CARMINE APPICE: METALLICA Is ‘The Band That Really Created What You’d Call Heavy Metal’

Legendary drummer Carmine Appice spoke to b>Pete Pardo of Sea Of Tranquility about how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting.

“Those days, nobody would touch us, because we were all dinosaurs,” Carmine recalled. “All the NIRVANAs and stuff — grunge was in, [and] nobody wanted to touch us, all the bands. Ted Nugent, DIO… I was playing with Edgar Winter in ’91, ’92 while doing MOTHER’S ARMY, and I was playing clubs with Edgar Winter — like 500-seat clubs. DIO was playing the same clubs, with my brother [Vinny Appice on drums]. Everybody was [experiencing a drop in popularity]. BLACK SABBATH wasn’t happening. Ozzy [Osbourne] really wasn’t happening. Nobody was happening except NIRVANA and STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and PEARL JAM and all those guys.”

When Pardo pointed out to Appice that METALLICA was still selling a lot of records and playing to huge crowds in the early 1990s, Carmine said: “METALLICA was not like all these other bands. METALLICA I consider the band that really created what you’d call heavy metal. All these other bands — MÖTLEY CRÜE, BLUE MURDER… It’s hard rock — that’s not heavy metal. That METALLICA sound, that sounds like scratching guitars, that, to me, is what heavy metal is, which turned into death metal and speed metal and every other metal. But Ozzy‘s first album was hard rock. MÖTLEY CRÜE was hard rock. WHITESNAKE — it’s hard rock. KING KOBRA was hard rock. It was all hard rock. BLUE MURDER, they detuned a little bit and it was heavy, but it wasn’t what I consider heavy metal. Heavy metal was that really scratchy guitar sound.”

Appice is the original drummer of VANILLA FUDGE, with whom he still records and performs today. He has also played with CACTUS and BECK, BOGERT & APPICE, in addition to spending stints in the bands of Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart, co-writing the latter’s No. 1 hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Carmine was named the 28th greatest drummer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

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