Gene Cornish: The Rascals’ guitar player will join Tommy James at NYC:Fab50 event Saturday, February 8th


Gene Cornish is better known as 1/4 of the seminal ’60s band The Rascals. Any band that created more hit singles than you can count on your fingers has guaranteed its place in music history, and The Rascals have indeed been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With the successful tour of the reunion show, Once Upon a Dream, completed, The Rascals are looking at a follow-up tour. Right now, though, their guitar player, Gene Cornish, is focusing his attention on playing with friend Tommy James, a music icon in his own right, during one of the NYC:Fab 50 shows, Saturday’s “America Salutes The Beatles” all-star fundraiser. James and Cornish will be joining a star-studded line-up, but will be bringing one of the night’s most special moments to the stage once they start performing. The show will start at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Town Hall. 100% of ticket proceeds will be donated to The Food Bank of New Jersey, and also The Comprehensive Autism Medical Assessment and Treatment Center of New Jersey.  

For more information about the concert and tickets, please visit:


(photo by Jennifer Dodge)

Me: How did you get involved in this event?


Cornish: Charles Rosenay is a friend of mine.  Actually I originally said no to this because I was supposed to be busy doing other stuff, but I found out my friend Tommy James was going to do it. I’ve spent a lot of time with Tommy over the last couple of years. We’ve been writing songs together for his up and coming production on Broadway of his book, Me, The Mob, and The Music, and so we’ve spent a lot of time together. I said, “They want me to do something, but I’m a little uncomfortable.” I mean I wouldn’t be there with The Rascals and The Rascals being very current and people want to see that, I didn’t want to make people think The Rascals were going to be there. He said, “Why don’t you join me? I want to play a couple of songs and have another guitar player, we’ll play a couple of Beatle songs and a Tommy James song.  I went to his house and with him worked on “All My Loving” which he’ll play and I’ll play with him, and “Crystal Clear Persuasion” and a little bit of “Groovin’”.  So I called Charles and to him I would do this for him because it’s for The Food Bank, very important destination. They do a lot of stuff even in my home town of Rochester. I don’t think there’s anything more important than feeding people and housing them. So this is how this came about. It will be a very special moment because we don’t usually do stuff like this, and the two of us together should be fun.


Me: I didn’t realize that you and Tommy James would be playing together, which makes it all the more special, really.


Cornish: He was already involved and I told him I didn’t know what I should do, so he said, “Let’s do it together.”  We’re giving each other support.


Me: The cool part of this event is you’re going to have people who don’t often play together on the same stage.  These major musicians who are incredible will be doing this.


Cornish: Everybody in the show was at one point or another influenced by The Beatles.  Obviously without The Beatles, there wouldn’t have been a whole lot of bands because before there was always just singers with backup bands.  There wouldn’t be any Rolling Stones, there wouldn’t be anything like that. The Rascals, for sure. The Dave Clark Five. The Who. The Byrds. Paul Revere and The Raiders.  Anybody, really. The Beatles made it possible for a guitar player to be a front man, not just a backup guitar player, so I benefited greatly. When The Beatles came out and they were the big thing from England, The Rascals always said, “The next big thing from America, The Byrds, were already happening, but the next big thing from America, we could be it.”  We certainly accomplished that, and we’re really proud of that position.


Me: The really cool thing about this concert is that it’s all these people America is really accustomed to like you from The Rascals, Tommy James, everybody playing tribute to this band that came to our country 50 years ago.


Cornish: Yes, and The Rascals have a connection with The Beatles through [Beatles’ concert promoter] Sid Bernstein. Sid was our manager and he was the man who started the whole thing with The Beatles at Carnegie Hall and Shea Stadium and really New York. So The Rascals have a big connection there.  I will read anything written about The Beatles to this day. I love to just read about it.  That’s my young, innocent youth. 

Come see Gene Cornish with Tommy James, and many other great and iconic musicians, at the “America Salutes The Beatles” concert on Saturday, February 8th! Also, be sure to read up on all FOUR of the NYC:Fab 50 events happening in NYC starting Thursday, February 6th, and ending Sunday, February 9th:


~ by Jennifer Dodge on February 4, 2014.

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