Home » Vanilla Fudge Promoter’s Audacious Move Revealed by Carmine Appice: ‘We Don’t Need Led Zeppelin’

Vanilla Fudge Promoter’s Audacious Move Revealed by Carmine Appice: ‘We Don’t Need Led Zeppelin’

Carmine Appice Unveils Bold Decision by Vanilla Fudge Promoter and Influence on John Bonham In the latest installment of a Q&A video series for Artists On Record Starring Adika Live!, Carmine Appice delved into how his drumming impacted John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, specifically in the song ‘Good Times Bad Times.’ Recounting the band’s first American tour in 1968-1969, Appice shared:

“The promoter said, ‘Look, we don’t need Led Zeppelin on this. It’s a new band. I know, but we don’t need them. We’re sold out.’ So, I said, ‘Come on! It’s only $1,500.’ Long story short, we ended up paying half of Zeppelin’s fee [with] Vanilla Fudge to put them on the show, their first show in America. And the promoter paid half.” Reflecting on Bonham’s prowess during live performances, the drummer continued:

“Then, we did some more shows with them. And I got to know Bonzo and his right foot. I loved his right foot. And when I said to him, ‘Man, I love what you did on ‘Good Times Bad Times.’ Awesome.’ He said, ‘I got it from you.’ I said, ‘I don’t do that.’ He said, ‘You did do that.’ He pointed it somewhere on one of my albums.”

Appice commented on the late musician’s contribution to Zeppelin’s first single: “Instead of repeating it – I went like [mimicking his beat] with the bass drum, he just kept it going [mimicking Bonham’s beat], you know. So, he got the concept from what I did and did his own thing to it.”

Recognition from Peers: Appice’s Influence on Bonham Noticed by Other Artists

Led Zeppelin’s Early Days: Appice’s Influence on Bonham Acknowledged by Peers During the initial stages of their North American tour, Led Zeppelin served as the opening act for bands like Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, and Country Joe & The Fish. At that juncture, Vanilla Fudge was on the road, promoting their third studio album ‘Renaissance.’

Appice’s distinct style on this record left an imprint on Bonham’s playing, a sentiment echoed by none other than Steve Smith of Journey. In a podcast interview with The Aftershocks Podcast a few years ago, Smith shared:

“I got a call from Steve Smith – you know, Steve Smith from Journey – one day, and he said to me, ‘I just listened to Vanilla Fudge’s [1968 album] ‘Renaissance’ album, and what I heard on there was everything John Bonham ever did.’” Expanding on the interconnected nature of drummers, Appice responded:

“I said, ‘Oh, thank you, Steve, and I really appreciate it.’ Drummers are like a different kind of breed – we all take from each other. John Bonham did stuff I did because I was around before him. So, he used to listen to Vanilla Fudge records. I used to listen to Max Roach and Joe Morello; I listened to Ginger Baker. I listened to this one; I listened to that one.” To delve deeper into Carmine Appice’s insights on John Bonham, you can watch the full video below.

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