Vanilla Fudge plays farewell concert at Arlington’s Regent Theatre

Apr 01, 2011

Vanilla Fudge plays farewell concert at Arlington’s Regent Theatre

Arlington, Mass. — After some 45 years, Vanilla Fudge won’t keep hangin’ on.

The band that brought the organ beyond the bounds of church recitals and into the realm of hard rock saluted a full house at the Regent Theatre in Arlington Saturday in the only planned Boston stop on a farewell tour.

The audience was itself a part of the show, with robust shouts, and singing along as the band played its heavy versions of classics by The Beatles, the Isley Brothers and a band they helped spur on – Led Zeppelin.

That last band – which opened for Vanilla Fudge in 1968—surely seemed like a suitable companion on a concert bill, but a band with such a long history can find itself in unlikely pairings.

Guitarist Vince Martell recalled a Boston show in the distant past, in which the band performed with none other than singer Dionne Warwick. “What a mismatch, huh?” he observed.

It was one of many odd moments in a history spanning more than four decades, marked by breakups, reunions, celebrated solo projects, and countless performers who pointed to the band and its charismatic members as inspiration.

Reaching into their past, they played the entirety of their first, self-titled album.

With a hat tip to the present, they said looked forward to appearing on “The Jimmy Fallon Show.”
Martell, a long-time supporter of veterans’ causes and who served a stint in the Navy, urged appreciation of all servicemen, especially veterans of all wars and conflicts.

In a recent interview, drummer Carmine Appice – known for his solo efforts and collaborations, and his instructional work – said the band plans to add dates in Europe and elsewhere.

But there was one face missing from the original lineup – bassist Tim Bogert, who sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident in 2005, and whom Appice said has effectively retired. Taking his place was celebrated bassist and some time Vanilla Fudge collaborator Pete Bremy.

Brothers Tim Mee, a letter carrier, of Arlington, and Bill Mee, who works in IT for the state Department of Transportation, came to the concert to hear the band’s sound and witness a milestone in rock history.

“It was great. We listened to them when they first came out,” said Tim.

For Bill, a highlight was the band’s performance of “Season of The Witch.”

“He’s my older brother. Our cousins used to come over and we would go upstairs and listen to their music,” Tim said.

Bill said, “It was the first rock music my daughter listened to when she got a little bit older.”

They said there is not as much of a generation gap between parents and their kids when it comes to music – unlike in the days of their youth, when they said their parents didn’t exactly relate to the hard-driving sounds of acid rock.

  Although they will miss Vanilla Fudge as part of a vanishing era, Bill said the icons of rock have paved the way for new artists, such as Derek Trucks, part of the present-day lineup of southern rock pioneers The Allman Brothers Band.

Bill said, “We’ve moved on up. We like the young talent.”

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