Felix Cavaliere -- last seen in the metro are as part of this year's summer Hippiefest tour -- is bringing his version of the Rascals to town this weekend. But he knows fans' real appetite is to see the original hit-making quartet that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
"There was a lot of talk at that time about putting everyone back together and getting everyone in shape to go out and all that," says Cavaliere, 68, who now resides in Nashville and last got together with his former bandmates for a 2010 benefit concert in their native New York. "I have really mixed feelings about the whole situation because I think we lost so many good years that it's a shame. I think it's a little bit too late.
"On the other hand, if people want it and everyone is prepared to do it...But I still have a lot of mixed feelings. It's a shame the whole way the group stopped and broke up (in 1972) and ended and fought. It's like an embarrassment to me. That would make it hard to go back."
People's memories certainly go back to the Rascals, which began as the Young Rascals. And this year marks the 45th anniversary of the group's first album as well as "Good Lovin'," the first of its nine Top 20 hits -- and one of three singles to top the charts.
"In those days we had to play covers at the venues. They were not open to any original material," recalls Cavaliere, who's starting to work on a new album after two collaborative sets with guitarist Steve Cropper from Booker T. & the MGs. "They just wanted to hear the hits; that's what the public demanded -- and we had to wear suits and ties on stage.
"So I would research anything I could that would be considered a cover and that I thought we could have a good time with. I heard this song 'Good Lovin' ' by a group called the Olympics, done like a Latin song. I brought it the group and we started playing it, and from the first evening people loved it. They jumped up and danced and got out of their seats. The record company saw that and said, 'That's a hit!'"
Felix Cavaliere's Rascals perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 E. Fourteen Mile Road, Warren. Tickets are $29-$59. Call 586-268-3200 or visit www.andiamoshowroom.com.