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. 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. In late 1966, organist, Mark Stein, bassist, Tim Bogert and guitarist, vocalist and US Navy veteran, Vince Martell drafted drummer and vocalist, Carmine Appice, a disciple of the renowned Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck Band) and a seasoned veteran of the club scene. They re-emerged in early 1967 and started recording demos. Impressed by their heavy-rocking, trippy and psychedelic version of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” the band landed a deal with the Atlantic subsidiary Atco. The label, however, insisted on a name change and the band settled on Vanilla Fudge. After all, 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 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Within a couple of weeks, Vanilla Fudge’s debut first album rose up the charts to # 4 soon after, and received national exposure when they performed “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” on The Ed Sullivan Show. 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, following the release of their fourth and 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. Only together for 18 months, BBA (as they were called) were quickly awarded a gold album and toured globally before Jeff Beck decided to focus on jazz-rock fusion.
Appice would go on to become one of the most in-demand drummers in rock music. He spent years working and recording with Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, and Rod Stewart. With Stewart, he co-wrote some of the British vocalist’s biggest hits, including “Do You Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks.” Appice would front other powerful bands including Blue Murder and King Cobra. He continues to still write and record with a new version of Cactus; and has a side project with Fernando Perdomo.
Tim Bogert tried his hand at a solo album, and played bass for a number of artists. His unique combination of melodic ingenuity, and gutsy roaring speed, brought new dimensions to the role of the electric bass player. He went on to become an acclaimed music instructor at Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles.
Mark Stein, lead vocalist/keyboardist and driving force behind the Vanilla Fudge dynamic interpretations went on and later joined forces with Guitarist Tommy Bolin and toured and played keys on the critically acclaimed “Private Eyes” Album. He then toured with Alice Cooper on the “Welcome to My Nightmare” show. He later joined forces with Dave Mason and toured for several years, also playing keys on “Mariposa De Oro” and “Old Crest on a New Wave” which featured Michael Jackson and was credited with writing multiple songs on that project. Stein also made guest appearances with Deep Purple, Steve Miller Band, Carl Palmer and a tribute to Keith Emerson. At one period in his career had sang on popular radio & TV commercials with Luther Van Dross and was featured at half time on the Super Bowl back in the early 80s. Fast forwarding to the present Stein enjoyed critical acclaim with his latest solo LP “There’s A Light”
Vince Martell 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. Outside of the Fudge he has his own power trio. Vince, also an author, has performed on several TV shows: Love-In: A Musical Celebration with Ben Vereen and the Mike Huckabee Show, May 8 2020.
Vanilla Fudge reunited in 1984 and recorded a new album, Mystery, which also had Jeff Beck as a guest artist. In the summer of 2006, all the original members of Vanilla Fudge reunited again to tour with The Doors of the 21st Century; it culminated in a VH-1 special, “Decades of Rock.” When Tim Bogert was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2006, he was replaced by his bass tech, Pete Bremy, a regular on the New Jersey club circuit. Sadly, in 2021, Tim Bogert passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. His death was mourned by music fans worldwide.
Pete Bremy, began as Tim Bogert’s bass tech and road manager. for Vanilla Fudge.
Pete is an accomplished singer and plays a number of instruments to this day, including drums and guitar. Mesmerized by the soulful-tone of a Hammond organ, he even went out and bought one, inspired by the prowess of Vanilla Fudge ‘B-3-whiz’, Mark Stein. But Pete has settled-in on his true-calling, the bass-guitar, since the mid-sixties. In 1997. Pete met his Vanilla Fudge idols one at a time over the course of a year. First was original Vanilla Fudge lead guitarist Vince Martell who lived in the area… then, Vince introduced PB to the other members. In 2008, after Tim Bogert’s retirement he became the bassist in Cactus and Vanilla Fudge. He has remained with Fudge ever since.
In 2016, they recorded an acclaimed comeback album called Spirit of ’67 on Cleopatra Records, and also did an album of Led Zeppelin songs re-arranged and recorded in the distinct style that only Vanilla Fudge could. When the group’s multi-CD box set anthology was released they performed on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon NBC TV. Vanilla Fudge currently continues to tour in the USA and remains one of the very few 1960s rock bands still working with nearly all of its original members intact.