Felix Cavaliere has kept the Rascals on tour and making music
What: Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals
When: 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 22-24, and at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25
Where: The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Cost: Thursday tickets range from $43-$65. Friday tickets are $49-$79, and Saturday and Sunday tickets are $53-$75
Felix Cavaliere loves being a Rascal.
By that, he means he enjoys being the leader of Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, the organ-led rock band that boasted the No. 1 hits as “Good Lovin,’” “Groovin’” and “People Got to Be Free” in the 1960s.
More than a half-century later, Cavaliere, now 76, still takes Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals on the road around the world to play those hits and more. Park City is on the band’s schedule this week to play four nights starting Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Egyptian Theatre.
“I’m really happy about this, because few people get to do what they enjoy and love, and here I am, still doing it,” he said. “I mean, our generation never thought we would live past 30.”
Although Cavaliere continues to enjoy his career, he knows the music he makes means different things to his fans.
“We get people who come up and tell us stories about how our music has helped them, and in some cases, those stories are about life and death,” he said.
After one recent performance, a fan gave Cavaliere a set of dog tags.
“I asked him what this was about, and he told me that he was in Vietnam and part of a patrol that went up the Mekong River to pick up wounded soldiers,” Cavaliere said.
The man said he watched a TV show that featured the Rascals and, as fate would have it, he didn’t make it onto the boat.
“Then he told me the boat never came back from the mission he was supposed to be on,” Cavaliere said. “You get stories like that and all you can do is stop and say, ‘Wow.’ It’s one thing to sell records, but things like this mean so much more to me.”
Cavaliere’s career as a rock organist started when he was a teen playing classical piano.
“I went to a club and saw an organ trio, and that organist not only provided the bass and rhythm, he was also the singer,” Cavaliere said. “The whole room was filled with organ, and I tried to find more about the instrument that would become my main instrument in life.”
One of Cavaliere’s bands, the Young Rascals, caught the ear of promoter Sid Bernstein. The next thing Cavaliere knew, the group’s name was changed to The Rascals and they signed to Atlantic Records.
“When we were first starting out, I really wanted to produce ourselves,” Cavaliere said. “Our sound was based around an organ, drum, guitar and voices, and I didn’t want anyone to mess with it.”
Atlantic’s executives agreed with Cavaliere.
“I was put in a situation where I was given complete control of our music,” he said. “The only stipulation was they put two of their people in the room with us.”
Those two people were producers Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd.
“They were absolute geniuses,” Cavaliere said.
The organist learned how to run a sound booth and deal with other young artists from them.
“I realized a producer’s job in the studio is to bring out what people have on the record and song,” Cavaliere said. “So instead of telling an artist what you want, you ask what they want. And then you see if you can make it happen. That approach helps the artists open up their creative juices.”
That’s how Cavaliere has approached producing his music, which has landed him inductions in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
In October, Cavaliere will be also be inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame.
The Musicians Hall of Fame was originally designed for people who played in backup bands, he said.
“Then it evolved, and it started welcoming musicians like Peter Frampton and Randy Bachman,” Cavaliere said. “I’m honored to be part of it, because it has a really great group of people.”
Inductions and No. 1 records are just part of the fun of Cavaliere’s career.
He especially enjoys playing live.
“There is a feeling you get, especially when you’re performing with other musicians, and there’s a magical ingredient that comes in and crosses all nationalities and cultures,” he said. “That has nothing to do with record sales. It happens when the audiences get what we do. They feel it. And we do to. Now, if we don’t feel it, then we should stop doing this. But I’m going to do this as long as I can.”
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.