“My God!” the massive soul celebrity exclaimed. “They are white!”
One of the label’s greatest stars couldn’t be faulted for assuming that, although. A lot of listeners thought the New York-based band behind hits like “Good Lovin’” “You Better Run,” “What is the Reason,” “Lonely Too Long,” “A Girl Like You” and “Groovin’” had been certainly Black.
That was largely as a result of “blue-eyed soul” voice and deep organ sounds of Felix Cavaliere. With songwriting companion and Rascals co-vocalist Eddie Brigati, he penned these tunes together with the hovering Brigati-sung “How Can I Be Sure,” “A Beautiful Morning” and his proudest achievement, the socially aware “People Got to Be Free.”
Cavaliere recounts that Otis Redding story and plenty of extra in his new e-book Memoir of a Rascal: From Pelham, NY to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (299 pp., $19.95, self-published).
Cavaliere traces his formative years in a tight-knit New York Italian household the place his piano classes of Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin music rapidly gave solution to a much more fervent curiosity within the works of Lee Lewis, Domino, and Richard (as in Little).
He was notably near his mother and father, a dentist father and pharmacist mom (then a uncommon place for a lady). Her violent dying of their home attributable to most cancers when Cavaliere was 13 has haunted him for all times.
He went to Syracuse University ostensibly to pursue a medical profession however discovered himself way more concerned with enjoying with rock and soul bands. In 1965, he joined forces with Brigati, Dino Dinelli (drums) and Gene Cornish (guitar) to kind the Rascals. Fortunately, a reputation change to the “Young Rascals” and a gimmick of them carrying schoolboy outfits on stage was comparatively short-lived.
The Rascals grew to become the primary white group signed to Atlantic Records, and Cavaliere credit producer Arif Mardin and engineer Tom Dowd with serving to them discover their sound within the studio as they scored hit after hit.
As one of many opening acts for the Beatles at their historic 1965 Shea Stadium live performance, tens of hundreds of screaming youngsters noticed the flickering message “The Rascals are Coming!” on the scoreboard. It was just a little trick that present promoter (and, coincidentally, Rascals supervisor) Sid Bernstein pulled off, solely to close it off after a livid Beatles supervisor Brian Epstein demanded it.
The e-book goes by at a brisk tempo, nearly too brisk. Rascals followers will need extra in regards to the nuts and bolts of their recording and writing course of and live shows. By 1972, the band had damaged up, and Cavaliere goes into his different pursuits, together with his non secular quest underneath the tutelage of Indian holy man Swami Satchidananda and deep affection for the state of Hawaii.
The Rascals had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 (in a category that additionally included the Bee Gees, Joni Mitchell, the Jackson 5, and Crosby, Stills and Nash). Famously, band champion Steven Van Zandt’s humorous induction speech caught the ear of author/producer David Chase, who instantly determined to solid the non-actor in a brand new collection he was placing collectively: The Sopranos.
Cavaliere says the evening was magical particularly throughout their efficiency, however he writes was tainted by Brigati’s nonsensical speech onstage and much more weird verbal assaults on the music trade (together with some folks within the room) backstage at a media occasion.
In reality, Cavaliere says it was typical for many years with Brigati, who may very well be a hilarious Italian women’ man one minute and bitter complainer the subsequent.
One space that Cavaliere goes deep into is the ill-fated Once Upon a Dream Rascals reunion undertaking exhibits from 2012/2013. Co-produced by Van Zandt, it was a multi-media theater spectacle that discovered the unique band (with a small backing group) enjoying their hits interspersed with broadcast filmed segments of actors enjoying band members, ‘60s news footage, a historical voice over narrative, and special effects.
After a successful off-Broadway and Broadway run, the hybrid show found less success and empty seats as it then traveled around the country, with many a reviewer wondering why it wasn’t only a straight live performance. Cavaliere writes that the dearth of attendance, mixed with a excessive manufacturing coast and conflicting agendas from non-band members, trigger the present to abruptly cease and the band had been notified by telephone name.
For his half, Van Zandt (who additionally wrote the e-book for the present) has all the time vigorously maintained that Cavaliere bought grasping, demanding a bigger price and extra management over the present. The dangerous blood stays as we speak. And whereas a efficiency of Once Upon a Dream was certainly filmed, it has by no means been formally launched for public buy (although clips, just like the one beneath, have proven up on YouTube).
Whatever the reality (or truths) could also be, Cavaliere’s subsequent makes an attempt to reunite the group once more met with stonewalls from Brigati and Dinelli. Cornish did exit on the street with “Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals,” however suffered a stroke onstage in 2018. Cavaliere and Brigati have additionally been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
One nitpick is that the e-book—which is self-published—may have used the providers of a music-knowledgeable proofreader. Many band and performer names are misspelled, and there are a variety of flawed details. Like David Crosby being within the Buffalo Springfield, or Otis Redding being alive to play a gig in 1968 or noting that the 1966 storage rock traditional “Black is Black” was by the identified Mexican-American group Los Lobos as a substitute of the particular Los Bravos.
Today, the 79-year-old Cavaliere continues to be out on the street along with his model of the Rascals, spreading good lovin’ and groovin’ to a few generations of followers. And this e-book does the job of any music bio definitely worth the paper it’s printed on—sends you again to the music.
For extra on Felix Cavaliere and the e-book, go to FelixCavaliereMusic.com