Carmine Appice discusses his surprise turn on a Pink Floyd record: ‘It blew me away’

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Nick Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd to have appeared on each of the group’s studio project — but he didn’t play drums on every song.

For instance, Andy Newmark sat in for “Two Suns in the Sunset” from Pink Floyd’s last album with Roger Waters, 1983’s Final Cut. Then there was Carmine Appice, who comes crashing in at roughly the three-minute mark on “Dogs of War” from 1987’s Momentary Lapse of Reason.

In some ways, Appice still can’t believe how it unfolded.

“I came home one day, and there was a message on my voicemail from Bob Ezrin,” Carmine Appice tells My Drum Lessons. “He said, ‘Carmine, I’m producing this group that is just screaming for Carmine drum fills. I thought it would be a new group, or something. I called him back, and he said the group was Pink Floyd. I said, ‘Wow, Pink Floyd? What happened to Nick? He said Nick would be there. I said, ‘Why isn’t he playing?’ He said he’d been racing his Ferraris, and they wanted some new blood and some new energy. So, I went down and spent the day out there.”

That day was spent playing and playing and playing. In fact, by the end of it, “I filled up two or three reels of 24-track tape, playing the song over and over and over,” Appice says. Then, the waiting began, as Appice and a list of other famous outside collaborators like King Crimson’s Tony Levin, Supertramp’s John Helliwell, Tom Scott and returning ex-Pink Floyd member Richard Wright waited for Bob Ezrin to complete the final mixes for the David Gilmour-led edition’s first recording.

“He said he was going to edit it all together,” Carmine Appice remembers. “Every time I called him, I said, ‘How’s it going? What’s it sound like?’ And he said, ‘In a word: Daring.'” Weeks passed. “Finally, I was up in Hamilton, Canada, and the album actually came out,” Appice adds. “I bought the cassette, and I had the Walkman at the time. I listened to it the first time, and it blew me away. In a word: Blew me away!”

Careful readers of the liner notes on Momentary Lapse of Reason no doubt noticed that Jim Keltner was also listed as sessions contributor, but the record label didn’t make it clear who played in place of Nick Mason on specific cuts. “All of the people who know me,” Appice notes, “could probably figure out that that was more me than Jim Keltner.” And, far more notably, it wasn’t Nick Mason, either.

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