Appice knocked back Ozzy when brother said he was ‘still nuts’
Vinny Appice has confirmed rumours he was offered a job in Ozzy Osbourne’s band before he accepted an invitation to join Black Sabbath.
But he decided not to pursue Sharon Osbourne’s phone call because his brother Carmine advised him Ozzy was “still nuts”.
And the sticksman reveals he agrees with some of the reasons VIvian Campbell had for falling out with Ronnie James Dio.
Appice tells Stone Cold Crazy: “I was still in Axis, like 1979, and I got a call from Sharon. She said, ‘We heard about you – we’d like to fly you to England and see how it works with Ozzy.’
“So I’d have to fly to England, and I hadn’t been out of the US except for Canada at this point. I was a kid, probably 20 years old, and I heard Ozzy was crazy at that point. He was still drinking and being Ozzy.”
He consulted with elder sibling Carmine, who by that point had toured with Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Cactus and Vanilla Fudge.
“I asked my brother, ‘I got this offer, and I don’t know – is he still nuts?’” says Appice. “My brother said, ‘Yeah, he’s pretty crazy.’ So I turned it down. I didn’t want to go to England at that point.
“A month later I got a call from my wife that somebody from Black Sabbath called. They were in town in LA and I met the tour manager, who called Tony Iommi.
“Tony came in the room. He had the Axis album and he goes, ‘Yeah, I really like it. It’s really good. You play good – why don’t you come down to rehearsal tomorrow?’
“So I put my drums in my car and went down to play with Black Sabbath. And they said, ‘You’re in.’”
The gig led to a three decades of collaboration with Sabbath and singer Ronnie James Dio. Appice was a member of Dio when future Def Leppard guitarist Campbell was sacked in 1986. The departure led to hostility between frontman and axeman which lasted until Dio’s death in 2010.
Appice says: “There were a lot of business decisions that weren’t the best for the band, as far as the way things were cut up and stuff. Viv had a problem with that, and he was more hostile towards fighting and getting what he wanted.
“Eventually that got worse and worse until Ronnie said, ‘I’m going to get rid of Viv. I’m going to get somebody else.’
“I didn’t think it was a great decision – Viv was part of that band, part of the magic, and a great guitar player. But it was Ronnie’s band.”
Appice is currently working with his own band Kill Devil Hill, along with a reboot of original Dio lineup Campbell, Jimmy Bain and Claude Schnell.