The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




talks to The Rockpit about his new band Kill Devil Hill

... and a his life in music!

Vinny Appice interview December 2013



VINNY APPICE has had a fantastic career in music already. He may well be best known for his work with Dio, Black Sabbath and Heaven & Hell, but in KILL DEVIL HILL he has finally found a band to call his own and judging by their latest album 'Revolution Rise' it may well be one of the most exciting chapters of his story so far...


Kill Devil Hill’s first album certainly had its moments with songs like ‘Hangman’, ‘War Machine’, ‘Rise From The Shadows’ and ‘Up In Flames’ managing to capture a heady mixture of both current and classic metal. It sounded like a band with instant chemistry, but still getting to know each other; and also a band with huge potential and an awesome sound.


‘Revolution Rise’ their second album, on the other hand, sounds like a band who instinctively knows each other and as a result the quality of the songs is both more consistent and more realized. To be blunt it’s pretty much our Metal album of the year. We caught up with the legendary Vinny Appice to talk about a band he really feels he can call his own.



Mark: Hi Vinny, thank you for taking the time to talk to the Rockpit.


Vinny: Hey no problem.


Mark: I’ve just been listening to the new record ‘REVOLUTION RISE’ over the last few days: it’s an awesome album; you must be very pleased with how it came out?


Vinny: Yeah man, absolutely we’re all really pleased with it – the whole band really feels there’s some great songs on there and no ‘fat’ at all. Each song has a different thing going on, each song has character and to top it off we had a great producer on there in Jeff Pilson helping us. It sound sonically great.


Mark: It sounds amazing I’ve always loved Jeff’s work, the songs also sound more cohesive on this one, was the writing process quite different from the first album?


Vinny:  I think it’s more that with the first album Rex wasn’t involved at the very start of the album, he came in a little later along. So a lot of the ideas came from Mark and I, you know. We came up with all these things, these crazy riffs and at the tie it worked, you know. So then we got Rex in the band and he brought some of his stuff, but I guess it was written when we weren’t a complete band yet. But since that first album we’ve been out on the road a lot and we’ve become a pretty strong band. So this album has ideas from sound-checks and from jams and both Mark and Rex came in with a couple of riffs: we all just put our two cents worth in and made it happen. So the writing was a little more focussed.    


Mark: How was the recent US tour?


Vinny: It was great, small venues with us and a couple of other bands, it was great and we got really strong by the end.  It just wound up last week and we’re raring to get out and maybe do something a little bigger, maybe some Festivals? We’re ready for it now.




Mark: It would be great to see you guys down here that would be the ultimate! For someone who’s been playing for many years now does the feeling you get from playing live ever change?


Vinny: No, you know what I still love it. I did an interview the other day and the interviewer asked what the difference was going from the big stages to the smaller ones? And it told him it was everything in-between – as far as the travel, the hotels, the food, different things, nicer busses and all that, well that all changes when you start a new band and you don’t have the budget but when you get up on that stage man, it’s still the same.  People are loving it, the crowd is into it and its just as much fun.


Mark: How does the ‘Supergroup’ tag sit with you? Does it get annoying that certain members of the band are always referenced with their past CVs?


Vinny: To me my definition of a supergroup is four guys from four pretty big bands coming together. This is different. Rex and I we played some pretty major stuff, but Mark and Dewey haven’t seen I guess what we’ve seen. So I’ll just call it a great band! 


Mark: Looking at the album now, the first song we really heard was ‘Crown of Thorns’, it’s a great song – do you think it’s a fair representation of the album as a whole?


Vinny: Yeah, it’s a good one I think; it’s not maybe quite as dark as some like ‘Wake up the Dead’. Some of the other tunes might be heavier but Crown of Thorns has all the elements there – good hooks, good riffs and straight to the point vocals. And that seems to be the one that everyone has latched on to.


Mark: The thing that impressed us most was the consistency, I mean there’s not a track on there you don’t want to hear again. One of my favourites at the moment is ‘Where Angels Dare to Roam’…


Vinny: I know I like that song.


Mark: Where did that one come from?


Vinny: Mark had written that, but he only had the riffs (Vinny hums the riff) and at first I didn’t like it when there were no vocals or anything, or melodies. We kind of had the riff but nowhere to go, so I didn’t really want to do it, but then we started putting the accents in and the stops to make it a bit more interesting. But when Dewey came in with the vocal melody - it blew me away and I was like ‘This is my favourite song now’. I went from I don’t like it to I love it! It’s kind of like a heavy dance song?



Mark: That’s a great description. ‘Why?’ is a great song too, really heavier but really grungy, that one seems to be getting singled out too.  What have you made of the critical response to the album so far?


Vinny:  The response has been fantastic, and you can tell when you speak to people that they really like it, it’s not just bullshit. Everybody who’s played it seems to think it’s cool so now we have to pump it, market it correctly and get out and tour it!


Mark: What are you looking at for 2014, are there any solid plans as yet?


Vinny: Well we just got off the road so we’re just doing interviews now before the holidays, but management’s working on putting the feelers out, we might have some in’s on some bigger tours next year, maybe January or February. We gotta get out and play – that’s what you have to do these days.


Mark: I’ve just got a few questions now for you that we got from our readers on the internet. It was the best response we’ve had to an up and coming interview so far and they all had questions just for you. The first one is ‘What was it like working with your brother on drum wars’?


Vinny: Well we started Drum Wars a couple of years back, but back in the nineties we did a couple of drum clinics for a drum company. It was very successful and we had a lot of fun with it, but it was only for about a week, and then believe it or not we didn’t have time to do any after that. Time went by, and we started talking about it a couple of years ago, and it started off more as a drum clinic, and we did a couple of those, but then you can’t really do those in a club or a theatre, a clinic has to be sponsored by a store or a company. So then we started thinking, how can we incorporate some music in that, in what we’re doing, and we came up with Drum Wars, so it’s been a fantastic time, we get along great, and we have a lot of fun. We work together really well, and what we do is we get three or four kids from wherever, from the States or Canada, and we also did three weeks in Europe, and we get a band from that area that will stick with us, and we’ll play about four or five Dio/Sabbath songs from my history, and four or five songs from Carmine’s history, and in between all that a couple of drum battles, a couple of drum duets, really cool stuff, but with  two drummers now we play some of the songs together, some separately, it’s really exciting, people are really getting in to it, there’s been a great response so we’ll be doing a lot of that next years too. We have a great time, and it’s really cool to work with my brother!


Mark: it’s a great concept, and something a little bit different as well. We get drum and guitar clinics down here, but something like that takes it to a whole new level.


Vinny: Exactly, it’s definitely a different kind of show




Mark: It was great to see you out with “The Last in Line” as well, the band that made that classic album, “Holy Diver”. Have you got any plans to take that further, and maybe tour outside of the US?


Vinny: Yeah, we’re going to do some more dates next year, and that started off as just some fun with some cool stuff with Jim, and Vivien and Claude, we had some time off, and got together to jam, and I recommended the singer, Andy Freeman, a good friend of mine, he sang with me with George Lynch on a tour we did, so he came down and tore it up. We ended up doing three or four shows in LA and Vegas, and we did the big Loudpark festival in Japan in October, and that was incredible, people have gone crazy!! We know those songs, we wrote those songs, and we have a singer that sings his ass off with passion, he’s not trying to be Ronnie, but he just really “kicks it!” It’s gone really, really good.


Mark: Ronnie was a legend, I loved the guy. There was a story on the internet, that at the first gig in California that there was seen, an apparition of Ronnie, was there any substance to that??


Vinny: No, you know what, that was just someone who was let’s say a little high energy, a little over-enthusiastic, and he posted that! Yeah, come on, an apparition, nothing like that happened, come on!!


Mark: With the recent Sabbath reunion as well, and the new album, were you approached by the guys to have a part in that?


Vinny: No, I wasn’t. I’m still in touch with Tony and Geezer, myself, but they never offered anything, and I don’t ask, I don’t do that. They have my number and my e-mail, it’s understandable, we did Heaven and Hell for three or four years with Ronnie, and then Tony and Geezer are together, and Ozzy comes in, he didn’t know what band he was in, he was a little confused. (Vinny does a great Ozzy impression).


Mark: Taking it all the way back for you, what was it that started you playing the drums? Was there a defining moment?


Vinny: I got playing because of my brother Carmine; he’s 11 years older than me so he always had bands in the house, rehearsing when he was in his late teens, I was just a youngster, and that was my entertainment, I’d sit down and watch a band in my parents’ living room or basement which was in New York. I was totally inspired, all the amps, the wires, the drums, it was cool, and that got the bug going, and that got me started.


Mark: Did he pressure you in to playing the drums, or was that just the instrument you naturally gravitated to?
Vinny:  Naturally, Since the drums were in the house, I just started banging on them. Then Carmine became successful, and I never even thought about it, I was like I’m going to play drums too!


Mark: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any  album, at any point in time, to see how it all came together, what would it be for you and why?


Vinny: I would probably choose any of the early Zeppelin records, or one of the major Beatles albums. I have a couple of friends who have some of the multi tracks of some of the Beatles stuff, and it’s incredible, you just listen to one instrument, and though they had the multi-track, they didn’t have a lot of tracks, sometimes it’s just drums, with some background harmonies on the same track. You listen to this stuff and it’s just amazing, it doesn’t sound like anything, but when it’s all together it’s amazing!


Mark: It’s crazy how innovative people had to be back in those days.


Vinny: Yeah, it’s incredible how they could make these records, and great songs. It would have been great to see the Zeppelin stuff put together too.


Mark: You always seem to have been busy throughout your career; your name has never really disappeared off the map. Do you have any other projects on the go at the moment?


Vinny: Well, doing the Last in Line thing, the Drum Wars thing, there’s always some ideas, but nothing definite yet. It’s a multi task world right now; all musicians are staying busy by multi-tasking, by being in all different bands.


Mark: I think it’s great that you’ve hit on something that is potentially as immense as Kill Devil Hill, it would be great to fast forward a few years and see where you’ll be.


Vinny: I’ve had a long career, with some big bands, but none of the bands were my own, Sabbath was already established, and so was Ronnie James Dio, but Dio was started from the beginning, but still he had a big name. So, this was something that had always been a dream of mine, to have a band that I could start with, and this would be fantastic if within the next couple of years we could become a little bit bigger and more successful, and was able to keep writing music and make an album. It’s a great band live too, it kicks ass!! I really love the first album, and I think the second album is even better; I’ll keep my fingers crossed.


Mark: I think you’re right, I think the consistency is there, and it would be great to see you guys in Australia one day. Our final question, that we ask everyone, is what is the meaning of life?


Vinny: Probably, family, friends’, doing what makes you happy and enjoying every day. As long as you’re healthy, you should enjoy every day that you’re on this earth, there are lots of people who are not as lucky as you are, and so you’ve got to enjoy life.


Mark: That’s right, and you definitely sound like you’re enjoying life at the moment.


Vinny: Yeah, I still love playing!! I’m going to go down playing!!


Mark: It’s been wonderful to speak to you, an absolute pleasure, and thank you so much for taking the time, and good luck in the future.


Vinny: Thank you too, Mark, hopefully I’ll see you down under!




Vinny spoke to Mark Diggins December 2013





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