One of my Father’s favorite movies is, “It’s A Wonderful Life,”
starring Jimmy Stewart. How ironic; it is of a man whose life touched
so many other lives; a man whose life made a difference in such a
positive way. This was my Father. So fortunate are the many who knew
my Father; and so very fortunate if you were close to him….he was
a very caring, understanding and great man. The things he taught me
resonate with me always. I hear his words often. I deeply miss
him, especially the closeness we shared and his daily calls to just
say, “I love you sweetie, just called to say hi," but most of
all I miss him just being my “Daddy.” You are forever in my heart
I love you with all my heart.
Love, your daughter, Cheryl
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How do you write about someone
who is too special for words? Simple; you can't.
There are just too many things I need to thank you for...
Just...thank you...for everything.
But most of all, thank you for just being my Daddy.
With all the love that exists on earth and beyond,
I love you and miss you more than words can ever describe, Dad.
Your Beloved Daughter,
Doc Cavalier : It's taken me a while to deal with the fact that the
we know of as Doc has left this life. I think it fitting that he split
on the first day of the New Year. Just one of the life changing lessons
taught me was that you could change your life for the better, and
to do that was to look at this day as "Day One". He was
the first person I knew
that really looked at the spiritual side of life (including the music
When he managed my band back in the 70s he took a group of degraded
musicians and showed us we could be true artists. He taught us what
it was to be professional. Got us off drugs, and helped us put our
lives back together. We learned that communicating through music could
raise peoples' tone level.
These are all lessons I carry with me to every gig to this day.To
say we will miss him is an understatement. I wish him well in his
next life, and look forward to meeting up with him again further on
up the road.
first time I met Doc was in Syncron Studios, I was in recording a
song with my band "ID". We were doing a song that someone
had put together for a DJ called "Rusty Pots" at the local
AM station. The song was titled "Hang it in Your Ear". It
was going to be his theme song, or so we were told. So there I am,
I'm maybe 14 years old, it's my first time in a Pro Studio, and this
person I don't know (Doc) walks over to me and tells me to "
turn down." He then tells me to turn on my Fuzz Tone (an old
Mosrite ). Next he asks me to play my part, listens briefly, proceeds
to change it a bit and starts singing the part to me; "Dum..,
de Dum.., de Dum.., Dum de Dum". He was writing a riff line for
the verse of the song, and I was doing exactly what he was directing
me to do. We were working together quite nicely, and even though I
did not like the sound of the Fuzz, (I'd rather have had my modified
Fender Bandmaster cranked as usual), the part fit the song perfectly.
He smiles, walks away and I'm thinking; "Who IS this guy....?".
Fast forward a few weeks and we are driving down I-95 in the band
van, with the radio cranked, of course, and BAM ! There it is ! That
Fuzz guitar line, jumping out of the radio speaker larger than life,
.... and it sounded Great ! Thanks Doc !
Over then next few years I was in Syncron many times recording demos
with JOY, TRICKS, etc. but it wasn't until I started playing with
Tom Harper and Rick Liso in a band named TRAD that I met Doc again.
Doc quickly became my friend, manager, and father figure to me. I
spent many, many hours in his office untangling the knots in the bands,
and in my life. It sometimes got very intense, but it always felt
like a safe place to be. I worked in many of Doc's bands over the
next few years, but shortly after "The Nelsen Adelard Band"
morphed into "Dexter Beckin and the Risers" I took my leave
and moved to N.Y. to become a Studio Tech. That was about 23 years
ago. Some of my fondest memories of Doc are of him playing tambourine
on our sessions, having coffee with him in the lounge, and of us playing
pinball with Rudy. Over the years whenever I was in CT I'd drop by
and see Doc for a quick hello. He was always gracious, personally
interested, and always found time to chat for a bit even though I
unexpectedly dropped in. It still feels a bit unreal that I won't
be able to do that this time when I come back for the tribute. I still
remember the big smile on his face at the "Big Sound Records"
party in N.Y. when he saw my surprise reaction when they played the
just mixed track of my song "Do Love You". That's how I'll
remember him, smiling, knowing he had just done something to make
someone else smile.
was 18 when I met Doc Cavalier at Syncron Studios.Just out of High
School, working in a Band With Nelsen Adelard & John Puhl.
(Both of which I have not played together with since, but
will be reunited together again at the Doc Tribute Show).
Doc had a major influence on me from the first time I had met him.
He taught me what it was to be a Professional Entertainer, Artist,
and what a privilege it was to be on a stage. Yet, those
lessons were minor compared to what he taught me about loving oneself,others,and
living life on life`s terms.Where else could a young man go when
the weight of the world was caving in on him?Only one place for
me,the inner sanctums of Doc`s office at 10 George Street Wallingford,
CT. Doc had a way of putting everything into perspective and making you
see it for yourself. He always made me feel better about myself and
whatever situation I was dealing with. He would smile, look me in
the eyes and say "that will be $50"You can pay Edith or
Rudy on your way out. He had a tremendous sense of humor and compassion
for people. Many of life`s lessons for me were learned
at Trod Nossel and that time period between 1975-1979. Doc was
a special person and I am grateful for having had him in my life.
My wife and I are indebted to Doc for his Affinity,
Reality,& Communication that has helped us keep it together. I
loved him and miss him much, but his love, wisdom and spirit will
be with me forever. Now Let's Rock & Roll.
I am speechless and stunned. Last night at a gig at the Towne
Crier, they played your music over the p.a. system. It moved me to
my core, to hear a beautiful, soulful voice and the great recording
that Doc made. I was so proud and I bragged to my friends. I did not
know of Doc's passing, but now I feel he found a way to say goodbye
Doc's spirit, his love of music, his essence was coming through the
mix, the board, the wires, the speakers, through soundwaves into the
air and, I like to think, right on through to the universe.
Doc did not really leave us. He's right here -- in the heart of the
groove, in the chime of the guitars, in the snap of the snare drum,
and in the soul of voices every time they sing.
Tribute to Doc Cavalier says it all. It has been 24 years since
I left Connecticut and came back to Memphis. Doc and I didn't speak
for 17 years, and then in 1997 we buried the hatchet. After that,
we talked on the phone a good bit, several times a year. Then, when
I finally entered the 21st century and got a computer, we stayed in
touch via email as well. He always had something positive and supportive
to say to me. And he was the first person in my life to ever call
me an artist. Doc and Trod Nossel gave me a chance when no one else
would, and my so-called career began in earnest at 10 George Street.
Half a lifetime later, I am coming back on a giant arc to complete
the circle, to pay homage to Doc. And maybe do a couple of tunes.
The tribute concert is important on several levels. First, it is a
recognition of Doc's influence and vision, of many years of bucking
the odds and stubbornly supporting the artists he believed in. And
for all the old, unemployed, uninsured musicians like me, it's an
opportunity to show what we can't do anymore. Then there's the charity
that benefits, and that is really a good thing. But perhaps the greatest
thing about all this is that all of these people whose lives Doc touched
will be in the same room at the same time, an intersection of souls
out-of-time, in Rod Serling's neighborhood. I can't wait. And I will
be really glad to see all of my old friends as we remember Doc Cavalier
the way we should. With our music.
Well, I've been running myriad thoughts through my mind, as how
I could could encapsulate my feelings about knowing and working with
Doc these past two decades.
Suffice to say that there are far too many memories for me to single
one out from another, so I think I will address it as more
of what knowing Doc brought me.
Having spent countless hours with him in the studio, I came to understand
that while he was producing our records, he was also helping me find
my own artistic voice, and raising it to a level I hadn't thought
I could achieve. To those who have not experienced this kind of support,
it is very difficult to explain, let's just say it is pure magic,
it's not plotting an artist's course, but helping them find their
This is really part and parcel of what it meant to having
Doc as a friend and mentor. The constant artistic and spiritual support
that I have been lucky enough to receive has helped me become a better
person and musician. While I mourn my loss, I also am so thankful
that I had every moment I had with him.
Those of us who were fortunate enough to work with him, or just hang
out with him, belong to an exclusive club. I hope those who didn't
know him can find their own "Doc", and have the wisdom to
know how lucky they are.
--Eric Fletcher/Lead Guitarist and Studio Musician/Rebel Montez
Blues Beat received some sad news. Thomas “Doc” Cavalier passed
away on New Year's Day. Cavalier was the owner of Trod Nossel recording
studios in Wallingford, one of the longest-running recording facilities
in the world. His work was felt on the national and international
scene. He was part of winning Grammy recordings and made blues recording
legends such as Pinetop Perkins and Eddie Kirkland sound even better.
With all the acclaim, he continued his work helping local bands succeed
as well. Many of us have benefited from his works without even knowing
Cavalier was in the music industry because he followed his heart.
He brought an energy and honor to the expression, a “record man.”
His personal talents and inspiration cover the gamut of the music
business. Born and raised in New Haven, he earned a medical degree
and began a successful dental practice. Then he decided life would
have more meaning working in music.
His early efforts saw him work with musicians from throughout the
Northeast. One of the most popular out of the Hartford were the Wildweeds.
They were a well known area club act. Cavalier took them national
by inking them to Chicago’s Chess/Checker family of labels. Here they
produced a string of hit singles including national charter “No Good
To Cry.” Another band that many Connecticut residents are familiar
with figured prominently in Trod Nossel, the Scratch Band. The featured
musicians are still making audiences happy. Names like Robert Orsi,
Paul Ossola, Mickey Curry, G.E. Smith, and Christine Ohlman can still
be found playing today.
Cavalier’s musical history will fill volumes. Starting with his early
days managing and recording many of Connecticut's legendary 60's rock
bands to Grammy nominations and awards. To honor his memory, friends
are celebrating his life, one of such sensational creativity and zest
that its ripples will continue to be felt for years to come.
You couldn't help it. If you grew up in Connecticut in that special
era just before radio narrowcasted rock'n'roll into an irreversible
brain-damage coma, you couldn't help but be influenced by Doc Cavalier
-- even if you didn't know him from a cavalier attitude, a Chevy Cavalier
or the Cleveland Cavaliers, or from a phone book full of doctors.
Looking back as we mortals usually do when someone dies, I found
a bunch of ways the eternal hipster with the recording studio with
the funny name somehow worked his way into my life.
The first way I was aware of was when I was a freshman in high school,
in early '76, and heard that recording of "Rhiannon" that
Fleetwood Mac did live at Trod Nossel just before they became
the hottest act of their era -- the version WPLR used to play when
we least expected it. I haven't heard it in over 20 years, but I can
still hear it more vividly in my mind than the LP version.
The first way that I wasn't aware of until much later had to be when
I was about 15, 16, and heard this killer soul song on the radio that
sounded like NRBQ. Well, as I found out later, it was Al Anderson
singing, but it wasn't the Q -- it was this group called The Wildweeds,
and the song was so old that it was recorded at the studio before
Doc even owned it. And it's incredible how people still take to that
tune. Out here in Fresno, I've fallen in with a group of music-loving
motor scooter fiends who have a barbecue every Saturday, and not long
ago, I burned a copy of my Wildweeds CD to bring along, and my
friends were astounded; they had never heard anything like it. Some
new converts nearly four decades later; can you dig it?
Then there was the first bar band I ever took a shining to, back during
my first Christmas break from college in 1979 -- B. Willie Smith,
at H.L. WIlfred's in Hamden, Bob Boettger playing sax hanging from
the rafters, Bruce and Bob and the rest kicking out literally to "Route
66." And in the midst of my immersion into new wave, punk and
primordial hip-hop back in college on Long Island, my early record
collection included just one bar band (and if it's done right,
you only need one): B. Willie Smith's "World's Greatest Songs,"
recorded at Trod Nossel.
Of course, back then I had no idea I would cross paths with Doc professionally
and personally, and when we did, it wasn't the usual blend of peanut
butter and chocolate. The intersection of our paths back in '93, not
long after I started working at the New Haven Register, was a wild
little junction named Cub Koda.
I came up to the studio one late afternoon to do a feature on Christine
Ohlman, and Doc and I got to talking. I didn't know before that point
that Doc was managing Cub, who was one of the true walking encyclopedias
of pop music; all his too-young and too-short obituaries citing him
as the guy who wrote and recorded "Smokin' in the Boys' Room"
didn't even crack the surface. He played R&B with Nathaniel Mayer
in Detroit as a teen, played blues with Hound Dog Taylor as a grown
man -- and in between, recorded and "produced" the worst
band in the history of rock'n'roll this side of Creed: the infamous
King Uszniewicz & the Uszniewicztones, the Detroit bowling alley
lounge band whose songs were timeless, meaning they had no tempo whatsoever.
The first time I played their first album of tunes, back in '89, San
Francisco had its earthquake 90 minutes later. Seriously. It was music
bad enough to damage a bridge and disrupt the World Series.
Anyway, I made the mistake of telling Doc that I thought Cub was the
real King U; that this was a cruel joke foisted upon us by Cub and
Billy Miller, the guy who put out the record on his Norton label.
Imagine my surprise not long after when an envelope from Trod Nossel
arrived at work. Inside was an 8X10 of King Koda himself, roundly
scolding me: "Hey Fran, Where did you get the numb-skulled idea
that I'm supposed to be King Uszniewicz? I AIN'T, & given the
man's singing & playing abilities, I wouldn't be too proud
if I WAS -- Bust you head, Cub Koda." It proudly hangs on
my wall looking down on me -- probably sneering -- as I write this.
And Doc gave me one of the most enjoyable afternoons I ever had in
my years as a music writer. One Tuesday in the summer of '97, he called
me out of nowhere to invite me up to the studio. Cub was working on
a new album and Marshall Crenshaw, one of my all-time favorites, was
in for the day laying down guitar behind him. Not that I needed a
reason to want to get away from the office, but I was there in about
10 minutes. Marshall was playing a black Vox Phantom 12-string
-- the only time in my life I wanted to commit a wanton act of larceny,
as I'd never seen one before and haven't since -- and Cub was
in fine form, having fun. Shortly after, sitting at lunch break with
Cub, I said to him, "You know, I'm a really big fan of the
King." He looked at me quizzically. "King U," I said
-- and it was off to the races, as he regaled me with tales of recording
ol' Ernie Uszniewicz and crew, and went on to tell me about The Del-Tinos
and Nathaniel Mayer and Al Wilson and all these great Detroit memories
from growing up. It was wonderful. It was also the only time I ever
got to meet Cub, so you can imagine how much I cherish that. And I
have Doc to thank.
There are other moments: the Labor Day picnic he invited me to down
in Westbrook ... the commiserating on the phone about Courtney Love's
lengthy diatribe on the music industry ... doing a story on this singer
Melanie, one of Solomon Burke's many, many daughters, recording at
the studio ... the time he and Christine and Tommy brought a friend
to see The Reducers at Sailfest in New London, and Doc introduced
me to this quiet, modest, unassuming man -- Andrew Oldham, merely
one of the people who made The Stones The Stones ... the day
I was talking to Doc about the garage bands I love so -- and, two
days later, what arrived in the mail at work but a pristine CD version
of "I Can Only Give You Everything" by The Bram-Rigg Set
that I could play on my radio show.
And Doc had a little to do with my sendoff from Connecticut, though
he didn't know it. On my last regular show on WPKN in March of 2004,
I played King U one final time to torment my fans and loved ones.
Harry Minot, the station manager and a big King U fan, immediately
popped into the record library and then back to the studio with
an original version of a song butchered by the King -- "Little
Dead Surfer Girl" by The Incredible Brass Bed Band, a bunch of
guys from Connecticut who recorded their album at, you guessed it, Trod
So you see, from my tortured adolescence into my tortured middle age,
Doc was there, directly or indirectly. I don't pretend to have been
any closer than I was to him -- many of the people gathered to honor
him were a lot closer -- but if he affected my life in these tiny
ways, imagine how much impact he had on so many others. Hope he and
Cub are kicking back and having fun ...
Who among us would ever have thought that Doc would leave
us so soon? With no hesitation I speak for all of us when
I say I miss my friend. I miss him deeply. We’re here to celebrate
his life, and mourn his loss.
I cannot speak for all who knew Doc, because he touched so many people
in his life, but I can speak for his extended family, those he nurtured
during the early pursuit of our music careers. Whether you be
the musician, the technician, the label owner, a roadie, the agent,
the manager, or the publicist, he taught us more than we could
have ever learned on our own.
Doc, as he was to many of us, was my mentor in youth, and my biggest
fan when I succeeded in our industry later on in life. He will be
dearly missed, and with me for the rest of my life. Doc was
always a man in search of bettering himself, and others around him.
He succeeded at both.
In the early days of my career, there were few days that we did
not speak, but as many of us here know, especially those of us
that moved on to pursue our own dreams in music, you lose touch.
It was only recently, in the past four years, that I’ve reconnected
with Doc, and there were few weeks that we did not speak regularly
since, and always, Doc being Doc, offering his wisdom and insight….still
as relevant as it was twenty-five years ago.
For most, Doc instilled confidence. He taught us self-awareness,
and how to use it to our advantage, and taught us to fight for
what we believed in. It gave us all an advantage in most every
aspect of our careers.
But the most important thing that Doc taught us was to believe, and
whenever that belief waned, it only took a late night call with
Doc, and after ten minutes, you’d be back on track again.
Doc seemed to be available 24 hours a day. I don’t think he ever
actually slept--at least it seemed that way to most of us.
In the early days, there were two types of people in our world…….the
ones who couldn’t wait to get a call from Doc………..and the ones
that dreaded a call from Doc. Depending on what you did, or how you acted
usually determined which side of the fence you were on--and even if you
were on the dreaded call side--you ended up loving the guy even more so,
and all seemed forgiven after your conversation with him.
When most of us started in the business one had to search quite
hard to find honesty and integrity, because the landscape seemed
to be filled with opportunist. Luckily, for many of us, Doc offered an
alternative to the way business use to be done. He also attracted
those that were extremely talented…..people who had a burning
desire to succeed at their craft……. and he allowed them to fine
hone their trade, in an environment that taught us the business
side of our industry, while at the same time nurturing our creative
There were the group meetings, the one-on-one's….and sometimes
you’d wonder why all this time was needed, but he taught us that
planning, setting goals to meet, and be exceeded, were as much
a part of our livelihoods as the performing part.
With Doc it was an adventure everyday, and many were wild adventures. There
were so many good days, and with Doc, just as many goods days
of celebration after a successful gig, or goal met.
Doc was so much an integral part of our extended family. It is
hard to describe our bond, unless you are part of this close knit
group of friends. I sometimes wonder--what thread binds our unique
group of people that Doc touched? Why these unique
individuals, from all walks of life, all backgrounds, found a center,
a common ground, a place to go, and be with each other, and learn
For those of you that moved onto other fields, that were non-industry
related, you still carried a stronger set of ethics, and values,
because of your relationship with Doc. Doc was part of our nurturing,
caring, loving gang of friends, and one of our rousing celebrators
of life. He had this innate ability to
make you feel like you were the center of it all.
When Doc spoke with you there were no interruptions, no glances in
other directions, no “excuse me’s,” he just...enveloped you. If Doc
ever uttered a cynical, or a cruel, or a selfish word, the moment
went unrecorded. Those who knew him when he was younger, and those
who knew him later in life--all remember his largeness of spirit,
his gentle instincts, and a quiet rectitude that drew others to him.
Seen now, at a distance, his strengths as a man, and as a quiet leader
are only more impressive.
I’m sure that if Doc were here, he would say, thank you all for being
a part of my amazing life, and accepting me as I was, and always trying
to find the best in me.
Thank you for being a part of the GLUE…..….. that made us what
we are…friends forever. But now, here WE are this
morning, gathered for YOU, Doc, because we wanted, and needed….. so
much…….. to thank YOU.
I still remember blue fishing on summer sun drenched days off
Block Island with Doc, and eating breakfast at 4 am
at the Oar, just prior to heading out to sea. It was
days like these, outside of our industry relationships that we really bonded,
and I got to know the fun side of Doc.
I hope this comes close to summing up, and what our group of friends
meant to Doc. You all know what you meant to Doc, and hopefully
we can find closure….. in verbalizing these thank you’s today.
When I look out at all Doc’s friends and see your faces, I know,
as Doc knew, that your friendship is special and unconditional, and certainly
not something to be taken for granted.
Our gang of friends always tried to look out for each other,
and find the best in each of us. We cared for and took care of each
other in bad times, and good……and that is what keeps many of us friends
today. It is part of the intangible thread
that binds us together.
I’ll miss his calls, with that unmistakable voice, always starting
with that punctuating, "FLASH!" ….his nickname for me……..he
could never pronounce my last name correctly, unless he was mad
He had that ability--he was infectious, and when you succeeded, he’d
look at you, like, "Now, wasn’t that worth it?"……..and
That was Doc. We all have our special memories of Doc, and I
know our loss seems unbearable, but let us always remember those
smiles……… that lilt in his voice……. always bordering on a laugh, and
his infectious “Come on’s,” and “Let’s get this done”……
Doc will always remind us of what friendship means. If his life stood
for anything, it was for that bond of friendship, a bond that
we still have. I know that he would have wanted us
to all push on, and not let his passing slow us down, but who among
us will not walk just a little bit slower, or think a little bit harder
before we take off on one of our adventures?
In parting………..Doc, look down on us now…. here we are…….look what
you produced……look at your friends gathered here today ….. look
at the lives you touched, and what you meant to them.
No truer measure of man is that of how he touched his friends, with
kindness, honesty, selflessness....and love.
You measured up, Doc. Take a look around........you measure up.
We all love you...and goodbye, my friend.
(Remarks to be read at memorial)
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The tribute concert is a fantastic way to celebrate Doc's life
and his many
contributions not just to the industry; but to each of us who were
lucky enough to attract his personal attention. I owe him a huge debt
of gratitude for imparting on me what it means to be a professional
every sense of the word. In addition, I wouldn't miss this once in
lifetime opportunity to see so many of the old Trod Nossel gang again.
Thomas "Doc" Cavalier, the legendary founder and owner of
Trod Nossel Studios, got into the recording business when he purchased
a Wallingford, Conn. studio in 1966 and began recording garage combos
like the Shags, the Wildweeds, the Bram Rigg Set and hundreds of others.
Doc spearheaded the New England teen scene, giving East Coast bands
a comfortable environment where their music could flourish. Under
an exclusive license to represent the catalog, Sundazed has a definitive
compilation illuminating the glory days of Trod Nossel on tap for
later this year. We will miss Doc, his illuminating stories, his voluminous
file of information and, above all, the kindness he has shown us over
the past years.
I didn't have to open your e-mail to know its message, the title told
me all. I have always known what Doc meant to you, and I am sorry
for your loss. As to Doc, all I can say was he was a great guy. I
have always had a smile come over my face when I thought of him, and
that smile will continue.
In 1988 I found myself in a state institution. Dark times. One
day I received a letter from Doc Cavalier. We had had mutual friends
business. There was some mutual respect; but we had no relationship
here was this letter asking me to come see him as soon as I got out;
was this piece of light in my hands telling me there would be a place
organization and I should come see him.
I did. Broke, broken and lost. Cocaine addiction had ravaged my
finances, my family and my soul.
Trod Nossel Productions and Studios had strict policies about
felons and drug addicts. Doc Cavalier was a stickler for policy. Nonetheless
I was hired on the spot as an engineer. I had never worked on that
the board in my life.
I worked at TNA for nine years. Through those years I grew,
recovering pieces of my soul in baby steps. I must have been impossible
deal with some days. I know I was. I butted heads with Doc on many
and, though I would anger him at times torridly, he never turned his
me. When I had personal issues he was there. We spent many, many nights
the couches in the waiting room until the sun came up, when he would
out the Columbian beans Andrew had sent and we would bask in the communal
bliss of good coffee together. We worked on so many projects together.
of the time, when the working day was done for everyone else on our
ours was just beginning.
We smoked thirty thousand cigarettes at least.
Doc Cavalier took a chance on me. He allowed me to be who I was,
never tried to change me. He respected who I was and, most importantly,
knew who I was -- because he took the time and care to look and discover.
Doc Cavalier looked, discovered, learned and grew, That¹s what
he was about.
That, and being a friend. I will never forget what he did for
me. I will never forget him.
A few years after Gil Evans' passing, an interviewer asked Miles Davis
how he felt about Gil being gone. Miles replied, "Gone? No way
is Gil gone. He's with me all the time!" We know you will feel
the same way about Doc, and your feeling of loss, while it will always
be there, will eventually become a full-scale celebration of his life
and the happy cosmic fact that you shared this sweet swinging sojourn
on Earth together. No way is he gone.
met Doc summer of 1983, after Brownsville Station broke up. Being
married to one of the original Detroit R'n'R bad boys, who loved the
music but hated the business end of things, management was needed.
But if you know anything about the entertainment business, you know
finding someone that won't lie and steal from you is very hard.
From the first meeting I knew, and told Cub, "Doc has the highest
ethics of any manager I have ever met. He won't lie to you and I know
he won't steal from you." He never did. Which couldn't be said
about prior business people who represented Cub.
Cub signed a contract with Doc that 1st year. Doc represented Cub,
without a contract, for the remaining 16 years. What Cub and Doc had
was stronger than paper. That was just the kind of wonderful human
Doc was. We trusted and respected each other. Because of knowing Doc
our lives were better and throughout those 17 years, Cub became a
caring, thinking, positive human being. Cub knew the entertainment
part but Doc helped him realize life as a positive to base his life
Many morning and evening phone calls, between Doc and myself, helped
me get through my loss. Somedays he was the only reason I stayed.
Now all of us must continue on without our beloved, gentle (but firm,
when needed), friend. A true giant, above all in this business. You
will forever be missed and loved. The footsteps you have left are
large and deep.
Be well and know that I feel honored to be able to call you my friend.
The memories will forever remain and I will keep the stories alive.
can see my best friend, Doc Cavalier, clearly. The little things in
life (making an electric guitar "sound like the bowels of a dinosaur;"
listening to roughs of "Turn" and "Heart of Stone"
in a parking lot in Rockland, Maine; watching the Wolf's home movies)
were imbued with wonderful and deep meaning when Doc was there. He
took me deeper into the music, showed me how to survive (and how to
help others survive) in a nearly impossible profession, and he taught
me how to be a best friend.
nearly every person’s life, there are but a few about whom one cannot
think of the living world existing without those particular people
simply being there.
By comparison, consider a large, emotionally spreading and beautiful
tree that has stood for ages. You’ve seen this tree all your life.
It’s outside the realm of conscious thought or concern that you’ll
pass by and not see that tree in its familiar place; its shape and
structure so magnificent that it doesn’t matter what the season of
the year is, but that the tree is there. Its grace of form and majesty
of presence is a constant reminder of the fineness that is in our
world. Whether you are there where the tree is, or simply seeing it
in your mind’s eye, you know it is there, and you see the tree framed
by everything around it: long blades of grass at its base, and the
clouds moving behind it as they form and change across the beauty
of the sky blue mind.
If we pass that way one day and see that a storm or some inconceivable
power has knocked the tree over, we might feel as though we’ve forever
lost some small part of our world as we know it; the world we’ve become
so used to. The loss of that one perfect spot in our world can only
live on in our memories, but by doing so, the tree endures forever,
at least for us.
It is fortunate then, that Tom Cavalier is such a perfect part of
the world in which we live. Those lucky enough to have known him as
“Doc” means that they were either family, a very close friend, or
part of the world of Music in which he spent and devoted his life.
Music, in all its forms is a singular element of beauty that adds
to life’s experience. Music has the unique ability to “lift us up”
as living beings. Ugliness drags the world down, so music becomes
all the more important as a sustaining influence. In his work with
those who created music, Doc became one of those magnificent and necessary
entities that our world can never get enough of. He is simply….there.
To think of the world as it is without him would not have seemed to
be a conscious thought or concern. It’s the reason why the human emotion
of sadness and loss threaten to overcome us to think that Doc is gone.
There is however, one great difference between Doc Cavalier and the
noble tree of this story.
When the great tree falls, eventually it is consumed by the earth
in the place where it stood, and only those who beheld its stateliness
will long remember it.
The music that Doc Cavalier created with fellow musicians past and
present, covering the globe, endures. We marveled at its stunning
effect on our souls when we heard all that he was a part of making
the first time. We’re fortunate to be able to have it now and forever,
so that we can embrace the experience again, and more, to offer that
same mystifying and extraordinary sensation to all who are to come
Music, after all, does “lift us up.” It’s sad indeed to think of saying
goodbye to our friend, but we’re left with unending reasons to smile
at remembering the great gifts he left behind for us now, and
for everyone yet to pass through the world. His life, his work, and
the place in which he stood, will live on and not be consumed by the
earth. Doc gives us a reason to celebrate, and anytime we wish to
merely think of him, he is there, with us, in many places at the same
instant; for there are many who live in all parts of the world who
will think of Doc with love and gratitude always. For each of us who
think of him in the same instant, he is there with us all, in that
very same moment; that infectious smile, the sound of his voice, the
charm and elegance that is this man, is there always. We have lost
nothing at all then. His gift of music is ours forever, to lift each
of us up as we live on.
Who among us could ever ask to be able to do more for our friends
while we live?
With Love and Thanks from
Bruce Alan Manke
Film, Video, and Music Editor
[back to top]
Doc really understood the spirit of rock and roll. I first met
him in 1977 at the height of the Punk/New Wave movement. I was
living in NYC but kept meeting all these incredible CT writers and
musicians like GE Smith, Roger C. Reale, Hilly Michaels, Van Duren,
Cub Coda, all the while wondering, "Where'd these guys come from?"
You could trace all of them back to Doc at one time or another.
And who better to have as a studio/record company owner at that time
of rock and roll rebirth than a guy like Doc, who was around for the
first wave, the initial birth of rock and roll, exemplified by his
close friendship with the Chess brothers and Sam Philips to name a
few. Doc knew the spirit of rock and roll. He could recognize
that: "je ne sais quoi," that sets a true artist above
was honored to have met Doc in April of 2003 when we decided to record
our second CD at Trod Nossel Studios. A recording wiz is
the best way to describe him. >From the first minute we met I felt
so at home and so comfortable. His suggestions as to how we should
record our high energy blues CD were right on the money. It was
the most relaxing session I've ever done, and truly his presence was
a driving force in us wanting to put out the best we could.
Truly a giant, and a great man. You'll be missed.
I met Doc for the first time on the day I was hired as Vice President
of Sales at J-Bird Records. I had been sitting with Jay Barbieri (then
president of the label) that morning and he suggested that I attend
a music seminar designed to attract new artists to the label. He told
me that the seminar was being held that afternoon at Trod Nossel studios
up in Wallingford and that Doc Cavalier was the studio owner and a
major contributor to J-Bird. I had (at the time…) quite literally
NO idea what to expect.
My background had been in retail and wholesale music operations and
I had not been involved on the “Label” side of things before. That
said, I knew what it took to market music products in the stores and
to the consumers and I knew what I would be looking for from a label
from that perspective (ie: retail). So my position seemed a natural
fit, having been a retail buyer, now I was going back to the retail
buyers being able to speak their language while selling in the label
I arrived at the studio somewhat early, and met Doc for the first
time. Admittedly I was a bit taken aback by his “gruff exterior”,
but almost immediately found a kindred spirit in Doc, both of us with
a love of music and a level of integrity that could be shared. Both
of us, with only brief conversation explored each others backgrounds
and stories and I immediately found (although I didn’t realize it
in these terms at the time) a mentor.
Doc made it easy to be around him, He was comfortable enough in himself
and that made others around him comfortable being there. …..
So the Seminar started and there may have been about 25 to 40 people
in the studio that day. Dave Rager was the Head of A&R for JBird
and these seminars were his domain. Dave had set this up and had advertised
the event in local papers and guitar shops, etc.I, therefore, was
not expecting to have to speak to the crowd, as the event was specifically
designed for the artists, discussions on contracts, the Internet,
etc….all of which I was unfamiliar with and unfamiliar with JBird
policies, contracts, etc…after all it was literally my first day.
Well as it turned out…Dave Rager was ineffective at best.
Doc introduced us both….and Dave took over, it being his event. After
Dave was done and no one had any questions…Doc asked me to say a few
words…..Whoa…Wait a minute…what does he mean say a few words…..ummm…….I
So I did….I talked about my background in retail and wholesale music
distribution, talked about retail accounts, opportunities, and what
I thought I brought to the Label.
Doc said I did really well, and that it was refreshing to have a music
person in the JBird mix. It took about 7 years and several really
challenging issues to really understand what he REALLY meant that
So the JBird saga began and Doc was always there as an advisor, mentor,
friend and confidant. There is no way I could have or ever will be
able to repay his kindness…..sometimes it came in the form of “Tough
Love” (those who knew him, know what I mean) other times it was a
genuine affection of kindred spirits, jovial, and deeply connected.
As the label grew, Doc was one of the first to congratulate me on
success and there were times when he was the only one to do so. When
there were “failures” he never placed blame, but rather asked if I
(or we as the case may be) had learned anything from it. We sometimes
disagreed, we sometimes argued as I had to “tow the company line”
with him once in a while, yet those times were few and far between.
Still I found an eerie sense of wanting his approval, his friendship,
his acknowledgment and Doc had become more of a father-figure to me
than I had realized. Much more so than the people I worked with on
a daily basis.
It may have been borne out of our love of music, our respect for the
creative expression that came from one’s soul, the artistry which
we both wove into our business and the artists/performers wove into
I guess for both of us, our business and our reason for being in the
“business” of music was to write songs using the “business” as our
template, so our creative output was the Label, the studio, the consulting
business, etc as opposed to a “song”…it really was a song of sorts.
As time wore on in the JBird saga, Doc taught me more about the difference
between right & wrong, intent and actual outcome, consent, action,
fairness, ….and frankly….taught me more about my own inner strength
and my own place in my own world, than I ever learned from my own
parents! (Yeah I know there are too many “my own” phrases in that
sentence…yet Doc was all about that….being very spiritual, he was
about “having a place in the world, being here for a reason, Life
Lessons….things don’t just Happen, we create them, etc.).
I won’t go into any further detail here, but suffice it to say that
when I got afraid - I went to Doc, when I was angry - I went to Doc,
when I was afflicted – I went to Doc, ….Let’s just put it this way…He
was the only one to call me “Bobby” and the only one I allowed to.
I s’pose I could go on for days here, about Doc. That said, the truth
of it is…I’ll go on for my lifetime about Doc, because he was an important
individual in my life. I respected him, I believed in him, I cared
for him, I trusted him, I loved him and while his physical presence
will be missed, his spiritual presence has only gotten stronger.
There are no goodbyes here, because now I can talk to him without
Doc inspired me to obtain my own studio and to this day I treat whomever
comes into my studio with smiles and respect. Trod Nossel was
the only studio where I never smelled, saw or found drugs or alcohol.
That is the way I have it in my studio. Good vibes bring good
music -- Just like "Poppa Doc!"
excited young starstruck Drummer with a hot local band walks into
a state of the art recording facility in Wallingford CT. 'Trod Nossel'
and meets, 'Doc' Cavalier. He was the coolest, hip-est cat, and his
ear and ideas for putting the early 70's wave of Rock Music onto vinyl
was right on the money. I remember wanting to hang out there with
him all summer, Doc and the studio surroundings was inspiring, and
things were a buzz.... I'll never forget his comment to our manager,
and the producer after a grueling all day session, Doc walks in and
says "That's the f'..n take.... that drumtrack is really cookin'.......The
man knew it, when he heard it.........and I loved him for it.
few words about my friend, "Doc" Cavalier. I met Doc around
1966 when Brad Davis brought me up to Syncron Sound Studios to do
a recording for the Brad Davis Show. From that day on, we became good
friends and business associates. Doc taught and advised me about every
aspect of the music industry, never once charging me a fee!
But the thing I remember most about Doc was our fishing trips together.
There was something about fishing that relaxed us and brought out
a side of his personality that most people did not see. We spent many
hours driving to Rhode Island and fishing off the beaches and then,
later on, on our boats. During these times we escaped the everyday
pressures of the music business. Fishing to us was a drug. We could
never get enough of it. We also shared these special times with Doc's
sons, Tommy and Robby.
I will always remember the joy and happiness Doc brought into my life.
Doc was one of the hippest cats to ever walk the planet. My memory
of him, the bad ass shades and pack of shermans will always be in
my soul. To have known him was to love him.
I miss him very, very much.
think in so many ways we all owe a thank you to Doc.
Sometimes I didn't realize it until I was out somewhere on the road
in the states or in Europe, far far away from home and our little
support groups we all build up locally..and weird playing situations
would arise and I heard an old familiar voice in my head telling me
how to handle it.
--Jon Puhl/Dean Guitarsfirstname.lastname@example.org (Guitarist, The Nelsen
Adelard Band) [back
ILX Resorts, Inc., 4/12/05, Sedona, Arizona
awareness of the visionary, Doc Cavalier, came while I was in my teens
and my close friends, Victor Mattson, Bob Sheean, and Sal Manzi were
active, significant participants in the regional music scene.
Unfortunately, I'm in Sedona, Arizona on a long-booked vacation and
I sadly can't attend the evening acknowledging the great effect Doc
had on people - both musically and spiritually.
from my friendships and relationships with talented musicians, and
the performance memories of talent at Cafe Nine, Doc Cavalier's name
and Trod Nossel Studios recognition were always on our peoples' lips,
spoken of with respect and appreciation!!
wife and I are saddened by not being able to attend but proud of the
fact that we knew him. We send our love and respect to you all
and also our prayers for peace and closure from a grieving perspective.
My first memory of Doc was in 1969 when I was about 16. I attended
his Pop Music Seminar, at the studio. After that, all I wanted to
do was work in a studio. I also heard Doc¹s productions of The Shags
and Bramm Rigg Set on the radio and loved them. After trade school
I actually landed a job with Doc and Bill Lobb, then chief engineer,
at $20 a week, doing errands and cleaning. Fast forward a few years,
and I then became chief engineer.
To cut to the chase, I believe Doc¹s greatest contribution to us all
was the stability and safety he brought to our professions. He was
honest all the way and refused to compromise that. His dedication
to artists, especially his own, was unmatched by anyone I have ever
Another thing-we all know the personality type that smiles at you
but has a knife behind their back.....you know, things start going
wrong and you can't spot why? This type tends to attach itself to
artists. Well, he had the ability to spot this type a mile away and
promptly blow them out of the water. I¹ve been up close for a few
of those and you could feel the explosion. I wish someday soon we
could all do that!
I was amazed that he left his established profession (dentistry) in
one day so he could buy the studio and manage his artists, but that
was his style-100% dedication, and he expected the same out of those
around him. A few typical Doc stories......
Recently a major blues artist in L.A. was talking about "Doc¹s
Rock¹n¹Roll boot camp", which consisted of daily 8-hour rehearsals,
band meetings and last-minute gigs.
He was an expert in the business side of music, to say the least.
I watched him perform the seemingly impossible task of undoing a 30
year old contract, resulting in payment to the artist of close to
1/4 million dollars. And some of us know the very famous producer/manager
of that very famous band? Well, Doc was chosen to manage his business.
As a producer, he was equal to the best, and he taught things to the
best, as well. He always had a vision in mind and stuck to it. His
productions were always about getting a quality result, with no compromises
because of time or money.
When it was just the two of us running the studio long ago, we both
decided we needed some physical improvement, so he came up with a
new diet from somewhere or other, which was bananas and grape juice
and nothing else......so about 10 days into that I drove up one morning,
and was greeted with Doc giving me the crazed horror-movie look through
his front window..it was hilarious! Humor was never absent, and I¹m
still using some of the jokes he told.
Another story-one Friday afternoon the rack of hard drives went down
and we were faced with a weekend of full bookings coming up and no
hard drives. It looked to me like we were cooked, because the hard
drive company was huge, and why would they care about us? Well, he
got on the phone, and 15 minutes later came back and said we would
have a new hard drive rack at 10AM Saturday shipped Fedex, at no charge
to us, with apologies for our problems!
A lot of people owe a share of their success to Doc, including me.
He was the glue that kept us together when we thought we were going
to fall apart.
This scratches the surface of what could be said about Doc, and to
sum up, he always operated at cause with pure intention, and really
got the job done, whatever it was.
Richard P. Robinson
from Los Angeles, CA
March 2005 [back
Joan and I want to extend our condolences to you on this very
occasion. We always had the highest regard for Doc, as the following
I have always admired a man who had the strength and the courage to
"dream his dream." To do what one loves is a special gift
from God that
few people ever realize, and Doc certainly acheived his dream in this
To have shared a true love is indeed a gift from God that few of us
Blessed to receive, and you and Doc certainly shared that joy.
Doc also played a big part in shaping Howard both musically, and
personally, and Joan and I are very grateful to him for his faith
only his talent - but in his soul as well.
There are two closing thoughts that I would like to share.... Doc's
is in transition to his Heavenly Abode, where he will be greeted by
family members that have already passed on. His Soul and spirit will
never be far from you, and he will watch over you until it is your
- when he will meet you again.
"Go rest high on that mountain, Son your work on Earth is done,
Heaven a-shoutin, For the Father and the Son" --Vince
My name is Bob Lacey, I was once known as Bobby Schlosser when
I sang in one of Doc's bands. Beau Segal e-mailed me this week to
tell me about Doc's passing. I can't tell you how many times I thought
of him over the years. He was one of the most unique persons I've
ever met, and after thirty years in radio and tv I've met a few.
When my girlfriend and I once were pulled into the North Haven jail
for the crime of being16 and alone late at night in a house, it was
Doc I called, not my own father to get me out. For a couple of years
he was as close to a father figure as I had.
I still quote him decades later. I can still see his warm, sad eyes
and the wry smile that would appear when one of the overly confident
teenage boys he used to handle (often me) would say some bombastic
comment about another band or a dump we were playing. I remember one
night when Beau, the guys and I took the stage at The Sherry Shack
wth our new Superbeatle amps and new Hammond B3 organ, we were so
puffed up about ourselves we barley acknowledged the crowd. Later
Doc said to me "When you took the stage you sent one message,'WE
ARE HERE.' " I undersood what he was saying. Without nagging
or ordering, in a handful of words he cautioned several young men
about their ridiculous arrogance.
I wrote Beau a long e-mail about my life in Charlotte and my last
meeing wih Doc nine years ago. If he wouln't mind, and you would like
to read it, I'll send it to you. My web site is Bobandsheri.com. You
can pick me up mornings on a station out of Long Island. The station
is on the web site. Last Tuesday I devoted a segment to Doc, and friendships lost
for so many reasons. Lost perhaps, but not forgotten. He was
one of those rare persons you never forget.
My thoughts are with you.
TEXT OF LETTER TO BEAU SEGAL:
Dear Beau, About a month ago I was driving home and some station played
Chuck Berry's "Nadine." I had not heard the song in years,
and for a few minutes I allowed myself to slip through the doors of
The Sherry Shack, a roadhouse on the New York State line, and The
House of Zodiac. I saw your red drum kit, The Hammond B3, Peter Neri's
comforting smile and a dark figure in the doorway holding a brown
cigarette. The sad eyes, the almost claymation features. I wondered
for a moment if he was still alive. Now, thanks to your e-mail, I
have the answer.
I will tell you a story that only you can fully appreciate. Eight
or nine years ago I went to New Haven to see Geoff, and frankly, take
a look at the old home town. I had a lobster roll in Old Lyme, walked
around Yale, saw my father's name on a new WW ll monument
in Hamden, stopped by the Oakdale, and while killing time waiting
for Geoff, decided to see if Syncron was still there. It had
been twenty years since I had been there or spoken to Doc.
I kept driving around that crappy neighborhood, mad at myself for
letting the years dim my memory of the exact location. Finally I pulled
up to a plain, boxey building with no signs adorning it. I walked
up to the door and saw a small note which read, If you are taking
or carrying any kind of drugs, please go away. Thank you, Trod Nossel
I opened the door and stepped into the lobby area, which had been
paneled. The old Hurculon couches we used to smoke dope on, were
replaced by leather. I remembered Doc's office was to the left and
down a short hall. "Hello, anybody here?" Nothing.
I heard soft operatic music playing. I had not seen this guy in two
decades, was he still here? Was that sign just an old warning? I
turned into the office at the end of the hall and there, in a room
with black walls, behind a desk, sat Dr. Thomas J. Cavalier.
He greeted me with these words,"Well, where the fuck
have you been?"
I laughed out loud. The perfect comment shot with masterful
timing, from a true eccentic. We talked for an hour, telling
each other what was going on with our careers, and as I hugged
him good-bye we promised to stay in touch. I gave him my address and
phone number, both of us knowing he would never call or write. Both
of us knowing we would never see each other again. I will
continue to miss him, or at least my 16 year old boy's image of
a man who gave up medicine to manage some kids rock bands. You gotta
love a guy who paints his house black to piss off the neighbors.
Bobby Schlosser Damon Roby Lacey
Lead singer, The Bram Rigg Set
[back to top]
Doc Cavalier was Rock & Roll.
Scuffed, energized, cool, proud, midnight,
tough, inspiring, serious, solid, to the fucking point,
beautiful, unflinching, real Rock & Roll.
Doc, you're aces in a world of duces . . . you will be missed.
I remember meeting Doc for the first time, in his cluttered, dark
little office with just that one light over his desk (was it a stained
glass swag light?), floor to ceiling shelves with tax reference books,
business books, tapes, etc. All you could see was his mouth smoking
a long, dark cigarette. He had dark glasses too, you couldn't see
his eyes. His phone would buzz. "Edie, Get me Andrew in
London" The couch was so low to the ground we had to look up
at him. I'd been dropping off tapes for Bob Lucibello at the Oxford
Ale house for months with no reply, wouldn't take my phone calls,
etc. I finally resorted to going down there with a casette tape player! Still
no response. When I mentioned this to Doc, he picked up the phone..
"Edie, get "Bobby" Lucibello on the phone"
5 minutes later were booked for the first of many legendary "Ladies
Nights" at the Oxford. Ok what next? he said. Equipment?
"Edie, get me Joe Bruno from Bank of New Haven". Instantly,
we had a $5,000 loan for equipment on Doc's phone call.
I was a starving karate teacher, Jerry worked at a nursing home (changing
bedpans) Bob B. and Mike collected unemployment checks, Bob E. was
otherwise unemployed. Steve was in a local Orange, CT band
called Greasy Fred, that had just broken up. The first thing Doc said
was "OK you're all professional entertainers as of right now". "You...Go
call the nursing home and give your notice". "You guys...You've
picked up your last unemployment check." I want a cassette tape
on my desk every Monday with at least one original song. Next he set
us up with health insurance, credit union, bookeeping, taxes. It was
the most exciting day of my life!
Then I saw the rehearsal barn. We all remember the barn, no heat!
no lights! "Raise Your Level" he would say. But Doc, it's
freezing out there! "You're a recording artist now! Get out there
and get to work! "There was heat; that little gas furnace,
there was light; a bare light bulb. The barn was like something
out of the twilight zone. Through the cobwebs you could barely make
out what used to be recording studio. Dusty old mike-stands, boxes,
electronic equipment with "Synchron" stenciled on it.
A glass window to what was once the control room. It was a scary
place. If you were real quiet, you could almost hear the faint
sounds of 1960's bands like the Shaggs, the Worlocks,
the Wildweeds or the Bram Rigg Set.
Then there were the gigs. You'd go from Tuesday $.25 draft beer nights
at Toads, to the Arcadia Ball (brawl) room (disco sucks) to the Grange
Hall in Uncasville, to Club 69 in Danileson. Courtesy of Johnny Parris.
When I first hear that name I thought, no... there can't really be
guy named Johnny Parris. Johnny was great! He had a great soul voice.
He sat in for Mustang Sally or Midnight Hour or something and
us and showed me how to work a crowd. In July 1978 B. Willie had 28
out of 31 days booked. I remember playing two college gigs the same
day on a spring weekend. Then there were cancellations, no-pay
nights. Driving four hours to "Deposit" New York to play
for 4 people. Driving 6 hours in a blizzard to Great Gorge New Jersey
and not getting paid. (we were two hours late) New Years Eve in New
Milford, Connecticut the night after a shooting in front of the club,
complete with chalk-marks and blood! Monday night in Portsmouth, R.I.
because the "Tall Ships" were in! (Mark Flash). "There'
will be banners everywhere". Every Tuesday, one summer in Cape
May New Jersey playing BEHIND a boat-shaped bar with a Louis Prima
clone band. An election night gig when the cadidate lost!
When we'd get discouraged, he told us about Paul Ossola coming in
with the Want-Ads looking for a job. "You guys are professional
entertainers, he'd say. You need to think like professionals, Raise
Your Level, Write more songs!" "Stay out of the clubs
on your nights off, let them think your working somewhere else".
"Dress and act like entertainers. Don't look like you just walked
in off the street".
Create a "Vibe" a "Mystique". When refering to
myself as a musician, he said "You're not a musician, you're
an Entertainer, People don't come to hear your music, they come
to SEE you play your music. Always give them your best! You never
know who'll be in that crowd. "Sting them...then tickle
their balls!" (he really said that) ..
"Don't ever forget, its a privilege to be on stage!"
Many years ago, Doc taught me to be ethical, how to look someone
in the eye, how to communicate, and confront. I'm basically a very
timid person, but I actually was able to run recording sessions, to
handle all that kind of chaos because of what I learned from Doc.
Some of that came from Scientology, but even without that I think
Doc would have still brought these qualities forth in the people
around him. But I basically learned how to function as a human being
because of the times I spent working around Doc. This was all
around the time of Big Sound Records. That was when I came up with
Jon Tiven. Well, I don't associate with him anymore. Those days I
was so green, I just wanted to work in a studio, and there I
was! Right out of my basement!
The very first time I came to meet Doc, Jon and I were going
to the studio to interview Andrew Oldham. Of course, I've always been
in awe of Andrew's work with the Stones and the Small Faces,
etc., but my first impression at the studio was not Andrew, but the
awesome experience of walking into the control room and hearing
a new recording in progress of the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everyody
Else" (a rare b-side at the time). I knew I was in the right
place just from hearing that song.
Every thing Doc did was done to better the individual. He always had
time to take you in his office, close the door, and talk out your
problems. Sometimes people thought he was hard on them. He was. But
it was all for a good reason. Doc saw the potential in each individual,
and he wanted to bring it out to the front. He tried to solve things.
He was always there for you. He let me work in his studio, a total
novice at the time, and he trusted me to work with his Artists. He
didn't care who I was, where I came from, etc. There was no ego-trip.
He saw a kid with some talent, and a lot of problems and immaturity
that he could help grow. He taught me professionalism. If I made a
mistake he came down hard. I don't remember the anguish now, I remember
it all as a good experience; the part of my life where I learned
to grow and cope. I was around other similar people, all with great
talent, and some with problems, too. Working with Doc was learning
to survive. What a teacher!
I just heard "No Good To Cry" on the radio yesterday.. That
is such a perfect record. I know Doc made many perfect records, and
it doesn't matter if they were the biggest hits or not. What matters
is the way Doc made our lives better. Although I have many regrets
that my professional career in recording never (as yet) really took
off, I feel I took a better path just experiencing things the way
I did, because of the values I learned from Doc. Maybe those qualities
are incompatible with the record industry itself. Real pop music is
void of any honesty, feeling, or truth anymore. What I'm trying to
say is, if I had entered the music business directly without kowing
Doc Cavalier, I probably would have been a casualty of the entertainment
world by now. I'd rather be where I am now, with what I've gained
through my experiences, than be a rich, uncaring super-producer right
Although I never got to spend any appreciable amount of time with
Doc, I wished I could thank him for helping Doug to be the person
he is today - a sensitive, kind and generous man who believes deeply
in right and wrong and in treating people with respect. I know Doc
helped him to bring those emotions from deep within himself to the
surface, and it is that for which I will be forever grateful to him.
Doc saw a kid with talent, and helped to nurture that talent, but
even more than that, he was able to nurture the individual person
to heights that not too many seem to reach today. He brought out the
honesty, integrity and spirit that Doug holds true to each and everyday.
It was through Doc that I was able to meet and fall in love with a
man who I truly respect and admire. There aren't a lot of teachers
out there who can do that for someone, but Doc had the touch. I'm
only sorry I wasn't able to thank him before he left us. In my heart,
I think he realized how much he's done for people. He truly was a
master at his craft - that of human nature.
frequented Doc's studio in the late 60's and early to mid 70's on
into the 80's.
Dan Zellman did our first projects in the 60's and Richie Robinson
took over engineering in the 70's. We did many, many projects
in "the studio."
The one that hit was a group called "Beggars Opera" changed
to Beggars. We did a song called "Shady Rosy" in 1971.
It was a natural. One time through for tracking, one guitar
solo overdub, one vocal track and one double of the vocal track.
It was all over mixed and mastered in four hours.
My brother John Solak released it under his "Creative Artists"
label. It became the most played jukebox hit in the history
of New York to that time. We knew the guy who owned all the
jukes and he gave all us all the figures.
"Brother Louie" was a #1 national hit at the same, and they
negotiated with John to release "Shady Rosy." The
deal never happened but it is still played to this day.
I loved Doc. You could talk to him anytime of the day or night.
He never seemed to sleep. One day he'd call at 7am just to say hi
and then the same night, maybe he'd call at 2 am, just 'cuz he thought
of something I might wanna hear about. I just can't imagine this world
without him...I miss you, Doc!
There was a time
you could go to New Haven on any night of the week and see three or
four different bands. It was an incredible, creative scene and Doc
Cavalier owned it. Everyone playing around at that time yearned to
somehow be associated with Doc and Trod Nossel. I was fortunate enough
to play with some of the bands he managed. He was a mentor to me.
He was one of the most caring individuals I have ever met. I
am a better person for having known him and honored to have been able
to call him my friend. I’ll miss him.
I can't tell you how much this show is going to mean to me, to
all of us. The life I led in the ten years that Doc was my manager
is the foundation of the disposition that ha kept me feeling young
even as the calendar reminds me it isn't so. We were all so
close for so long. To look back and realize that thirty years
have passed since I went out on my own is a staggering thought.
Having lost contact with so many dear friends I had been accustomed
to seeing on a daily basis, I can hardly wait to see everyone.
Such a pity that this is the only way we all could be together again.
Doc (and Rudy) would have loved this.
THE SHAGS AND DOC CAVALIER – A LIFETIME ASSOCIATION
The Shags’ drummer, Johnny Tangredi, worked at the
Jewish Community Center’s Health Club on Chapel Street (now the Yale
Art School building) where Thomas “Doc” Cavalier was a daily member.
At one point, Doc asked Johnny why he wore his hair so long and Johnny
told him he was in a local band called “The Shags” and that we had
a regional hit record out. Johnny asked Doc if he wanted to come see
the band play sometime and Doc said OK.
At about the same time, we had parted ways with our
first manager, Sam Goldman, over the direction our music should take
and also our band image. So we were looking for someone to do the
booking and personal management. Carl Augusto (lead guitar and vocals)
and I had already decided on our musical direction, which included
originals as well as plenty of British and American rock and roll,
rockabilly, blues and soul. So “Doc” miraculously walked in at precisely
the right time to take the helm as business manager for a rock band,
something with which he had zero experience but plenty of enthusiasm.
When he first came to one of our gigs (I think it was
a high school dance in New Haven), he was dressed in a gray sharkskin
suit, tie, wore his black hair closely-cropped, sported shiny black
leather shoes smoking a cigarette and wearing – what else? – shades.
What he saw were five teenagers dressed in 3-piece pinstripe suits
playing Beatles and Rolling Stones covers in a room packed with screaming
teenaged girls. I remember watching him smile at what he saw so I
had to assume that either he was either pleased with what he observed
in the room or he thought we were a joke.
History proved the former was what Doc felt – and after
a brief introduction by Johnny, we sat and huddled with Doc. He said
he’d be happy to manage us if we would teach him about the music and
recording business, and in return, he would apply his business acumen
– and that other intangible thing he possessed, called “charm” – to
make us successful. Throughout the entire meeting, he smiled, he laughed
with us, he was genuine, warm and sincere, and we were convinced we’d
made a great selection in Doc. Thus began The Shags’ association with
Doc, and all that followed: Dee Dean, Aries Productions Ltd., Linesider
Publishing (named after his beloved Bertram yacht), Taurus Records
(his first label named after his astrological sign), Syncron Sound
Studios (later renamed “Trod Nossel Studios” after a character created
by Lance Gardner, The Shags’ third bass player), Tom-Tom Productions
(his first production company in association with me), Cameo-Parkway
Recording Studios in Philadelphia (where The Shags recorded “When
I Get Home” and “It’s In His Kiss/The Shoop-Shoop Song”), Kayden Records,
ATCO Records, General Artists Corporation (the booking agency that
also booked The Beatles: Doc convinced them to also book The Shags!!)
Walter Hofer Associates (the law firm for The Beatles and, because
Doc asked them, for The Shags also!) and many recording sessions and
gigs throughout the Northeast.
The Shags watched the Cavalier family grow. When we
began our association with Doc, Robbie wasn’t yet born. Cheryl Ann
used to come to gigs with Doc and was our #1 fan. Tommy used to bang
on Johnny’s drums at rehearsals. Darlene would sit on his lap while
we played “Hey Little Girl.” And we watched the Cavalier kids grow
up into fine young men and women who now have a special place in Connecticut’s
music business as the brains behind Trod Nossel Studios.
Doc was a generous man with a heart of gold and he
took out a loan for the money to purchase a pair of Vox AC-100 amps
and a Vox bass “coffin” amp, the first ones ever used in Connecticut.
He set up financing for a 1956 Cadillac hearse that we used to haul
equipment, followed by a 1958 Cadillac limousine and, later, a 1964
Ford Econoline extended van to haul even MORE equipment (at one time,
we hauled around a Hammond B3 with a full-size Leslie cabinet, 2 AC-100s,
1 Vox “coffin” bass amp, a complete theater-sized PA, drums, guitars
and accessories). Doc made contacts in the entertainment business
like no one else could at that time and booked us in places we never
thought we’d ever play in: The Oakdale Theater (4 shows as opening
acts for the biggest bands of the day – Paul Revere and The Raiders,
Chad and Jeremy, and The Byrds -- as well as our own show as headliners
with The Bluebeats); The Bushnell (with Danny Thomas, Simon and Garfunkel,
The Critters, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Five Satins and more); Kennedy
Stadium in Bridgeport (we opened for the Righteous Brothers); Yale’s
Woolsey Hall (we opened for Leslie Gore and Chubby Checker); and the
New Haven Arena (we opened for The Young Rascals and Peter & Gordon).
Doc saw the value of owning his own recording studio
and so he bought Syncron and renamed it Trod Nossell to begin a new
career in music and recording but also to provide The Shags with a
private rehearsal space and our own recording studio, not unlike George
Martin and Brian Epstein did for The Beatles, because Doc also saw
in us the potential to be as big as The Beatles in the U.S. and he
told us that many times. “Reach higher, go longer, do the very best
that you can” were his watchwords. He was never satisfied with the
first take or the first mix – we worked on songs until they were polished.
Together, Doc and I produced all of The Shags’ sessions and that partnership
lasted for almost 5 years.
At some point in time, Carl and I felt that The Shags
had become stale, had exhausted their potential and needed to cease
performing. We went and talked to Doc about it and he agreed with
us, but only if that was joint our decision, but suggested we talk
to Bennett Segal, the Bram Rigg Set’s drummer, who was feeling the
same thing about his group. Doc was guiding us as a mentor, showing
us the way to make decisions, but he wanted us to be fair to one another.
Segal agreed with Carl and I and we formed the nucleus of a band that
came to be known as Pulse: the original lineup was me, Carl, Bennett,
Peter Neri, Rich Bednarczyk, Paul Rosanno and Lance Gardner. And we
wanted Doc to be our manager for this venture as well, as he had also
taken the Bram Rigg Set under his wing. The original name was “The
Pulse of Burritt Bradley,” which appears as the name of the band that
sang the bubble-gum pop song we released on ATCO – Can Can Girl –
with Wildweeds’ Al Anderson’s mother’s voice scolding us in the bridge
(“You should have told me before!”). I remained in Pulse for about
a year, and we recorded a series of songs that varied in style from
Cream-like tomes to country and blues. I left in 1969 to pursue other
interests, later reforming The Shags and then creating Key West Trio
to perform covers of music by Jimmy Buffett and The Beach Boys.
But I stayed in touch with Doc, and whenever I had
a question about copyrights or publishing, I’d call him and we’d talk
about the good old days. And they were – good old days that
I’ll treasure and remember forever, days that I’ll call upon whenever
I need to recall the experiences we shared with Doc. There were times
we disagreed and times we got mad at each other, but in the end, he
was a special guy, a character all his own, and one that I won’t ever
forget. God bless him, his family and his achievements in life and