I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the 1960s—first concert (Dave Clark Five), listening to “Cousin Brucie” (the legendary “disk jockey” on the radio), first date (nothing to write home about), first hippie yearnings… And, of course, the celebrated band: The Young Rascals (as they were known then; later, The Rascals.). “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” their first release, didn’t exactly speak to my teenage angst but after a few minutes I would usually find myself bopping to the beat (we bopped back then). Then came, “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” and “People Got to Be Free.” Those #1 hits resonated with me even more and I became a lifelong fan.
Fast-forward to the late 70s. Serving as personal assistant to Integral Yoga founder Swami Satchidananda brought me into close proximity with many luminaries. I would never have imagined I’d be serving tea and cookies to Rascals lead singer, Felix Cavaliere when he would visit Sri Swamiji, often with his family. I didn’t know in the 1960s that Felix, and founding bandmate Eddie Brigati, were longtime Integral Yoga sangha members. They and their other bandmates first hosted Sri Swamiji in Hawaii in the late 1960s, organized talks for him.
In Connecticut (where Felix lived at the time), they gave Sri Swamiji their car so that on long car rides to give talks he would be more comfortable (and he used and cared for this car right up until his passing in 2002). Their tour manager was Margabandhu Martarano, Integral Yoga’s longest serving center director.
Over the decades, Felix and Eddie generously donated their time and musical talents for Integral Yoga events and continue to do so.They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springsteen band member Steve Van Zandt in 1997.
In 2022, Felix released his memoir titled, Felix Cavaliere: Memoir Of A Rascal. In it, he recounts some of his experiences as a student of Sri Swamiji. It’s a wonderful read and in this most recent interview, Cavaliere talks about Sri Swamiji’s influence on him. He details this even more in the documentary “Living Yoga: The Life and Teachings of Swami Satchidananda.” By the by, the foreword for Felix’s memoir was written by…Cousin Brucie. ~The Editor