Chris, this is a dumb question, but i'm a drummer and I have to ask you how it was to work with Dino Danelli. Any inside or silly stories maybe? He's always been a favorite of mine.Receiving my Gold Record for "Groovin'" from gene Cornish at Atlantic Records in 1967
Why would your question be dumb? I'll be happy to fill you in on a little of my history with The Rascals and how I got to work with them in the studio.
I first became aware of the Young Rascals while I was in Hamburg, at the Star Club, in 1963. We, The Undertakers, were on the same bill as Joey Dee & the Starliters. This was a time when the Twist was all the rage and Joey Dee's "Peppermint Twist", with the great guitar solo by Teddy Randazzo, was a hit. We became fast friends with Joey and his two front-line singers, Davey Brigati and Larry Venari. Davey told us about his young brother, Eddie, who was in a group called the Young Rascals. When their two week engagement was over and they were heading back to the States, we all promised to stay in touch, which we did.
A few years later, in 1965, the Undertakers along with Pete Best and his Combo went to New York City to record. As soon as I found out that we were definitely going, I wrote to Davey and told him. No sooner had we arrived than both Davey and Larry showed up at our hotel and welcomed us. The whole New York episode proved to be a disaster for both groups, the Undertakers and Pete Best and his Combo, and the only saving graces for me were the great recordings which survived and my opportunity, and decision, to give up playing in favor of pursuing a career the 'other side of the glass', as a record producer.
Before I took that step, and immediately after our group broke up, I went out on the road with Joey Dee & the Starliters, playing guitar. I remember going into Manny's music shop, in Manhattan, and picking out a 1963 Fender Telecaster 'Custom'. It cost $274.00, a princely sum, back then. That gig lasted through the winter of 1965-66 and consisted almost exclusively of playing 'mobbed-up' lounges from Buffalo to Rhode Island. While on the road, Davey, knowing of my inroads into production and, out of necessity engineering, suggested that I work with his brother's band, who were signed with Atlantic.
"Groovin'" was the first record that I did with them. It was recorded not at Atlantic's modern studios but at Talentmasters, on 42nd Street, just off Times Square, in New York City. I was to get production credits on the record - that is until, one evening, when Murray the K came up to the studio and upon hearing "Groovin'", pronounced it the hit of the coming Summer, which it became! Also, The Rascals biggest record. Instead, I was given a nice bonus and the promise that my name would appear on the record - as the recording engineer. This was unheard of at the time and I became the first 'recording engineer' to have my name on a single.
I went on to work with the Rascals on their following two fantastic albums, "Groovin'" and "Once Upon A Dream". The Rascals were an exceptionally talented group. What I think I liked about them most were their wonderful voices. They had those strong, clear Italian voices that seemed to be so wonderfully clear and natural. Felix was a master on the Hammond B-3 and onstage he would provide the big, fat bass lines with his foot pedals. In the studio, Gene Cornish, the guitarist usually played the bass lines although I brought in Chuck Rainey for "Groovin'" and after its success, he continued on to work on their other recordings. They were a pleasure to work with, in every way. Dino Danelli had permanent calluses’ on his right hand from the way he held his drum stick - overhand. Not given to theatrics or fancy playing, he was, never-the-less, as strong and tasteful as any drummer that I've ever worked with.
I've got lot of little stories of our times together, and the friendship which still lasts. Felix now lives in Nashville and we get together on occasion for dinner. Oh, and yes, and I was a 'whistling bird' on "Groovin'", along with Eddie Brigati. I started the Ampex Four Track and rushed out into the studio to lend a hand...or rather, a whistle.