Russ Howe Interview
"Reflections Of The King"
He calls his show, “Reflections Of The King”.
Russ Howe you see is an Elvis look and sound-a-like.
He’s appeared on “Entertainment Tonite”, Geraldo, and
MTV. He even appeared with Priscialla Presley at Graceland in June of 1982.
We talked with Russ Howe about his Elvis Tribute Show.
Q – Russ, where do you perform? How many dates
a year? Have you taken your act overseas?
A – So, far, we’ve been in the United States. We are talking
about England. Right now, we’re working with Celebrity Cruise Lines
and they’re thinking about doing something in England. As far as the
amount of shows, every year is different. It fluctuates. Normally our busiest
season is in August and in January. I would say I perform maybe 20 to 30
shows a year.
Q – Is this a full-time occupation for you?
A – Most of the time. For about 10 years I’ve been in the electrical
business doing security alarms and I really enjoy that. I think I need that
to keep myself sane to be honest with you. So, I do that on the side. The
Elvis stuff is really at night time. I take off 2-3 weeks, that’s
basically how it works.
Q – You say you keep the electrical work going
to keep your sanity. Can you get caught up in the whole Elvis mystique?
A – You know, it is pretty scary when you see the reaction of the
people. They’re out to have fun and sometimes they get lost a little
bit. They forget what they’re doing. They just go crazy. For that
hour, if they want to think that’s Elvis up there – that’s
great. But, I never forget who I am. When I walk off that stage, I leave
the jumpsuit and everything up there. I’ve met quite a few people
who do the Elvis show and they’re Elvis 24 hours. So, a lot of people
who meet me are very happy that they realize I’m myself also, which
is a totally different person.
Q – Do you prefer being called an Elvis impersonator or is “Reflections
Of The King” a tribute show?
A – Well, that’s the name of our show. A lot of guys don’t
like to be called an impersonator, but, either way you break it down-----that’s
what you’re doing. We are trying to branch off into Country Music.
We’ve been doing that for the last 6 months. We have some people from
Columbia Records interested in listening to a few things. It’ll probably
take the rest of this year to go into a studio and make up tapes. I’d
love to do some Country music. I love Country music.
Q – Your Business Card reads, “See The Show proclaimed the
closest to to the Legend”. Who made that judgment?
A – That wasn’t me. I would never do that, because just when
you think you’re the best, someone better comes along. That ones just
made by everyone who comes to see the show. I think that’s because
everyone up on that stage loves Elvis. Nobody is doing it for the money.
We’re all doing it just to keep something going. I think the people
feel that and it comes across in the music.
Q – Does the talk about Elvis being alive help
or hurt ticket sales?
A – Actually-----I don’t know. It’s stirring a lot of
people’s minds, all these different shows. All the pictures I personally
don’t believe it. I know a few people who were with him the night
before he passed away. With all the stories I’ve been told and the
people I’ve met, I don’t believe it. Just to show you, 2 years
ago when the Elvis was alive was a really big thing, I went to visit my
parents upstate ( New York). I went fishing. Here I am in the middle of
the lake fishing, a car goes by. The screech of the tires went on and I
heard a lady screaming ‘Elvis’. I got home about a week later
and went to the candy store, and picked up the new issue of the ‘Star’.
The latest spot for an Elvis sighting was Upstate New York-----fishing.
(Laughs). So people see what they want to see. I would love him to be alive,
but personally I don’t think so.
Q – Do you think you bear a strong resemblance
to Elvis offstage?
A – I hate to say I look like him. I’m not that type of person.
I’ve never had plastic surgery. I look a little bit like him. When
I go out with my wife to eat, I constantly hear it, 24 hours a day from
the people. It gets to be a pain after awhile. So, I started to grow a beard
and I go in the diner and it continues. (Laughs). I can’t get away
Q – While most of these Elvis sightings have
explanations, some, by credible people are especially disturbing.
A – In that book, ‘Is Elvis Alive’? (by Gail Brewer Giorgio)
the picture of him supposedly sitting by the (pool) door, when I was down
in Memphis I spoke to one of his bodyguards, Al Strada. I started laughing ‘cause
I said you guys are probably gonna laugh at this, but, what’s with
this picture? He said, oh, that’s me sitting by the door. He looks
nothing like the person sitting in that picture. So, things start to make
you think. Here’s this guy telling me, oh that was me at that door.
There’s no way that was him at the door.
Q – Why do you say that?
A – Al Stradas got like an Afro. He looks nothing like Elvis.
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