Have you ever wondered where Elvis’ career may have taken him had his health recovered in 1977 and he lived to record more music and perform more shows? Beyond ’77 starring Chance Tinder gives us a glimpse into what a healthy, 50-year-old Elvis Presley concert would have felt like.
“Project Presley – Beyond 1977” is coming to the Elks Theatre, 117 E. Gurley St. Prescott, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Tinder spoke with Across the Street staff ahead of the upcoming performance. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.
How do you decide what songs to perform from Elvis’ long catalog of music?
You take guys like Tom Jones or, you know, people like Engelbert Humperdinck and guys that were of Elvis’s generation and they continued playing a lot of their own music, but they gave it, you know, an updated sound. So we were thinking when we put this together, to do the same thing. So in 1957, Elvis sang Jailhouse Rock the way it was played in the ‘50s and then when he did his come back in 1968, he performed Jailhouse Rock a different way with a more modern sound. Then in 1977, he readjusted it again to have a late 70s sound. So, what we’ll be doing is giving it everything that we’ve got to give it a 1980s and ‘90s type of sound but it’ll be all his classic hits or some of them. Then we will put in some songs that we feel Elvis may have recorded or covered by other artists and made his own.
It’s really the sound of the ‘80s, which if you really think about the ‘80s and some of the ‘90s, it’s more of a synthesized sound. That’s not to say that all the songs sound that way, but, you know, the musicianship gets better. The sound quality becomes better. The availability to play it on a CD rather than a cassette or eight-track tape is better. You would just happen to be improving the overall sound in its totality. So yeah, you’d have more progressive guitar solos, you’d have more synthesized, you know, symphonic sound that bands of that decade played or used.
What’s the hardest part of performing as Elvis?
In general, if you are performing as Elvis prior to this particular show, the hardest part is actually duplicating all that he did in the 1970s – the wardrobe, the hair, the sideburns, the sound, his vocal mannerisms and so forth. But as for Beyond ‘77, the hardest part is reimagining or getting into Elvis’s mind, and thinking, “how would he have performed in the 1980s?”
For example, you might take David Bowie. David Bowie was really known as Ziggy Stardust for a long time in the ‘70s but he reinvented himself and became the David Bowie of the ‘80s, where he had the real blond hair and he had the baggy pants and the bright yellow suit. So, we have to get into Elvis’s mind and think, “what would he do?” What we’ve come up with is that in the ‘80s, the sideburns kind of went away. That’s not to say that this Elvis loses the sideburns, but he doesn’t have the great big mutton chops. And instead of the long, long hair down past the collar, he’s now cleaned it up, that ‘80s kind of hairdo. A lot of it though, if you think about it, was everything Elvis was wearing in the ‘50s, but became more prominent in the 80s, like the pompadour, for instance.
For more information about Chance Tinder’s performance, visit projectpresley.com.
For tickets, call 928-777-1370, or visit www.prescottelkstheatre.org.
Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at email@example.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.