Carmine Appice on Tony Williams

SKF NOTE: This is from my 1977 interview with Carmine Appice, 37-years ago, at his mother’s home in Brooklyn, NY. Carmine’s comments about Tony Williams are among my few drum interview moments that keep coming to mind, usually eliciting a smile.

In 1977, Carmine was in Rod Stewart‘s band. I grew up listening to Vanilla Fudge – even sang some of their songs in high school garage bands. I remember being surprised at what Carmine says in this interview about Tony Williams. Carmine and I were both laughing. I think the humanity of, the drummer camaraderie, evident in Carmine’s remarks, made a lasting impression on me. 

Carmine admits he was “on an ego trip,” when he talks of seeing Tony Williams. But, like most great drummers on ego trips knocked down a few pegs by other great drummers, Carmine was ready, willing, and able to learn from Tony, and then talk and laugh about it in public.

carminenikon 114Carmine Appice: “The first time I saw Tony Williams was when he had Jack Bruce in Lifetime. He was the only drummer to ever floor me in 20-seconds. Totally blew my mind.

“When I was with the [Vanilla] Fudge I was on an ego trip. And I sat down in front of Tony and said to myself, ‘Alright. Let’s see what you can do.’ He played, like, 20-seconds and I said, ‘Are you kidding?’

“He had a four-piece kit with an 18-inch bass drum, and I didn’t know what or where he was coming from, or where he got his rhythms from.

“As I progressed, and started doing more clinics, and getting into it, I started realizing what was going on.”


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