“Good Lovin’: My Life As A Rascal” by Gene Cornish is a very reflective look on what made The Rascals one of rock music’s most enduring bands, long after it broke up.
Their 1967 song, “How Can I Be Sure,” was used in the season premiere of TV’s “Bull,” and it was a perfect choice for the episode’s narrative.
Cornish is a Canadian/American guitarist and harmonica player and original member of the popular 1960s blue-eyed soul band The Young Rascals, later shortened to The Rascals.
From 1965–70, the band recorded eight albums and had thirteen singles that reached Billboard’s Top 40 chart, including three No. 1 songs, “Good Lovin'” (1966), “Groovin'” (1967), and “People Got to Be Free” (1968).
“How Can I Be Sure?” was a huge radio hit and peaked at No. 4 on the charts.
Cornish and the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Given The Rascal’s impact on music and its enduring fan base, it’s puzzling why this book didn’t get a proper release.
There’s not even a publishing company acknowledgement on the book jacket. Cornish says he could get no takers and self-published it on “amazon.com.”
Written with Stephen Miller, the book is full of scintillating insider details on the band, which had none other than promoter Sid Bernstein as its first real manager.
Cornish, from Rochester via Canada, weaves a thoroughly enticing tale of his growing up and how his adopted father really strove to make music his full-time profession.
Gene played in a series of local groups until the day he met fellow Rascals Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati.
Their rise to fame and success was not without initial dangers.
The music business was, and in many ways, still is, a treacherous line of work. It certainly starts with talent.
But you need individuals like record company honcho Ahmet Ertegun, producer Arif Mardin and Bernstein to really make a career fly.
People like that have done it before and, trust me, have learned firsthand from trial and error. I hate to repeat this line; but it does take a village.
One of the best things about the book, well, at least for me, wad discovering what made drummer Dino Danelli tick.
A drummer of the highest order, turns out he was an artist – painting and sculpting.
I worked with Dino many years ago and behind the omnipresent dark shades and bandana, there was a true music artist.
While he knew many ins-and-outs of the business, it was always about the music first and foremost.
Unfortunately, the project we paired up on didn’t work out, but I was thoroughly fascinated and impressed by his prowess and input.
Meeting Steve Van Zandt was a huge turning point for Gene once the Rascals officially disbanded.
A Rascals-fan, Van Zandt put together a terrific Broadway show entitled Once Upon A Dream.
With several stints on Broadway, it not only attracted fans, but also developed new ones.
Steve being the consummate professional, did everything the right way, but at the end of the day, it was too expensive to carry on.
Also, Gene says the several members, cut side-deals with Steve. When the others found out, the old ripples of jealousy and frustration crept in.
Once you hit the top, there’s only one way to go. And, in the chapters where Gene found himself trying to re-create the magic of The Rascals (Fotomaker in particular), it was difficult.
Lightning in a bottle rarely strikes twice. Once it happens, it may not ever happen again.
I’ve gotten to know Gene. He blew me away several years back at a Rockers On Broadway event, and I have admired him for years.
This is a terrific book. I know they’re trying for a movie and it would be fascinating.
The Rascals … does it get any better?
Check out the video below if The Rascals in their heyday and at their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.