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Cactus puts prickly past behind, heads for new music

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

When the latest incarnation of Cactus debuted last year at Ferndale's Magic Bag, it was something of an experiment according to the group's Detroit-based guitarist Jimmy McCarty.

"I started missing playing with Carmine," McCarty, 67, says, referring to Carmine Appice, the former Vanilla Fudge drummer with whom McCarty, a veteran of Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels and the Rockets, co-founded Cactus in 1969. The other original member, bassist Tim Bogert, had retired, so with the addition of Pete Bremy -- who had once replaced Bogert in the Vanilla Fudge, too -- McCarty was willing to try a third stint with Cactus.

"Everyone had a ball at that show, and I said, 'Christ, we got a band!' " McCarty recalls. "The cool thing about Pete is he's got all the Bogert stuff down that needs to be played, the little signature things, but he also listens to you and plays with you. It's more of a band thing as opposed to three guys being off on their own little thing.

"That's what really nailed it for me."

With the Rockets back in dry dock, McCarty -- who recently won a pair of Detroit Music Awards for his solo work -- is dedicating more time to Cactus. The group will be playing regular weekend shows and is eyeballing shows in Europe and Japan, and the guitarist is also planning a follow-up to the 2006 reunion album "Cactus V."

"I've got a couple dozen kick-ass ideas I put down on (tape) in the past year," McCarty says. "I sent them to Carmine and the rest of the guys, and everyone dug the hell out of them. So I'm hoping by the end of the year we can have a new Cactus CD out, and this one could be even stronger than ('Cactus V'), I believe."

Cactus and the Muggs perform Saturday, May 5, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Detroit. 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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