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Current lineup makes things less prickly for Cactus guitarist

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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Jim McCarty quit Cactus in 1971 due to musical frustrations -- primarily with bassist Tim Bogert, although he said the whole band "sounded like three guys playing in separate rooms, not like a group."

But since Cactus re-formed in 2005 for the "Cactus V" album and subsequent touring, things have been considerably better.

"It's much more of a group, in my opinion, these days than it was in the early days," says McCarty, 68, a Detroit native who was part of Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels prior to Cactus and formed the Rockets after leaving the band. "We have Pete Bremy on bass, a guy who listens and plays with you. And Jimmy Kunes, the singer, fits in perfectly with the music we're playing."

And drummer and co-founder Carmine Appice -- also of the Vanilla Fudge -- is "still a monster," according to McCarty. "He's the main reason I joined the band back in 1070. He's so much fun to play with, it's ridiculous."

McCarty says fans of the influential hard rock group will be getting a fill of new Cactus product soon, too. A live DVD filmed during 2012 in Tokyo is due out before the end of the year, while Cactus has 13 new songs in the process of being recorded that it hopes to release in 2014.

"The stuff sounds great, just ass-kickin'," McCarty reports. "It's an extension of 'Cactus V.' That was the first time we had played together in 35 years, and now the band's been playing off and on for the last seven years, so it's a more mature affair, and it certainly has a fatter sound.

"We're still putting the pedal to the metal with Cactus. I don't think there are a lot of guys of our generation who are doing that. (Eric) Clapton doesn't anymore. (Jeff) Beck could, but he's not interested, and Jimmy Page could do it but he seems to be content to oversee the Led Zeppelin legacy. So here we are, and it's great."

Cactus and Mason Storm perform Friday, Nov. 1, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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