‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ gets reggae reboot

Maybe your Christmas wish list did not include an instrumental reggae version of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” But power drummer Carmine Appice, who wrote that hit with Rod Stewart in 1978, has got one for you anyway.
The new ”Sexy” is the advance single from “Energy Overload,” a duo album Appice recently made with bassist/guitarist Fernando Perdomo (of Fiona Apple’s and Jakob Dylan’s bands). The single is out now on Bandcamp, with the album to follow next year. For Appice, the collaboration was both a way to keep busy during shutdown — the two musicians swapped digital files — and to revisit the jazz-rock fusion he explored in the early ’70s, when he and Jeff Beck were musical partners. Anyone who loved Beck’s “Blow by Blow’ album (which Appice helped develop, but didn’t wind up playing on) should feel right at home.
“I got turned on to the Mahavishnu Orchestra back when I was playing with Jeff, and I turned Jeff onto it,” the drummer recalled this week., “But later in the ’70s, you couldn’t make this kind of album anymore. I tried, and the label wouldn’t release it,”
DEC, 26, 2020 – Fernando Perdomo and Carmine Appice. Photo courtesy artistsDEC. 26, 2020 – The single “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy (Reggae Version). Photo bandcamp.comShow Caption of Expand
Now that he’s got his own label and studio, he can call the shots. “I just moved to Florida and turned my guest house into a studio. That’s when someone told me about Fernando — I heard his tape and thought, This kid is good, and he’s a fan. Let’s see where we can go with this. We started with a song that sounded like a Michael Jackson kind of thing, so we called it ‘Funky Jackson’, and I asked if he had any more.”
“One thing that made this super exciting is the need for guitar music in this day and age,” Perdomo said in a separate interview. “There is something beautiful in the guitar being the voice of a record. I worship artists like Steve Hackett, John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth and Gary Moore who did the same. We have collaborated  by bouncing ideas back and forth and inspiring each other to push our creativity to the max. Some songs even were spawned by drum tracks with no music and even iPad demos that were brilliant but very raw. Carmine is a monster and It’s total joy screaming on guitar along with his thunder. I pinch myself daily.”
So why redo “Sexy” after all these years? Said Appice, “It’s the biggest song I ever wrote. Everybody knows it, it’s a great song and I like to keep messing around with it.” He says the song originally came about because Rod Stewart wanted to sound like the Rolling Stones. “Rod would always say, ‘Can we do something like this?’ And on that one he wanted something like ‘Miss You’ by the Stones. So I wrote it in a groove like that. When we first cut it there was just drums, guitar and keyboard, and it was a really powerful rock song. Then (producer) Tom Dowd put a big orchestra on it, so everything shrinks and it didn’t have that big drum sound anymore. But it went to No. 1 everywhere and we stopped complaining.”
Appice was celebrating his 74th birthday when we talked on Dec. 15, but his schedule is full as ever. His two most seminal bands, the ’60s psych-metal band Vanilla Fudge and the early ’70s heavy rockers Cactus, are both still going, and were intending to tour together this year. He also putting out drum instruction books, and planning to unearth some vintage live recordings with Beck. “Nobody knows how it’s going to work at this point, but I can tell you I’ll be touring again.”

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