Stewart’s got a ‘dirtier-sounding’ Refurbished Band
– By KURT LODER (1981)
“A couple of the English boys that were in the band didn’t wanna come over and work,” explains drummer Carmine Appice. So In January, Rod Stewart’s backup group got a sudden transfusion of new blood: replacing Gary Grainger and bassist Ph1l Chen were two young Southerners, Danny Johnson and Jay Davis.
Both had previously been Involved with Carmine’s drum-playing brother Vinny Appice, In a power trio called Axis; and both were currently members of Carmine’s own little side group, The Rockers, with whom he was recording his first solo album for Stewart’s Riva Records. Rod dropped by the studio one day and so dug their sound that he drafted them into his own band.
“You know what he did?” Appice says. “He’s got, without exaggeration, like half a million dollars worth of cars, O.K.? He moved all the cars out of the garage, had the roadies put up some red-and-gold curtains from the last American tour, put a red rug down and turned it into a rehearsal studio. Yesterday he brought the video camera in.”
An appreciative chuckle. “I think the material’s gonna be a lot dirtier-sounding now,” says Carmine. “Danny’s gonna add that real young-rock-guitarist high energy, and Jay just locks right on the grooves with me. It’s so much easier to play with this band, you know?”
The refurbished Stewart group will back the singer on his U.S. tour, scheduled to start in mid-July; in some cities, the Rockers will step out and play local gigs. By then, record stores should be plentifully stocked with both a live Stewart album (mostly recorded in London last December) and a Carmine Appice solo LP (which also features Alice Cooper’s keyboardist, Duane Hitchings). Grizzled fans of Vanilla Fudge and Beck, Bogert and Appice will happily note that Carmine sings on his album.