Vinny Appice says that he pulled off an "awesome" prank on his bandmates in HEAVEN & HELL more than a decade ago, shortly after the drummer landed the gig in the project after the departure of Bill Ward.
In 2006, BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell"-era incarnation reunited under the name HEAVEN & HELL. Appice, singer Ronnie James Dio, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler recorded the acclaimed 2009 album "The Devil You Know", and toured on and off for the next few years.
Ward was originally slated to take part in the HEAVEN & HELL recording sessions for 2006's "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years" collection that included three newly recorded tracks, but exited the project after a short time, citing musical differences with Iommi and an overall dissatisfaction with any version of SABBATH that didn't include original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. The group then once again brought in Appice to replace Ward.
Speaking to the WSOU radio station, Appice recalled how he first came to be involved with HEAVEN & HELL. He said (hear audio below): "When HEAVEN & HELL got together in 2006, Wendy Dio [Ronnie James Dio's wife and manager] called me up and said, 'Hey, look, it's not working with Bill Ward. We want you to come out and play on the album and band, come to England' and stuff. So I made a deal with her. I hadn't really spoken to Wendy in four or five years. Ronnie I spoke to here and there, but we didn't really see each other. So I told Wendy after the deal was made, 'I've gotta tell you something.' She goes, 'What?' I said, 'I ganed a whole bunch of weight. I'm almost three hundred pounds.' She goes, 'What?' And I said, 'I've gotta get an extra-heavy stool made for me.' But she already made the deal, so what are you gonna do? And I left it at that, and I flew over to England. So everybody's thinking I'm, like, three hundred pounds, probably can't play as good as I did. And when I got there, the next day I went to Tony Iommi's house — that's where they were, at his studio — and when I got there, they said, 'Vinny's here,' and they were all peeking around the corner to see what I looked like. And then I walked in, and they go, 'You bastard! You lying…' It was great. It was awesome. But that broke the ice of not seeing everybody instantly."
HEAVEN & HELL came to an end when Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer in 2010.
"Sinister", the first joint studio album by Vinny and his brother Carmine, was released on October 27 through SPV/Steamhammer as CD digipack, double gatefold vinyl, download and stream.