Growing up in Omaha Nebraska does not give you much exposure to the funk, but it was hearing his brother's copy of Led Zeppelin IV that opened up Richard Vogel's ears to music. "My brother played it over and over on our mother's hi-fi in the living room and I'd pound along to the beat on the couch with a pair of drumsticks I got with a toy drum for Christmas. My mother eventually got fed up with all this and hid the record from us, but it was too late.....I had discovered the joys of a fat backbeat."
When Rich turned 15 he started taking lessons from Tony Gulizia, a local jazz pianist who taught him the basics and also hipped him on to such classic albums as Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and Stanley Turrentine's Blue Hour. It was the rhythm on those albums that eventually brought Rich to New Orleans, and from then on, there was musically no turning back. "Rhythm in New Orleans is a universe unto itself. There's nowhere in the world where you get the kind of rhythm and the kind of feel you get from New Orleans musicians. If you've got any ears at all, it's gotta rub off."
Although Rich can't limit his musical heroes to just a few, he has the utmost respect for "all musicians who play with such conviction that they transcend the supposed boundaries of their particular genre---like the way so many people who aren't necessarily into jazz dig John Coltrane because his music just hits them in an immediate, heart-felt way. To me, that's what all great music does."