Carmine Appice Recalls Jeff Beck’s Car Accident That Interfered Cactus Plans

Carmine Appice recently chatted with Mike Nelson, recalling how Jeff Beck‘s plans for Cactus halted and why Rod Stewart refused to play with the late guitar master.

When Appice and bassist Tim Bogert broke up Vanilla Fudge to form Cactus in the late 60s, they had their eyes set on Beck, a previous collaborator, and, luckily for them, Jeff was also interested, but a series of unfortunate events would get in their way.

So, while recalling how they initially met the guitarist and decided to play together, Carmine also remarked how Stewart was supposed to front the band but backed away last minute, leading the band to look for other solutions.

The drummer recalled:

“We were friends with Jeff Beck; he played on a Vanilla Fudge Co. commercial because our guitar player was sick, and with him playing on it, we said, ‘Wow, this is great, man’ Tim loved it, and we found out when we did a gig with Jeff Beck Group and John Bonham and Zeppelin, [and] Bonzo [Bonham] came up to me and said, ‘Jeff Beck wants to play with you, guys.’ Me and Tim said, ‘Wow, we want to play with him, too.’

So, that was gonna be Cactus, and Rod Stewart was gonna be in it, but then Rod didn’t want to work with Jeff, and just before Jeff came over to talk about it, he had a car accident which put him behind eighteen months and we already the Vanilla Fudge to do this So, we say, ‘What do we do now?’ We had the name Cactus, and we still wanted to do it.”

He continued:

“So we got Rusty Day from Amboy Dukes and Jimmy McCarty from Detroit Wheels and Buddy Miles Express, and the concept back in the day was to do, like, what you call a supergroup. So, it would’ve been a bigger supergroup with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, but we still ended up as a supergroup, and Cactus did really well.”

When Appice and Bogert had plans to play with Jeff and Rod, their wishes wouldn’t come to life due to problems with the lineup and Beck’s car accident. Still, Carmine felt that Cactus went on to become a successful band, anyway, though surely thinking things would’ve been even better if Beck and Stewart were on board.