Columbus, OH, Germain Amphitheater, June 14, 2005

Written and photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Although originally formed as we see them today in 1966, it was 1967 that the once-named Pigeons became known as Vanilla Fudge, and began a career of being a national cover band that took current hits and rearranged them into symphonic delicacies. Although the band was made up of white guys remaking a lot of soul and R&B records, the name was not chosen for that reason. A local New York singer who really enjoyed the vanilla fudge-flavored Drumstick ice cream treat chose the name. So, in 1967 Vanilla Fudge took their music and their competitive nature to the masses and began to rival other bands for a headlining spot and notoriety. And in little time, acts such as Frank Zappa and The Jeff Beck band were opening for The Fudge, and Vanilla Fudge was quickly rising with their remake of “Keep Me Hanging On,” even as they releases original material such as “Where Is My Mind.”

 

It was only three years after taking the name Vanilla Fudge that the band decided to call it quits, and played their last show in 1970. So, here it is 35 years later, and Vanilla Fudge has returned with all original members and what seems like the enthusiasm they must have had in 1968. Vanilla Fudge hit the Germain Amphitheater stage in glowing sunlight and with nothing but smiles. This was a band that probably ended a little prematurely as each experimental artist had so many different avenues they wanted to take, and maybe left their destined road a little too early. After all, the great drummer Carmine Appice ended up in the hair-metal band King Kobra whose singer later had a sex change!

 

But all that aside, Vanilla Fudge put on a more than solid performance to the undersized audience. Today, when bands on the late 60s and early 70s are mentioned, Vanilla Fudge is rarely brought up in conversation. And when fans and historians want to talk about orchestral arrangements in music, usually Frank Zappa is the only named mentioned. But Vanilla Fudge was a band that proved current hits can be remade in a much different sound and genre, and still be enjoyed but a whole new audience.

 

For the 3,000 or so in attendance, there was a quick reminder note stamped on the forehead of rock that Vanilla Fudge was a band that has influenced today’s music more than given credit. Perhaps feuds with Zappa and others have left many of rock fans thinking Vanilla Fudge was just a pop band who depended on others so they can cover their songs, but Vanilla Fudge went far beyond covering and reinvented songs. Although Vanilla Fudge was disbanded even before this writer was born, it was proven that although 35 years later they may not have the best vocals and musicianship, this was a band that was once a top quality band that has somehow fallen under the radar screen of history. Maybe some day they will get their due, until then, Appice, Tim Boger, Mark Stein and Vince Martell seem happy with their reunion and reliving their hay day with anyone who comes to see the show.

Carmine Appice
Tim Bogert
Brandon Flowers
Tim Bogert
Mark Stein
Vince Martell