Ex-BLACK SABBATH/DIO Drummer VINNY APPICE: Why I Don't Play Double-Bass Drums
February 22, 2023
In a new interview with Paul Rogne of the Drumming News Network, legendary drummer Vinny Appice was asked why he doesn't play double-bass drums. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, because Carmine [Appice, Vinny's brother] went over to double bass; he started on single bass. Then at one point I got another bass drum and I played it, and I guess I didn't like it at that point. And I thought, 'Carmine's doing all this stuff. He's been using it for years now. I'm just gonna stick with one bass drum.' And seeing how some of these drummers with double bass are amazing, I just thought, 'I'm gonna stay with one bass drum and not do the double-bass thing.' And that kept my foot strong. Actually, my right leg, my calf is bigger than the left leg. When I put on tight pants, the right leg, getting it back off, it's harder to get off than the left leg, 'cause the muscle built up so much. It's crazy."
Vinny previously discussed his preference for a single-bass setup during an interview with Metal Edge more than a decade and a half ago. At the time he said: "Both Carmine and I started with a single bass. Then he moved over to double bass, so I thought I'd see if it was for me. It didn't blow me away, so I just kept the single bass. I never used a double pedal either, so I'm known as 'Mr. Single Bass.' The good thing is that with a double bass your foot can't get lazy, so I've got a lot of power with one foot and it's fairly fast from playing with one just bass drum."
Back in December 2021, Vinny spoke to the "All Access Live! With Kevin Rankin" podcast about his unique and powerful drumming style which has anchored the rhythm and power live and in the studio for the music of DIO, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, LAST IN LINE, AXIS, Rick Derringer, John Lennon and more. He said: "I always say 'I go where no man has gone before' where some of these fills start. See, I play in the song. Whatever I do, I get into the song. I don't play on top of the song. I hear a lot of drummers can play on top of the song and they're just playing the song. I'm inside of that song, and that's the way I hear the stuff. It's kind of like an artist painting pictures, and I'm in there putting the colors in it. And I just hear it like that — fills that could go over the bar, maybe a bar and a half. And they start in an odd place. And luckily, that worked for me with SABBATH. SABBATH, I didn't do quite as much because SABBATH was so legendary, you had to keep that in your mind that this is BLACK SABBATH and there's a certain way to play fills that are a little darker maybe — not so much snare drum; more dark stuff. And then with DIO, anything went. And Ronnie [James Dio] never had a problem with me playing… nor did SABBATH; they never said 'don't play a fill there' or anything like that. And Ronnie, I'd play over his vocal line. We kicked each other in the ass. When I hear him starting to go, I go, 'Woah, dude.' Now something comes out of me that got inspired; he inspired me. We fed off each other, absolutely."
Appice went on to say that his recorded parts change and evolve when he is performing the songs live. "Like one night, [DIO] played 'The Last In Line', and at the third verse, [Ronnie] goes, 'And you never, never, never come home.' And then one night, he kept it going. He went, 'Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never…' He kept it going. And I just heard that and I followed him," Vinny said. "And we went, 'That was cool, dude.' And we still do that. I'm playing with LAST IN LINE now with Vivian [Campbell, former DIO guitarist]. And we do that. Andy Freeman [LAST IN LINE singer] and I, we worked it out so that part's in there.
"See, I'm always listening," Appice continued. "Drummers, you've gotta listen to what's going on on stage. I don't close my eyes and space out. I look around. I'm scanning the stage. If I'm hearing somebody playing something, maybe I'll jump on it. And that keeps it really exciting. That's why I don't play the same stuff every night. Certain fills are the same. But then I go kick in the ass as much as I could."
Vinny has recorded and co-written songs on several dozen albums and CDs, including many multi-platinum records. Vinny's drumming can also be heard on numerous movie soundtracks, including "Wayne's World 2", "Heavy Metal", "Iron Eagle" and "Bedazzled". Vinny, the author of drum instruction book "Rock Steady" and DVD "Hard Rock Drumming Techniques", has performed incredible powerhouse drum clinics around the globe. Numerous books have been written about BLACK SABBATH and DIO with the authors always mentioned Vinny's drumming style.
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