Vanilla Fudge

Show Date: Sunday, July 23, 2023
Show Time: 7:30
Doors Open: 6:00

Ticket Price: $25-$40
Show Type: Rock
Restrictions: All Ages

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Vanilla 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
The 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.
In 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.
In 1969, while immersed in extensive touring, Atco released the expansive, symphonic-tinged record,
Near 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 Creamstyled 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.
Bogert 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.
Mark 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 bass legend.


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