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Interview: Dead Elvis

The King of the Crypt makes his third trip to China as part of his Asian Zombification Tour. Check out some undead tunes before it kicks off.
By Jun 19, 2013 Nightlife

Heyyyyy babies! This week we bring you none other than the King of the Crypt, the Duke of Disgraceland, Sir Swivel Hips himself, (after)live from beyond the grave: Dead Elvis. This one-corpse-band has been kicking out the best maggot-ridden rockabilly this side of The Cramps since 2007 and is now making his third trip to China, hitting Shanghai for a gig Friday night at 390. Read our interview with the man behind the mask and jam some tunes before catching the zoot suit zombie dead in concert:


SmSh: This will be your third time in China, right? How did your tours in 2010 go? What surprised you most about China then? What do you expect this time around?

Dead Elvis: Yes, this is the third time I come to Asia and it will also be the third time I visit China. All tours so far were realy cool, I enjoyed myself very much! The shows were all awesome and people are really nice! When I was a kid I hung out a lot with the Chinese kids at school so I guess that influenced me quite a bit! I can tell ya, touring is very much the same everywhere... mostly "nightlife, gigs, hotels, cars, and airplanes." I hope this time will be the same or better than last time, but I expect nothing more than a hell of a lot of FUN!

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SmSh: Looking through pictures of your last China tour, you're wearing your mask on planes and trains, in restaurants, on the Great Wall… How much of the time are you in character?

DE: In pictures and videos I am ALWAYS with the mask, I will never take the mask off on video. I like the look of the pictures and videos, it's great and very much like "b-movies" or something. But I think my personal life is something different from Dead Elvis and both characters should not be mixed. It kinda adds to the act when it is an unknown person behind the mask. As the Cramps sung already, "What's Behind the Mask"!?

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SmSh: I assume a lot of the time when you're on tour, you play with other one-man bands… Is that right? Have you seen any noteworthy one-person acts in your travels over the last few years?

DE: Yeah I play with a lot of them, you got onemanbands in most countries these days. It's always good to meet fellow onemanbands and see how they create music alone. There are many variations on the "onemanband thing," it's realy cool! I found alot of onemanbands in Brazil! There are real cool ones down there like: The Fabulous Gogoboy From Alabama, The Amazing Onemanband, O Lendário Chucrobillyman, Hitman Onemanband, and Xtreme Bluesdog. Some great other onemanbands I have met are: The Fly & His One Man Garbage, Bob Log III, Leadfoot Lee's One-Man Trash Band, King Automatic, and One Man Destruction Show. There are many more that I am probably forgetting right now, but there is a list of onemanbands on my webpage. Check it out!

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SmSh: I read in another interview that you originally started the band because you chanced on a mask that looks like Dead Elvis. Are you still wearing the same mask? Do you have backups lined up now? Does it get kind of grimy on tour?

DE: What you read is true, it all started with the mask and it has definitely changed my life. This is still the same one as I began with, if I ever lose it I will be heartbroken for sure! I have a backup and I am working on having some more made but this one is the best and I want to use it until it's finished. It doesn't get grimy at all, the suit does get very grimy sometimes but the mask is rubber and always is kinda fresh somehow!

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SmSh: Who comes out to your shows? Is it more of a rockabilly and punk, Cramps/Misfits kind of crowd? Or do you hit fans of early rock'n'roll, Bo Diddley-style tunes?

DE: It's mostly people from all walks of life, I don't think there is a "typical Dead Elvis fan" or something. It can appeal to anybody, there are fans from five years to 80 years old. I see rockabillies, psychobillies, punks, gothics, old school rock'n'rollers, hipsters, and average folk having fun together at my shows. You could say "Dead Elvis is everywhere and everybody"!

SmSh: Dead Elvis is your full-time gig, right? How much of the time are you on the road?

DE: Yeah it's my main gig at the moment, I couldnt do much more on the side. Any boss would fire me after a few weeks as I would always ask for time off, hehe. I do sometimes work as a roadie/runner for venues and bands. I like it a lot and it fits with my lifestyle. In the last two years alone, I've been doing 160 shows and traveling for about 200 days. It's very busy but I like it, for me being a onemanband is kinda perfect as I can do everything myself! I create the artwork, do the recordings, make the website and even release records on my own record label called Monster Mash Records! It's great, I can go my own way and don't have to wait for anybody else.

That enthusiasm is infectious. Catch Dead Elvis & His One Man Grave Friday, June 21) at 390, after an opening set from Lowbow.


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