The Cave Dwellers was the idea of Gary Goldberg. He grew up on the northside of Chicago and was a student a Wilbur Wright Junior College in the city. It was 1964 and the British Invasion was just reaching the American shores. Gary had a vision of having a rock and roll band to play gigs and make music. The group really began to take shape in late-1964. Now, over 50 years later, the Cave Dwellers are back, still making music and entertaining people.
But it was the Cave Dwellers who were there in the beginning, becoming one of the first garage bands in Chicago. They soon were dubbed “Chicago’s Original Garage Rock Band.” The group consisted of Gary Goldberg (keyboards), Freddie Glickstein (lead guitar), Bruce Gordon (bass), Rick Sorci (drums), Victor Alfonso (keyboards) and Henry Gardano (rhythm guitar). Gary, Freddie, Victor and Henry had met at Wright Junior College and decided to make music. Bruce and Rick joined soon after.
In early 1965, they all gathered in the unlikeliest of places: Fong’s Cantonese Restaurant, 2931 W. Touhy Ave. in Chicago. Owner Jim Fong attracted local rockers who had dreams of making it big in the pop music industry with his recording studio in the basement of his establishment. By the end of the day, the Cave Dwellers recorded Don’t Break My Heart Again, with Gary and Freddie leading the way on vocals. With enough time to throw a second song onto the disc, Freddie sang a saucy version of the Ray Charles hit, What’d I Say. Soon after, Gary was shopping the recording to Liberty Records and Smash Records.
When things stalled in the early going, Freddie Glickstein was off to his other big group, The Flock, while Bruce Gordon and Victor Alfonso hooked up with The Revelles. The other members scattered to other bands.
Gary moved forward and began adding and subtracting pieces in the Cave Dwellers. Later in 1965, with a lineup that included Goldberg, Gordon, Alfonso, Gardano, Dennis “Stoney” Phillips and Fred Faith, the band got discovered by of all things a high school student. Carmen Poulos, a 16-year-old sophomore at Schurz, was at a Dave Clark Five concert at Arie Crown Theatre in McCormick Place. At the intermission, she bumped into Faith, the newest member of the Cave Dwellers and told him he looked like one of the members of the English rock group The Kinks. Poulos and a group of girls literally attacked the band, cutting Phillips’ hair and tearing Gordon’s favorite shirt. He didn’t mind. “I loved every minute of it,” the bassist said.
Poulos and her friends decided to help the band. They started a petition and sent it to the Chicago Sun-Times. The result was the newspaper sent staff reporter Jack McPhaul to do a feature on the group. McPhaul’s story appeared Aug. 15, 1965 in Chicago Midwest Magazine in the Sunday Chicago Sun-Times. Ironically, The Beatles were on the cover. The Cave Dwellers later bumped into Poulos and her girlfriends again at another concert at Arie Crown Theatre, this one featuring Herman’s Hermits.
In 1967, the Cave Dwellers received another opportunity to record on the Jim-Ko label. This time the band recorded “You Know Why,” backed by a full orchestra in the Universal Recording Studio. But as the boys were getting ready to leave, they were informed they needed to record one more song. It was then that Gary wrote “Run Around” in 10 minutes. The band needed just one take to finish the job.
“Run Around” turned out to be a local hit, played on Chicago rock radio stations WLS and WCFL. But while other bands like The Buckinghams, Ides of March, Chicago became known nationally, The Cave Dwellers’ recording efforts fell a little short of tapping the Big Time.
Unfortunately, it as the fate of many bands wanting to score nationally.
Meanwhile, back home, a steady parade of musicians had joined and left The Cave Dwellers or split time between multiple bands over the years. They include Bobby Diamond, Peter C. Budd, Bernie Fryman and Danny Mayor. Budd even returned for a short second stint.
In August, 2013, drummer Rick Sorci re-emerged, thanks to his wife, Kathleen. She had read a newspaper article in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald and called Rick. “Some guy said his band opened for The Beatles at their 1965 concert at Comiskey Park.” she told him, reading from the newspaper story. Having been at the show, Rick asked the name of the band.
“Some group called The Cave Dwellers,” she said.
“The Cave Dwellers? I was in that band,” Rick replied. “And we didn’t open for The Beatles.
After finding out Goldberg was behind the non-truth, Sorci contacted him. It turns out, Gary’s lie had a positive affect. Less than a year later, Gary asked Rick to return as the band’s drummer. By 2015, Goldberg and Sorci had revamped the lineup and had the band working and moving forward again with gigs. And that same year, even Bruce Gordon, the original bassist, rejoined the group. A year later, the group brought in its first female vocalist, Alain Quinn. Ted Aliotta of Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah fame came aboard, as well. The band went through a string of guitarists.
Between 2016 and now, the band has upped its game and has become more popular than ever, when it started the whole thing over 50 years ago. The Cave Dwellers made two professional videos – a remake of Jefferson Airplane’s monster hit “White Rabbit” and added an original song and video called “Where I Are.” In between, the band went international in its popularity.
That’s because Phil Grey, host of “Retrospect 60’s Garage Punk Show” out of New Zealand, found the song “Run Around” on a garage rock compilation album titled: “Back From The Grave – Volume Eight.” Grey began playing Cave Dwellers music on his weekly podcast and even brought the band on his show for a taped interview.
The band got a real boost when, unbeknownst to them, the first song they ever recorded, “Don’t Break My Heart Again” received national exposure. Near the end of the NBC network television show, “Aquarius” starring David Duchovny, it appeared in the Season 1, Episode 7, titled “Cease To Exist” playing in it’s entirety.
The Cave Dwellers have been performing live, as well. They have played recent shows for disabled Vietnam Vet’s, did a pair of USO gigs, appeared twice on the Facebook live stream show “Street of Dreams” and were recently invited to perform at national radio personality Dick Biondi’s birthday celebration. They opened for Micky Dolenz’s at the former Monkees show at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL. They have also even recently released a live album called “Back From The’60’s.”
So, “Chicago’s Original Garage Rock Band” still has some legs and bang after starting nearly 57 years ago. The Cave Dwellers are back from the ’60’s – and still going strong.