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IN MEMORY OF MIKE OWEN is a dedication that appears on the back cover of the "Groovin' " album.I'm sure you have all asked yourselves.."who is Mike Owen"? Mike was a young man who befriended The Rascals during their residency at the Barge in Long Island during the summer of 1965.He worked with them as an unofficial roadie until he was tragically killed in a car accident,shortly before the release of the album.This is a photo of Mike out at the Barge during that magic time. I reached out to a friend of his from those days,Billy Smith, who became the Rascals publicist, and today he replied: "Mike was a waiter at the Barge and became very close to us during the summer of 1965..and he had a XK-E jaguar that he use to race around in. Coming back from the city, I believe it was in fall of 1966 or 1967, on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach,he was racing down the highway with his friend Jimmy and lost control of the vehicle...it’s funny because I was just thinking of Mike yesterday. He was so much fun to be with that we all had with him other than that...may he rest in peace.I know he’s in heaven".(JR) PS--His name was misspelled, as was Dino's on the first pressings of the LP ("Owens" and "Dinelli")-see photo #2
THE DAY THE MUSIC BURNED by Jody Rosen is an extensive article in New York Times Magazine about a 2008 fire that destroyed a massive music archive. One paragraph specifically mentions the 1978 fire that claimed all The Rascals Atlantic multi-track masters,outtakes,etc. Because of this, all we will ever know are the released records that were made in the 60's. Nothing can be upgraded,remixed or rediscovered. The details are kinda nauseating...read on.(JR) One insider said, “Most senior executives in the record business have no understanding of what masters are, why you need to store them, what the point of them is.” Crucially, masters were not seen as capable of generating revenue. On the contrary: They were expensive to warehouse and therefore a drain on resources. To record-company accountants, a tape vault was inherently a cost center, not a profit center. These attitudes prevailed even at visionary labels like Atlantic Records, which released hundreds of recordings by black artists beginning in the late 1940s. In his Billboard exposé, Holland mentioned a 1978 fire in an “Atlantic Records storage facility in Long Branch, N.J.” Holland did not reveal that the “facility” was the former home of Vogel’s Department Store, owned by the family of Sheldon Vogel, Atlantic’s chief financial officer. Late in the 1970s, Vogel told me, Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic’s president, complained about tapes cramming the label’s Manhattan office. Vogel suggested moving the material to the empty Long Branch building. Vogel was on vacation on Feb. 8, 1978, when he learned the building had burned down. The 5,000-plus lost tapes comprised nearly all of the session reels, alternate takes and unreleased masters recorded for Atlantic and its sublabels between 1949 and 1969, a period when its roster featured R.&B., soul and jazz luminaries, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman (and The Rascals). Today the importance of those tapes is self-evident: thousands of hours of unheard music by some of history’s greatest recording artists. But to Atlantic in 1978, the tapes were a nuisance. According to Vogel, Atlantic collected “maybe a couple of million dollars” in insurance on the destroyed masters. It seemed like a good deal. “We thought, Boy, what a windfall,” Vogel says. “We thought the insurance was worth far more than the recordings. Eventually, the true value of those recordings became apparent.” -end I suggest interested persons should check out the complete article.
GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT-In response to the overwhelming interest in the unused T-shirt design (see previous thread)...There was so much to do getting the show assembled,organized and rehearsed,merchandise was almost an afterthought.There was just enough time to get a few pieces out. This design (the "See" T-shirt) was "on deck" and would have probably been made if there was a second wave of merch, but the show didn't last long enough to see it happen. There were many ideas for items. Dino also wanted to make available a very high-end leather jacket. Eddie always said,speaking of the old days, "we (the Rascals) never even had a T-shirt". Well, at least we had a few in 2013. For one of the shirts that we did make, I had Eddie hand write the lyrics for "People Got To Be Free", and we placed that behind the Rascals logo (you can see it on the top row,second from the right). Here is what the merchandise booth looked like at the Jones Beach concert (NY) and Philadelphia. Sorry, but I do not have any of this stuff and as far as I know it is not available anywhere anymore.(JR)
Happy Birthday to Joey Dee! (a-one...a-two...a-you know what to do!)..... Without Joe Dee, there might never have been a "Rascals". In 1964,he unwittingly provided the performance platform that brought together Eddie,Felix and Gene as members of his backing band,The Starliters. Eddie following the footsteps of his older brother,David,an original Starliter. Eddie's first professional appearance on record was on Joey's single "What Kind Of Love Is This". Joey is a gentleman and a true professional who is still out there twisting! (JR)
RASCAL & BEATLES & WHO & CLAPTON-Rare shot capturing Eddie (in between Eric Clapton and Keith Moon) who crept on stage after The Rascals set at the UNICEF concert, (Lyceum Theater (London) December ,1969) to join in the finale. It's been rumored that prior to joining the jam, Eddie and Keith Moon had been up in the balcony mischievously throwing ice cubes. On stage (not all pictured): John Lennon (guitar, vocals), George Harrison (guitar), Eric Clapton (guitar), Delaney Bramlett (guitar), Yoko Ono (vocals), Bonnie Bramlett (tambourine), Alan White (drums), Jim Gordon (drums), Keith Moon (floor tom), Billy Preston (organ), Klaus Voorman (bass guitar), Bobby Keys (saxophone) (J.R)
THREE JERSEY BOYS (AND A GIRL)-Congrats to Joey Dee and Ronnie Spector..inducted into the "East Coast Hall Of Fame" on June 5 (Eddie and David were both members). Recognition richly deserved and long overdue. Sometimes the tallest people are under 5' 4".(JR) Held at the Wildwoods Convention Center's Oceanfront Arena featuring Master of Ceremonies, "New Jersey's Bad Boy of Comedy" Mike Marino along with co-hosts Emil Stucchio and Vinnie Medugo. Performances by: The Brooklyn Bridge, The Duprees, Jay Siegel Tokens, Lou Christie, Charlie Grace, Larry Chance, The Skyliners, Vito Picone & the Elegants, Jœy Dee, Emil Stucchio, Vinnie Medugno, Sal Valentinetti and the Mark Baron Orchestra. Lifetime Awards Inductees include: Bobby Rydell, Charlie Gracie, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, Frankie Avalon, Eugene Pitt, Jay Siegel, Jœy Dee, Jimmy Beaumont, Johnny Maestro, Larry Chance, Lou Christie, Richard Nader, Ronnie I Italiano, Vito Picone, and Willie Minfield. Appearances by: Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Connie Francis, Special message & video performance by Kenny Vance, Willie Winfield, Don K Reed, and Bobby Jay.
"ONCE UPON A DREAM...TIME STOOD STILL..." This post will hopefully satisfy the two persistent inquires that continue to pop up in virtually every post on this page. 1-When or will The Rascals regroup again for another tour and 2-When or why hasn't a DVD of the "Once Upon A Dream" show been released? The answer to this is...The Once Upon A Dream show took 42 years to happen primarily because, as much as we adore them together, Rascal reunions have never been able to extend beyond a certain plateau. Following their final show in November of 2013, Dino went his way, Eddie went his way and Gene and Felix went theirs...and IMO... that is the way it will continue to be.The answer to the second question is somewhat related. The 2012-13 reunion was produced and managed by Steven Van Zandt. When the show ended abruptly.. their group affiliation with Steven ended as well.Without everyone being "on the same page" legally and creatively, the possibility of commercially releasing things like videos, compact discs,etc., cannot happen. It's true a dvd / cd made from the 2012 Capitol Theater concerts was produced, but as a limited bonus premium reserved only for certain platform level donors to the Kickstarter funding program, and never meant for commercial release.I hope this explanation reconciles these questions for everyone. (JR)
This song was being conceived about this time,51 years ago. Demographically,the average age of this page's followers is 55+ years of age.That does not bode well for future generations knowing who The Rascals were. A vast majority of fans reading this are those who remember them from their original years together. I wish there was a way to elevate interest to young people, because that is the key to the future.But that's difficult without media to exploit. Any thoughts? (JR)
Excerpt from a 2013 interview with Felix. The link to a podcast interview with Gilbert Gottfried may or not be working at the moment. (JR) Bill Kopp: The song “Love is a Beautiful Thing” is one that has always really knocked me out. It has a really subtle yet powerful riff; those four chords. And it makes really effective use of the spaces between the notes. As far as the arranging of that and other songs, was it a collaborative process for the band, or did whoever wrote a particular song say, “Okay, guys: this is how we’re gonna do it?” Felix Cavaliere: There wasn’t much collaboration, really. I wrote the songs and then pretty much brought them in, at first, to Arif. Then he and I would sit down and pretty much hash ’em out. That particular one was an exception, though. I had had that riff , and brought it in , and played it live in the studio. So it sort of evolved. (NOTE-a recording of the original rehearsal session bears this out. On it ,Dino invents the stop break after the introduction right on the spot during one of the run-throughs,for instance-JR).But most of them, I wrote them at home and brought them to Arif. Because…you get to a point…there’s a very fine line in groups; you have to be very careful. This is where groups break up. You know what you want this thing to sound like. And when you get other people’s input on that, it gets very tricky. And the more you put in there, the farther it goes for the original thought. And sometimes you have to say [to yourself], “Okay, I’m not a solo artist. I’m part of a group. I’ve gotta be careful here, because I don’t want to offend people. But I sure as hell don’t want them treading on my territory!” BK: I suppose if you’ve got in mind that a song’s supposed to be syncopated, and the drummer wants to play a straight 4/4, you might want to say, “No no no…that’s not what’s in my head.” FC: You know exactly what I’m talking about. It becomes very difficult. I worked with an artist, Laura Nyro. I produced an album for her. Arif and I did Christmas and the Beads of Sweat . She was a dear friend of mine. But – ah! – you could not change one note of her music. We had to bargain with her; we had to con her into changing some things. She adored us so much that she would not offend us twice. So we always made sure that the second idea that we had was [roaring laughter] the one we really wanted! No, seriously. She wouldn’t let you touch her music. So between that kind of eccentricity and obstinacy, and being in a group…that’s where I found myself. You gotta tap dance. I’m not tootin’ my own horn, but when I wrote a song, I knew how I wanted that thing to end up. Very close. And that’s where trouble starts in a band: how do you do that. BK: A lot of people think of soul as the primary genre in which the Rascals worked. But on tracks like “More,” the band turned in a credible – thrilling, really – approximation of big band swing. To me, it sounds like you guys did and thought, “Hey, we can do anything we want to right now!” FC: There’s a core of answers to that. First of all, you have to be capable of playing. I got my big band “head” from Dino [Danelli, Rascals drummer]. When I first met Dino, he was practicing to these LPs of big bands. And it was so cool: I said, “Aw, man! That stuff’s great!” Then, along came Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago. And we thought, “We can be a big band; we can do anything!” [laughs] And, you know, Arif…forget about it. He could do a chart in any genre you wanted. He loved big band stuff. We had a wonderful career, as all the guys could tell you. Making records with The Rascals’ intent was a totally joyous occasion. BK: That comes through in the music; there’s not a lot of angst in those records. FC: Aw, no, man. The only angst we ever had was “You Better Run.” That was written because of a kind of failed romance that I had. When you did a Rascals session, everybody in the building – because Atlantic was all on one floor – was in that room listening. Because it was an event: “How ya doin’? How ya doin’?” And they spent a lot of money, too! [laughs] But there’s a freedom that existed that doesn’t today. Now you’ve got to watch your budget, watch your time. We didn’t have that. We had free studio time; completely free. We slept there! Wilson Pickett used to get so angry: “I can never get in that damn room! The Rascals are always in there!” BK: I have a couple of bootleg recordings of The Rascals live. One is from the Hollywood Bowl in 1968, and another is from Honolulu in ’69. And one thing that amazes me is how closely you were able to hold to the sound and the arrangements – and the feel – of the studio versions. Even on these unofficial recording that were clearly not meant for release, there’s plenty of tone color in the performances. Especially the bottom end. Did you ever use bass player live, or was it always you on [organ] pedals? FC: We never used bass players live; we just never got around to finding the right person. Our schedule was totally chaotic in those days; our success happened quite rapidly, and we were totally unprepared. And so we were never able to put that part of the thing together. So we covered the bottom frequencies in two ways. Number one, I kept trying to make different electronic connection to make the bass notes come out separately from the organ. And number two, Dino’s bass drum. He tuned it a different way so that it would have more frequency that blended into that area. And it’s interesting – we worked together a few weeks ago – he still tunes his drum like that, even though now we have a bass. But it’s a booming sound on his bottom end. It’s really interesting how people’s ears hear things, you know? BK: So those recordings I mentioned…are you familiar with those? FC: No. No I’m not. I cringe when I hear us on live recordings! [laughs] I guess I’m getting too much into the let’s-make-it-perfect world. BK: Some – not all, certainly – but some reviews I’ve read over the years sort of rag on the Freedom Suite  album as being overlong and on the indulgent side. And I really, really don’t agree with that. First of all, it was 1969, and the Beatles had just a year earlier put out an album with “Revolution 9” on it. So from my standpoint, pushing the limits of what did and didn’t “belong” on an album was the order of the day. And I think the song “Cute” holds up really well. FC: We happened at a time when there was a change taking place between AM radio and FM. The AM world has sort of returned now, which is so odd. But we used to agonize, to take a song that was over three minutes long and make it short enough for AM radio play. That’s what it used to be like; you had to get that [song’s length] under a certain time, or they weren’t gonna play it. Number two, there was a limit to how much music would fit on a vinyl record. Add too much, and the volume started going down. So as things changed, things became more and more open. And we wanted to stretch the time a little bit. And you might have a tendency, of course, to overdo it. I spoke to Paul McCartney a couple of years ago when he was on the road. And he said, “Y’know, man, do you realize how young we all were back when we were doing all that?” We were babies! Kids! We were kids in charge of a major – or at least a minor – corporation. What, are you kidding me?! [laughs] What the heck did we know? Nothing! We were wet behind the ears, but making decisions. But it was a lot of fun. I’m so happy and proud to have been a part of that time period.
Just as great as his passion for music/drums, Dino's deep knowledge and ability as an artist is of world class level. This 2010 article was done at the time of Dino's gallery showing in New York. (JR) https://poststar.com/lifestyles/today/scribbles-from-the-streets/article_2804b340-7831-11df-a161-001cc4c002e0.html