Vanilla Fudge: the remarkable history of rock's greatest covers band

Vanilla Fudge in 1968
(Image credit: Chris Walter)

It's fair to say nobody had heard anything quite like Vanilla Fudge when the band burst onto the scene in August 1967 with their cover of The Supremes’ hit You Keep Me Hangin’ On

In contrast to The Supremes’ sparkling, syncopated rhythms propelling the song at a gallop, the Fudge version begins with a single organ note that appears to be struggling to hold its pitch against unseen forces. Gradually, the note is joined by other notes – it would be stretching things to call it a chord – which are also being buffeted by the elements. 

Just as you’re beginning to wonder whether it may be some musical code trying to tell you something – a bit like that sequence in Close Encounters – what sounds like the noise of a drumstick splintering against a hi-hat jolts your senses, and suddenly you’re engulfed in a clattering musical cacophony that finally erupts into the classic You Keep Me Hangin’ On riff. Except that it’s played at a quarter of the speed and with a fearsome, heavyweight, pile-driving intensity. 

The vocals come in at the same crawling tempo, and the singer is clearly desperate to keep hangin’ on. Indeed when he gets to that throwaway line in the original "And there ain’t nothing I can do about it", he sounds like he’s in the throes of a full-scale nervous breakdown. After he’s finished pleading for release – "Set me free why don’t you babe" – the instrumental introduction is repeated, except this time the riff gets a bludgeoning quality that threatens grievous aural harm, before a sweeping organ cadence brings sudden, and merciful, relief. 

And that’s only the single edit; the album version sustains the musical massacre for more than seven minutes. 

Quite why Britain should have taken to Vanilla Fudge before rock fans the band’s American homeland is something of a mystery. But before You Keep Me Hangin’ On had shown any sign of life in the US it started climbing the UK charts. It may have spent only one week in the Top 20, but that was enough for the band to scamper over from New York for a promotional visit that included gigs at London’s trendy Speakeasy Club, and the Saville Theatre where they supported The Who

“I think we blew The Who off. At least that’s what the newspapers said,” drummer Carmine Appice recalls. 

That’s right, the Carmine Appice: legendary drummer with Rod ‘D’Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ Stewart (a song that he co-wrote with Stewart), one third of the famous Beck, Bogert & Appice, and a founder member of the lesser-known but equally significant Cactus

“We’d come over with hardly anything, and we knew The Who were going to have a wall of equipment. Our roadie, who used to work with The Yardbirds, said he could borrow their stuff. So when the gig opened there was this lone spotlight that shone down to the bass drum that said ‘Vanilla Fudge’. Then it opened up to reveal a line of little red Vox amps that was mostly The Yardbirds’ stuff.” 

On stage Vanilla Fudge could be as demented as their music. Keyboard player Mark Stein’s head frequently disappeared from view below the keys while his hands kept pummelling away. And bassist Tim Bogert played every note as though someone was poking him up the arse with a 2,000-volt cattle prod. That’s right, the Tim Bogert: another third of Beck, Bogert & Appice, and the other founder member of Cactus.

It's 2004. Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert are sitting in the bar of London’s Russell Hotel, preparing for a European tour. They are the only original members of the band in the current Fudge line-up, although guitarist Vinnie Martell was with them up until a few months ago. Keyboard player Mark Stein, however, hasn’t played with them for several years. But no matter. 

Bogert and Appice can claim to be (or at least have been) one of rock’s mightiest rhythm sections. And the gig that evening at Camden Underworld leaves no one in any doubt that the original spirit of Vanilla Fudge lives on in the current band, which includes guitarist Teddy Rondinelli and keyboard player Bill Pascali who, as Appice rightly observes, is “scarily” reminiscent of Mark Stein. But then Stein was Pascali’s hero when the latter was a kid watching Vanilla Fudge at the San Francisco Fillmore back in 1968. 

A few days later Robert Plant got up and jammed with the Fudge at their gig in Stourbridge in a gesture of lasting affection for the band who helped Led Zeppelin crack America. Deep Purple are another band who freely admit the influence Vanilla Fudge had on them. 

The members of Vanilla Fudge came from the thriving Long Island rock scene of the mid 60s. Tim Bogert, Mark Stein and Vince Martell were in a band called The Pigeons playing the same circuit as The Hassles (which included a youthful Billy Joel) and The Vagrants (with Leslie West, later of Mountain). 

It was a competitive scene, and playing covers was an obvious way to get an audience’s attention. But The Pigeons were increasingly aware that their drummer was not strong enough for the style they were developing. So they poached Carmine Appice from another band. 

“We needed someone with more chops, and Carmine definitely had that,” Bogert says. “And he could sing too, which meant there were now four singers in the band.” 

“When I got together with these guys it was, ‘Great voices, great musicians’,” Appice says with a Brooklyn/Italian accent that could grace any episode of The Sopranos (and the sharp dress sense to match). “The other bands didn’t have the vocals that we had. We’d listened to the doo-wop, the R&B and the Motown, and they didn’t have the chops that we had. The other drummers weren’t technical like I was. There were certainly no other bass players like Tim. Maybe there were guitarists like Vince, but Mark was certainly better than most of the other keyboard players around.” 

With such style (and modesty), by the end of 1966 The Pigeons were one of the leading Long Island bands. They had a residency at the Action House, and the club owner, George Morton, who was also their manager, was looking around for a record deal. Neither Appice nor Bogert can remember quite how George ‘Shadow’ Morton became involved, but it was – briefly – a marriage made in sonic heaven.

Vanilla Fudge in 1968

L-R Tim Bogert, Carmine Appice, Mark Stein, Vince Martell (Image credit: Chris Walter / Getty Images)

Morton was a self-styled Brooklyn cowboy who specialised in musical soap operas. Legend has it that he wrote Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand) for the Shangri La’s in the car on the way to the studio for a session he’d booked for them without having anything for them to record. 

Vanilla Fudge clearly appealed to his sense of the dramatic, particularly when he heard their version of You Keep Me Hangin’ On. Apparently he thought Mark Stein had listened to The Supremes’ original version at 33rpm instead of 45rpm. He organised a recording session and the Fudge laid down the song in one take. In mono. 

That demo that got them signed to Atlantic, and that was the demo that got released on the album and edited down for the single. No wonder Appice describes it as “the seven and a half minutes that changed my life”. 

“Shadow Morton was a very psychedelic dude,” he adds. “Pretty much all he did was get the band in the studio, and we basically played our songs live.” 

Those songs included The BeatlesTicket To Ride and Eleanor Rigby, The Zombies’ She’s Not There, The Impressions’ People Get Ready and Sonny & Cher’s Bang Bang

“We would take songs that we liked, ones that had a blues feeling to them,” Bogert explains, “and then we would slow it down to put more soul into it. That was the whole basis of the Long Island sound. And it worked very well for us.” 

All that remained was to change their name from The Pigeons, which was inappropriate for them. Vanilla Fudge came from the girlfriend of the singer of another band – it had been her nickname as a kid because she loved ice cream.

With a suitably surreal cover artwork, Vanilla Fudge's debut album began a nine-month residency in the US chart in September 1967, peaking at No.6 despite the absence of a hit single. 

You Keep Me Hangin’ On eventually cracked the Top 10 a year later, also reaching No.6. (Bogert thinks it got to No.3, Appice is convinced it was No. 4, but Billboard says No.6). 

“I was ever so proud,” Bogert says. “I still am. It was a great moment in time.” 

Certainly in career terms their first album and single were as good as it got for Vanilla Fudge. Was it maybe a case of too much too soon? 

“Well, we didn’t know that at the time, obviously,” Bogert replies. “But in retrospect, yes.” Appice butts in: “We didn’t know anything about anything at the time. If we had, we would never have released The Beat Goes On as our second album.” 

Ah yes, The Beat Goes On – a prime contender for the worst follow-up album of all time. Producer Shadow Morton says he wanted to make “a grand stab at the ultimate album”. 

That remark simply begs the hubris that followed. The Beat Goes On begins with collage of portentous noises before hitting the four notes of Sonny Bono’s pop gem with as much grandiose, pretentious pomposity as the Fudge can muster – which is quite a lot. There follows a six-minute medley of Mozart, Cole Porter, Glenn Miller, traditional folk, ragtime, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. 

Just in case you fail to get the point, they then give Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise the full-on Vanilla Fudge treatment. All interspersed with repeated snippets from The Beat Goes On.

It gets worse on side two. Voices In Time features the voices of such rock’n’roll heroes as Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Harry S Truman and John F Kennedy set to a lugubrious atmospheric beat. And when the band finally get to have their individual say on the last track the results are wincingly embarrassing: Mark Stein recites a passage from The Bible, Bogert gives a vague hint of disquiet when answering questions, and Appice simply yells “Wanna hear me talk? Listen to my drums!” amid the general confusion. 

“Shadow Morton should take the blame for that album,” Appice says. “It was his idea and he was the controlling factor.” 

But the band surely had to at least go along with it? 

“Well, Mark was Mr Psychedelic at that time, and he and Vince were like: ‘Let’s get into it’. But Tim and I were going: ‘I don’t know about this’. But Shadow and [Atlantic boss] Ahmet Ertegun were going: ‘This is the biggest thing since Swiss cheese’ – and they were heavy characters.” 

“I just thought it was weird, period,” Bogert says. “But I went along with it because that was the premise at the time. Do you remember when we came in to Los Angeles and we played it to a bunch of fans that we knew? And they cried. We suddenly realised, Oh God, we’ve made a horrible mistake.” 

Appice shakes his head at the memory. “They were all on acid and bumming out on the trip and going: ‘Take it off!’ Thirty days later we ran back into the studio and made another album – to save what was left of our career.” 

Renaissance, which was rushed out in June 1968, just five months after The Beat Goes On, helped to steady things with a bunch of band-written material that was cosmic but controlled, and a version of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch left over from the first album.

But what really saved Vanilla Fudge was constant touring. Having honed their performance on the Long Island circuit, they were a hard act to follow. As Jimi Hendrix, among others, discovered to his cost. 

“We toured with Hendrix on a four-act bill,” Appice recalls. “We’d go on just before him and we used to blow him off stage frequently. I was reading somewhere recently that Hendrix was telling his manager to get him off the tour. And that became another problem for us. We would blow bands off and then they wouldn’t tour with us.” 

Bogert: “It wasn’t so much the spirit, it was the fact that we played hard and audiences liked what we were doing. So we would wear an audience out. They would be spent by the time the main act came on.” 

Appice: “We never got into that ‘Everybody clap your hands’ stuff, either. We just went out and played to the max. So we often used to wonder who would be the first band to blow us off stage. And that band was Led Zeppelin.” 

“I can remember the night it happened, too,” Bogert recounts. “We came out and I said: ‘There is no way we can humanly follow this, so we’re not going to try’. And we brought the guys from Zeppelin out and we all jammed for the next hour and a half. And the crowd loved it.” 

Appice: “That first tour with them was amazing. They were just unreal. As you can see from the DVD they put out recently. It was almost as if they couldn’t believe how good they were. I remember calling up Ludwig, my drum kit manufacturers, and saying: ‘You should probably endorse Bonzo. I think this band is going to be very big’. Because when Bonzo first saw my kit he said: ‘I want one of those’. And he got one for the second tour we did with them.”

It was on the Fudge’s second tour with Zeppelin that the infamous ‘red snapper incident’ took place at the Seattle Edgewater Inn, involving a “sexually adventurous” (according to Appice) red-haired groupie, and a red snapper fish that had been caught in the lake that was literally underneath the hotel. 

Those involved included Bonzo and Zep’s tour manager Richard Cole, plus others who have preferred to remain anonymous. According to one account, the proceedings were videoed by Mark Stein. But the footage has never surfaced.

Back on dry land, Vanilla Fudge’s fourth album, Near The Beginning, contained a 23-minute live epic called ‘Break Song’ which featured solos from all four band members. 

“That started when we used to play clubs, and each of us would take a solo while the others had a break,” Appice says. “So obviously we expanded on that when solos became popular with bands like Cream. In fact we had to edit the song down from about thirty minutes for the album.” But by now dissension and strife was growing within the group. 

“The politics between us had gotten darker,” Bogert says. “Carmine and I were a team, but Vinnie was one faction and Mark was another. So there were three factions in the band and we were no longer getting along.” 

Appice: “Vinne’s problem was that he was in an organ-dominated band, which was hard with all the other guitar heroes out there like Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Beck. I think it affected him mentally. Meanwhile, Mark was starting to think that it was all down to him, and obviously the rest of us resented that, particularly because Tim and I used to get the best responses during Break Song.”

Touring with Led Zeppelin was amazing. Just unreal. It was as if they couldn’t believe how good they were

Carmine Appice

“It’s one thing to ‘play a solo’, but it’s another thing to work a crowd,” Bogert adds. And Carmine and I have always had that ability to give the crowd what they want and make them respond.” 

When guitarist Martell fell ill just as the band were about to record a Coca-Cola commercial, their Yardbirds-connected roadie suggested they use Jeff Beck, who happened to be in town, instead. 

“So Jeff came in and played with us on this commercial, and Tim and I were going: ‘This is great’,” Appice says. “Then during the summer of sixty-nine we played a gig with Ten Years After, The Jeff Beck Group and Led Zeppelin, and that’s when Bonzo told Tim and I that Jeff wanted to play with us. So we started talking to Jeff about putting a band together.” 

But, for a number of reasons, those plans failed to materialise until 1973. First there was another Vanilla Fudge album to be made, despite the increasingly unpleasant atmosphere within the band. 

“There was so much animosity going on by that time ,” Bogert says, “that two people would go in and start a track and then the others would come in on a different day and finish. So it was a mess.” 

Appice: “To be honest, I can’t remember who did what on most of it.” 

Bogert: “Mostly it was you and Mark going in together. I really wasn’t interested at that juncture.” 

The Rock & Roll album came out in October 1969, but by now the band were in total disarray. Mark Stein had heard of Bogert and Appice’s plans to team up with Beck and was furious at their supposed betrayal. But then those plans suddenly collapsed. 

“We had supposed to be getting together with Beck at the end of 1969, but then he got badly injured in a car accident so everything got put back,” Appice explains. “In fact at one time Jeff and Rod Stewart were supposed to be linking up with us, but apparently Rod got pissed off with Jeff for lack of payments or something and said he wasn’t going to work with Jeff any more. So we had the choice of sitting around waiting, or starting up a band with someone else.” 

“We really didn’t want to play with Vanilla Fudge any more,” he continues. “I mean, we had even thrown Vince out at one point and got another guitarist to play with us. And didn’t you leave for a while, Tim?” 

Bogert: “No.” 

Appice: “Or were you sick? Didn’t we do a couple of dates with another guy on bass?” 

Bogert: “If you did I don’t remember” 

Appice: “As you can see, it all gets a little confusing at this point.” 

In fact Vanilla Fudge staggered on until March 1970, playing their final gig back at the Action House in Long Island where it all started.

Appice and Bogert had already been looking for other members for their new band. 

“We were looking to play more blues-based hard rock,” Appice explains. “Heavy and hard with a lot of energy. We were fed up playing that slow shit. In fact it took a while to get it together, because originally we had a guitarist called Terry Kelly. He was a great player, but he was drugged out on heroin and we could never get anything out of him. Then we got a singer, and he was drugged out too. 

“So finally we said to our manager: ‘This is crazy. Let’s start again’. And we got Jim McCarty [no relation to Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds] who’d been in Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels. And he recommended Rusty Day from The Amboy Dukes [Ted Nugent’s first band], so now we had a real Detroit connection. Rusty wasn’t the greatest singer but he knew how to handle an audience.” 

They named the band Cactus. And their self-titled debut album, released in the summer of 1970, is something of a lost heavy metal masterpiece, not to mention an acknowledged influence on the Van Halen brothers. It begins with a ferocious boogie version of Mose Allison’s Parchman Farm, and takes the same visceral approach to Willie Dixon’s You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover, as well as containing several powerful group-written efforts, notably the closing duo of Oleo and Feel So Good (which come complete with drum and bass solos). 

“When we did ‘Parchman Farm’ the aim was to be faster than Ten Years After,” Appice says. “Actually, we didn’t realise at the time but the boogie thing that Jim came up with was almost speed metal. And then I was doing a double bass drum shuffle underneath.” 

The record confirmed Bogert and Appice’s monster riffing reputation. And while Cactus never had a hit single they certainly sold albums. Their first US gig was at Philadelphia Temple Stadium in May 1970 with The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix in front of some 40,000 people. Their first British gig was later that summer at the Isle of Wight Festival in front of an estimated 300,000.

Demonstrating that no musical style was safe from their onslaught, Cactus’s second album, One Way… Or Another, released a year later, opened with a brutally heavy version of Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally. By now the band were once again closing shows, as few bands were prepared to go on after them. 

“By this time we were doing gigs with The Faces, and we kinda liked that,” Appice says with a rueful smile. “We got into a lot of hotel wrecking with them.” 

The tale of one particular incident, when they were arrested and jailed by Cleveland police after running amok on a plane, was recounted on a track called Mean Night In Cleveland which appeared on their third album, Restrictions. But such rumbustious behaviour could not continue without repercussions. The first cracks appeared when guitarist Jim McCarty decided he wanted to work with a ‘traditional’ rhythm section. 

“This was after he’d chosen to work with us, and then didn’t like what he’d chosen,” Bogert says, still sounding somewhat miffed more than 30 years later. “I thought it was a bit silly and I was a bit put out by it. So the vibe kind of went to hell in a hand-basket.”

We played our second album to some fans we knew. And they cried. We’d made a horrible mistake

Tim Bogert

When McCarty quit they decided to replace singer Rusty Day as well: “We’d been conscious that Rusty’s voice was maybe holding us back a bit,” Appice explains. “So we got Pete French, an English guy who was with Atomic Rooster, and we found a new guitarist called Werner Fritzsching playing in a bar in upstate New York. So that was the second Cactus line-up which, was a little more solo-driven and a little less jammy.” 

“We called the next album ’Ot ’N’ Sweaty which was kind of cockney-inspired because of Pete. I’ll never forget that album cover, because it had a gatefold sleeve and when you opened it up three quarters of it was Pete and there were just little pictures of me and Tim. I said to Pete: ‘How did you manage this?!’” Appice laughs of the episode, which is eerily reminiscent of the T-shirt scene in the film Almost Famous

The album, half of which was recorded live at the famous Mar Y Sol festival in Puerto Rico, showed that the line-up changes had revived Cactus musically. But their fans were less impressed, preferring the heads-down, no-nonsense, mindless boogie they’d become accustomed to. And by now Jeff Beck had recovered from what had turned out to be a fractured skull and was back on the scene. 

“It was a good band,” Appice says of the second Cactus line-up. “When we split up to join Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart told me: ‘Don’t do it. It’s going to screw up your career. Keep Cactus together. It could go somewhere’. But we didn’t listen.”

Stewart may have had his own reasons for trying to dissuade them, but the lure of Jeff Beck was irresistible. 

“It was,” Bogert confirms. “It’s not now. I mean, he’s fantastic. He’s a legend. But he’s also a pain in the rear.” 

However, that was for Rod to know and for Bogert and Appice to find out. Initially things went well, particularly given the massive expectations surrounding them. 

“That’s why, when we first joined Jeff, we didn’t come out with a huge hyped-up thing,” Appice says. “We did it gradually. We joined The Jeff Beck Group. And then it became Beck, Bogert & Appice. 

“We’d seen what happened to West, Bruce & Laing [a 1972 supergroup featuring Jack Bruce and members of Mountain]. There was this incredible hype, and they couldn’t live up to it. So we tried to build it in such a way that that wouldn’t happen. But it happened anyway. The album went Top 10 everywhere.” 

Not surprisingly, BBA’s self-titled album also struggled to live up to the hype. The band seemed unsure whether to go heavy metal or jazz rock. They also lacked a vocalist to match their visceral power. Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night sang on some tracks, but it wasn’t enough. 

“Yeah,” Appice agrees, “but at that time there weren’t many great singers around. And the vocals weren’t really that important to the album. It was, ‘Here’s the song, let’s get to the jam’. I’d taken Jeff to see The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and I was listening to Billy Cobham a lot, so we were getting into that whole jazz rock thing. I think if we’d kept it together for another album things would have really developed. We were a jamming band, and every night the jams were different.” 

But jamming bands need an intense musical telepathy. Every night. 

“That’s right,” Bogert agrees. “When it was on it was great; when it was off it was clumsy.” 

Patience and professionalism were also required, and that became a problem when Beck disappeared in the middle of their US tour. “He quit,” Bogert says simply. “He had an argument with his girlfriend and she went home to England. So he hopped on the next plane and followed her. Either to finish the argument or to get her back. I don’t know which. I woke up in Atlanta and Carmine’s on the phone saying: ‘We’re going home’. I said: ‘Why?’ And he just said: ‘Jeff’s gone’. We had a sold-out gig, the road crew ready, everything. It was ridiculous. I’d never seen anything like it.”

Even though they got back together again, the core trust between them was broken irrevocably. A Japanese-only live album was imported around the world. “It’s become a legendary record, but we never liked it,” Appice said. 

Another gig was recorded at London’s Rainbow but is only out on bootleg. “That’s a great gig. It makes Cream sound like old men. And that was the last time we played.” 

Their European tour was “a mess”, according to Bogert. “After that I decided I couldn’t put up with the bullshit any more so I took a walk.” Recording sessions for another album were abandoned. 

“It just stopped,” Appice says. “There was no more communication. It was gone.” 

It was also the end of the Bogert/Appice rhythm section for the next decade. But Appice was clearly a glutton for punishment, because he started working with Jeff Beck on his Blow By Blow album. But when their respective managers couldn’t agree a deal, his tracks were wiped and replicated by another drummer. 

Ironically, the silver lining in this cloud turned out to be Rod Stewart: “I heard he was looking for someone,” Appice says, “and I joined him and was there for the next seven years, which was probably the most successful part of my career.” Particularly when you take into account that co-writing credit on D’Ya Think I’m Sexy? 

Bogert, though, had had enough: “I’d had it up to my eyeballs. I couldn’t carry on. I was miserable. So I moved to California and laid back for a couple of years.” He also hung out in England for a while in the mid-70s, doing sessions with Jan Akkerman, Bo Diddley, Boxer (the late Mike Patto’s band) and Rod Stewart. 

In 1983 the original Fudge line-up was tempted back for a reunion and a new album. But “it didn’t really work,” Appice admits. “The producer, Spencer Proffer, had organised a deal with Atlantic. But our kind of rock wasn’t really happening back then. Proffer started telling Vince what guitar parts to play. But Vince refused to play the parts, so we ended up getting some session guy in to do them. 

“Then I came over to London for something else and ended up getting Jeff Beck to play on two tracks as a favour. Which he did under the name of JB Toad. And that was great. But when the album came out Vince got so pissed off that we’d used a session guy that he got an injunction against the album. And so Atlantic thought, these guys are still fucked up. And that was the end of that.”

Probably just as well. Trying to reinvent Vanilla Fudge for the 80s was never going to work. Jeff Beck’s funky contribution to The Supremes’ My World Is Empty summed up the problem. As Beck, Bogert & Appice they might have got away with it. But as Vanilla Fudge they sounded desperate. 

Still, they did get to play at Atlantic Records’ 40th anniversary celebrations in 1987 – without Vince Martell. “We also did a tour of America,” Bogert says, “using a friend of mine on guitar, which went well, and we wanted to keep it together. But Mark Stein wanted to try and get a deal for his own band so we broke up again.” 

But they wouldn’t let it lie. And Appice is always open to offers. “I was in Japan in ’98, working with a band called Pearl, when I got a fax from someone wanting to book Vanilla Fudge out there. Mark didn’t want to do it, but the others were up for it and Vince brought in Bill Pascali whose idol was Mark. So we played there in early ’99. And later we decided to play some dates in America.” 

They kept going despite legal hassles from Stein over rights to the name, and in 2001 they decided to re-record their hits after Atlantic wanted to charge them silly money to sell their original albums at gigs. Redoing former glories can be risky, but Returns, released in 2002, proved the sceptics wrong. 

For a start it’s great to hear You Keep Me Hangin’ On in stereo. And just to prove that the beat really does go on, there are Fudged-up versions of *NSync’s Tearin’ Up My Heart, not to mention D’ Ya Think I’m Sexy?

“I got the idea for covering *NSync after my daughter kept playing it the car,” Appice says. “And when we were signing autographs fans kept asking why we didn’t do D’Ya Think I’m Sexy?.” 

The only potential threat to the revival came when Vince Martell threw another wobbler. 

“Vince has problems. He just doesn’t get it. It’s 2004 and he doesn’t seem to get where the band is at right now,” Appice says. “It’s an attitude thing. He thinks he should sing more, take more solos. He wants approval when songs are edited for airplay. It goes way back. It’s part of what broke the band up in ’69. So finally, after he started screwing around with us and sending legal letters we said: ‘Why don’t you just stay home?’ And you know what? It’s a lot more fun now.”

This feature was originally published in Classic Rock 69, published in June 2004. Three years later the band released Out Through The In Door, an album of Led Zeppelin songs, and followed it in 2015 with Spirit of 67, and album of psychedelic covers. Tim Bogert didn't appear on the album, while Vince Martell had returned on guitar.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.