Richard Thomas Cupolo, born in Queens, New York, is the guitarist, keyboardist, and producer of the band The American Dollar. Rich has also worked as a solo artist in the project City Society, and DJ’s from time to time with a Monome.
At the age of 7, Rich began piano lessons, learning the popular classical pieces of composers like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. He felt this was increasingly tedious, however, and enjoyed when his parents would play Beatles vinyls in the living room, where he would lay down on the carpeted floor and listen.
He quit the piano lessons in 8th grade. Inspired by the simplicity of the huge sound of Oasis, Rich asked his parents for a Stratocaster as a birthday gift in the summer before high school. Rich taught himself the instrument through watching videos online, learning guitar tabs, and playing along with songs. He eventually purchased a Fender Roc Pro amplifier, and began to torture his parents, friends and neighbors.
As he improved on the guitar, Rich became fascinated with digital recording, and began recording his own music as well as other local bands. Through a long process of trial and error, he began to understand the nuances and mechanisms of studio recording. He continued playing in bands throughout high school, where he met John Emanuele. The two would continue playing in bands together until the formation of The American Dollar.
Rich attended SUNY Albany, and continued practicing guitar and refining his recording techniques. Around this time, he experienced a renewed interest in keyboards, first by composing and recording some classical pieces in the university’s music department, and later by examining Rick Wright’s keyboard work with Pink Floyd. Now, he began to split time equally among guitar, keyboard, and audio production.
After completing undergraduate courses, Rich formed The American Dollar with John Emanuele, and began to seriously apply his production knowledge. He did this as he attended education courses at Fordham University and worked as a teacher, until pursuing music full-time after the album A Memory Stream was released. Rich also completed a graduate degree from Rutgers University after recording the album Across The Oceans.
Rich continued to expand his musical talents beyond guitar, keyboard and production. He sings on his solo project’s releases under the name City Society. Also, inspired by electronic musicians like Pretty Lights and Daedelus, Rich purchased a Monome in 2011 and began to mold it into a useful and professional instrument. He incorporates it into most of his projects and DJ appearances. Rich handles most of the technical part of The American Dollar’s artwork, as his father is a graphic designer and taught him many of the industry’s skills.
- Fender American Standard Stratocaster
- Fender Standard P-Bass
- Gibson Les Paul Electric Guitars
- Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitars
- Guild M-20 Acoustic Guitar
- Fender Bassman Amp
- Carvin Bel Air 2×12 Amp
- Fender Blues Junior Amps
- Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Pedal
- Barber Tone Press Pedal
- DD-20 Pedal
- Boss RV-6 Pedal
- Boss CS-2 Pedal
- M-Audio & Akai Midi Triggers
- Monome 64
- Roland A-80 Keyboard