David Cassidy

Interview by Dennis Morgillo

Interview with David Cassidy
by Dennis Morgillo

The legendary David Cassidy is out on the road and doing an up close and personal tour. 
I first saw David Cassidy at his famous NYC Madison Square Garden Show in 1972. It was a magical night, I was 7 years old and my older sister took me as I was a big fan of the Partridge Family TV show.  Life has made many twists and turns for all of us since then. I followed the Punk Rock path along with the Ramones and took many other musical journeys, but I always admired David Cassidy and had many great memories. I never thought I was too cool for David, and if you think you are too cool, well you are NOT! 


Madhouse: I just wanted to start off the conversation here with the fact that, your concert was the first concert I ever went to back in 1972, Madison Square Garden, my sister took me and it was a great show and I still have the full color booklet here in my hands.
David Cassidy: Aw man that is so cool, thank you, I genuinely appreciate when people tell me stories like you just told me I am very inspired and I am glad you enjoyed that.  I remember that day vividly cause my parents lived in West Orange and my grandfather came to see me, it was his first and only time he got to see me perform before he passed away and I spent my early days from the time I was 5 to 11 living with them and my mom, after my mom and dad we separated, divorced, and I went to grammar school in West Orange and moved to California when I was 11 so I have a lot of great memories and that one in particular because my dad also came, Shirley also came so I’m glad you were there man!

Madhouse: I want to get to know the Rock n’ Roll side of David Cassidy and for example I have the Partridge family “Sound Magazine” album here and on the back they have your favorite things, and the song you list as your favorite song is “The Thrill is Gone” by BB King, does that still hold true to today?
David: Oh yea, I can’t really say it’s my favorite song but it’s one of my favorites of BB’s and I think I talked about it with the band last week, we were performing in Cleveland, and I put one of my favorite BB King’s songs in [the show] and I’ll do it again. 

Madhouse: So what can people expect to see at your concerts today?
David: I like to take people on a musical journey of my very fortunate life and time that I was a teenager, the Beatles broke when I was thirteen and after I saw them on the Ed Sullivan show my mom and stepdad bought me an electric guitar…and I started playing Beatle’s songs, like eighty million other kids

Madhouse: Now will you be doing that kind of stuff in the show?
David: Yea I do all of my Partridge Family hits and favorite songs that weren’t released as singles and I also do a couple of my solo hits and I pay tribute to the people who had an enormous influence on me, including my dad, Jack Cassidy.  It’s going to be seriously wonderful because every time I come back to New York where I was born and spent the first five years, consequently may times on Broadway and lived in Manhattan, but I spent a good six years…in West Orange and it’s like a homecoming.  It’s very cool for me.  I really try to give people the texture of what my life has been like and that I come from a very musical family.  On my mom’s side and also my dad’s side who was a very fantastic…singer and you know he had a huge influence on me so I guess it’s natural that I would go in that direction.  I’m looking forward to taking people through my entire life musically and that’s always inspiring for me when I reveal a lot about myself and where I’ve been and how I’ve managed to do what very few people have been able to do and I’ve been fortunate enough to do because of my amazing fans…that without them and the love and support from my fans I would be pumping gas.

Madhouse: Are you working on any new music now?
David: I am going to finish the very first Christmas album I have done in about forty years….
A lot of my fans have wanted me to do that and I’ve found reasons not to by fortunately working a lot and doing other projects, but I’m going to finish it and it’ll probably be out…by maybe October and I’m doing some nontraditional as well as traditional in different arrangements and you know I’ve got a remarkable band and they’ve been with me for the most part for fifteen years now and it’s been amazing, actually three of them are prodigies and they do recording sessions in New York and Chicago and it’s an exciting time for me you know going out and playing and going to places I have been to before maybe forty years ago and I want people to know how genuinely appreciative I am of the love and support they’ve given me and how much I love to play now more than I ever have.

Madhouse: So now there is one thing that I don’t think you’ve ever been given credit for, and that is , I think you created Johnny Depp’s career.
David:  I don’t think I created his career but they did take “Man Undercover” and the executive producer saw me a number of years later and said, “you know it was your movie that you did on television that you got nominated for an Emmy for that inspired 21 Jumpstreet and that was a big break out television series for Johnny Depp” but he was a fantastic actor and he proved it.  And he has a career that covers two or three decades as a movie star which is very difficult and he chooses very cutting edge characters, you know kind of a broad spectrum of roles and scripts and ideas and I think that once you keep surprising people and doing things they didn’t expect you to do or perhaps plays against your image, and I have been doing that as well mostly on the stage but a lot certainly in my recordings and my writing, you know my writing for television…and I was blessed to have worked around the greatest writers and the most fantastic musicians and…it opened the door for me to meet some of my musical heroes too.

Madhouse: Who was the one person, that you were awestruck or star struck with, when you met them?  
David: I got to know John Lennon and became a friend of his and also Yoko who I love too.  She’s a very remarkable, remarkable woman.  Very genuine, authentic and is herself a brilliant artist I think.  I loved him as a human being more than anything else and his insight and it was almost like I could start saying a sentence and he could finish it and he would start talking about what it was like for him, and we were chatting at his apartment in New York, in Manhattan, at the Dakota and it was remarkable because we started vibin’ back and forth and laughing about it you know…and a lot of it had to do with the enthusiasm so to speak of the fans and for that both of us were genuinely grateful and he was as a human being, we should all aspire to be as authentic and genuine and really try to put out there everything he believed in.  And if you listen to his lyrics whether it’s “Imagine” or it’s “All you need is love” I mean that’s what he was about.  Everybody fought about “Give peace a chance” and he was willing to risk everything for it, his beliefs, and I think he was as responsible as anyone else maybe Dylan and certainly McCarthy, you know Paul Simon who wrote about what was radical and controversial at the time but in retrospect I think he, John Lennon, had more to do with changing the planet in a positive way by spreading love and preaching understanding and lord knows now we need it more than ever. 

Madhouse: So what were you most thankful for about your career? 
David: Often times people kind of laugh at what it was like to be a teenager and a hippie and all that stuff but the message behind it, that was what the political and social movement was about in the 60’s.  And I was lucky I was a teenager and I got to see amazing things and the consciousness in the country, you know the enlightenment through the media itself and also how the civil rights movement was incredibly important and I was just blessed to be born then and musically it had some of the greatest bands and individual artists that ever lived.  I saw Hendrix four times.  I was at Cream’s last concert and at the Civic Center in L.A and yea I can’t tell you how blown away I am by the opportunity now that I have to share that with my fans and the audiences and do some things you don’t expect and don’t know about on my own musical journey and influences that many people don’t have and I wrote and became friends with Carl and Brian Wilson and I got to collaborate with Harry Nillson and become his friend and we had a very genuine respect for one another and Harry was incredibly bright and magical his voice was, you know if you listen to “Can’t live if living is without you” it’s just, his version is a masterpiece in my opinion. 

Madhouse: You were on Celebrity Apprentice, what if Trump wins and he offers you a cabinet position will you accept it?
David: This whole concept is so absurd I can’t even grasp it *laughing*.  Yea maybe my kitchen cabinet that’s as far as a cabinet I could get because my political ideology I don’t think has anything to do with his. You know it doesn’t remotely resemble it, but we’ll see how all of the politics plays out. It is so different now than it was ten or fifteen years ago, you know social media has just exploded and I think president Barack Obama has had a ground swell of supporters through the internet.

Madhouse: I think that you were the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life. Do a lot of guys tell you that?
David: You know my hair is not quite what it was but I appreciate you saying that and I don’t agree but none the less again I am very flattered and it was a pleasure to talk to you Dennis and I look forward to seeing you on the road.

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