Carol
Hunter

Elvis Tribute Artists Radio

Ladyluckmusic.com

The book is extremely readable..it is not a long one (122 pages in all) and it is very well laid out into 7 chapters so that, once you have read the entire book, if you want to go back to refer to a particular topic, you can easily find it. There are lots of photo illustrations and also lots of interesting facts and anecdotes about Elvis interspersed throughout the book. It’s also a good quality, well-designed book with an eye-catching front cover, a good grade of paper, and good writing, editing, and proofreading.

The main areas Rick covers are:

Elvis Impersonators - An Introduction
Hair and Makeup..Getting the Elvis Look
Creative Costuming
Getting Your Show Ready
Getting your Act on the Road
Marketing and Publicity
Being Elvis

There are some especially good tips for ETA’s dealing with hair style, sideburns, makeup, costuming for all eras of Elvis’ career, scarves, boots, accessories, with the underlying theme being “don’t cheap out.” Do it right and with quality!

Rick also discusses getting your Elvis act ready: singing ability and style, watching videos, attention holding tricks, dealing with jerks, keeping your show fresh, doing what works for you, showmanship, equipment and props, sound and light, performance tips, the illusion of movement, and so on. The tip I like best from these sections ,which I think is very insightful and with which I agree 100%, is that it’s not enough to study the moves, singing and costumes.....you also need to study the man, read about him, and have an understanding of him and his psyche. If you don’t do that, your act will stay shallow and not have that authentic touch that distinguishes the good ETA’s from the not-so-good. In other words, “know Elvis.”

A third area Rick covers is the stage act: planning beforehand, stage fright, opening the show, making your entrance, using tapes or live band, on-stage disasters to avoid, pacing the show, songs to create different moods, making a great exit.

Of interest to ETA’s and to those who promote and market, Rick has a great section on marketing and publicity. As Rick states, good marketing is the biggest key to financial success if you want to make money doing Elvis. You can be the best impersonator in the world but if you don’t know how to get yourself out there in public and negotiate deals and do the rest of it, then you won’t go anywhere...take the time to learn the importance of good marketing and promotion! Areas Rick covers here are: naming your show, billing yourself, logos, business cards, other promotional material, demo videos, a basic press kit, pricing yourself right, using the media to your advantage, recognizing opportunities and being prepared for them, contests, fan clubs, mailing lists, gimmicks, merchandising, keeping records and being organized.

One thing Rick emphasizes, and I’ve heard many people who have risen to the top of their chosen fields say the same thing....it’s not enough to merely be good at what you do, you also need to have passion for what you do. Passion is contagious and shows that you care about what you do, and your audience senses it.

In summary, this is a great handbook not only for the beginning ETA but also for those who’ve been doing it for a while. In addition, there are useful tips and facts for promoters, managers, and fans of both Elvis and ETA’s...something for everybody!

And, finally, something to think about.....in 1977, before Elvis passed away, there were fewer than 50 known Elvis impersonators (Rick Marino was one of them). By l997, there were over 35,000! If you do the math, by the year 2017 nearly 1 out of every 4 men (and a few women) in North America will "Be Elvis!" so this book should come in handy!!

The other day, while browsing in a book store, I came across Rick Marino’s book “Be Elvis!” which he wrote a couple of years ago. As Rick is a frequent contributor to LadyLuck’s guest columns, I decided to buy the book. Now, I have to admit that, given the subject matter, I thought it might be a bit hokey....but I found it to be fun to read, well written and full of such good, practical advice that I even offered to write a review of the book....so here we go!

As the title suggests, this is a basic guide for ETA’s and it’s full of all kinds of tips and good advice. Rick, himself, has been a music producer, promoter and singer as well as an ETA for 27 years and has performed all over the world, including the Olympics in Seoul, Korea and the l988 Presidential Inaugural Ball. Rick was also featured in the movie Honeymoon from Vegas, and he is currently the President of the Elvis Impersonators International Association (EPIIA). Thus the book is highly credible and based on lots of personal experience.

As Rick says, getting to the point where he is in his career has been a long, slow and painstaking process, with lots of things to learn and, although one never stops learning, everyone needs a foundation of good, solid basics. When he and the other “ETA pioneers” started out, there were no guidelines......and that’s why he decided to write the book.


Click here to buy Rick’s Book at Amazon.com