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 "KEEPING THE MUSIC ALIVE"

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charmainejensenvoisine
Jaming With Elvis
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PostSubject: "KEEPING THE MUSIC ALIVE"   Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:28 am

Longtime Elvis Presley impersonator Scot Bruce is finally emerging from the shadows of the King.

Bruce, who has been portraying the young Presley for 15 years, is recording his first solo album. Of course, the disc is reminiscent of Presley.

"But not the Elvis you're thinking of," Bruce said. "My songs are like Elvis Costello meets The Beatles meets Bruce Springsteen."

Bruce is excited about establishing himself as a solo artist.

"It's my true passion," Bruce said while calling from Los Angeles. "I've wanted to record an album my entire life, and now it's happening."

Bruce's focus is shifting to his "day job," which is evoking the image and sound of rockabilly Presley from the '50s. He and fellow impersonator Mike Albert, who handles latter-day Presley duties, will take fans back tonight at Red Bank's Count Basie Theatre for the fourth annual Elvis Birthday Bash.

Presley would have turned 73 on Jan. 8.

"I might have an album coming out, but I (still) love playing Elvis," Bruce said. "It's always great fun. He recorded some of the greatest songs ever. It never gets tired playing these classics night after night. More than 50 years have passed since many of these songs were on the radio, and they're still great. It says something about the caliber of songs and the man who sang them."

Albert has been playing his hero for 17 years.

"What I love about this show is that you never repeat yourself," he said. "There are just so many Elvis songs you can do."

And then there are the fans, who often are on their feet singing and dancing to Presley songs.

"It's interesting playing all these nice theaters where you would expect people to act all dignified, but it's so much fun watching them get up and holler," Bruce said. "Every so often we'll get ladies undergarments thrown at us. It's all in fun. I'm sure the undergarments have never been worn. It's just that the fans are getting lost in the music and they're having fun and they're pretending, just like we're pretending."

If you run into Bruce or Albert offstage, don't expect them to act like they're the King.

"There's only been one Elvis," Bruce said. "We're about keeping the music alive. It appeals to everyone. You go down to Disneyland and you'll see 4-year old kids singing Elvis songs. Kids love "Jailhouse Rock' and "Blue Suede Shoes.' They're such cool songs. We all know the words from an early age. Those songs and his performance just touched something in all of us."

At some point in 2008, Bruce will hit the stage as himself.

"It'll be interesting," he said. "I'm just going to be myself up there. But I think I picked up a thing or two from Elvis. But I'll deal with my album and that stuff later. I have some dates to do on this tour. I have plenty on my plate right now."

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