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A rock & roll supergroup featuring members of Vanilla Fudge, Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels, and Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes, Cactus emerged in 1969 with a sound that combined blues, boogie, and hard rock. Between 1970 and 1972, they issued four full-length efforts, including their Billboard-charting eponymous debut, before ceasing operations after the release of 'Ot 'n' Sweaty. They re-formed in 2006 and unveiled Cactus V, their first studio album in 34 years. Since then, the band has continued to tour and record sporadically, with drummer Carmine Appice serving as the sole original member. The plan was for the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice to join guitar god Jeff Beck and singer Rod Stewart. The project came undone when Beck had a motorcycle accident that incapacitated him for 18 months. Stewart then joined pal Ron Wood in the revamped Faces, leaving Bogert and Appice to find alternates for their dream band. They recruited guitarist Jim McCarty from Detroit Wheels, and singer Rusty Day from Amboy Dukes. Operating under the moniker Cactus, the band's assured 1970 self-titled debut included six original cuts and a pair of covers, one of which was a souped-up rendering of Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm." They applied the same formula to 1971's One Way... Or Another, laying down six hip-shaking originals along with fiery covers of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" and Chuck Willis' "I Feel So Bad." The like-minded Restrictions arrived later that year and included a searing rendition of Willie Dixon's "Evil." McCarty and Day left the fold ahead of the release of the band's fourth long-player. The resulting 'Ot 'n' Sweaty, released in 1972, saw Appice and Bogert joined by guitarist Werner Fritzschings, keyboardist Duane Hitchings, and vocalist Peter French (ex-Leaf Hound and Atomic Rooster). Cactus disbanded shortly after the album's release. In June 2006, the band re-formed around a lineup consisting of original members Appice, Bogert, McCarty, and new vocalist and former Savoy Brown frontman Jimmy Kunes -- Rusty Day passed away in 1982. They issued their long-awaited fifth studio LP, the aptly named Cactus V, later that fall. Various lineup shifts preceded the release of 2016's Black Dawn, which featured McCarty, Appice, Kunes, and newcomers Pete Bremy and Randy Pratt. Founding member Tim Bogert died on January 13, 2021 after a long fight with cancer; he was 76 years old. Later that year Cactus released a new studio album, Tightrope.
© Jim Newsom & James Christopher Monger /TiVo


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