TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 78: Felix Cavaliere

Between the British Invasion and the Summer of Love, there was a time when American music was trying to figure out just exactly what it was, what made it unique from the rest of the world. Many might answer—that in that slim window of time—one of the most important American bands on the scene were The Rascals, they were certainly unique: they were soul and R&B oriented, they knew how to rock a house party, and they were one of the first rock bands to proudly feature the mighty Hammond B3 as its signature instrument.

The main voice of the group—and the captain piloting that massive B3—was Felix Cavaliere. Originally a pre-med student, Felix was bitten by the rock and roll bug and found himself working with Joey Dee and the Starlighters. Following this, Cavaliere met the three other musicians with whom he would form The Young Rascals: Eddie Brigati, Dino Dinelli, and Gene Cornish. Between 1966 and 1968, the band reached the Top 20 nine times (hitting #1 three times) with timeless blue-eyed soul classics such as, “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” “People Got to Be Free” and many others.

1971 saw the release of the final Rascals album to feature all of the original members, Search and Nearness. The band did, however, reunite in 2012 for a run on Broadway and a national tour which was produced by Steven and a Maureen Van Zandt. Of course, the group was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of a fame.

Recently, however, Felix has published a book of his experiences titled, Memoir Of A Rascal and he was kind enough to join me to discuss the book and share some great rock and roll stories and wisdom. You can’t tell the story of mid-60s American rock and roll without The Rascals, and the best guy to tell us about it is Felix Cavaliere.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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