Monday, December 29, 2003

Return of the King

I am not an Elvis fan. Never really have been. It's not that I don't like Elvis's voice or his music, nor that I disagree with the clever Elvisology articulated by the astute hagiographer Mojo Nixon (y compris his assessment of who the anti-Elvis is); it's more that I can't get past how the King entered parinirvana-- walruslike in his obesity, seated on his porcelain throne, gasping out his last with several pounds of a "claylike substance" impacting his colon-- very likely the strained fatty remains of his beloved cheeseburgers. If only someone from "Fight Club" could have dug in there and extracted the claylike substance, simultaneously saving Elvis's life and obtaining superlative raw material for soapmaking. But a Brad Pitt finger-enema wasn't available that fateful day, and poor Elvis shat himself to death as a result.

People won't let Elvis rot in peace. As I've mused before, this is very likely how Christian resurrection mythology got its start: folks didn't want to let Jesus (the other King) go. As a result, to this day, Jesus and Elvis sightings abound. Catholics take the Jesus thing a step further than the rest of us, and have made transsubstantiation part of their theology so that every mass includes a cannibalistic liturgical moment: eat the body, drink the blood. Yum, yum, spiritual yumminess.

But I digress. Elvis-- the point is Elvis, and that people won't let the rockin' pachyderm go.

While strolling through Old Town Alexandria yesterday with Dr. doCarmo, I heard the most amazing thing: Elvis singing a Nirvana song, "Come As You Are." This was in a used CD and record store; the store owner was raving that Elvis had last been sighted in the Pacific Northwest, jamming with Kurt Cobain (also not dead, in case you were wondering). I lumbered up to the owner and asked him what CD this was, and he showed me the case:

The King

The singer is an Elvis impersonator from Belfast, Ireland named-- wait for it-- James Brown. The guy's doing a series of CDs with the "dead" theme; he's imitating dead singers, but making them sing more recent songs. This particular Gravelands CD cover for "The King" asks:

What would Elvis be singing if he were alive today?

Personally, I think Elvis would still be trying to shit out the claylike substance, forming some impressive hemorrhoids in the process, but James Brown thinks otherwise. His Elvis sings "Come As You Are," but also songs like "Sweet Home Alabama," "Voodoo Child," "Dock of the Bay," and, uh, "New York, New York," which seems to stretch the bounds of plausibility but is consistent with the King's often-baroque proclivities.

James Brown does a mean Elvis impersonation, and when Elvis opened with that Nirvana song, I was rolling. So the Maximum Leader, who's a huge Elvis fan, is getting a copy of this CD as a belated Christmas gift. It's en route as you read this.

The King returns! ALL BOW DOWN!


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