Elvis boss nothin? but a hound dog
By LUIS FELIU
TWEED-based Elvis Presley impersonator Nicky Gracelands doesn't think a proposed crackdown on unauthorised Elvises will step on his blue-suede shoes.
Billionaire US media entrepreneur Robert Sillerman, who last year paid $114 million for an 85 per cent stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, which owns the rights to Elvis's name and likeness, said the company would crack down on unauthorised Elvises as it plans an Elvis exhibit and cabaret show on the Las Vegas strip.
But Nicky, 43, a part-time chef at Twin Towns Services Club who has been doing professional Elvis tribute shows for 13 years from Brisbane to Ballina in his show called Rocking With The King, has welcomed the move because he says many impersonations of his hero's image were "tacky" and "not portraying him as he should be".
"This has been brewing for some time ... I think it's great, I'm glad Elvis (Presley) Enterprises are waking up to that stuff and I wish I could police it for them," the licensed entertainer said.
"I'm all for what they're doing because Elvis's name has been used and abused for so long now.
"I can understand why they want to protect his image and likeness but if they're going to take the likeness to heart, is it the sideburns, is it the jumpsuit, the glasses or the hair? ? what is it that makes Elvis? It can't be just the one thing because there's so many different facets to Elvis.
"I get calls from many commercial agencies (to perform in ads) and the last one from KFC I didn't want to do it ... they're always tacky ... I've knocked back many commercials because they've always tried to use the image of Elvis to portray fast-food ? so it will clean that up.
"But the one thing they can't do is stop us making a living out of impersonating him ? they acknowledge impersonators have a part to play in the whole scheme of things in keeping Elvis's name alive ? without us how will people remember him?" he said.
"My hairdresser's 12-year-old son is a huge Elvis fan and those kids are the next generation of the Elvis phenomena.
"Would I would go to prison to make a point? Yes, because if they stop us completely they're stopping rock 'n' roll."
The US footwear firm Deckers, he said, had "failed big time" in trying to stop Australian manufactures of the woollen boots using the name "so let's hope it does not turn out like that with Elvis in Australia".
Nicky's wife Gaye described the move to licence Elvis impersonators as "a shame ... how can they do that with so many people making a living out of it".
One of Australia's better-known Elvis tribute artists, Gold Coast-based Dean Vegas, said the crackdown had its upside and downsides.
Dean said if the plan was to make money out of licensing impersonators then it was "not too good an idea" as it would affect the hobby impersonators doing charity shows for retirement villages and the like.
But if it was aimed at increasing the quality and standards of tribute artists, he said, then it would be good."