Elvis Presley tribute artist tells his tale in show coming to Murray Bridge in March 2017

Guitar man: Andy Seymour will present stories from his life and the King's in "It Ain't Easy Being Elvis". Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Guitar man: Andy Seymour will present stories from his life and the King's in "It Ain't Easy Being Elvis". Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Over the past 25 years, Elvis Presley has taken Andy Seymour all over the world.

The tribute artist, who will visit Murray Bridge next month, can still remember the first time he encountered the King as the seven-year-old son of an itinerant Pentecostal pastor.

"We were driving along in Dad's station wagon with leather upholstery and I heard an Elvis song on the radio," he said.

"It was a gospel song - I recognised the song I sang in Sunday school.

"Dad said 'that's Elvis Presley', that stuck, and I thought 'that's a funny name'.

"I wanted to know all about him, the guy making these cornball movies, and my fascination grew."

He started playing rockabilly as a teenager, grew a pair of sideburns and slicked his hair back, and before long he made his career interpreting the songs of an American star.

Rather than being rip-offs, he said, the best tribute shows allowed people to relive their past.

"When you're going to dress up as someone else or help someone relive their memories, you're baring your soul, opening yourself up to really serious criticism," he said.

"You don't try to impersonate that person because you're going to come off as really bad, a second-rate version.

"Instead ... you allow your own self to be in there as well, give tidbits and remnants of Elvis, so people go 'yeah, he used to do that'."

You don't try to impersonate that person because you're going to come off as really bad, a second-rate version. Instead ... you allow your own self to be in there as well, give tidbits and remnants. - Andy Seymour

Seymour's upcoming show is not an Elvis show; it's a show about Elvis and about being Elvis, about a life spent on the road to a four-four beat.

"I've got all these hilarious stories and experiences I used to tell people at dinner parties," he said.

"I've had to give people the Heimlich to save their life because they're choking on a piece of lamb, they're so funny.

"I used to get people call out at shows too: 'hey Andy, tell me about the time when...'"

Still, it took producer Jane Nutini a year to convince him to turn his experiences into a show, and months more to whittle down the right stories.

But his passion came naturally.

"(Elvis) defined cool," he said.

"Even in the 50s there's colour photos of him, in the Sun sessions with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins - Elvis has got his collar up ... this relaxed, laconic, laid-back cool guy.

"As he got older he was all elaborately dressed in ruffled shirts and puffy sleeves, his lifestyle caught up with him, he had a couple of substance abuse problems, but he still had panache."

  • Andy Seymour and the Southern Gentlemen will present It Ain't Easy Being Elvis at Murray Bridge Town Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday, March 9.
  • Tickets: $42.50, $39 concession or $25 for children at ticketbooth.com.au.
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