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I thought I was alone...


Hi All!

I received the following message from Tony Allen, who was a little unsure where to put this message in the forum. I hated to tell him he had to retype it so I took the liberty of posting it myself. Actually, this could have been broken down into separate messages as some of it belongs in "30th Anniversary Hopes..". Tony, you are by no means alone. Vanilla Fudge, in my opinion, is the one band, history will show had the worst treatment by any media be it newspapers, magazines and radio. There are millions of us our here who feel exactly as you do. Please join us here yourself, and please put a short note like this in the Guestbook if you haven't already. And to all the rest of you who visit this forum. Do not worry about being redundant! The band needs to see this kind of letter if any trees of hope will ever bear fruit. Let us hear your thoughts and feelings! ...thanks, Tony!

Pete

********************************************************* Tony Allen wrote...

I thought I was alone. I thought that my tastes were just 'different' or 'wrong'. I thought I was was only person in the world who thought that Vanilla Fudge were the greatest rock band of all time! Ever since 1968 I have sought out everything they have recorded and preached their gospel to anyone who I could ensnare to listen. I would usually be told that they were over-the-top, excessive, too intense, or even worse that they were 'OK' or 'not as good as Deep Purple'. Whenever I come across a new Rock Encyclopedia or History or whatever I would turn to see what they said about The Fudge. They were invariably listed as a footnote in history and typically an abberation of a period known for its excess and eccentricity.

To my mind they represented the future of modern music, incorporating dynamics and sound palettes that hadn't been explored before. They extracted the essence of each song, pushed them to their limits, emphasised the emotional depth and added an air of mystery. Before them, a rock band whose sound was centered aound the Hammond organ was unknown, at least not in the way Mark Stein played it. After their first LP the Hammond/Lead Guitar front line became commonplace, yet no one seemed to be able to achieve the intensity of Fudge at their best.

It now appears I am not alone. Scattered around the globe are others who feel the way that I do about this group and 28 years after their demise still feel that they have left their job incomplete. I scan the CD release lists every month hoping to see a CD of a complete live concert from the sixties, or an album of outtakes or even an release of the complete ('A') version of Rock & Roll. I now live in hope that there are others who might be able to make these things happen and possibly convince the members that 'The Fudge' made a major contribution to 20th Century music and they need to continue the work.

 


Hi Tony,

You wrote: "To my mind they represented the future of modern music, incorporating dynamics and sound palettes that hadn't been explored before. They extracted the essence of each song, pushed them to their limits, emphasised the emotional depth and added an air of mystery."

Very well said. Welcome aboard, brother! (VBG)

Peace, Bill

 


Tony,

The measure of greatness is measured in many ways. Our society, unfortunately, measures greatness by commercial success. The Vanilla Fudge were very def initely a powerful catalyst in defining the future of rock music. But recognition seldom comes to those on the leading edge-normally it passes them by. And let's face it. As much as you and I may love their music, in no way will they ever be construed as a commercial band.

MusicMaker

 


I don't think anyone can really appreciate just how much the Vanilla Fudge's music meant to them unless you had a chance to watch them perform it live. I have been to many concerts over the years, most of them great, but there has never been a band that worked so hard on stage to give the performance of their lives every night. They loved what they were doing and that love was transmitted to the audience. I've never seen another band like them. I only hope I have another chance to see the Fudge in action again. FUDGE POWER!!! Stan Vaughn

 


Stan You Took the Words right out of my Mouth well said .... i feel exactly that way I have never seen any concert { and i have been to a few } as intense and rockin as i did with Vanilla Fudge Long Live there Memories !!! And now with mark onboard Look out world :) Tom

 


**I don't think anyone can really appreciate just how much the Vanilla Fudge's music meant to them unless you had a chance to watch them perform it live.**

Hi Stan,

That's the one comment I hear again and again, but I never tire of because it's the epitome of Vanilla Fudge. Once you've seen a live Fudge performance, you never listen to the albums in the same way again. You can relive those concerts because their albums were so true to their own music. They were one of the few live bands that could recreate their albums live. I don't know for sure(except for YKMHO), but I'll bet they mastered all there material live and then went in the studio; not making super tech recordings and then having to figure out how the heck they'd perform it live. Take Queen for example. They were excellent musicians. But! They solved the problem of performing the middle section of Bohemian Rhapsody very easily. They turned off the lights, walked off stage to change clothes, and played the album! Then they came back to play the end. I should have asked for my money back! In all the Fudge concerts I attended, they never cheated their audience that way. And not that I'm comparing The Fudge to Queen, but yeah, I do hear some Fudge influence there in some spots!

Vince never had to overdub second guitar like so many of the "supergroups" did. Obviously all four could sing. No overdubbed harmonies missing in a live performance. Oops, there I go again. I've never claimed to be a man of few words! Stan, right on!

Pete

 


Pete,Bill and friends... I never had the joy of hearing them live, they never did make it to Australia. In fact in the sixties almost no one did, it wasn't until the early 70s that we got the likes of Zeppelin,Floyd and Deep Purple. All I've ever had to go on was the recorded work and a few snippets of film. By the way there was a rock movie made in '68 or '69 that featured the Fudge doing 'The Spell That Comes After' (it also has the Stones doing '20000 Light Years From Home' and the Animals. Does anybody remember what it was?

I think that the aspect that really overwhemed me was the INTENSITY of the music, at it's peak on Renaissance, from beginning to end, this particular LP connects with me totally.

Like Bill Bates stated in his 'Hearing the Muse at Puzzle Palace' I couldn't understand how the group seemed to lose faith in itself...having stumbled on the Grail how could they abandon it. They had discovered the secret formula to making truely great rock music how could they then turn their backs on it and create fairly mainstream hard rock like Cactus or Boomerang (which I heard only once when it first came out...I was very disappointed..I also remember that the sleeve made some derogatory statement about the Fudge and suggested that simple 'unpretentious' music was the true path...I couldn't believe it).

Anyway, the next time we get a chance to speak to any of the Fudge members, could someone ask them if they had in fact lost faith in their music. Had they really become bored with it? Did they think that their style of music was out-dated and the sound of Led Zeppelin was the way to go?

 


Yes to all tose questions about being bored with the music and wanting a more straight ahead aproach...Julie..Carmine's manager

 


Hi Tony,

While I don't think the Fudge would ever admit directly that they lost faith in their music, I would have to think that they did no matter what they say. In my "travels" I've heard or read the terms "vocals were hokey" and "the music was pretentious" used by Fudge members. In their minds, Mystery was happening 80's, B3's were passe', synths were in, all being true really at that time. They wished to develop, not to stagnate. Speaking as a musician myself, it is not uncommon for band members to grow apart in musical taste. It happens all the time. Staying on the cutting edge is tough. Sometimes it's difficult to realize it even when you're right on the edge. We can all look back with them and say "if only..." We know that they know they made some mistakes. They were treated unfairly in many cases too. They were young naive artists. They were experts at making music, but amateurs at most of the business. And that's, in my opinion, what really hurt them. I'll bet they would mostly agree. For instance, did you know they never heard The Beat Goes On until it was completely finished? It was the project of Shadow Morton. They made it in bits and pieces. They were in California in a hotel room when they heard the demo. They all said "Oh, My God!". Too late. Watch for Tim's interview Tony, we touched on this a lot. Your question should be answered there.

You used the word intensity as what overwhelmed you. I agree with you. I think there is a fine line between intensity and pretentiousness. I myself have described some music as being pretentious that others have called intense. The more risk you take, and the closer to the edge you live, the more likely you are going to fall off. I suppose it's understandable that some people thought Vanilla Fudge pretentious. We know better!

Pete

 


Hi Tony,

Text written by Tony Allen:

(By the way there was a rock movie made in '68 or '69 that featured the Fudge doing 'The Spell That Comes After' (it also has the Stones doing '20000 Light Years From Home' and the Animals. Does anybody remember what it was? )

That sounds like the movie, "Popcorn". It came out about the same year as Woodstock and was utterly ignored. I guess it had a lousy distributor.

You raise some great questions Tony, thanks!In Mark Stein's interview with Keyboard magazine (1983) he was very concerned about the Vanilla Fudge becoming just another "nostalgia act" when they reunited. At the time he believed the Fudge needed to emulate such bands as Journey and Foreigner who he believed were the cutting edge at that time. The LP that resulted from those ideas was "Mystery" (released 1984)and disapointed a lot of the old Fudge fans notwithstanding some high points on the album.

What part of Australia are you from? I lived in Perth, WA (70-72) and Port Hedland , WA (67-69). I saw the Zeppelin and Deep Purple (with Free & Manfred Mann) tours you mentioned in the early seventies.

Peace, Bill



Bill and Pete,

'Popcorn' sounds about right. I can't remember if they were playing live, miming or had unrelated footage playing. I wonder if this movie will ever surface on video, there isn't much video footage of the Fudge in existance...does anyone know of anything other than the Ed Sullivan Show song?

I guess you are right about the problem of becoming a nostalgia act. If the group reformed and started playing music in the same style as the sixties the rock press would probably ridicule them and it's hard to say what the younger generation would make of them. To us old guys it would be a dream come true but could they still sell out a stadium. 'Mystery' was a disappointment, which as you said was an attempt to update their sound..but it appears that it pleased no one. The fans wanted the old sound and the rest of the world ignored them, so their attempt to update their sound was futile (God forbid they ever sound like Journey or Foreigner..although it was quite impressed by the 1980 Japanese soundtrack done by Journey (Dream After Dream I think it was called). The live reunion album was great but they played it safe (at least on the part that came out on CD), the playing and the sound was great but something was missing. I guess you can't really turn back the clock and pretend that it's 1968.

A pet theory of mine is that it was the tours with Zeppelin that discouraged them. I can imagine that it could have been depressing to see Zeppelin get all the audience reaction with a simpler heavy blues sound, they must have felt like their time has come (Zeppelin proably killed off Iron Butterfly the same way). But I also think that the influence went both ways. I think that Side 1 of Led Zep I was influenced by the Fudge style. Both 'Dazed and Confused' and 'Babe I'm Leaving You' were slowed down atmospheric songs with a lot of dynamics. Compare 'Babe I'm Leaving You' with 'Some Velvet Morning'! Going against the flow of the mass population again I think that Led Zep I was the best thing they ever did and they went progressively downhill thereafter. I wonder if other Fudge fans think the same thing?

I've lived in Sydney all my life and the Deep Purple, Free Manfred Mann concert was the first big show I ever saw...it was a great concert.

Tony.

 


**Going against the flow of the mass population again I think that Led Zep I was the best thing they ever did and they went progressively downhill thereafter. I wonder if other Fudge fans think the same thing?**

Hi Tony,

I happen to be a big Zep fan. One of my favorite musical pieces ever happens to be Cashmere(sp?) even though I don't own any Zep albums. I'm very surprised that Fudge fans don't seem to like Zep too much. I see many, many similarities between the the Fudge and Zep.

First, two excellent drummers. There is so much Carmine influence in Bonzo that it is unmistakeable, even though Carmine had the higher energy style.

LZ's tunes are also the "orchestrated" style, meaning, each player had an arranged part, except LZ had more guitar solos. While I was, and am not particularly a fan of Robert Plant's vocal style in LZ(my wife still doesn't believe the lead vocalist of They Honeydrippers is one and the same!), his voice was nevertheless extremely powerful and commanding and had to be respected. It had to be, or it would have been lost among the power of the instruments and would have sounded 'cheezy'. While you can't compare Mark Stein's vocals to Robert Plant's, obviously, you can also say that Mark's vocals were likewise powerful and commanding.

Also, The Fudge were a band much admired by LZ. How could they not be influenced by the Fudge touring with them so much? Like Bill said, it's well known that Carmine was Bonzo Bonham's hero.

As for touring with LZ being the downfall of VF, I don't think so. I think(and I don't think it should have been) The Beat Goes On was the downfall of Vanilla Fudge. I don't think they ever fully recovered from the critical spears thrown at them. I personally think with the right stage production, TBGO could have been the first "Tommy".

In retrospect, I wish the Fudge were the ones that "told" their audience what was good, not the critics. A big live stage production might have accomplished that. Remember, TBGO did sell well! I admit that's easy for me to say 30 years later, and we'll really never know. But unfortunately, like lambs to the slaughter, the general public does tend to believe what they're told to believe, and the critics spoke loudest. If not for that, (borrowing from Chicago)Vanilla Fudge XXVI might have been released this year.

Hey Fudge! Fake 'em all out! Reunite and call it The Beat, Goes On Tour '97! I think that would knock those old fart critics on their critical a--es! Show 'em they didn't know what they were talking about!

Hey Tony, you've gotten me all fired up! :-))

Pete

 


Hi Tony,

Text written by Tony Allen:

(I wonder if this movie will ever surface on video, there isn't much video footage of the Fudge in existance...does anyone know of anything other than the Ed Sullivan Show song? )

Most of the Fudge film/video clips are from their appearances on television in the US and Europe. Besides their two performances on Ed Sullivan their are also appearances of them on Dick Cavett, the Beat Club,and American Bandstand (some others but can't recall them right now). Carmine Appice told Casey that he'd recived an old clip of the Fudge performing "Paradise" from a Japanese fan that he didn't know even existed. So they're out there. But it'll take some time to find them. Shawn Perry filmed Vanilla Fudge's performance at Atlantic Records 40th Aniversery (see Shawn's article linked to our main page) although the performance did not include Vince Martell.

Text by Tony Allen:

(A pet theory of mine is that it was the tours with Zeppelin that discouraged them.)

You may be right. I think it was at the Singer Bowl (13 Jul 1969, NY) when Jeff Beck and Led Zeppelin opened for the Fudge that Tim and Carmine first discussed forming a band with Jeff Beck and later on the Italian tour the Fudge agreed to fulfill their existing contracts and break up the band in the spring of 1970.

Text by Tony Allen:

(Going against the flow of the mass population again I think that Led Zep I was the best thing they ever did and they went progressively downhill thereafter. I wonder if other Fudge fans think the same thing?)

Led Zep 1 was a great album but I guess LZ4 was the most memorable for me. When I saw the band's concert in Feb 1972,it was just before the release of LZ4 down under. They opened the show with the Immigrant Song and then proceeded to play the whole new album. I vividly remember Stairway to Heaven and the cruncher, "Black Dog" from that night. So I'll have to vote for 4, purely for subjective reasons.

As for the Fudge's influence on LZ, I agree with you. As a matter of fact John Bonham was a big fan of Carmine Appice's drumming and eventually became good friends with him. Appice helped Bonham obtain his first endorsment contract with Ludwig Drums and Bonham liked Appice's own drum kit (the maple Ludwig) so much he had an exact duplicate of the custom drum kit made for himself before he agreed to endorse Ludwig Drums (Bonham used that kit on the Brown Bomber album, LZII, so I here).

Peace, Bill Bates

 


I have just a couple of things to ad concerning the "Popcorn" movie and the comments on the Boomerang lp back cover. First the 1970 film "Popcorn". It was released on video very early on in the history of home video. It was released by Media Home Entertainment. I don't remember what year it was but I didn't by my first VCR until the price came down to 499.00 for a basic unit . I would guess 1980. When I heard of the "Popcorn" video a year or so later I tried to order it. It was already out of print. I have since obtained a second generation copy of it and I must say if it weren't for me wanting to find anything and everything I can of the Fudge on video I would rate the film as boring. I do believe the Fudge music is live but it is edited horribly. The film opens with background music by the Fudge from "The Beat Goes On" I believe. The segment featuring the Fudge is the song "Bang Bang" without vocals and alternates between shots of the band performing and a strange video of a cheating girlfriend while boyfriend watches type of thing. Second I am posting the last paragraph of the liner notes of the "Boomerang" lp. This is the paragraph that mentions the Vanilla Fudge. "You might recognize Mark Stein's name from the old Vanilla Fudge. But the complex arrangements and psychedelic effects that characterized the Fudge and that era are now just a part of our formative past, the days of our $50 apartments, our first water pipes and our introduction to FM radio. But that was then. Things are straight ahead now.

Especially with Boomerang." MICHAEL CUSCUNA 1971

 


Hi Stan,

Thanks for the rundown on the movie "Popcorn". I've never seen the film but only read about it in some books. Out of curiosity I just went over to the "All Movie Guide" to run a check on it. I was surprised to read that the film was Australian, directed by Peter Clifton (the guy who several years later did Led Zeppelin's "The SOng Remains the Same"). All Movie Guide is pretty critical of "Popcorn" and frankly I'm wondering if the film was even released in the United States back in 1970.

I ran a quick check over at RPM Records (http://rpmrecords.com/index.html) who handle and trade used music video's and couldn't turn up any Fudge video or the movie "Popcorn". It looks like your "second generation " copy is a real treasure - at least for the present. We may have to wait until the conversion to laser disc becomes the new market mover/shaker before we can hope for any reissue of the movie.

Yep, I wasn't very impressed with Boomerang's liner notes either. Record companies too often do anything to sell "product"- especially the "New!" "Bigger", "Better!" schlock that's supposed to make us buy! buy! buy! But the record is a real treasure for fans of Mark Stein as it was the only record he ever had a lead role (vocals, keyboards, songwriting) on apart from his Vanilla Fudge recordings.Boomerang were a band of their time and they played some very fine rock & roll. I was very pleased to see their guitarist, Richard Rameriz, collaborating on Vince Martell's new solo LP (see Vince's page). When you listen to Boomerang and also realize, as the liner notes said, that Rameriz was only 16 when he recorded the lead guitar on that LP it's simply an astonishing performance.

1971 saw the release of the Boomerang LP and Cactus' "One Way or Another". I see both of those LP's as an incredible bone crunching legacy of Vanilla Fudge and almost regard them as the the two halves of one double LP - taking nothing away from all 3 bands.

But the Vanilla Fudge was very special...

Yesterday I finally latched onto a copy of the March 1982 King Biscuit Flower Hour Radio Show LP that featured the reunion of the Vanilla Fudge at the Savoy Theatre for the UNICEF childrens fund. I've been listening to it all day. The performance was incredible, especially after learning the band hadn't even planned or rehearsed for the reunion (Vince, Mark & Carmine were simply sitting in the audience at the charity!) and hadn't played for over ten years together the night they hit the stage. Really a magical performance, Stan. If you ever run across a copy of the radio show (two vinyl LP's-although only recorded on 3 sides) I recommend you listen to it. The Fudge only played 3 of their songs (YKMHO, Take Me For A Little While, People Get Ready) and the show's finale which included everyone who'd appeared with Carmine Appice that night (ie Rick Derringer, Charlie Daniels etc). But "it's the stuff dreams are made of"... and places all the impressive musical projects the group's members have worked on since the Fudge into a larger perspective. Yeah, taking nothing away from anyone, I'm still a hardcore FUdge Freak! :-)

BTW- I'll try to post a complete list of all the Vanilla Fudge film clips I'm aware of later in the week. I have to dig through my files and relocate the list I have. I think we've already covered most of them in this exchange. Please keep us informed if you are able to turn up any more rarities in your own searches as well.

Peace, Bill

 


You're right about the 1982 KBFH show. I've had it for years and I listen too it often. I think I mentioned the show earlier in the forum somewhere. I look foreward to your list of video clips. The only ones I have are the copy of "Popcorn" and a Japanese laser disc that includes their performance of "Shotgun" from The Beat Club tv show.

 


Hi Stan,

Text written by Stan Vaughn:

(You're right about the 1982 KBFH show. I've had it for years and I listen too it often. I think I mentioned the show earlier in the forum somewhere. )

Exactly where I first heard of it!!! (vbg)I've been scrambling to locate a copy ever since and finally mangaed to get it yesterday! Thanks mucho, amigo! :-)

Text written by Stan Vaughn:

(I look foreward to your list of video clips. The only ones I have are the copy of "Popcorn" and a Japanese laser disc that includes their performance of "Shotgun" from The Beat Club tv show.)

Will do, Stan. Frankly I don't have any of their film/video clips at all. I'll post the list I have to you as soon as I find it.

Peace, Bill

 


Hi Stan,

Correction on my previous message: It was Vince, Tim and Mark that were in the audience at the UNICEF charity concert, headlined by "Carmine Appice & Friends". Bill

 


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