CARMINE APPICE Says CACTUS Was Inspiration For VAN HALEN Songs 'Hot For Teacher' And 'Eruption'
December 29, 2021
In a recent interview with IndiePower.com, legendary drummer Carmine Appice, best known for his work with VANILLA FUDGE, CACTUS and Rod Stewart, spoke about his friendship with the members of VAN HALEN. "I was friends with all of 'em — [including] Michael Anthony and David [Lee Roth]," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). I insulted [David], not knowing it. When he came to the rehearsal wearing this outfit, it looked like a pajama set. It looked like it was made out of the Holiday Inn bedspread and curtain set. So I said that. I said, 'Is that the Holiday Inn? Did you take the Holiday Inn curtain and bedspread and make an outfit?' And he got insulted. That was the end of the band. [Laughs] It's funny.
"But, yeah, I knew all those guys," he continued. "As a matter of fact, when we did a VANILLA FUDGE reunion in 2005, Eddie [Van Halen] was on the phone with me, and he said, 'What are you doing that for? Screw that. Get CACTUS together.' He loved [CACTUS guitarist Jim] McCarty, and he loved CACTUS. And Alex [Van Halen] told me [VAN HALEN's] 'Hot For Teacher' really came from the idea we did with 'Parchman Farm'; that was like the template. And 'Eruption' was the beginning of our song 'Let Me Swim' extended — same kind of thing."
In a separate interview with "The Jeremy White Podcast" from this past September, Carmine took the VAN HALEN comparison further, saying: "If you put 'Hot For Teacher' on and put our song 'Parchman Farm', you'll hear the same kind of groove. And if you put our song called 'Let Me Swim', the beginning of that, and you put 'Eruption', it's the same."
CACTUS has had a long and turbulent history. Formed in 1970 from the ashes of VANILLA FUDGE by Appice and Tim Bogert, the initial lineup also featured McCarty and vocalist Rusty Day. (Appice and Bogert had originally planned a new band with Jeff Beck which was put off until 1973, because of Beck's near-fatal car crash in 1969.) Jim McCarty had come from MITCH RYDER & THE DETROIT WHEELS and was playing with THE BUDDY MILES EXPRESS. Tim and Carmine also found vocalist Day in THE AMBOY DUKES with Ted Nugent. Together, the four musicians formed CACTUS, named after the peyote cactus, which provided a key ingredient in mind-altering drugs.
While CACTUS saw success from the start and soon built a loyal fan base, by early 1973, the band had collapsed mainly due to lack of real support from its label, and the fact that Beck was now ready play with Carmine and Tim. It would not be until 2006, three decades after the tragic death of Rusty Day, that the group reformed with Pratt and Kunes. When Tim Bogert was forced into retirement after a serious motorcycle accident, Pete Bremy jumped in both in CACTUS and VANILLA FUDGE.
Carmine's autobiography, "Stick It!: My Life Of Sex, Drums, And Rock 'N' Roll", was released in May 2016 by Chicago Review Press.