SKF NOTE: From my interview with Carmine Appice circa 1981.
My drum teacher, Dick Bennett, was a big band teacher. He taught me how to tune my drums real low and deep to get a real big sound out of them.
When I joined Vanilla Fudge we were called The Pigeons. They were the first band that I played with that — for that time — used big amplifiers. That’s when I first switched my sticks around to backhanded. I started developing these blisters which later turned into callouses.
From playing and studying I learned actual percussion. In school I played tympani, bass drum, snare drum, and all those instruments in the percussion section.
When we started getting into the Vanilla Fudge sound — that classical rock symphonic sound — I utilized the drumset as a percussion section.
I had the first gong in rock and roll in 1968. I started the big drum fad in ’68 also. The reasoning was, I figured if you had bigger drums they’d be louder and also sound more like tympani. I even had a couple of chimes hanging from a boom microphone stand. Nowadays, people like Neil Peart have the whole set of chimes.
That’s really where the style came from. A cross between the big band rock and the symphonic. I was studying big band, playing rock, and when I was in school I was doing all the symphonic stuff.
– end –