
The Devil You Know (2009)
Heaven & Hell

“It’s a very dark, heavy record,” says Vinny of his latest release. Building one doomladen riff upon the next, the album proves that Iommi, Dio, Geezer and Vinny have lost none of their dark power.

Vinny Appice says:

“This album was written with Ronnie, Tony, Geezer and a drum machine. It was easier to control that way. We wrote a lot of it at Ronnie’s house. Ronnie went to England to write with Tony at his house but I didn’t go, so it was a drum machine keeping the tempo.

“I would take those songs to my studio. I have a little electronic set here that works well for experimenting with different parts that way. It’s funny with the drum machine because you hear all these heavy riffs and Ronnie singing over it, and there’s this drum machine. It sounds like Ringo playing with Black Sabbath.”

“As soon as I brought it to my place and put these electronic drums down, they have a decent sound, it’s not great, but you could tell the songs came alive. It was the last missing link. ‘Oh, that’s us now! Cool!’”

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