Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with drummer Vinny Appice (HEAVEN & HELL, BLACK SABBATH, DIO). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: [HEAVEN & HELL] ended up recording [a full-length album called] “The Devil You Know”. Were you happy with the album?
Vinny: I thought it was good; I thought it was a really good album but I don’t like the sound on it. I don’t like the way the sound turned out. To me, it doesn’t have a lot of power; the drums are kind of in the back and there’s kinda too much ambience and reverb on ’em. I don’t hear the drums at all and everything is almost too big and there’s no punch to it. That’s what I think but the songs are great and Ronnie sang his ass off on ’em. I thought the next album woulda been the one on fire.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Any feelings about this new school of double-bass drummers like Brann Dailor [MASTODON] and Danny Carey [TOOL]?
Vinny: I know Danny but I don’t know a lot of the other guys; Danny is a great drummer. I go to a lot of drum-offs and a lot of different things and it’s almost like drum science now the way these people play. It’s fuckin’ incredible — shit, I can’t do that stuff at all. The only thing I think is that sometimes it just lacks some feel. Sometimes just layin’ down a groove people get it more than playing as fast as you can. So the trick is to incorporate that groove with the technique that works. But they’re incredible and I can’t do it — that’s why I play a single bass drum. That stuff has gotten so far away that I don’t even attempt it.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You performed “A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio” with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Glenn Hughes at the High Voltage festival back in July.
Vinny: That was really cool; we went over to Wales and rehearse and there was another singer, Jorn Lande, from Norway. It was really cool and we rehearsed where we rehearsed with Ronnie and that was kind of sad when we got there. We did the “Dehumanizer” stuff there and you could feel the vibe there and Ronnie was there. So it was kinda sad and then we started playing and no singers were there and that was a little sad but it wasn’t bad because we did that with Ronnie too where he would come down later. Then the singers showed up and I think we started with Jorn first and it was like, “Wow, this is weird. Shit, this is really weird.” But then when we played “Heaven and Hell”, to me it was really sad.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: It was?
Vinny: Oh, yeah, it was really sad for me. I just thought, “Oh, man, this is strange,” because that was Ronnie’s song and he wasn’t there and it really hit you like, “Shit, he’s not here.” So that was interesting doing that and then Glenn came down and Glenn was great; they were both great so it worked out really good. But nobody can take the place of the way Ronnie sang.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Do you think the songs you played on from the “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years” CD represents the best of what you did with the band?
Vinny: I think the old stuff captures it better; the “Mob Rules” and “Dehumanizer” albums captured it better. I think it was a different vibe. If you listen to those, I played a lot more on those songs — I had more freedom. On the newer songs [“The Devil Cried”, “Shadow Of the Wind” and “Ear Of the Wind”], it was like, “Ahh, maybe you shouldn’t do too many fills,” and that kind of thing. I think the old stuff captures that essence of the band. And that’s what the next album would have been because we talked about it and said, “We just need to go in a room together.” Because “The Devil You Know” was written with a drum machine and that kinda like doesn’t work — it doesn’t work that way and not with this band.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You wanted to get the band together live to work on the next record?
Vinny: I tried to push ’em to go into a room. “Let’s go into a rehearsal room and sweat a little bit. You guys have been there and done it but let’s make a killer album.” That’s what we should have done.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You can pick three songs that best represent your playing — what are those three tracks?
Vinny: I would say “We Rock” and “I Speed at Night” from DIO and “I” from SABBATH. “I” has a lot of drive to it and a good feel on it and a lot of power but not a lot of fills. And the other two songs have a lot of fills — I didn’t want to pick another one that just shows fills. So here’s something that shows power and drive.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Ultimately what did you learn from playing in BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN & HELL?
Vinny: I got the experience of playing all the big places and all the production, lights, pyro — we had all of that. Musically, I learned how to really play behind the beat — they like the drums to play behind the beat so it sounds big and heavy. The English guys play more that way. That pretty much covers it — it’s hard to remember back then. It’s like, “What happened?”
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.