Blogarrhea: Rock Star Drummer Carmine Appice's 'Stick It' Memoir Goes Beyond All Others
It's called Stick It: My Life of Sex, Drums and Rock'n'Roll by Carmine Appice with Ian Gittins (Chicago Review Press, hardcover $26.00). In it you'll find tales of lust, degradation, cocaine, power and, yeah, a little music too. After all, Appice (older brother to Vinny Appice of Dio fame) was in bands Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Beck Bogert & Appice, Blue Murder, King Kobra, Ted Nugent, Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart (for whom he co-wrote "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" and who writes the book's foreward) Fired from Ozzy, fired from Rod, he tells the whole sordid story of his rock star excess including being a total obnoxious individual-especially with women and hotel rooms--for whom rules didn't apply but y'know what? It was the times.
"I wanted to keep it realistic and honest in trying to give the reader a very good feel for what it was like being a rock star in those days because it was totally different then than it is now," admits the drummer in an exclusive interview with Blogarrhea. "Now it's all about the money, the glamour and being on television. Back then, when you were on TV, it wasn't about glamour and the money wasn't even that big. In the Fudge, even with a Top 5 single, we were still only making less than ten grand a night and with all our expenses plus splitting it four ways, it didn't turn into a lot."
One of the heartwarming stories deals with Carmine's lifelong idol, jazz drum legend Buddy Rich [1917-1987]. Buddy Rich notoriously hated rock drummers but Appice became his good friend and we asked him about it.
"It was an off-the-wall thing because he was my idol all my life, and it was amazing to actually become friends with the man," came the answer. "I was able to call him up [laughs] and he was so cool. I had known his daughter. Buddy had a club in New York City I used to go down to. I wound up smoking a doobie with him! We had heard so many stories about what a nasty guy he was, especially that infamous 'bus tape' where he's screaming and yelling at his musicians, throwing 'em off the bus because they made a mistake on stage. We knew he was tough. So his daughter says to me, 'come on in the back room and meet my dad. He's pissed off at you.' Man, I didn't want to go back there. I said to my brother, "Vinny, you come with me." So Vinny and I go backstage in his dressing room and, yeah, we wound up smoking a joint with him. I'm like 'oh my god. This is incredible.' That's when our friendship started."
Much later, Rich's management reached out to the Appice camp. The drummer picks up the story. "Then he said he wanted to do a 'Drum-Off' with me. I'll never forget it. I was touring in Japan when my manager tells me that I'm going to be a judge with Buddy Rich at this 'Drum-Off' event. I didn't even believe him. I look at him and go, 'what kind of drugs are you on?' But damn if he didn't make it happen. That's when we got really close to the point when he had open-heart surgery, I was right there with him. It was quite an experience for me. Amazing, y'know?"
The stories go on for miles: hanging with Hendrix at the apartment of a prostitute...helping John "Bonzo" Bonham of Led Zeppelin buy his first big-time drum kit (and even giving him some pointers after he gave advice to vocalist Robert Plant to start moving around more on stage)...being present during Led Zeppelin's infamous hotel shark incident...living with Prince...auditioning only blondes for King Cobra...and having sex with over 4,5000 groupies (and five wives).
Thankfully with no long preamble, the action gets down'n'dirty in the first few chapters. Written as if you're sitting across from him at a bar and he's holding court, this reader couldn't put it down, and spent many a bleary-eyed night because I just had to read one more chapter...and then another one. That, right there, is the best recommendation any author could want.