Fudge was one of the first American groups to infuse psychedelia
into a heavy rock sound to create psychedelic symphonic
rock" an eclectic genre which would, among its many offshoots,
eventually morph into heavy metal. Although, at first, the band did
not record original material, they were best known for their dramatic
heavy, slowed-down arrangements of contemporary pop songs which they
developed into works of epic proportion. Originally, Vanilla Fudge
was a blue-eyed soul cover band called The Pigeons, formed in New
Jersey in 1965 with organist, Mark Stein, bassist, Tim Bogert and
drummer, Joey Brennan, and guitarist, vocalist and US Navy veteran,
Vince Martell. They built a following by gigging extensively up and
down the East Coast, and earned extra money by providing freelance
in-concert backing for hit-record girl groups. In early 1966, the
group recorded a set of eight demos that were released several years
later as While the World Was Eating Vanilla Fudge."
East Coast, in particular, New York, and New Jersey, created a sound
all its own. Inspired by groups such as The Rascals and The Vagrants(
fronted by guitarist, Leslie West of Mountain" fame), The
Pigeons reworked many of their own existing arrangements of covers to
reflect their unique interpretation of this East Coast
Sound." In late 1966, drummer, Joey Brennan, moved out to the
West Coast; the Pigeons immediately drafted drummer and vocalist,
Carmine Appice, a disciple of the renowned Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck
Band) and a seasoned veteran of the club scene. In early 1967, The
Pigeons manager, Phil Basile, convinced producer, George
"Shadow" Morton (producer for The Shangri-Las and Janis
Ian), to catch their live act. Impressed by their heavy-rocking,
trippy and psychedelic version of The Supremes' "You Keep Me
Hangin' On," Morton offered to record the song as a single. This
resulted in a deal with the Atlantic subsidiary Atco, which requested
a name change. The band settled on Vanilla Fudge; they were a white
group singing and playing with the soul of the brothers. The band
toured extensively behind its covers-heavy, jam-oriented debut album,
Vanilla Fudge, to expand their fan base. Vanilla Fudge, the album,
was released on June 2, 1967 the day after The Beatles' released
their Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Vanilla Fudge
first album rose up the charts to # 4 without the aid of a big hit single.
1968, Vanilla Fudge headlined the Fillmore West with Steve Miller.
The group then performed "You Keep Me Hangin' On" on The Ed
Sullivan Show, and released their second album, The Beat Goes
On." Despite its avant-garde conceptualization and execution,
the LP was a hit and climbed into the Top Twenty. That summer, Atco
reissued "You Keep Me Hangin' On," and the second time
around it climbed into the Top Ten. It was followed by Renaissance,
one of Vanilla Fudge's best albums, which also hit the Top Twenty.
The band had three albums in the Top One Hundred, two of which were
in the Top Twenty and one in the Top Five Single. The band toured
with Jimi Hendrix, played dates equal billed or headlined with groups
such as Cream, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, among many others;
late in the year, they toured with the fledgling Led Zeppelin as
their opening act.
1969, while immersed in extensive touring, Atco released the
expansive, symphonic-tinged record,
the Beginning. Among the group's many TV appearances on legendary
shows were Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin Show, David Frost, Where The
Action Is among others. The group did a TV commercial for Braniff
Air, and also recorded a radio commercial for Coca Cola with
guitarist Jeff Beck, a fill-in for Vince who was unable to be there
that day. This event gave rise to the eventual creation of a
Cream-styled power trio featuring Beck, Bogert and Appice. Exhausted
by the constant touring, the Vanilla Fudge decided that their late
1969 European tour would be their last. Following the release of
their final album, Rock & Roll, they played a few U.S. farewell
dates and disbanded in early 1970.
and Appice first formed the hard rock group Cactus, and then later
joined up with Jeff Beck to form Beck, Bogert & Appice. Appice
went on to become an active session and touring musician, working
with a variety of rock and hard rock artists.
Stein formed Boomerang and went on to tour and recorded with The
Tommy Bolin Band (Deep Purple), Dave Mason and Alice Cooper. Mark
also hooked up with Madison Avenue ad agencies and sang on TV &
Radio commercials for a while and had a Budweiser commercial featured
on the Super Bowl. Vince continued to perform, record, teach and host
his own radio shows in the tri-state New York area. In 1995, Vince's
guitar work on the intro to "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was
rated the number four heaviest guitar riff of all time in classic
rock by Guitar Magazine. Tim's unique combination of melodic
ingenuity, and gutsy roaring speed, brought new dimensions to the
role of the electric bass player. Tim went on to become a milestone
teacher at Musician's Institute in Los Angeles and he is considered a
Fudge reunited in 1984 and recorded a new album, Mystery, which also
had Jeff Beck as a guest artist. In the summer of 2006, the original
Vanilla Fudge reunited to tour with The Doors of the 21st Century; it
culminated in a VH-1 special, Decades of Rock." The group
currently continues to tour in the USA. In August of 2007, they
performed at Radio City Music Hall with Deep Purple another opening
act for the Fudge in the sixties. Critics praised the Vanilla Fudge's
performance that night as one of their greatest!
October 15, 2006, Vanilla Fudge were inducted into the Long Island
Music Hall of Fame by Felix Cavaliere for their contribution to music
history. Other inductees were Billy Joel, Joan Jett, and Twisted
Sister to name a few. Also in 2006 they recorded a tribute to their
old friends Led Zeppelin by creating their own interpretations of
their music on their CD, Out Through The In Door."
continuing health issues resulting from a severe motorcycle accident
some years earlier, Tim Bogert retired from touring in 2010. Pete
Bremy, who played bass for Vince Martell's solo project and subbed
for Tim many times since 2002, took over for him. They performed on
the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon NBC TV show on March 28, 2011, and
released their seventh and most recent studio album, Spirit of '67 in 2015.
band was showcased on The Moody Blues Cruise out of Miami, Florida
with 16 other bands in 2016, and The Flower Power Cruise in 2017.
They will be featured on the Rock Legends Cruise in 2018.
Fudge celebrated their 50th year Anniversary in 2017 by releasing
Live in Sweden 2016, a DVD/CD set and is still rocking the world with
concerts in the USA and European tours performing at festivals,
theaters, and rock cruises. The 2018 tour is underway right now, more
shows being added, including Hippiefest 2018...