The Rascals helped to define the “blue-eyed soul” movement of the ’60s, and the group’s music — which includes chart-topping hits Groovin’, People Got To Be Free and Good Lovin’ remain popular to this day.

Vocalist Felix Cavaliere and guitarist Gene Cornish were two of the founders of the band in 1965, and over the past 50 years, both have remained involved in various tours and reunions, and were there when the Rascals were enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Earlier this year, the two regrouped for the first time in five years to play a series of dates, but Cornish collapsed on stage during a September concert in Montana and had to bow out of some performances. He’s expected to rejoin Cavaliere on tour this month and barring any changes to his health, will be part of the Rascals concert at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Oct. 25. Keith Loria spoke with Cavaliere about the show.   

Keith Loria: It must have been scary to see Gene go down like that on stage. I know he’s improved over the last month but do you expect him to join you for this show?

Felix Cavaliere: We’ve been waiting to hear if the doctor is going to say ‘yea or nay’ on Gene, but I’m hoping he will be back for this show. He has been getting better. (Note: Cornish is expected to perform).

KL: You’ve toured on and off as part of the Rascals. Why was now the right time for you and Gene to tour again?

FC: I did a couple of shows in Hawaii and had an epiphany. It’s not about me — it’s about the fans. It’s about the music. I called up everyone and Gene agreed that we can’t take any of this for granted anymore and decided to join me. I felt like this was the last hurrah. We’re all getting up there in age and we’re one of the few groups from the time where the members are still alive.

KL: What can Rascals’ fans expect from the show at Ridgefield?

FC: We try to bring back the feeling that it was in those days when there was no iPhones and Internet. In our day, the generation was tied together by the music. That’s what I try to do live — bring back the energy and togetherness that we had back in the ’60s and early ’70s.

KL: What do you feel is the secret to your songs lasting so long and the appeal of the Rascals overall?

FC: They say if you’re a cook and you put love into your food, everybody enjoys it. I feel it’s the same thing with music. We have always loved making music and we still do. Atlantic Records provided us with a vehicle to take our music to the public and they were phenomenally oriented to make great music. If you put joy into your work, it lasts. Plus, there is a group of people who are really into the ’60s now and that brings a lot of newer fans to the shows.

KL: You have a great band coming along with you on the tour. Anything else about the show that people should be excited about?

FC: We also carry horn players with us, so it’s really fat and thick and we try to reproduce as much as we can the original songs.

KL: How much do you enjoy playing live today?

FC: Travelling is a pain, but being on stage is the best part. You’re looking at people who really care and love you and appreciate the music. It’s kind of hard not to like that.

KL: With all that the group has accomplished, what do you want your legacy to be?

FC: The fact that the people still find joy in our music. I don’t need anything more than that.