Thursday, October 4, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Forgotten Hits Interviews Felix Cavaliere About The Up-Coming Rascals Reunion

I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk to Felix Cavaliere on Sunday about the upcoming Rascals Reunion Shows ... and wanted to share that conversation (and more of this exciting news) with our readers.

kk / FORGOTTEN HITS: Hi Felix! Great to talk to you again ... it's been a few years ... but this is a very exciting time ... I mean, EVERYBODY's excited about this thing ... we've gotten nothing but positive response since we first announced the reunion about a week ago ... it's the biggest news story of the week and it's great to be able to talk to you about it because it's some very exciting news for the fans and, I'm sure, for you guys, too.   There's been talk so many time before in the past about a full-blown Rascals reunion, but other than that one-off charity concert a couple of years ago, it just hasn't come to pass. What made things different this year that is finally allowing this all to come together? How long has this been in the works? How long have you guys been talking about doing this? Obviously something like this doesn't just come together over night. What makes the timing right now for this highly-anticipated reunion to take place?   

FELIX CAVALIERE: Well, the only thing I can tell you is the fellow who's responsible for all of this, in TOTAL, is Stevie Van Zandt. You know, we did a benefit two years ago in New York City for the Kristen Carr Cancer Foundation that Steve was part of and Bruce, too, of course ... and he has been trying literally since that date, which is 2010, to have something happen. And frankly, I'm a little bit disappointed that he was unable to get it to happen until now.

kk: lol  

FC: And he's just nurtured these guys,  Seriously,  I mean he's taken care of these guys, the other guys in the band ... made sure they get healthy, make sure they get in shape, make sure that they can sing ... I mean I've never seen anything like it. And he took it upon himself ... and another fellow by the name of Marc Brickman, who is a lighting director, to put together a multi-media stage show. It's not a concert ... it's more of a multi-media type event ... and the only thing I can say is that when he approached me with the idea, initially I thought it was a great idea. But it's entirely his baby ... he's done everything, you know. And the last time we met about this project was in September when he said, "I think it's gonna happen."    

kk: Had you been keeping in touch with the other guys during that time, since the 2010 concert?    

FC: I wish I could say yes to that, but no ... I have not. The only one I've been in touch with is Gene Cornish.  Gene had me up in Rochester, New York, back in April ... he asked me to induct him into The Rochester New York Hall Of Fame ... and I did. It was very gracious of him to ask me, you know, so I did ... I was the inductor. But that's about it, I'm sorry to say ... there's been no repartee ... no conversation ... it's respect for Steve and the idea and the plan that he's got ... this is the reason that this is happening.    

kk: And you have to understand from the fans' perspective, we all live in a dream world where everybody gets along and everything's just like it was forty years ago ... and of course the more I do this, I realize that's never the case.   

FC: Well first of all, you have to consider the amount of time ... that's a long time ... that's a long time ago ... I mean, we were kids, you know ... and, of course, I don't even live in the state anymore, so it's a little more difficult now. Not that it's impossible to be in touch but, you know, you go on with your lives. I'm still working out there in the field ... I'm still doing shows ... as a matter of fact, I'm doing solo shows now ... I'm getting ready to do a brand new album ... as myself ... not as part of The Rascals ... so everybody goes on with their lives. And then you're bound together by your musical past, you know, which is really interesting.   

kk: Right ... now the three shows in New York are obviously the only things that have officially been announced but let's face it, you don't go through all this time and trouble and money and just do three shows. I mean there's gotta be more to the story, right?  

FC: Well, you know, for example, when The Four Seasons did their "Jersey Boys" ... they tested the water quite a bit before they finally realized that they had something ... it was their fifth script that actually made that play happen. So I've got a feeling that this is more like a test run ... see what happens, see how it's received, see how it's staged ... you know, it may not be the last incarnation of it ... of this thing. He's got a GREAT idea ... now let's see how it flies. It's really experimental at this point. Let's see ... if it's great, then of course we're going to do it again. If it's not, then we go back to the drawing board and redraw it.  

The shows are being marketed as a "multi-media event, featuring a live performance by the band, augmented with narration, pre-filmed scenes and old footage of the band. 
To date, three shows are officially booked ... December 13, 14 and 15, at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York ... and these shows sold old immediately. (I've already heard from several fans who were lucky enough to secure tickets to some of these shows.) There's also been talk of more shows being added, along with a brand new reunion album ... but Felix tells us that a lot of this is purely speculation and media hype at this point.
The one thing that we DO know for sure is that Steven Van Zandt (Little Steven of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band) is acting as their manager and has been coordinating and orchestraing this whole event with the help of lighting whiz kid Marc Brickman, who will help produce and direct the performances.
There's been a little bit of negativity surrounding the use of Kickstarter as a means to help raise funds for these shows, but Little Steven describes the show this way:   

"The show will be an uplifting inspiration for you fans that have been waiting all these years, praying for a Rascals comeback, and those of you who are younger will get a real taste of the Sixties you missed the first time around. Me and Marc have invested our time, money and blood these last few years for this idea and now we need you to bring it home. Not one dollar that is contributed will go into anyone's pocket or be commissioned in any way. Every dollar will go into the production, making it as good as it can be, as great as the Rascals deserve ... so that's it. The Rascals are coming back ... the production will be as big as you make it."   

kk: Have you seen some of the multi-media effects and that?  

FC: No, I have seen nothing except for a script. So I've seen the back part of it ... and of course I know the music for it, but I don't know what else is there.

kk: So have you been in rehearsals at this point or no?  

FC: Not yet ... not yet. That'll probably start up around the end of October.

kk: Well, it's not like you don't know the material, right?!?! (lol)  

FC: (lol) No, it's not like we don't know the material. Certainly I've been still doing it all these years.

kk: Did it all kinda fall back into place? Even though you guys hadn't really been in touch with each other for quite a while ... and let's face it, you had a couple of competing versions of The Rascals going around out there ... when you got together and did the show in 2010, was it almost like a natural step?  

FC: Umm ... yeah, fairly so ... I mean it was fun, it was interesting, you know ... but yeah, it is kinda natural because when you do get back together, things just sort of fall into place ... but we had some help, also, you know. 

kk: And what's all this talk about a new album? Is this something that's also in the works at this point in time?  

FC: That hasn't been discussed yet with me ... it seems like it's all been discussed through the press but as of right now, I have not heard about that, so we'll see.

kk: If this all worked out it would seem to almost be a natural progression ... The Beach Boys turned their reunion into a very successful tour and a big hit album so it'd be neat if this reunion ended up putting you all back in the studio together again, too.  

FC: Well, all I can tell you about that is that we're still trying to get these first few shows off the ground. If they go well, sure, we'd like to tour and give other people the chance to see it ... and if that goes over well, who knows, maybe there would be an album somewhere down the road. But for right now this seems to be something concocted by the press as more of a speculation thing ... there's been no discussion yet about recording an album ... at least not with me yet anyway.

kk: Well, I've got to tell you that the whole world is waiting for this to happen ... I don't know if you realize sometimes how much this music has meant to all of us who grew up with it. I was too young to see The Rascals back at that time so the chance to see a concert with all four original guys playing the hits and watching the media show as a back-drop is pretty exciting.  

FC: Oh, that's cool, man, I really appreciate that ... that's really nice to hear.

kk: We've been getting a real good response, ever since we put the word out last week, everything's just been real, real positive ... I've talked to a few people who already have their tickets for the New York shows ... and the rest of us Rascals fans certainly hope that the shows don't end there.  

FC: Well, that's good ... so good to hear ... and hopefully it will all come off to be a great one ... because I feel that that is something that we all want ... we want to do something special ... something that'll be memorable.

kk: All I can tell you is that this music meant a lot to an awful lot of people.  

FC: Well, thank you man ... and that's what I've been finding out over all these years ... and still, after all this time, one of the things I enjoy the most is being part of this music industry and having created something that you can be proud of ... because back in those days ... the Forgotten Hits era ... it was magic, you know.

kk: This music is timeless ... it's been proven to be timeless ... and new people are discovering it every day.  

FC: Which is great ... which is great. How are things going for you with Forgotten Hits by the way?

kk: It's going along ... it's going on fourteen years now ...  

FC: Wow! Wow! Really?!?!?

kk: Well, more and more artists are participating now and that's what makes this whole thing work ... to be able to talk to a Felix Cavaliere who was there at the time ... you guys can tell stories that no one else knows because you were there when it was happening, MAKING it happen ... you can correct some "mistruths" that have been circulating for year and years and years ...  

FC: Right, right ...

kk: And that's what makes it exciting for me ... because first and foremost I'm still a fan ... I love this music and it's always been such a huge part of my life. And I just love being able to talk to these artists and get to the bottom of some of this stuff and then share it with the other music fans out there through the website.  

FC: Absolutely! Sure, sure. And I'm glad to do private interviews like this for a publication like yours. 

kk: Well, I appreciate that.  

FC: It's really all being directed by Steven right now ... and then there's Bruce's thing ... Bruce Springsteen is bigger than ever, all over the world, it's unbelievable ... unbelievable!

kk: Well thanks again so much for taking the time to do this ... and if there's anything else you'd like to say to the fans, please feel free to use our forum to do so ... this is big, big news.  

FC: Well, first of all I'd like to say thank you for hangin' in there with us for all these years ... and we're really looking forward to seeing everybody ... we're hoping it's going to be a fantastic show for everyone. I mean, Steve's words to me were "When you see this thing, man, you're going to wish you were in the audience watching it!" (lol) And I think that's a great quote.

kk: Sounds like it's going to be quite the show ... can't wait to see it!  

FC: All right, bud ... take care!