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 Interview mit David Paton, Bassist der Elton John Band in den Jahren 1985 - 1988, vom 9. Oktober 2012

eltonjohhnfan.de: How did you come to join the Elton John Band?

David: I did a lot of session work throughout the 80s. I received a call asking me if I was available for a session, I was given the dates the start time and the studio location. At the end of the call I realized I had not been told who the artist was, I had to ask. I was very excited to be working with Elton as I was a big fan of his music, I’d had a dream about him that very same week so I was surprised to receive the call. It wasn’t until I was invited along to a playback of the album that Elton asked if I would like to join the band. He was very sweet about it and asked my wife and I join him in a private room for a chat. He wanted to let her know that we’d be touring for about a year and would she be OK with that.

eltonjohhnfan.de: How many shows did you play with Elton and what is your favorite Elton Song to play on stage?

David: There was over 100 shows all of them were wonderful.  It’s not easy to pick a favorite song, I enjoyed Rocket man because of the improvisation that went on during the song, but that’s very self indulgent.

eltonjohhnfan.de: Are you still in touch with Elton?

David: I’m still on the Christmas card list but other than that, no contact..

eltonjohhnfan.de: If you would have the opportunity to tour with Elton again, would you agree or not?

David: Yes I would agree. I said no back in the late 80s after the world tour, but maybe that was a wrong decision, no regrets though. I said yes in 1996 when Bob Birch had his accident, that was one of my better decisions and it helped get me out of a situation I was desperate to get out of. That decision helped lead me to where I am now which is a very happy place to be......

eltonjohhnfan.de: If you had to do a "normal" job - which one would you choose?

David: A Pilot (ha ha), a hospital worker, hey!!!! I do have a normal job, I’m a musician........

eltonjohhnfan.de: What is it like to work with Elton in the studio?

David: Elton is very quick in the studio, he’ll give a song two takes then wants to get on to the next song. Two takes and the drums had to be right, we could then overdub or repair any of the other instruments, and yes, the bass would need fixing sometimes too. The first time I met with Elton was on the Ice on fire album. We were leaning on the drum both chatting to Dave Mattocks. I went over to tune my fretless bass and as I did so Elton sat down at the piano and started to play chords to a song I didn’t know. I played along with him and after 20minutes or so he said “ that’s the first song we’re going to record, it’s called Nikita”. We were joined by Davey Johnstone, Fred Mandel and Nick Kershaw who Elton had Nicknamed Nikita Kershaw. Sorry about the long answers Ralf, I have so many memories. Another time when we were working in Air studios London I arrived at the studio early Elton (as usual) was already at the piano in the studio.  He saw me arrive and waved at me to join him in the studio. He was excited, he was writing “Poor cow” and wanted to know my thoughts. I was amazed at Elton’s writing and loved the song. He needed another verse of lyrics and walked into the control room and asked someone to call Bernie. He took the call and I heard him tell Bernie he needed another verse of lyric.....Next thing, Elton said was “pen, pen, pen.....Bernie dictated another verse to him over the phone there and then....

eltonjohhnfan.de: Have you ever met Bernie Taupin and if yes what do you think about him?

David: I only met him briefly.  I found him quiet, reserved and a very cool guy.

eltonjohhnfan.de: Is there a concert with Elton that stands out in particular and for what reason?

David: Live aid. It was just the most wonderful concert I have ever performed at. The line up of artists was incredible and the back stage atmosphere was electric. It was one of the most fantastic things I have experienced as a musician.

eltonjohhnfan.de: Do you come from a musical family?

David: My father was a singer, it was mainly Scottish songs he’d sing but he loved his Opera. he introduced me to Puccini. My mother was a dancer, my sister can’t sing or dance for toffee, but it doesn’t stop her trying.

eltonjohhnfan.de: What was the first concert you attended?

David: The first memorable concert was watching Free perform in Edinburgh. I loved their music and formed my own band to play Free songs, ha ha, we didn’t get many gigs.

eltonjohhnfan.de: When did you start playing music and which instrument was your first one?

David: I picked up my first guitar when I was 11-years-old. I’d been on a family holiday in San Sebastian, in Spain. One big impression left on me and a kind of awakening, was seeing a Spanish boy about my age playing a guitar. He was sitting on a window-sill and I sat on the pavement watching and listening to this beautiful sound. I pestered my parents to buy me a guitar until they relented. It was placed in a cardboard box for the journey back to Edinburgh and amazingly emerged on the airport conveyor belt without a scratch. I sat for months learning how to play from the guitar tutors, and any kind of tablature I could get my hands on: ‘The Big Rock Candy Mountain,’ ‘It’s a Long, Long Road A-winding,’ and ‘On Top of old Smokey’ being just a few of the titles I practised back then. I’m a self taught reader and enjoy playing classical guitar.



eltonjohhnfan.de: As we all know, Bob Birch died this year, what was he like and did you know him well?

David: I never met Bob I know Elton treated him like one of his family, Elton treats his band very well.

eltonjohhnfan.de: Have you ever met Dee Murray and what can you tell us about him?

David: I met Dee at Air studios in London. He was invited to sing backing vocals on one of the album tracks. He made it clear to me that he wanted his job back with Elton and asked me if I wanted to take on a bet that he would be taking my place. It didn’t bother me because I knew Elton was happy with me and wouldn’t replace me. I can’t blame Dee for not being too friendly towards me, it was understandable.

eltonjohhnfan.de: From John Mahon we heard something about flying chicken. Can you tell us a funny story about Elton and you?

David: I received a call from Renate one morning. We were in New York 1986 I think. I’d videoed most of the world tour and Elton was OK about it. She asked me to bring my video camera upstairs to Elton’s apartment. I arrived at the apartment to find Elton dressed as Harpo Marx, complete with Claxon, wig and trench coat. He also had an etch-a-sketch pad. He wrote on it “I’ve lost my voice, had to cancel Madison Square Garden. He then asked me to follow him. He knocked on several hotel room doors and hooted the claxon every time a door was opened. After that we went back to Elton’s apartment and I mentioned how fantastic it was. He wrote on the pad  “follow me”. We walked to another room and there was an elevator that went up onto the roof. It was a memorable time for me being with Elton high above New York and Elton pointing out all the land marks and writing them down on the pad. I still have the videos and they are treasured and guarded possessions

eltonjohhnfan.de: What instruments do you play beside, and which one would you like to play beside?

David: I play piano and guitar. I enjoy gigging with bands as a guitarist as well as a bass player. My biggest passion is writing music.