An interview with members of Vanilla Fudge was featured on the Jan. 18 edition of The Boris Rock Show.
Click here to listen to the interview.
Boris and sometime collaborators “Rocky” and “The Phantom” spent more than an hour with the group — ahead of their Jan. 14 appearance at Infinity Hall in Hartford — including founding members drummer Carmine Appice, keyboardist Mark Stein and guitarist Vince Martell along with relative newcomer bassist Pete Bremy who first played with the band in 2002, deputizing for a sidelined Tim Bogert who ultimately retired in 2009.
Vanilla Fudge formed in 1967 on Long Island, N.Y. They became FM radio regulars, primarily via their reworking of pop songs albeit in extended versions. The group was unique in their rather hybrid style of sludgy, heavy rock — usually dominated by Stein’s playing — with psychedelic flourishes that at times took on delicate classical characteristics.
Their self-titled debut album in 1967 included their most popular single, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” which went to No. 6 on the pop charts with the LP version clocking in at a staggering 7:20, compared to the single which was far more radio-friendly at 2:59. It was a far cry what The Supremes released a year earlier in Detroit.
Vanilla Fudge was one of a handful of rock bands initially signed to the Atlantic Records’ subsidiary ATCO which was part of the label’s move into the rock market.
It only took six months for their follow-up, The Beat Goes On, to come out and it really pushed the boundaries. The double album was a massive sound collage with only snippets of songs — some less than a minute long — including a medley of Beatles’ classics. Also included was a montage of world leaders in an eight-minute section where speeches by the likes of Churchill, Chamberlain, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and John Kennedy among others, were pieced together.
Despite the band being far from happy with the album, it reached No. 17 on the charts.
Like many groups, Vanilla Fudge found success covering Motown tracks, but also did a nearly nine-minute long version of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” on their 1968 offering Renaissance. They tapped into the Motown catalog in 1969 on their fourth album, Near The Beginning as the leadoff track was a six-plus minute version of the Junior Walker & The All Stars’ classic, “Shotgun” which came in twice as long as the original version.
The band broke up in 1970 after releasing five albums. They would reunite several times during the 1980s. Since 1999, they have been recording and touring together in various line-ups, including their current one which has been together since 2010.