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INTERVIEW WITH ELVIS PRESLEY - 31 JULY TILL 01 AUGUST 1969

   
Location
: Conventions Hall, International Hotel, Las Vegas.
 

Why have you waited so long to perform live again?
We had to finish up the movie commitments before I could start on this.

How did it feel being back in front of a live audience after so many years?
Fantastic. I really missed it. I love the live contact with an audience. It was getting harder and harder to perform to a movie camera all day long. The inspiration wasnít there. Iím tired of playing a guy singing to the guy heís beating up.

Did you enjoy performing live again?
Yes! This has been one of the most exciting nights of my life. 

Did you feel nervous during the show?
For the first three songs or so, before I loosened up. Then I thought, ďWhat the heck. Get with it, man, or you might be out of a job tomorrow.Ē 

Were you a little afraid onstage tonight?
Yes, I was at first, until I got going, and then I felt okay. I was nervous and didnít feel relaxed until Love Me Tender.

How did you choose the songs for your show?
I just sang my favourites, thatís all.

Do you want to do more live shows?
I want toÖ I would like to play all over the world. I chose Las Vegas to play first because it is a place people come to from all over.

Did you like leather jackets like the one you wore on your TV specials?
No. I hate wearing leather jackets because they are too hot to work in.

Why did you choose a Negro backing group (The Sweet Inspirations)?
Because they help to give me my feel, my soul.

Where did you get the idea for your stage outfit?
I got the idea from a karate gi I once had.

Do you dye your hair?
Sure, because Iíve always done it for the movies.

Why do you dye your hair?
Because itís gray.

Why do you choose to record message type songs like In The Ghetto? Are you trying to change your image?
No. Ghetto was such a great song. I just couldnít pass it up after Iíd heard it. There are a lot of new records out now that have the same sound I started but theyíre better. I mean, you canít compare a song like Yesterday with Hound Dog, can you?

How do you feel about the Hollywood social scene?
I just donít go for it. I have nothing against it but I just donít enjoy it.

Why have you led such a secluded life all these years?
Itís not secluded, honey, Iím just sneaky.

How long did you rehearse for these shows?
I practiced for nearly three months. Today I went through three complete dress rehearsals. This was the fourth time I did that show today. Iím really beat.

Can you remember the first time you were in Las Vegas?
Sure, I was 19 years old. Nobody knew me. ďWhere you from, boy?Ē theyíd ask.
(Note: Elvis was 21 and not 19 when he first performed in Las Vegas, on 23 April 1956, at the New Frontier Hotel).

Will you be back in Las Vegas soon?
Absolutely. I love Las Vegas because it attracts people from all over the world.

Do you have a share in the International Hotel?
No, I have not.

Are you tired of your present type of movies?
Yes. I want to change the type of scripts I have been doing.

What kind of scripts do you like?
Something with meaning. Iím going after more serious material. I couldnít dig always playing the guy whoíd get into a fight, beat the guy up, and in the next shot sing to him.

Do you feel it was a mistake to do so many soundtrack albums?
I think so. When you do ten songs in a movie, they canít all be good songs.

Will you be doing any more movies?
I donít know. I kinda got tired of beating up guys and then having to sing a song to them, or maybe their horses.

Mr. Presley, Iíve been sent here by Lord Stutch Enterprises to offer you one million pounds sterling to make two appearances at the Wembley Empire Stadium in England. This price will include a documentary that will be filmed during and after the shows. It will only take 24 hours.
Youíll have to ask him about that. (Elvis points to Colonel Parker). Colonel Parker: Make an offer! Cash, not pounds! Just put down the deposit.

How much do you get paid for these performances?
Colonel Parker: We are pleased with the deal. I am glad he is here.

Would you like to appear in England?
I definitely would like to appear in England as we have had so many requests. And it will be soon, as we are now doing live concerts again.

Is there any truth to the rumour that you are getting a slice of the hotel as part of the fee?
Colonel Parker: Certainly not. The only thing we got free were crickets in the room.

Have you still got about 10 cars?
I never had that many, only four or five at the most.

After all this time you look so young.
I guess Iím just lucky. I really donít know. I guess one of these days it will catch up with me and Iíll probably fall apart.

Have you ever seen Englandís top pop singer Cliff Richard?
Yes, I met him in Germany a long time ago.
(Note: Cliff Richard indeed traveled all the way to Germany to meet Elvis, but he was out on maneuvers on that day and Vernon welcomed him instead. Perhaps Elvis was confused when he answered this, because he actually met an impersonator while in Germany).

How does it feel to be a father?
Great. I love it!

Do you and Priscilla plan to add to your family?
Weíll have to wait and see.

How does Priscilla feel about you being such a great sex symbol?
I donít knowÖ you would have to ask her.

Are you planning to have any more kids?
Yes, we are planning to add to our family. Thank you very much.

Is there any other individual you would rather be?
Are you kidding?

Whatís it like to be the Grandfather of rock and roll?
(laughs). I didnít know that I was.

Are you doing shows because of the recent success of Tom Jones in cabaret?
No, thatís not the reason. Although I admire Tom Jones very much, and think heís a great talent. I guess I felt it was time to do live shows because I missed doing them.

I noticed in your repertoire you did some Beatles songs. What do you think of the Beatles and their material?
I admire the Beatles and think they are very good. The lyrics of pop songs are getting better all the time, they have more meaning.

When you met the Beatles, why was there no press allowed?
I guess it was because we could relax and talk friendly to each other.

Did anyone influence you in your career?
Yes, people like him. (Elvis introduces Fats Domino). This is one of my influences from way back, Fats Domino. Just look at those rings and that diamond watch, arenít they fabulous?

We advise checking up this article in the website, on the clothes Elvis wore on stage, as well as on the show performed that day (galleries included):
Jumpsuits - Black Herringbone

Source
: Elvis Vegas '69 book, by Ken Sharp.

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