Aniruddh Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with legendary drummer Vinny Appice (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN HELL, KILL DEVIL HILL). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: How long would you say this [KILL DEVIL HILL] debut album has taken, in terms of the writing process?
Vinny: We started writing in the end of 2009, and we continued up until last summer. So for about a year and a half, we kept writing different songs and ideas. Rex [Brown; PANTERA, DOWN; bass] wasn’t involved in the band until the beginning of 2011. So, we went through different phases. The first phase was just me, Mark [Zavon; RATT, W.A.S.P., 40 CYCLE HUM; guitar] and Dewey [Jason Bragg; PISSING RAZORS; vocals]. We wrote a lot of stuff, put it together and Rex played on it. And then, we refined it with a couple more songs after that. So all in all, it was probably a year and a half, and we finally went into the studio.
Metal Assault: Obviously you started out playing your first couple of gigs in L.A., at the Key Club and the Whisky, and sometime late last year you started playing in other places in the U.S. How has the response been from people who’ve seen you for the first time?
Vinny: The response has been great. When we played last year, nobody knew who we were. There wasn’t a buzz about the band and we weren’t out there very much. So went and did a bunch of shows, so as far as people coming out and knowing who the band is, they didn’t really know. So they came out because of my name and Rex‘s name, and didn’t know what to expect, but the acceptance from them was great. They loved the songs, loved the band and everybody had a good time. So it was a good experience to interact with the audience, but it will be even better once the album’s out, because people will know the songs and it’ll be more intense when we go out and play. That was last year, and now this year we just came back from doing a couple of shows up in the Seattle area, and once again the response has been great. There are more people coming out to the gigs because more people know the band now, and there’s a buzz about it. So it’s a little bit more known that we are around, even though the album is not out yet. Once the album comes out, it will be incredible.
Metal Assault: The one question I wanted to ask you the most is, how are you feeling as a drummer, and how do you compare your drumming to your past years?
Vinny: Well, I’ve been playing for a long, long time, and knock on wood, I’m strong and in really good health. I always took care of myself physically, and I find myself playing just as strong and hard as I was years ago. I’m really enjoying it, and coming up with different approaches and techniques now. So I’m feeling good, and I still have the fire in me. It’s still burning, and I’m always ready to kick ass. I’m still pissed off (laughs).
Metal Assault: With age, I feel that drummers are more susceptible to injuries. Do you feel the risk of injury in your own body sometimes?
Vinny: I had to go through shoulder surgery two years ago because the drum set that I had with HEAVEN HELL, I had all the drums up in the air and I was swinging my arms and shoulders while playing them, moving around all the time, and finally I had a problem with it, so I had to get that shoulder surgery. I did that, and since then it’s been as good as new. I’m really feeling great, and now I don’t have all those drums up in the air. I keep everything closer, and it’s good for the shoulders.
Read the entire interview at Metal Assault.
“Time Time Again” audio stream: