BarFlyArchive: Jen Lane's interview with the most popular man in Portland - John "Elvis" Shroder!
How long have you been performing?
Have you always been "Elvis"?
Uh-uh. That was thanks to Willamette Week. They had the "Best of Portland" [poll], and people voted me "Best Elvis Impersonator". So, I kinda thought, [pfft] if that's what they want that's what they'll get. I mean if that's what they wanted, why not? So, I learned more of his songs and I watched his movies, and watched him, how he moved and how he stood. And what he did before he went, you know, on stage or did a performance. More or less, [I did] background research.
When do you do Elvis nowadays?
Whenever I'm needed. I do noon to 5 or 4 at Saturday Market on Saturdays and Sundays. And I don't just perform here. I've performed at Folk Life, in Seattle. I've even been as far as San Francisco, at a place called Art Attack. I was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Matter of fact, I even performed in Corvallis, opening for an actual Elvis impersonator. I mean, the real thing! And people hire me out for birthdays, too.
Do you do a lot of birthdays?
Yes! The best birthday I ever did was [for] a friend of mine. His daughter had just turned, I think, 22, or something like that. And he brought me over to the house, but he never told her what was going on, and I just came out of one of the rooms-just showed up! The look on her face was just classic. I love birthdays where the person has no idea what's going on. I like to surprise people!
What's it like being the most popular performer in Portland?
It's good and it's not so good. You know, if it weren't for the fans, I wouldn't be here. But sometimes they're a little bit pushy. You know, when I'm trying to walk down the street or something, or, you know, want to go to the library by myself, they get a little... inconvenient.
How do you handle that?
Well I don't lose my head like other celebrities, that's one thing! I just tell 'em, "Not right now, I'm on an errand."
What do you sign when someone asks for your autograph?
I sign "Elvis", what the hell.
Does it bother you that everyone calls you Elvis, instead of John?
Ummm, that all depends on how they use it. It doesn't so long as they, you know, be nice about it, but it does if they mistreat it. Make fun of it, you know, make some smart-aleck remark behind [my back].
How do you deal with people like that?
I don't. Some people are just jealous of me. If you can believe that!
Well, you are the biggest celebrity in town, after all!
You have no idea! I get my share of fanatics. I'm like Donald Trump, here. [Laughs] My fans, you know, it's hard for them to leave me alone sometimes. Sometimes it's hard to get around [because of them]. But it's when you don't get asked or don't get bugged that you start worrying. Really, you know, I love my fans!
Don't miss Elvis's Birthday Party 2009, at Dante's (1 SW Third), on Tuesday, September 29th! Please click here for more info.
Miss Jen Lane of BarFly fame Blog Archive
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