By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 16, 2014 at 9:03 AM

For folks who grew up in the '60s, The Rascals (aka The Young Rascals) were one of the most important American bands around. 

From 1965 to 69, the Rascals scored hits like "Groovin'," "A Girl Like You," "A Beautiful Morning," and "People Got to Be Free." My enduring favorite remains "I've Been Lonely Too Long," a song that cemented the Rascals as the best blue-eyed soul band around.

For burgeoning Milwaukee musicians, The Rascals could be a massive inspiration. And keyboardist Felix Cavaliere's work on the Hammond organ was explosive for aspiring players.

All these years on, Cavaliere is still working and he brings Felix Cavaliere's Rascals to the Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Friday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, $20 and $25.

We got a chance to ask Cavaliere a few questions before he arrived in Brew City: How does it feel to still be on the road playing these songs after all these years? Did you ever expect you'd be doing it so long?

Felix Cavaliere: I have a wonderful and creative band that I have been working with for 15 years or more. We have a great time playing the songs every time. Seeing the people react to them makes it all worthwhile. Most musicians I know have wanted to play all their lives; it is a tremendous honor to be doing it. 

OMC: Are there any songs you especially still love to play after all these years? Any that make you groan when people shout out a request?

FC: It's like asking which of your children do you like best? All of the songs are individually fun to do; we create nuances every night that keep them alive. No groans, seriously.

OMC: I heard you're writing your autobiography. What's it been like thinking back over your long, incredible career? Did it give you a new perspective?

FC: Like most people, we live with regrets and missed opportunities. My biggest is the group's dissolution in the '70s. New perspective would be the wisdom of accepting the pasts events with understanding.

OMC: You know there was a whole CYO dance band scene in Milwaukee in the '60s and I've heard from a lot of the guys in those bands that the Rascals were a major inspiration. Did you guys realize at the time how many bands looked up to you?

FC: I'm very proud of the fact that other musicians heard and appreciated our work.
Music passes on from generation to generation. I'm happy to be part of the process.

OMC: Do you have any fond memories of playing in Milwaukee over the years? Anything you especially love about the city?

FC: Over the years I have become very close with many of the Milwaukee community.
The Italian American group elected me as man of the year a few years ago and I am pleased to say that we have kept up a wonderful relationship. You have a great town, with great people.

I hope to say hello when I am in town.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.