A History of Kindness: More Details of Jimmy Pagano's Life
Pagano made a positive impact on thousands but had a smaller, tighter group of close friends. Those who knew him say he didn't have a lot of time for relationships, simply because he was so entrenched in the music scene.
Two men who did get to know Jimmy more deeply, though, told New Times about two of Jimmy's greatest passions: cooking and portable stages.
Roscoe Peterson, the guitarist in Pagano's Untamed band, said that before gigs, he and Jimmy would reminisce about New York, then get into a heated debate over Italian cookery.
"Then came the old argument over who could make this or that better, and he just swore about his meatballs."
Pagano's meatballs were so well-known that Peterson claims to have seen people wearing shirts about them. Pagano is said to have kept his recipe under wraps, but the meatballs are rumored to be a blend of beef and lamb or pork.
"They were just scrumptious. Italians, they make the meatballs separately, and they're huge but not, you know, baseball-sized; they're a nice size. With Jimmy's, you could take a butter knife, and after that first bit of little crust, the butter knife would go right through it," Peterson said. "They were a little crunchy on the outside, moist in the middle. There wasn't a spot of raw meat in there. They were made just absolutely perfectly, with little green specks of parsley or something.
"I had some meatballs that were better than his the other day, and I thought about them and how pissed he would be if I said that to him."
Dave Carter, who runs Mickey's Bar in Pompano Beach, said that he and Pagano instantly bonded almost two decades ago over the percussionist's unwavering interest in portable stage design.
That night some 16 years ago, Carter was at a gig at one of his rich friend's house on the Intracoastal. Pagano was performing but later wound up chatting with Carter about staging. After, they rode their Harleys to a bar and continued their talk. It was apparent that their brief and random initial conversation would turn years into friendship.
For years, Carter and Pagano would travel between Broward shows on their bikes. They'd nurse beers and laugh about bar antics, about the loose-lipped men who'd had one too many drinks and the tight-assed women who had too few. And they'd talk about stages: How to make them better, stronger, and easier to set up and take down.
On a recent Tuesday night, Carter found himself alone, in the backyard of Mickey's. While reminiscing about Pagano, he measured out, sanded, and nailed down walnut planks. He's building an outdoor bar. He also working one more construction project: Carter's soon going to build the portable stage that he and Pagano designed together.
Read more in this week's feature.
-- Victoria Bekiempis
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