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Interview:
Dead Elvis
By Mar 19, 2010 Nightlife


Placed a call to beyond the fuckin' grave today, to speak with Dead Elvis, of Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave -- it was a séance.

Dead Elvis is a one man band from "Disgraceland", and he's been preaching the word in China for the last several weeks, bringing lo-fi, zombified, one-man band rockabilly to the masses. He's in town this Saturday, under the aegis of promoter Abe Deyo and the Jue Festival, and it's his last show in China before he returns to the afterlife (read: goes back to tour Europe). We talked on the phone about bringing the evil to the PRC. A grudging respect for The Beatles was settled upon.

Taste the goods. What's old is dead again. Shake, shake, shake!

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***

SmSh: Hows it going?

Dead Elvis: Good. Good. Sitting around. Having a cigarette.

SmSh: Right on. So Beijing on Friday night and you're rounding the whole tour off in Shanghai on Saturday night. How did Dead Elvis do in China?

Dead Elvis: It was really excellent. It's my first time to China and I really didn't know what to expect of it. But I've loved it. I really want to come back. People are great. Food is great...

SmSh: Are you leaving the country with your requisite China memory? Have you got your China anecdote for your friends back home?

Dead Elvis: Uh. Not yet, really. I think I can't think of just one yet...

SmSh: Abe tells me there have been some transvestites.

Dead Elvis: Oh yeah that's true, we went to the transvestite club -- that was something. There was some really hot girls -- there's one, there's one -- but people were telling me they were all men... [Laughs.]



SmSh: So what's been the reception like to you show? How are the kids in China handling Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave?

Dead Elvis: Yeah it's been really cool. Everyone's been really enthusiastic about it. But of course my show is different from any other band -- it's a one man band and I wear a mask and stuff. People don't know what to expect and they were quite shocked and stuff. 'What the hell is this', you know. But it was good and I think next time it will be even better.

SmSh: What's been the best show so far?

Dead Elvis: Oh I liked them all, but I liked Wuhan very much. I was happy to see some punks there, you know. And it was a lot of fun. I liked Chengdu as well and I'm quite looking forward to Shanghai as well.

SmSh: What's been the worst show? Any train wrecks?

Dead Elvis: Hmm... well there was one show that wasn't very good because I had lots of technical problems. It wasn't the worst but... my amp broke and it kind of killed the show a bit. That was not great. Especially you know because it's a one man band. If something goes wrong there's no one to help you out. With a band of four people, if something goes wrong with the drums or guitar, you can hide behind the other people -- the guitar, the bass, whatever. But with a one man band, that's not possible. You've got to fix it yourself. But you know that happens all the time and it happens all over the world, so it's alright.

SmSh: Have you been playing with Chinese opening bands? Have any stuck out in your memory as being good? Have there been any that even come close to fitting on a bill with you?

Dead Elvis: Yeah! Aberration in Wuhan. They were really cool. A really, really good band. It was great to see a Chinese punk band. Really great.

SmSh: Tell me about the origins of Dead Elvis. How did it all start?

Dead Elvis: Well, it started with the mask. And I thought "hey, look it's dead Elvis -- what a great idea." And it came from there. I did a MySpace, not knowing what to expect. Just a few pictures and then people from around the world came to asked me to play.

SmSh: Have you ever come across a fan of Elvis who though you were disgracing the memory of The King? Elvis fans take this shit pretty serious and there's due reverence that must be paid. Any hate mail?

Dead Elvis: Actually, I've had two or three people mailing me, saying, "Ahh this is not normal what you're doing, this is a disgrace! You're taking the piss with Elvis!"

But you know, if you don't get the joke then I don’t know -- don’t look at the MySpace. [Laughs.]

SmSh: Have you toured the States yet? Made it to Graceland?

Dead Elvis: No not yet, but I'm planning on making it there in Autumn. I've got a couple offers but I'm still in Europe so I've got to see what happens. But I would love to go there as well. Have to see what comes and then hopefully it will happen. I'm planning on touring with another band. I've only been to America once before for a holiday.

SmSh: Which if your favorite Elvis – young, firebrand Elvis or larger-than-life, late period "Aloha from Hawaii" Elvis?

Dead Elvis: Oh you know when people ask me 'when did you really die', I say, 'when I joined the army' -- that's when Elvis really died. [Laughs.]



SmSh: What are your top three Elvis Presley tracks of all time?

Dead Elvis: My top three. Hmm... I like "Suspicious Minds". I like "The Girl of My Best Friend"... and let's see... "Separate Ways".

SmSh: Have you personally ever shot a TV?

Dead Elvis: [Laughs.] No. No, I haven't yet. Actually if I come to the States I will definitely do so because it's easier to carry a gun and stuff. I definitely will and I'll definitely film it.

SmSh: How do you feel about The Beatles?

Dead Elvis: Well, The Beatles... ahh, I like them. I like em. What can I say, I like all that stuff.

SmSh: Parting words from Dead Elvis?

Dead Elvis: Yeah, I'd like to thank everyone for coming to the shows and I'd definitely like to come back. It's been totally fucking great and I'm sad I have to go back. But see you on Saturday and we'll have some beers...

***

Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave performs this Saturday at LOgO bar. Click here for the event information. Here's his homepage.
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