Carmine Appice Launches Rocker Records With Releases From Cactus, TNA and Bogert/Appice and Friends

Carmine Appice is a legend of rock drumming.  Over his 46 year recording career, he has been a member of Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, Beck, Bogert and Appice (and a number of other configurations with Tim Bogert) along with playing on sessions with the likes of Rod Stewart, Jan Akkerman, Pink Floyd and Sly Stone.

Tomorrow (November 19), Appice will kick off his latest venture, Rocker Records, with an initial slate from his own archives; however, plans are to branch out to release music by other artists.

Appice talked of how the new label came about after meeting Mike Cusanelli of World Sound. "Mike, being a records kind of guy, says, ‘You know, if you have product laying around, you should probably start a record label that would be able to get your product out, and then you could sell other people’s product – from friends of yours who have product that maybe want to release it. So I said, ‘Really, that’s interesting.’ So then he had a talk with the head of eOne, which is our distributor, and he was totally into the idea. So I thought, ‘Okay, let’s give it a try.’ And these first releases are things that I’ve had basically in the can, with really nothing to do to them. They’re from my personal collection. So he says, ‘Let’s get it out to the fans!'"

Up first are two live albums from Cactus, one recorded at B.B. King's in New York in 2006 and another from a Japanese tour in 2010, along with a 2004 live show from TNA (Pat Travers and Appice) and an EP of studio recordings by Appice and Bogert. All will be released digitally.

“It’s going to be a lot of digital stuff,” said Appice. “So maybe we’ll have a digital online store, but there are enough of those already. We have a web site now, rocker-records.com, which will keep news of what’s coming out and what’s available and all that, and maybe provide some links to things you can buy from iTunes or something. We may do that, but we’re too new. We’re really taking it as it comes.”

The Details on the four albums:

Cactus Live in the USA

Recorded in 2006 at B.B. King’s in New York City, this heaping plateful of hot and heavy boogie-rock documents the rebirth of the original Cactus lineup, minus singer Rusty Day, who died in the ’80s. “Actually, that was the first show we’d done since we broke up in the ’70s,” said Appice. “So that’s one cool thing about it. It was the warm-up show we did for the Sweden Rock Festival, which was the next show we did after that a couple days later before 10,000 people.” This record has an interesting story behind it. “We had a DVD years ago – 2006 – that came out on MVD,” said Appice. “Somebody in Europe took the soundtrack off the DVD and released it, unbeknownst to us. So, when we found it, we went, ‘Huh?’ And it was selling well, so we worked out a deal with the guy and he paid us royalties, and when I listened to it, I said, ‘Wow, this sounds really good.’ And it has Tim Bogert on it. So you’ve got Cactus with Tim Bogert.”

Track listing:
  • Long Tall Sally
  • Swim
  • One Way or Another
  • Cactus Music
  • Brother Bill
  • Muscle & Soul
  • OLEO (Bass solo)
  • Part of the Game
  • Evil
  • Cactus Boogie
  • Parchman Farm
  • Rock & Roll Children

Cactus Live in Japan

The current version of Cactus went over to Japan in 2012 to record two shows, one audio and one video, “which will come out next year,” according to Appice. He describes that first performance as a “kick-ass show,” and it is an absolute barnburner, with Cactus rolling through classics such as their versions of Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm and Willie Dixon’s You Can’t Judge a Book (By Lookin’ at the Cover), plus Rock & Roll Children and That’s Evil. Appice said, “Live in Japan is the first night. It’s not complete. It’s a single-disc. But it was the first night we played in Tokyo, and it was great. It was a kick-ass show. I mean, we’d never been to Japan before, and the crowd was great. It was sold-out, and (guitarist) Jim McCarty was on fire, and the band just sounded great.” Pete Bremy is the bassist for this occasion.

Track listing:
  • Swim
  • One Way or Another
  • Brother Bill
  • Can’t Judge a Book (By Lookin’ at the Cover)
  • Alaska
  • Electric Blue
  • Muscle & Soul
  • Evil
  • Parchman Farm
  • Rock & Roll Children

TNA (Travers & Appice) Live in Europe

Take two sublime musical talents like Pat Travers and Carmine Appice. Let them go at it, and the results will be magical, like they were for their album, It Takes a lot of Balls. As Appice recalls, “It was the best album I’d done in years.” In 2004, they toured together and brought the house down everywhere they went, playing 30 shows in Europe. This night was no different. “That was the first night Tony Franklin played with us,” said Appice. “We had T.M. Stevens playing with us for two weeks before that, and then Tony joined us, and we did another two weeks. Somebody sent me that CD, a live gig. I don’t even know where it came from, but when I got it in the mail in my office in L.A., I played it in the car, and I said, ‘Wow! This sounds great.’ And I had it in my computer, and I would listen to it on my iTunes for my enjoyment, and it was really good.” The versions of Da Ya Think I’m Sexy and the Travers classic Boom Boom are full of vim and vigor, and there is one bonus item, an unreleased studio track that Appice finished with keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio.

Track listing:
  • Taken
  • Better from a Distance
  • I Don’t Care
  • Crash and Burn
  • Livin’ Alone
  • Tony Solo
  • Gotta Have Ya
  • Keep on Rockin’
  • Snortin’ Whiskey
  • Can’t Escape the Fire
  • Evil
  • Da Ya Think I’m Sexy
  • Boom Boom
  • Stand Up
  • Funkified

Bogert/Appice & Friends

Made up of studio recordings Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert did in the early 2000s, this six-song EP has the feel and spirit of Vanilla Fudge’s finest work. “We mastered it, and it’s an EP, and it really sounds good. I’m really happy with it. The arrangements are awesome, and the arrangements will sound very Vanilla Fudge-y,” said Appice. “We did Falling and Bye Bye Love, and Star-Spangled Banner, and two original numbers, and then we have Falling again with Brian Auger playing organ, which is really, really cool. He plays the hell out of it. So it’s really interesting.”

Track listing:
  • Bye Bye Love
  • Falling
  • Black Box
  • Eternity
  • Star-Spangled Banner
  • Falling (bonus cut)

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