The King lives on
'This is Elvis' comes to Woking on Mon 30 April, recreating the story of The King's comeback in 1968.
Award-winning Elvis Presley tribute artist and actor, Steve Michaels, gives us the inside story.
Your resemblance to Elvis is uncanny – and I hear you sound just like him too. Could it be that Elvis really does live on?
That’s very kind, and yes Elvis does live on…in all of our hearts!
Seriously though, aside from this role you’ve worked as an ‘Elvis’ for many years, what drew you The King?
Pretty much everything, I didn’t set out thinking I was going to be an “Elvis” but am very happy I did.
How has this role differed from your previous incarnations as Elvis?
Being able to portray the man behind closed doors a side of Elvis we have yet the see on stage.
How have you prepared for the role?
I’ve been preparing for the role my entire life. Watching, listening, and emulating everything Elvis.
Tell us a bit more about your career before now.
I have successfully toured Canada, the United States, China and Hong Kong, India, and Australia. With goals of Europe in the near future. I’ve worked with many of Elvis’ original vocalists and musicians and have had many opportunities to sit and talk Elvis with them, including Joe Esposito.
You’re obviously a huge Elvis fan – what is it about him that inspires you?
Although never having the opportunity to meet him, I feel he was a very kind and giving individual and he seemed to always have time for others. He was the greatest entertainer the world will ever see, but at the heart of it all a gentlemen.
What do you have in common with Elvis?
I put my shoes on the same way, left then right but sometimes right then left. Ha!
Tell us something about Elvis that we might not already know.
During a conversation with Joe Esposito he told me Elvis was the kind of man that would be more interested talking about you, than talking about himself. He was always eager to hear “your” story.
And something about you?
When I’m off stage I’m Steve, yes I do have the black hair and sideburns but when the performance finishes I leave my portrayal of Elvis on stage. I also live by Elvis’ personal mantra, “it’s not about being okay – it’s got to be perfect”. Something I wish more would abide by – it always keeps you striving for perfection.
Do you have a favourite Elvis song?
Yes two actually, We Can Make The Morning and Tomorrow Never Comes.
And maybe a least favourite?
Yoga Is As Yoga Does, maybe? Ah, c’mon thats a great song too, but every one of his songs are great, some are just better then others – kinda like his movies. On one end of the spectrum you have Jailhouse Rock, and on the other you have The Trouble With Girls (and how to get into it).
If you could invite three people to dinner – living or dead – who would they be?
Elvis of course, along with his mum and dad. I’d be curious to find out what he was like as a child right from the people who were around from the beginning.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
Actually being escorted on and off stage by Joe Esposito himself, and wearing Elvis’ legendary horse shoe ring. During a recording session Elvis gave the ring off his hand to DJ Fontana, remarking “If I ever go broke I’ll ask for it back” – DJ still fondly wears the ring, and he allowed me the honour of wearing it during a performance recreating the 68 Comeback Special. I had DJ Fontana on one side of me playing and banging away on the guitar case, Elvis’ ring on my finger, how much closer can you get to perfection! And yes, I had to give it back.