Aug. 08, 2012 - Issue #877: Corb Your Enthusiasm
Kill Devil Hill
Sun, Aug 12 (8 pm)
With Titans Eve
Pawn Shop, $25
Vinny Appice's drumming history reads like a chartered path down metal's dynastic family tree: after early recordings with Derringer, Appice found himself behind the kit of a little band called Black Sabbath, where he pounded drumskins for a few years before leaving with then-vocalist Ronnie James Dio to form the band Dio. His propulsive rhythms would eventually help guide the likes of a Sabbath reconstituted as Heaven and Hell, World War III and a handful of other bands. Also: look back far enough, and you'll find that Appice even drummed on some solo John Lennon recordings. Go figure.
It's all an impressive legacy, but one in which the achievements are built into those of others: in most of those instances, Appice joined the pre-existing band. Fewer are the times he has been a formative band member, so with Kill Devil Hill finally having shaped itself around him as its basis—its genesis began with some drum tracks Appice recorded before going in for shoulder surgery—he seems set on keeping it separated from his other, earlier works.
"I didn't want it to sound '80s. I wanted it to sound modern, and just had a lot of ideas in my head," Appice explains of Kill Devil HIll's sound. "It wasn't really preconceived, but I just figured I knew what I didn't want, and let the thing evolve naturally, and just not let it go in directions that you don't want it to go in. But luckily it went in the right way. We kept it that way."
The "we" he's referring to aren't greenthumbs in the metal scene: Kill Devil HIll also features ex-Pantera bassist Rex Brown, as well as guitarist Mark Zevon and vocalist Dewey Bragg. But aside from the connections to his previous work, his avoidance of the '80s has a much simpler answer.
"Because the '80s are over," Appice laughs. "I don't want to be known as someone from the '80s who can't get out of the '80s. ... I still love that music too, but right now my mind's in a little bit more modern, little bit different [of a] mode than '80s.
And while Kill Devil Hill's still in its early stages—the band's debut self-titled album has only been out for a couple of months, the shows are in clubs, not yet stadiums—Appice notes he's found a deeper satisfaction in getting to build that band up show by show.
"It's quite different: there's a lot more problems, especially starting from a lower level," he says, of being in a new band. "And there are a lot more decisions [to be made], but it's fun to see this thing building, which it is now. That's even more exciting than being in a big band that's already got a built-in audience."
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