FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions about Nigel and the Club)


Q. What is Nigel's favorite song to play in The Million Dollar Piano show?
A. The closer, "Circle of Life."

Q. During "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Better Off Dead" in The Million Dollar Piano show, are the backing vocals live or taped?
A. They are live, done by the band off-stage.

Q. Where can I buy Nigel's albums on CD?
A. Unfortunately, all that is available is Nigel's 1979 Nigel album (featuring "Dancin' Shoes"), which was rereleased by Oldies Records as Golden Classics. The original album on CD can sometimes be found as a Japanese import on eBay. Move the Universe is out of print, but copies occasionally pop up on eBay, Gemm, or Music Stack. If Nigel ever gets control of his back catalog, we will certainly post information about re-releases on this website.

Q. Can I get any of Nigel's songs as mp3s?
A. We don't know who was responsible for this, but there is now an album on iTunes called The Very Best featuring songs from 1978-1980, including the elusive fan favorite "Rainy Day." We can't vouch for the sound quality on all the tracks, so buy at your own risk!

Q. I'm a huge fan of Nigel's...can you send me a pair of his drumsticks, or a drumhead?
A. When we do get drumsticks, which isn't very often, we send them to charity auctions. Drumheads NEVER come our way.

Q. I run/work for a charitable organisation—can Nigel donate some items for our fundraising auction?
A. We are completely out of swag. We CAN send an autographed photo if you feel that would be of some help. Please email the fan club for an address to which you can send your request on official letterhead.

Q. Can you send me an autographed photo of Nigel?
A. UPDATE June 2013: If you email a request, be prepared to be put on a long wait list; we are so, so far behind in fulfilling requests...we get more than we can handle, and oftentimes run out of glossies and have to wait for Nigel to get home from a tour to sign more. Please do NOT send requests via regular mail to Noreen, and please don't send items for Nigel to autograph.

Q. When is a new line of merchandise going to be available?
A. As soon as we get something new in place, it will be announced on the front page of this website.

Q. Why does Nigel have a Barbie doll on his mixing console?
A. Nigel explains "It's an Ashley Force doll. She is a drag racer. Her dad is John Force."

Q. What kind of brush did Nigel use on "The Captain and the Kid" in concert [2006]?
A. Chris Sobchack tells us it's a Rute 505 by Vic Firth. John Mahon was the one who played brushes on the actual studio track, using a wire brush on one of Nigel's snares which was set up away from Nigel's kit.

Q. Why are there arrows drawn on the fronts of Nigel's [crash and ride] cymbals?
A. Nigel does this so that after each song, he can re-position the cymbals (arrow pointing down) so that the Paiste logo on the underside (which faces the audience) reads properly. Nigel loves his sponsors!

Q. Why does Nigel wear gloves onstage?
A. There are many reasons: to protect his hands from blisters and calluses, to keep a better grip on his sticks, and because they're flash :-).

Q. Why does Nigel use oxygen at shows? Is he OK?
A. Nigel says: "It gives me a little ZAP of energy for the fast segment of the show when it's 3 hours long. Also I take an energy gel pack before I go on like the stuff that cyclists do (i.e. Chris Sobchack). Not drugs, just a sugar rush. Every little bit helps. Oxygen also helps me to concentrate better."

The next 17 questions are from an Elton John Band questionnaire concept by Sonia at Dark Diamond. Thank you, Sonia!

Q. What is your favourite song to play live?
A. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me"

Q. What is your favourite EJ song to listen to?
A. "Holiday Inn"

Q. What is your least favourite song to play live?
A. "Crocodile Rock"

Q. What is your favorite city to play?
A. New York, at Madison Square Garden

Q. What is your favorite food?
A. French

Q. What is the most uncommonly known fact about you?
A. That I was certified in parasailing instruction at one time

Q. Who are the celebrities you'd most like to meet?
A. Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep

Q. Who are your favourite past and current bands or singers?
A. The Beatles, John Lennon, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Lulu, Stevie Wonder, The Hollies, my brother Kai Olsson and many more

Q. If you werenít a musician, what would he be doing?
A. Driving racecars

Q. What was your first job, or job you had prior to being in a band?
A. Working on a cutter on the River Wear in Sunderland, England

Q. What are your pet peeves?
A. People smacking their food [when they eat], and people or places that are untidy

Q. What is your favourite word or phrase?
A. "Cheap as chips"

Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. Out of Africa

Q. Do you have any before-the-show rituals?
A. "...Chris, my tech, will come in with a Pepsi—has to be Pepsi. He will hand me the Pepsi fifteen minutes before I go on stage. Every single night. Heíll give half the can to me and half the can to Davey. Before I go on stage, I have to have Dennis, our stage manager, standing on the left of me [laughs]. Keith [Bradley, our manager] will be over by the curtains. Bob Halley, Eltonís assistant...is just behind me, and Bob Birch...is right behind me to go on the stage behind me. And as soon as our intro begins [in Las Vegas], I say a little prayer to make this a really good gig, and as the downbeat for the intro music goes, Dennis will always shake my hand and say, ďHave a good show, Nige.Ē And Iíll put my drumstick out here like that, and touch Keith, every single day. And Bob Halley always messes with me because heís kind of moviní around, and I know that heís in the wrong place. And Iíll look back to see that Bob Birch is following me because Iím not going to do it on my own. And Bob will always say, ď...and a one...Ē So, we have our own little ritual. And Iíll always sign all the drumheads before I do the gig, and that makes it all go smooth."

Q. What is your favourite part of being on tour?
A. The loyal fans out there, the routine/ritual that I go through just before we go onstage, the wonderful places we play, the comraderie of everyone in the organization

Q. What is your favourite color?
A. Purple

Q. What is your favourite Elton John album?
A. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy


Q. What note is each of Nigel's drums tuned in?
A. Chris says: "The kits from DW are 'key matched.' This means that the shells are pitched before the drums are made.
The tuning of the finished drum (by me or Nigel) is based less on specific notes, and more on how the drums sound together. The reason for the key matching of the shells is that it creates a drumset that is beautifully balanced and equally resonant when the drums are all tuned in the same way."

Q. Which drumkit did Nigel use when Elton and the band recorded the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album?
A. Nigel says (March 2004) that he used his Slingerland kit with wooden rims.

Q. How is it decided which drumkit Nigel takes on which tour, and how long does it take Chris to set up?
A. Chris says: "Simply put the kit selection (except for special events) is based on where in the world we are. Pinky and Ghana are both identical live set-ups so we end up leaving one or the other usually on opposite sides of the pond (Atlantic); we can then utilize a slower shipment to get the one we are not using to wherever we need it next! Sometimes Australia, the far east, and of course Europe and the US. If I am really pressed I can actually set it all up in about 1 hr. 30 min., drums AND percussion. I don't like to do that though, so usually about 2 hrs for initial set-up and then another couple of hours cleaning and repairing things (heads, anything showing wear, etc.)."

Q. Why did Nigel have a model of the Oscar Meyer "Wienermobile" sitting on his mixing board during the Fall 2001 tour?
A. Nigel's tech Chris Sobchak answered this one for us. He writes: "It is kind of a joke I have. We met and got to hang out with the cool Wiener people in Minneapolis [on the] last leg of the Billy Elton gig [early 2001]. They gave us all this cool Wiener swag, and that somehow ended up on the mixer."

Q. Is Nigel right or left-handed?
A. Nigel's right-handed.

Q. In the early-to-mid 1970s Nigel's bass drums often featured a little drummer boy with the word Drumork—what was Drumork?†
A. "Drumork" is an amalgamation of "Drum" and "Orch[estra]," since Nigel had just recently done the Drum Orchestra and Chorus album. It was simply a made-up name, and not an official company or subsidiary of Slingerland Drums.

Q. How tall is Nigel?
A. Nigel is 5'7", according to his brother Kai (who is 5'8"). (Thanks, Kai!)

Q. What kind of cologne does Nigel wear? (Yes, someone really asked this!)
A. Got a pen? Alfred Sung, Cartier, Tuscany, & Passion, according to Schanda.

Q. What do Nigel's brothers do for a living?
Elwin is an airline pilot in Europe; Kai is a singer, songwriter, & guitarist with a day gig at a financial investment firm in America; and Wayne is an estate manager in England.

Q. I heard that Nigel and Dee Murray used to be brothers-in-law—what's the deal?
A. Before Nigel and his wife Lisa divorced, this was the case. Nigel and Dee married twin sisters Lisa and Maria in the '80s. Thus, Nigel's son Justin and Dee's children Ashley David & Jenna Joyce are first cousins. The families are still very close.

Q. I can't find Balistiks by Vic Firth anywhere, can you help me?
A. That's because right now they are being custom-made for Nigel and not being sold commercially. If that changes, we will certainly announce it on the website.

Q. Can you set up a meeting with Nigel for me?
A. No, we can't; Nigel's asked us to not pass along such requests.

Q. Can the NOFC help get me a ticket to an Elton John show? Can I get a backstage pass?
A. No, we have nothing to do with ticket sales or giveaways, and backstage passes go only to people who Nigel can personally vouch for, for security reasons.

Q. Can I send Nigel a card or a letter?
A. Yes, you can. Email us to ask for our mailing address. We ask that you keep cards to twice a year: Nigel's birthday in February, and Christmas/New Year's. If you would like to write to Nigel, make it an email. You can send your letter as a Word attachment if you so choose. It's doubtful that he will reply, though, so please keep that in mind when you write. If you have specific questions about Nigel's equipment, we will do our best to answer them, or we will forward them to Chris Sobchack and see if he can help you out.

Q. Can you get an email to Elton, Bernie, or the other band members for me?
A. No, sorry, we can't.

Q. I am an aspiring songwriter—can you get my demo to Nigel? Can you ask Nigel to give Elton a song for me?
A. We're sorry, but we cannot accept tapes or CDs to forward to Nigel due to legal ramifications...and Nigel likes his job too much to be suggesting his boss listen to an unsolicited demo.


Do you have a question you would like to see answered here?
E-mail us and we will do our best to answer you.

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