Felix Cavaliere

Interview by Dennis Morgillo

Interview with Felix Cavaliere
by Dennis Morgillo

Felix Cavaliere is the legendary singer songwriter of the Rascals. The Rascals were one of the biggest selling American Bands of the 1960s. The Rascals had 9 top 20 songs including 3 #1 singles. 

Madhouse: How do you feel when people are gushing over you telling you how great you are?
Felix: People are so sincere and we all grew up together. My Music is part of their lives. For example recently in Albany, a Vietnam Vet recently came up to me and told me that during his tour there, he stayed back from getting on a boat to watch the Rascals on Hulabaloo, and that whole boat was destroyed by enemy fire. So basically I saved his life.  It was very emotional.

Madhouse: You studied pre med in Syracuse University. Have you ever thought of going back and becoming a doctor?
Felix: Yes I started there as pre med and I started a band up there and Lou Reed was also there and he started a band up there as well.  I am not going back especially in this current climate. It’s not easy being a doctor. 

Madhouse: You are in every Hall of Fame - Rock, Hammond Organ, Songwriters, Baseball HOF?
Felix: I wish, I am very honored to be in the songwriters HOF. Most people don’t even know who writes the songs. It is a very select group of people in the songwriters HOF.

Madhouse: The Rascals were the biggest American band in the 1960s’, were you able to enjoy your success?
Felix: I was able to enjoy it immensely. There is nothing like writing a song, recording it and the people accepting it. It was lots of fun, there was some turmoil internally, but externally it was unbelievable. We traveled to Hawaii, all over the US, and Europe.

Madhouse: What was your favorite gig?. 
Felix: There was so many, but right after Martin Luther King was assassinated, Atlantic Records gave a concert at Madison Square Garden. Aretha Franklin was there, Sam & Dave, Sonny & Cher, & The Rascals. It was a heck of a night that i will never forget. It was also the last time I saw my friend Jimi Hendrix. 

Madhouse: Who were you most impressed with when you met them?
Felix: Ray Charles. It was on the Joan Rivers TV show. Ray was my first first real idol. I was blown away by Ray Charles.

Madhouse: You currently live in Nashville. What made you decide to move to Nashville?
Felix: I came down here on business and I found an extremely friendly musical environment.
There were tons of musicians, and songwriters. It is now the mecca for songwriters. 

Madhouse: What do you think about you redoing the Ray Charles Country Album?
Felix: SO interesting you said that, my guitarist said the exact same thing. I am going to tell him you said that. It would be a very hard record to reproduce. 

Madhouse: You were often confused as a black band in the early days, tell us about that?
Felix: The Rascals were the first white band on Atlantic. A Funny Story, one time, Otis Redding stuck his head in the door when we were recording and he yelled out “My God they ARE white”!

Madhouse: Where were you during Woodstock?
Felix: Our manager didn’t think we should do it. That’s why you have good managers and bad managers. It was a bad decision but no one really knew at the time.

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