Tag Archives: 60s

The Little (Steven) Rascals

Angus? Angus WHO??

By now you’ve already heard that Little Steven has pulled another musical miracle out of his hat – reuniting the original Rascals at a recent benefit at which he and his wife Maureen Van Zandt were being honored for charitable efforts. The band agreed to perform together in their honor as well as in support of the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, which “provides grants for cancer research and seeks to improve all aspects of cancer patient life”. (If you are inclined to support them as well, click here to donate). 

Don’t underestimate the magnitude of this event. 

For anyone growing up in the 60s, the Rascals were one of the biggest bands of the decade, dominating the charts with a series of hits and being one of the bands on this side of the Big Pond to thrive in the midst of the British Invasion. Featuring not one, but two soulful lead singers, they combined pop melody with r’n’b muscle, dance floor soul and social conscience. They were popular and critically acclaimed. They were the total package

Why can't you and me learn to love one another?

As so often happens in bands, things fell apart, but in their case it was bitter acrimony that lingered for decades. The four have not shared a stage since their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To the dismay of their many fans, Cavaliere would occasionally tour as Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, while Gene Cornish (despite a bout with cancer) and Dino Danelli toured under the moniker of The New Rascals.  

I saw a performance of the latter group at an oldies show last year. It was hit and miss, but the highlights showed that there was something there. And now, after performing this set together with original members Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere, there’s a chance – albeit a slight one – for a real reunion. 

Hopefully the four original members can resolve whatever has kept them apart and let their special music live and breathe again. At least they are talking about it, which is huge progress from the situation just one month ago. 

When I first learned that they were planning to do this show, I feared something would go awry at the last minute. But as a packed house in the Tribeca Grill found out, sometimes you can go home again. 

Videos from the reunion concert. 

The band was augmented by bass player Mark Prentice and both Brigati’s wife (Susan) and brother (David Brigati) on vocals. Special guests included Bruce Springsteen and Paul Shaffer, and the set list was wall-to-wall hit records

I’ve Been Lonely Too Long
In The Midnight Hour
I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
You Better Run
It’s A Beautiful Morning
Love Is A Beautiful Thing
Groovin’
A Girl Like You
How Can I Be Sure?
Come On Up
What Is The Reason
People Got To Be Free
Good Lovin’ (with Little Steven and Bruce Springsteen)
See
 

The show was filmed and recorded for a future broadcast. And great news, regardless of what happens with future plans – Cornish is now cancer-free!

Young Rascals fan site

Little Steven’s Underground Garage 

The Kristen Ann Carr Fund 

Young Rascals at AllMusic.com

Not The Turtles, just Happy Together.

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Bad Things Come In Threes, Volume 837…

R.I.P. Eminem

R.I.P. Eminem

Different guys, different islands. White suit versus black jacket with piping stripe. Host versus (cough) guest. Benevolent versus angry. Height-challenged assistant versus…a security orb? Ahh, crap…we lost both Ricardo Montalban and Patrick McGoohan today, and as usual there’s a third body about to drop somewhere. While we wait that out, let’s look at the pair we found lying here.

 Ricardo Montalban…unfortunately the ice-cream-suit wearing Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, one of those horrible “let’s get famous guest stars to drop in every week” vignette dramas that rivaled Love Boat for the most embarrassing paycheck everin serious acting circles. But Montalban made movies for sixty five years and was still going at 88 years young. TV and movie legend. Khan, fergodsakes! Naked Gun. Westerns. Mexican star who played Chinese parts. Corinthian leather.

 Patrick McGoohan…ultra-cool before ultra-cool was cool. The Steve McQueen of the UK. Irish and born in Astoria, just like me, but at eighty, way older.  Actor/producer/director/writer and star of not one but two classic series, Danger Man and The Prisoner (hell, I’m still trying to decipher the latter one forty years later, and the new DVD set I just plonked for isn’t helping much. A fascinating, obtuse drama that wouldn’t make it past a pitch today. Your loss, children.) Clint Eastwood level tough without the squint.

But we all know bad things come in threes…looks like someone or something else is about to leave this mortal coil. Here are ten suggestions/predictions/wishes:

  1. LOST. Hey, I know it had a huge comeback last year, and I’m all-in myself, but…it is an island. There is a Village. Do the math, people!
  2. Paula Abdul. Her replacement is already sitting next to her. At this point, who wouldn’t believe she had an accident backstage while trying to (cough) plug a fork into an outlet to get that curl in her hair back?
  3. Guns’n’Roses. Axl strung us along for a decade with Chinese Democracy. Every year, same schtick…is this the year we finally get Chinese Democracy? And in 2008, we did. (yawn). Hole. Card. Played.
  4. Mark McGwire’s Hall Of Fame chances. I’d elaborate, but I don’t want to talk about the past.
  5. PRISON BREAK. Ouch! You mean a series where people broke into prison, then out, then in, then out, is out of ideas…now?
  6. President Bush’s book deal. Because he read the entire pamphlet on the radio the other day.
  7. Ernest Borgnine. I have nothing against the Ern, but come on…he’s 112, right? He’d still get cast in those “salty-old-guy roles”, just sans dialogue.
  8. The US Economy. You can buy a lot of life insurance with a trillion dollars.
  9. The Arizona Cardinals. Because they keep winning every time I pick against them, like this weekend. Third time’s a charm, Arena Football Boy!
  10. Major Labels. Just in case there was one day in your life over the past five years when some balding a-hole didn’t write an essay about the death of the music industry, I want to make sure you’re covered. You’re welcome.

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