by Ross CAT

by Ross CAT


   BLACK SABBATICAL….After a seventeen year hiatus from the studio the gates of Hell have opened once again as the DIO fronted BLACK SABBATH; now christened as HEAVEN & HELL from the line-ups first release in 1980, bear a new offering to the metal masses The Devil You Know which dropped on April 28th.
 After two highly successful world tours in support of the DIO YEARS released in 2007 the band formerly known as BLACK SABBATH once again assembled to spawn
The Devil You Know”.
     While the name may have changed, HEAVEN & HELL deliver a lucid collection of ten new tracks of sonic scripture.
     The legendary masters of metal lead by one of Hard Rocks high priest RONNIE JAMES DIO along with original BLACK SABBATH members guitarist TONY IOMMI and bassist GEEZER BUTLER  prove that evil never rests as the devil gets his due.
     Providing the potent pulse once again is pulverizing percussionist
VINNY APPICE hammering the Hi-Hats from Hell.
The Brooklyn born APPICE, younger brother of CARMINE (Vanilla Fudge), has been Mashing Metal as one of the premier Rock drummers of his generation.  He joined SABBATH stepping in for BILL WARD during the Heaven and Hell tour prior to taking over permanent studio duties for the Mob Rules and “Dehumanizer albums and has been a fixture behind the kit for all things DIO ever since.
Rock Rapport had the pleasure to speak with our bud dynamic drummer VINNY APPICE in between rehearsals as HEAVEN & HELL prepares to kick off their world tour on May 5th in Bogata,
Ross CAT- Hey VINNY, as always great to speak with you.  Western New York had the pleasure of your company on a couple of separate occasions last year.  You visited Club Paradise with the boys in  BIG NOIZE, followed by a two night stand with your very first band the original DERRINGER line-up at the Seneca Niagara Casino, capped  off with a HEAVEN & HELL tour stop at the Erie County Fair.
     You just can’t get enough of the area, ever consider a timeshare?

-(Laughter) Damn, I didn’t even realize that I guess I really do get around. I had a great time on every visit; you guys really took great care of us.  No question Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die in Upstate
New York.
Ross CAT-
Congratulations of the long awaited new recordThe Devil You Know”.
APPICE-Yeah we’re all really happy with the finished product, overall we seem to be getting pretty positive feedback.
Ross CAT-
I assume the album title relates to the fact that this is the first official release from HEAVEN & HELL formerly known as BLACK SABBATH, or is there another sinister story behind it?
VINNY-That’s correct, actually GEEZER came up with that idea he’s full of them.
Ross CAT-
The album artwork is very cool is that the bands vision of Satan?
-It is very cool isn’t it; I have to say that RHINO Records has done a phenomenal job from top to bottom on the entire project.
Ross CAT-
I read that DIO said that the songBible Black was the catalyst track for the record and the rest of the album was built around that.
VINNY-That was in fact the first song written together when we decided to record a new album.
     The process with this band is pretty straight forward, we get together and let it flow and try not to compare it to anything else we’ve done together or individually.
     Once in a while after 5 or 6 songs are done we might go back to try and avoid any repetitive tempos or something that may sound familiar to another song.

Ross CAT-
Speaking of tempo one of the standout tracks on the record is calledRock ‘n’ Roll Angel, it has a unique tempo unlike anything done before in this band, tell us about that song?
VINNY-That was one of the last songs written for the record; in listening back to it we thought this is really an unusual sound for this band so we went with it.  I guess you could say it’s as close to a ballad as HEAVEN & HELL will ever come.
     I love the song in the respect that it challenged the band musically, I really dig the chorus too, not every song we do has to flame out at eleven you know.

 Ross CAT-
There’s a short but sweet drum intro on the album’s first track “Atom and Evil, tell us about that song?
     VINNY-That song was a great way to kick off the record; it’s one of RONNIE’S songs with the patented moody dark DIO vibe.  We mixed a couple different drum fills and ended up choosing the one you mentioned.
Ross CAT-
The band has spent the last few years on the road with a couple of sold out world tours when did this develop into a full blown reunion?
-It started out with the SABBBATH: DIO YEARS release which we followed up with a tour at which point everyone in the band got along exceptionally well.
     Things went really smoothly no issues or problems, musically we reached a point on the tour were we felt as tight as we’d ever been on every level as a band. I think it was in Japan when RONNIE and I were walking around when he told me that he and TONY had discussed working on new material for an album, I immediately said RIGHT ON let’s do it. 
Ross CAT-
The band returned to Rockfield Studios to record The Devil you Know the site where 1992’s Dehumanizer” was recorded, was that the game plan from the start?
-That was part of the equation it also had to do with scheduling as well.  We wrote most of the songs in
Los Angeles at RONNIE’S house which is also where GEEZER and I live.  Every time we’d have a writing session TONY would fly over from England for five weeks and we would get together just about everyday to collaborate.
     Going back into the Rockfield Studios made sense since we had done things there before and it also gave TONY the chance to actually settle in at home for a while after doing all the traveling for the writing sessions.
     Just like everything else since we had gotten back together things went really well once we hit the studio, we even finished ahead of schedule.
     Since we hadn’t recorded an album in so many years it was our first time using Pro Tools which really helped speed up the process.
     Most of the record was completed in demos at RONNIE’S house in L.A. which allowed us individually to take the demos and work in whatever it was we wanted for our respective parts.

     Ross CAT-
Could you have ever imagined when recordingDehumanizer that those virtual visions to the opening trackComputer God would have a hand in the long awaited follow up record The Devil You Know some seventeen years later?
-Yeah that does have a touch of irony to it doesn’t it.
Ross CAT-
As you alluded to the studio sessions went really well completing the record in about three weeks with the help of the aforementioned technological advances; do you think that’s what gives the record the live vibe it posses?
-Most definitely, having the ability to work the songs out on a demo it’s almost like practicing your overdubs and individual parts.  For instance when RONNIE went to lay down the real vocal tracks he could reference back to the demo and chose which harmonies he felt worked best in that particular song; it really helped the recording process move along quickly.
     We were scheduled to be in the studio for five weeks, I think it was the middle of the third week when RONNIE, GEEZ and I finished up; at that point it was just a matter of TONY laying down a few more guitar tracks from home.
     We decided to mix the record back in L.A. at Total Access Studios with
WYN DAVIS, the whole experience was great from top to bottom, we are really looking forward to taking the songs out on the road, they flow really well with the classic tracks
Ross CAT-
That leads to my next question as HEAVEN & HELL will be heading out to South America this week for an extensive summer tour that runs through the end of July.  How have the rehearsals been going?
- Awesome, we’ve been going through rehearsals for about a week, tomorrow we go into full production rehearsal with stage, lights a full dresser.  I’m really stoked; I’ve got a brand new DW drum kit if you can believe it’s even bigger then the one I used on last summer’s tour.
     The first leg of the tour is going to be very exciting; we’re playing several places the band has never performed before, including
Ross CAT-
How the Hell will we be able to see you behind that mammoth kit?
VINNY-(laughter)This thing is a monster, it’s like something out of the new Terminator movie it’s going to be amazing. You may not see me but you’ll most certainly hear me for miles around.
Ross CAT-
Since we caught you knee deep in rehearsals any surprises for fans in the setlist this summer?
-Obviously you’ll get a dose of “The Devil You Know”, probably three or four new songs that mesh really well with the classics from the “Mob Rules” & “Dehumanizer” albums.
     Be sure to get to the shows early to check out COHEED & CAMBRIA as they’ll be opening up the shows for us on this first leg.

Ross CAT-
As the summer tour winds down in August in
Germany will fans in the U.S. get the chance to see any tour dates in the fall?
-Hold tight we will be back in the States but I’m not exactly sure when.  Ross I don’t even know where I’m going till I get there and sometimes not even then.
Ross CAT-
It looks like you’ll be on duty for the devil with HEAVEN & HELL through the rest of this year.  Any other irons in the fire for 2010 in the APPICE camp?
Yeah looks like the HEAVEN & HELL thing will roll late into the year which is cool.  As you mentioned I really enjoy playing with
JOE LYNN TURNER (Rainbow, Deep Purple), PHIL SOUSSAN (Ozzy) and CARLOS CAVASO (Quiet Riot) in BIG NOIZE.
     SIMON WRIGHT (AC/DC) is filling in for me while I’m out with HEAVEN & HELL he’s an amazing drummer.
     When time allows I also really enjoy presenting my drum clinics, it’s great to connect with aspiring drummers and fans in such an intimate setting.

Ross CAT-
Metal maniacs & drum demons can visit www.vinnyappice for the SKINny on VINNY.
The Rock Rapport would like to Thank VINNY APPICE for his valuable time.  Be sure to visit for everything that is brewing in HELL.
The Rock Rapport would also like to Thank Jason Elzy of Rhino Records for hooking us up.

***************PEACE & HARMONIES***************

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