'Rollin' Back The Years!'
They were called “The American Led Zeppelin” back in 1970. Tall words, indeed, but Cactus — Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert, Jim McCarty and the late Rusty Day (who died in 1982) — came out only months after their Brit counterparts, only to flame out brightly after four albums (Cactus, One Way…Or Another, ‘Ot ‘n’ Sweaty and Restrictions) before 1973 even started. Now, 33 years later, comes V on Escapi Records.
The band that made such an impression with their loud blues-edged hard rock madness…the band that influenced the likes of Van Halen, Monster Magnet, King’s X, Billy Sheehan, David Coverdale and Kid Rock (documented in interviews)…the band that foreshadowed heavy music itself…is back and in rare form. And this time Carmine, Timmy and Jim have ex-Savoy Brown lead singer Jimmy Kunes providing the lusty macho soul. His leather-lunged pipes atop this hot’n’nasty blues-metal machine makes for some quality Classic Rock.
Drummer Appice and bassist Bogert had come to the band fresh off their pioneering Vanilla Fudge ‘60s experience. Originally, they were to join forces with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart but Beck suffered a car accident so legend has it they found McCarty from Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels playing with The Buddy Miles Express. They also found vocalist Day in The Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent. Thus was born Cactus.
And the party continues as 'V' as their first new album since 1972 literally leaps from your woofers and knocks you out of your chair. It continues as the band hits the road in both America and Europe, resulting in an eagerly awaited live DVD to arrive later this year.
Chatting recently with Carmine Appice, and noting that as this was their first all-new studio album since 1972, I first wondered why it had taken so long to come to the fore? "Well, we were not planning this CD. We were just having fun recording some new music. Then the Swedish Rock festival booked us on their 2006 festival and this started the ball rolling. After we were booked the Escapi record label asked if we had any Cactus music they could release. And there was , so after playing them a few songs they agreed to fund the cd and get it finished. Considering that our original singer had been killed in ‘ 82 , we needed a singer. Jimmy Kunes was contacted because when we were putting down new Cactus Music, he offered to do some work vocals with us as we recorded. And they were really good. So Jimmy accepted our invitation and he was in."
Will your next album will be yet another 34 years in the making?! "We actually have a 2 album deal so we should be making a new album in 2007!"
Your album title 'V' is an obvious choice, given that this is your fifth release, but I'm wondering what other titles it could also have been named? "How about 'Cactus Music' or 'Muscle and Soul' or 'The Fifth Cactus Album'!!!"
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Cactus at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "Living For Today is typical Cactus."
And whilst we're revealing things, just where did that band name originate ... and what else were you also toying with at the time?! "We got the name from a drive inn theater in Arizona. Tim Bogert and I were playing there with Vanilla Fudge and this drive inn was called the CACTUS drive inn…on the top of the big screen it said in big green letters CACTUS . I saw that and said to Tim “ what a great name for a band” “ it looks great up there. We both thought that this was a really strong name and that it would work as a band name. So we used it. There was no other name that was ever thought about."
Being that we are located right here in Detroit Rock City, please let us know what influence the legendary Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels have had on you as a band? "I did like that band. That was where I first heard Jim McCarty. He was a great young guitarist at the time. Our manager owned a big club in Long Island and before we made it with Vanilla Fudge, we saw Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels at his club. They were great. What energy. So when we were looking for a guitarist for Cactus, and we heard about this guy playing with Buddy Miles was great. Then we found out he also played with The Detroit Wheels and we were sold. 'DEVIL WITH A BLUE DRESS' had a great guitar solo!!!"
Do you have a funny, possibly embarrassingly story you can tell us that may have happened to you on this road to stardom?! "Yes I do have a funny embarrassing story. While playing a show with Cactus and Bob Seger in Florida, it was really hot. I decided to wear a pair of shorts on stage. And in those days we didn’t wear any underwear. This was a bad combination. I had this bit I did when we played our CACTUS boogie. This was where I would stand up on my drum stool and my floor tom clapping my hands getting the audience to clap to the music. But on this night , I saw two young girls in the audience pointing to me and giggling and laughing at me. I couldn’t figure it out. Then I looked down and noticed my private parts were hanging out of my shorts. Needless to say it was embarrassing and I laughed back at them once I put my parts back into the shorts!!!"
It's been claimed that your first four albums were "brash" and "energy filled," so what three (3) words would you use to describe this fifth release?! "Energetic, Driving, Ballsy."
What '70s, '80s or '90s (and possibly cheesy!) song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "Afternoon Delight ... because it is the cheesiest song of the 70’s and it needs to be heavied up!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I like their outfits!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Cactus' new CD, just answer this easy question: It's been said that this "American Led Zeppelin” band influenced the likes of (amongst others) David Coverdale ... but what is the musical connection (CD wise) between Coverdale and Led Zeppelin?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before September 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CACTUS SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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