Early Elton
Rich Pagano (drums and vocals)

Rich Pagano, a respected New York sideman known for  his expertise in producing, recording or playing drums on tour with  artists including Patti Smith, Rosanne Cash, Robbie Robertson, Ray  Davies, Willie Nile, gospel icon Marie Knight, Joan Osborne, Levon  Helm, and Mott The Hoople legend Ian Hunter. Rich released his first  solo effort, rich pagano + the sugarCane cups in 2009 to high praise  ("Among the best albums that you'll hear in 2009" - Blurt Magazine). 


Rich on the Influence of the early Elton John Trio:

Early Elton John music was a natural progression for me. The Beatles had just broken up and because of them, I was transfixed by great melody. Elton had the melodic parlor sense of Paul McCartney and the bluesy inflections of John Lennon all in one. It also seemed that all of drummers used on the first three records had a similar sound - Nigel Olsson being my favorite due to his sense of space and trademark consistent behind the groove back beat (and his look! When i was a kid, Nigel was the first rock star that I wanted to look like). Dee Murray was a great mix of Motown and McCartney and although, as a musician, it is important to note his groove lock and live reactions with Nigel, It is equally important to acknowledge the brilliance of Herbie Flowers as a bass player on the early recorded material. We often say that if Herbie felt that there should be a drum fill within a particular section of a song, he would play it himself on the bass!

In later years, I discovered the The Band's influence on Elton and Bernie. A cerebral mix of Nigel and Levon Helm is something I bring to just about every session and live date that I am a part of these days.