Dino Danelli (born 23 July 1944, Jersey City, New Jersey) is best known as an original member and the drummer in the rock group, The Rascals. He has been called "one of the great unappreciated rock drummers in history."
A jazz drummer by training, Danelli had played with Lionel Hampton and (by 1961) was playing R&B in New Orleans. He returned to New York in 1962 with a band called Ronnie Speeks & the Elrods. He also worked at times with such legendary performers as Little Willie John. Danelli met Eddie Brigati (a pickup singer on the local R&B circuit), and Felix Cavaliere (a classically trained pianist) in 1963. Later that year, Danelli and Cavaliere traveled to Las Vegas to try their luck with a casino house band. They remained there until early 1964, but then ventured back to New York City.
In late 1964, Danelli teamed with Cavaliere, Brigati and a Canadian-born guitarist named Gene Cornish to form the Rascals. Cavaliere and Danelli traveled to Las Vegas in January 1965 to back up singer Sandu Scott, but returned to NYC in February. That month they debuted with the Rascals at the Choo Choo Club in Garfield, New Jersey.
In addition to playing drums (before Cavaliere and Brigati began composing original music), Danelli and Cavaliere often scouted new repertory that the group could perform. In a 1988 interview, he cited their trips to record stores as yielding such songs as "Mustang Sally" and "Good Lovin'." He was with the Rascals' for seven years (1965–72).
Along with Cornish, Danelli formed the group Bulldog in 1972 and they produced two albums before disbanding in 1975. Danelli joined the Leslie West Band for a short time along with bassist Busta Cherry Jones, formerly of Gang of Four. Danneli and Cornish then joined the group Fotomaker in 1978 (initially with ex-Raspberries member Wally Bryson). By 1980, Danelli joined Steven Van Zandt as a member of Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul.
After performing with Cavaliere and Cornish at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert on May 14, 1988, there was a short-lived Rascals reunion tour later that year without Brigati. All four original members came together to perform at their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and then once again on April 24, 2010 for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund dinner at the Tribecka Grill in Greenwich Village, New York City.
He is currently reunited with his band-mates. The Rascals appeared at the Capital Theater in Port Chester, NY for six shows in December 2012 and for fifteen dates at the Richard Rogers Theatre on Broadway (April 15-May 5, 2013). Their current production, entitled 'Once Upon A Dream’, is currently touring North America (Toronto, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit, Rochester, and New York City). It is produced by long-time Rascals' fans, Steven Van Zandt and his wife Maureen.
In 1999, Danelli produced a series of tracks for New York singer-songwriter Roxanne Fontana, which were released as an album entitled Love Is Blue on Etoile Records.
He is also a visual artist, based at DinoDanelliArt.com, and has designed album covers for The Rascals and Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul.
Dino Danelli Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 2.