Let's start at the beginning: when and where were you born?

I was born in Paris, France in 1972, and grew up there, as well as in Austria and Germany.

Is Ricky your real name? Any connection to Ricky Nelson?

Yes, Ricky, or rather Eric is my given name, and as far as I know, my parents actually did call me Ricky because of Ricky Nelson. I later chose the name “Nachman” [editor's note: the “ch” is pronounced as in the German word “lachen”, or the Spanish “x” in “Mexico”] when I converted to Judaism.

You also love Jazz...

Very much. I discovered Django Reinhardt when I was twelve. My mother had his last recordings which were more in a Be-bop style. Django had a similar effect on me as discovering Elvis; it was just incredible. For a long time I went to sleep with my earphones plugged into the record player, listening to Django. Then I discovered more and more Jazz... what I like most is Swing and Kansas City type Jazz which is very bluesy. But I also like Be-Bop, I like the fifties Miles Davis. And John Coltrane who I think is really in touch with something else when he plays. It's very spiritual in my opinion.

Who are your favorite artists from the fifties?

How did you get into music?

My parents have a big record collection, Rockabilly, Blues, Country, Jazz... and I just listened to that all the time...I heard Elvis when I was around three or four, and have been hooked since then. Besides Elvis, when I was a kid, I really liked the American Graffiti Soundtrack and Eddie Cochran. I was also very much into the Blues, especially Memphis Slim and Luther Allison. To me all these types of music are very connected, especially in the fifties... Rock'n'Roll originally was just another name for fifties R&B.
Ricky and his brother Marc, 1989
That is a tough question... it kind of changes; sometimes I listen more to Jump and early R&B, then more Rockabilly... sometimes I listen exclusively to one artist only for a while... I guess I really like the early R&B, the stuff that Elvis probably listened to when he was young. And I very much like Richie Valens. There is something in his singing and guitar-playing that I relate to; a certain simplicity, but with an edge, it's not boring. I also like Johnny Cash who showed us that Rockabilly-style songwriting doesn't have to be only about “cars and babes”.
Richie Valens
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