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By Joe Naiman
Village News Reporter 

Felix Cavaliere's Rascals to resume touring Oct. 16 at Pala


Last updated 10/7/2020 at 1:05pm

Felix Cavaliere singing and playing the keyboard in concert.

Village News/Donna Cavaliere photo

Felix Cavaliere sings and plays the keyboard at one of his concerts.

Felix Cavaliere's Rascals will be performing at Pala Casino's Starlight Theater on Oct. 16, which will be the first classic band concert at Pala since the coronavirus outbreak and will also be the first concert for Felix Cavaliere's Rascals since the shutdown.

"We're looking forward to it," Cavaliere said. "Everybody's really anxious to play. We really miss it."

Felix Cavaliere's Rascals last played in Florida during February. "Everything has been kind of postponed or delayed or pushed off to next year," Cavaliere said.

"It's been pretty rough out there," Cavaliere said. "Our industry really kind of shut down."

Felix Cavaliere's Rascals thus lost – at least for the original dates – several concerts. "It's really strange because I'm used to working 50 shows a year," Cavaliere said. "It's been a strange time for all of us."

The lull made Cavaliere even more determined to perform. "You don't realize how much you miss it until you stop it," he said.

That is why Cavaliere is still performing at the age of 77 – although a test in late September indicated that his physical age is younger than his chronological age. "My biological age is 43," he said.

The rest of Cavaliere's current band members are younger but still missed performing when they stopped. "Musicians are like that," Cavaliere said.

Cavaliere has had the same band for 20 years.

"We had a number of shows that have been postponed," Cavaliere said. "We really don't know what's in store for us."

Some musical acts have taken to concerts on drive-in theaters or other drive-in screens. "I don't know that drive-in is really for my music," Cavaliere said.

The combination of an outdoor venue, a sovereign Indian reservation which desires safety but is not required to comply with state or county health orders prohibiting spectators, and the Pala Casino policy that guests will be asked to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing allows for concerts at the Starlight Theater.

The social distancing may give Felix Cavaliere's Rascals an audience smaller than what Cavaliere desires, and it will alter the band's interaction with the audience.

"We made some changes in terms of what we're going to do," Cavaliere said. "I don't think we're going to do meet and greets."

Over the years Cavaliere and his band have established relationships with fans, so he laments the inability to meet and greet fans. "It's going to be a little different for all of us, but we're going to make sure we have the music," he said. "The audiences are as excited about having music as I am about playing music."

Cavaliere considers interaction with fans to be among the most enjoyable parts of his performances. "Some artists like to mingle and some artists don't like to mingle," he said.

"We've always had a rapport with our fans," Cavaliere said. "They really feel a bond."

Cavaliere formed the Young Rascals, which later became the Rascals, in 1965. Three of their songs reached #1 on the charts: "Good Lovin'" in 1966, "Groovin'" in 1967, and "People Got To Be Free" in 1968. The band's hits also included "I've Been Lonely Too Long," "How Can I Be Sure," "A Girl Like You," and "A Beautiful Morning."

"It's been a long time. I feel really blessed to be able to still play," Cavaliere said.

The changes due to the coronavirus precautions are thus added to the changes Cavaliere has experienced over the past 55 years. "There was a difference in the audiences in the 60s and 70s," he said. "We really were listening to the same music all over the world."

The internationally-known musicians often recorded autobiographical songs. "We knew each other's stories from the songs," Cavaliere said.

The musicians had a bond with their concert audiences in Cavaliere's early years of performing. "It is very different," he said. "It's a whole different industry now."

Cavaliere attributes the major changes to the corporate emphasis which followed the August 1969 Woodstock concert. He noted that the video component has also been responsible for major changes.

"Basically you buy air time. They used to call it payola. Now we call it advertising," Cavaliere said.

New artists have some avenues in the 21st century. "There are some good things about the Internet," Cavaliere said.

An artist or band can record music in a digital format and post music on the Internet. "Sometimes lightning strikes," Cavaliere said.

"But it's up against a major, major industry structure," Cavaliere said. "It's very different from what it was in our day."

Radio "oldies" stations have also decreased the amount of air time for new artists – although the classic rock stations also provide exposure for bands such as The Rascals to listeners who are too young to remember when the band was played on stations playing contemporary hits. "Now you've got the streaming services, too," Cavaliere said.

"We also got a lot of publicity from commercials using our songs and also movies using our songs," Cavaliere said. "We're very fortunate to have our music on playlists in a lot of places."

The band members of Felix Cavaliere's Rascals are among those who discovered the Rascals' music years after the albums had been recorded. "They kind of grew up on this music a little bit, and they love to play," Cavaliere said.

Although the coronavirus safety measures will limit interaction and the audience size, the length of the Oct. 16 concert is not expected to be affected. "A lot of that has to do with your audience's response," Cavaliere said. "If they're having a good time you're having a good time also."

The band must choose a set list prior to a concert. Because the band has more songs than can be played at one show, omission of a song an audience member desires to hear is an inherent risk.

"That's a good risk. That's a good problem," Cavaliere said.

The concert will also provide professional activity for the musicians, road crews, sound personnel, drivers and others. "They're out of work. There's no work for these people and it's very difficult so we're looking forward to that for a number of reasons," Cavaliere said.

Cavaliere used the time off from touring to work on a book which is expected to be published in 2021 and also to work on a new album which is expected to be released next year. "I'm hoping to work on my new songs as much as I can, because I like doing it," he said.

The Pala Casino concert will be a worthwhile interruption from that activity. "It should be fun," Cavaliere said. "We're looking forward to playing for everybody out there. We really are."

Tickets are on sale, with no service charge, at the Pala Box Office, and 877-946-7252. Tickets are also available at and 800-514-3849.


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