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 Post subject: Talking Elvis-indepth interview with Richard Davis
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Richard Davis was one of the very few loyal friends of Elvis. In an interview with Trevor Cajico he talked about Elvis. Davis was many things to Elvis – friend, valet, bodyguard, even movie stand-in. He went to work for him in the early 60s and their relationship continued up until Elvis’ death. The following interview took place in Memphis in January 1990 with Trevor Cajico.

RD: I’ll be happy to answer anything I can for you about Elvis and my life with him and the years I lived with him. I’m very proud of it. I worked for him a total of ten years but was associated with him until the time he died – seventeen years. They were great times and I wouldn’t take a million dollars for my memories. So I wouldn’t be hesitant to answer anything you ask me about my life with Elvis. If I can answer it, I’ll be happy to.

Q: If we could start with your background and so on – could you fill us in that?

RD: Well, I was born right here in Memphis many years ago (laughs) and I went to school here in Memphis, right through to high school. Then I went out to Hawthorne, California and eventually came back to Memphis. I met Elvis in 1960; actually I met him before that but he wouldn’t remember me then. I “officially” met him in 1960, I was working for the Tennessee Highway Department of Civil Engineers – I was building Highways, freew2ays, bridges and that sort of thing – and two friends of mine who were working for Elvis – Alan Fortas and Sonny West – they invited me to come up to Graceland to meet Elvis. I’d met Alan and Sonny through George Klein who I’ve known forever! Laughs) so, anyway, I went up to Graceland one night and met Elvis. We sat around and told jokes, played some pool, had a couple of drinks – just had a real good time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. So when I got ready to leave that night, Elvis said, “Hey Richard, you’re always welcome to come back” – I guess he liked me – I found out later that he liked me. So I took advantage of that and I started to spend quite a lot of time up at the house. I just hung out with Elvis and all the guys who worked for him, and I’d go places with him – we’d play football or go to the movie theatre or the roller skating rink or whatever. He’d either have someone call me and I’d go up to the house and go with him, or they’d tell me where they were gonna be and I’d meet them there. So this went on for about a year, just runnin’ about with Elvis and the guys, and it was like I was one of the guys, but I wasn’t on salary, I wasn’t working for him. So during this time I guess we got to know each other quite well. Then, in ’62, Jim Kingsley, another friend of mine who was also going up to the house a lot, Jimmy and I were up at the house one night and Elvis told us he was getting ready to leave the next day to go to Los Angeles to start a new movie called “It Happened At The World’s Fair”. So Jimmy and I told him we were takin’ our vacation a week after he was leavin’ and we were gonna go to California anyway. He said “Great! When you get out there, here’s a number – be sure to call me and come see me”. So, sure enough, he left and about a week later, Jimmy and I were out there and we went to see Elvis in Bel Air, on Bellagio Road, that’s where he was livin’ in L.A. at the time. There was a party goin’ on when we got there, about 200 girls, man! – and here’s Jimmy and I, two little country boys from Memphis, surrounded by all these beautiful girls in this multi-million dollar home! It was great, I’ll tell you! We had a great time and before the night was over, Elvis came over and told us that he wanted to speak with us before we left. Well, we thought he just wanted to sit around and bullshit about old times, but he got up and went back to the bathroom…Now, when I say bathroom I’m talking about a big bathroom… well, he’s back there about 5 minutes, he comes back out and he calls for Joe Esposito. So Joe goes in and he’s in there about another 5 minutes, and then Joe comes out and says “Richard! You and Jimmy come in here, Elvis wants to talk to you”. So we went in there: there’s four grown men standing around in a bathroom with the door locked, and Elvis says, “ I was just talking to Joe and we’ve got to leave tomorrow to go to Seattle, Washington, we’re gonna start filming this movie called “It Happened At The World’s Fair”. We’re gonna filming inside the World’s Fair it’s all goin’ on – the crowds are gonna be astronomical and I could use some extra security. I was wonderin’ if you and Jimmy would like to go to work for me and help me out with my security while I’m there”. Well I don’t know what was going through Jimmy’s mind, but I knew immediately what was goin’ through my mind – wow! I knew that workin’ for Elvis would be great, so it took us no time at all to say yes. He said” I can only start you guys out at $ 65 a week plus al expenses”. Well, back in ’62 $ 65 a week was a lot of money because at that time I was making $ 65 every two weeks, y’ know. Plus, workin’ for Elvis, seeing the World’s Fair.. man, that was great! He told us he was only gonna need us for the two weeks he was gonna ‘ be there on location, but we told him that was fine. So, to cut a long story short, we both said yes, we went out and did the movie, head a great time and we came back and my job lasted more than just two weeks and so did Jimmy’s I think Jimmy worked for him for about a year and a half. Mine lasted from then on. But the funny part of it and the moral of the story is that Jimmy and I were probably the only two guys in the world who got our job in the john!!

Q: With you being from Memphis originally, when can you remember first being aware of Elvis?

RD: I remember hearing him when I was a teenager, I heard him on the radio. I would go and buy his records back then. And when I met him for the very first time, I was working as the Assistant Manager for the Memphian Theatre. Oddly enough, déjà vu, that’s the same theatre he would go later on in life to run movies all the night. But I was the Assistant Manager there – this was back when he was dating Anita Wood, and they would come in there after the show has started, they’d go up into the balcony – the balcony was always closed because we didn’t have enough people to fill it up… but Elvis would come in late and I’d let him and Anita in free and let them go in the balcony, so they could be by themselves and sit up there and kissy-face and everything, y’d know – doubt they ever watched any movies! But that’s when I first really met him, and of course, I was completely in awe of him then – thought he was great.

Q: Did you go to any of Elvis’ recording sessions?

RD: I was at almost all of them, yes.

Q: Is there anything about them that sticks out in your mind?

RD: Well, the poker games stick out in my mind! (laughs). We played a lot of cards at this sessions, yeah. When Elvis would go in to rehearse the songs and record ‘em, the rest of us guys would sit outside in like a waiting room, a lobby-type thing, and just play cards, play poker or something, ‘cause the sessions would last all night long. They’d run two or three nights straight – all night long, and there was nothing else to do but play cards. And, of course, they’d take a break, a recess, and The Jordanaires and the guys would come out and sit in on a game with us. But one thing that sticks in my mind – and I only remember it, because I was very embarrassed about it – was a time when…I forget now what song it was he was recording, but I happened to be in the studio that day when they were actually puttin’ the track down and I had picked up a tambourine and I was sittin’ way back in the corner- totally insignificant to anyone else, y’d know, nobody knew I was there – or at least I didn’t think they did …. Well, the band starts up and Elvis is singin’ and everything, and I just got into it and started beatin’ on that tambourine – and it sounded pretty good too, or at least I thought I was good. And it fit right into the session too. And everything was going fine, until suddenly from the control room you heard ‘em saying “Cut! Cut!”. And over the microphone the guys says “Who’s playin’ the tambourine out there?” And everybody’s looking around to see who’s playin’ the tambourine, and I’m off in the corner tryin’ to hide the damn tambourine! They said, “Was that you Richard?” I said “Yeah, it was me – don’t you think it sounds pretty good?” He said, “Yeah, it sounded real good, Richard, except one thing. First of all the song doesn’t call for a tambourine, and secondly you don’t have a musicians card!” Elvis laughed about it all.

Q: But presumable you had an actor’s card because you were in a lot of Elvis’ movies.

RD: Oh yeah, I did 23 movies with him as his stand-in, and I was an extra in some of ‘em. Of course, in some of them, if you blink then you’ll miss me! But I was in 23 of his pictures playin’ different roles – bit parts y’d know. For example, in “Speedway” I’m driving the pacer car, and also in that movie I’m one of the car booths in the night-club, snappin’ my fingers and Nancy Sinatra comes up real close to me. In “Kissin’ Cousins” you can see me several places in there – especially in the formation when Elvis has everybody standing to attention. You can see me tryin’ not to laugh, ‘cause I remember Alan (Fortas) had done something silly and I was tryin’ not to laugh.

Q: A video came out in England featuring Joe Esposito’s home movies and you’re featured in there quite a bit.

RD: Yeah, they’re good, I’ve seen ‘em. You see us all on the bus drivin’ from Memphis to Los Angeles, getting’ off and fightin’, and all that stuff – just kiddin’, y’d know … yeah, they’re good.

Q: Did Elvis ever express to you, or any of the guys, how unhappy he was at having to make some of the awful movies in the ‘60s?
Yes, he did, from time to time. He really got tired of doin’ the movies there for a while because it seemed like every one of them was the same as the one we’d just got through doing – basically the same storyline with just a slight chance to it. Still singing the songs, still a lot of girls – always singing/comedy-type situations – and the only thing that would be different would be whether he’d be riding a motorcycle, drivin’ a car, a speedboat or something like that. Yes, they did get very monotonous and he did get tired of doin’ ‘em. He really disliked the movie songs – a lot of them, he couldn’t stand the damn things, but he had to do ‘em ‘cause the script called for ‘em. But he was very glad when his contractual obligations to the studios were finished and he could get back to his true love – which was performing live again in front of his fans.

Q: Were you present when The Beatles came over to meet Elvis?

RD: Sure. We were living on Perugia Way in Bel Air at the time and they wanted to meet Elvis. They had leased a home in Beverly Hills for the time they were in the US for their tour. Brian Epstein was their manager at the time and he had got in touch with Colonel Parker and told him that they really wanted to meet Elvis. And Elvis had said he’d like to meet them, he liked The Beatles, he liked several of their songs. But Brian Epstein told Colonel Parker “Yes, The Beatles want to meet Elvis, have him come to our house” and he gave a time and everything. So went the Colonel and told Elvis, And Elvis “No, go back and tell them that if they want to meet me they’ve got to come to my house. They’re in America now, so they have to come to my house. If it was in England I’d go to their house, but we’re in America. And they’ve gotta do it my way – they’ve got to come to my house.” So, sure enough, the Colonel and Brian Epstein set it up. It was supposed to be a hush-hush-thing, word was not supposed to get out, but to this day I feel that Col. Parker leaked the word for publicity, because there must’ve been a thousand girls hangin’ around the house that night – screamin’ girls all in front of the house goin’ crazy. We had hired off-duty police as well as the Bel Air security to watch the grounds and everything. So they arrived in three Cadillac limousines and came into the house. None of the girls were in the house at this time – just Elvis and us guys that worked for him – and they came in with Brian and shook hands and so forth. Elvis was sittin’ in the den watching some TV and he had on a yachting cap and was smokin’ a cigar and had his feet propped up on the coffee table and the rest of us guys were just scattered about in the den. Well, they came in and after the introductions and everything. The Beatles were just kinda sittin’ around starin’ at Elvis – they weren’t really sayin’ anything. And Elvis would talk to us guys, then say somethin’ to them, then he’d talk to us again – and they were being very quiet. All they were doin’ was starin’ at him. So Elvis, I guess he figured he’d break the ice, he looked around and said “Well, I’ll tell you what fellas, if y'all don’t start talkin’, I’m just gonna get up and go to bed!” And boy, that broke the ice. John and Paul opened up and started talkin’ to Elvis, then George and Ringo got involved and they all were tellin’ Elvis how much they admired his music and what an inspiration he was to them when they were startin’ out, along with guys like Little Richard and Chuck Berry – artists like that. Then Elvis got up and went over to the piano and started playin’ some of the Beatles’ songs. Well, the Beatles got over to the piano and they started singing with him. So Elvis said “Wait as minute”, Elvis had all kinds of instruments at the house – we had basses, amps, drums, guitars – you name it, we had it. So Elvis got us to break out some of the instruments for the guys, and they sat around and jammed for two hours, man. And God, I wish I’d had the foresight to have gotten a tape recorder and recorded the whole thing, ‘cause that would’ve been worth millions and millions of dollars today. But I didn’t do it. I'm stupid and kick myself in the ass every time I think about it!

Q: It’s often been rumored that somebody did record it.

RD: It was never recorded – never recorded. Not only am I stupid but all of us guys who worked for Elvis, we all must’ve been crazy because nobody recorded it. I don’t know, I guess it you’re actually there you don’t think about doin’ things like that. And yet h, “here were the two greatest phenomena in the music business – Elvis Presley and The Beatles – and nobody thought to record the damn thing. I just feel like kickin’ myself in the ass again just talkin’ about it. But one thing I remember is that after that was over with, John Lennon turned to –Elvis and said “Elvis, where are the birds?” And Elvis said, “Birds?” He said “I guess they’re out in the yard or somethin’” – he didn’t know what he was talking about. And John said, “Girls, man, where’s the girls?” Elvis said, “Oh girls! Richard, are there any girls outside?” I said, “yeah, tons of them!” So he said, “Let some of them in”. So I went outside, opened up the gates and brought a group of girls back to the house – the best looking ones, of course. And we sat and partied for the rest of the night. We started gambling – we had a roulette table and a dice table and stuff – and I won two or three hundred dollars worth of Beatle money that night. We had a great time with the guys, then the next night they invited us out to see their show. Elvis didn’t go, but me and Alan Fortas and Marty Lacker went over there and it was great.

Q: At the tail end of the movie years he got to do the “68 TV special” for NBC. You must have noticed a change in him then.

RD: Oh yeah, he was very excited about that. And he looked great too. I think he looked the best he’d ever looked then. He was very nervous about it because it was the first time back in front of the public since the Army, the movies and everything, but he was still looking forward to it. We were all excited for him and he sure pulled it off, boy, I’ll tell you for sure.

Q: Were you present at the 1969 Memphis sessions?

RD: With Chips Moman at American Sound – yeah. Some great songs came out of there – a lot of hits songs. In fact, Marty Lacker had a lot to do with those sessions coming about, because he knew Chips real well and knew how good a producer he was – he just had a great ear for sound and he knew that Chips could develop a good, new sound for Elvis – something different than RCA had been doin’ for Elvis.

Q: Those sessions were so successful that it’s surprising he never went back there to record again.

RD: Well, Chips was really kind of hard to work with as a producer – Elvis was probably the only artist that could ever keep him in line. Chips is a very over-bearing, powerful-type man and has to have everything his own way. And not having worked with a talent the caliber of Elvis, I guess he thought he could do the same with him, but he just couldn’t do that…, Elvis had to do it his way, that’s the only way he’d do it. But yes, I’m surprised he never did go back there again. Chips did produce a good sound for him and a lot of hit records did come out there. Elvis was very pleased with those sessions.

Q: According to information I have, your “official” job with Elvis was as his valet.

RD: Yes, I guess you could say I was his valet, his wardrobe manager. I designed and had specially made a lot of his personal, every day “street” clothes. I bought all of his clothes for him – his pants, his shirts, his boots – whatever he wore, his personal wardrobe. And I would make sure it was kept neat in his closets, that it was cleaned and put back in there rotated from time to time. When I’d bring new things in I’d take other things out that he either hadn’t worn or just worn a couple of times. And when he was on tour or in ‘Vegas, I’s make sure his jumpsuits were there and co- ordinated right – the right cape with the right belt and all that stuff. Then I made sure that whatever he chose to wear on stage that night was waitin’ for him to change into. I had several back-ups too, because he was commonly used to splitting his pants wide open. I did all that until ’71, when, I think, James Caughley took it over, and then Rick Stanley took it over in ’72 or ’73. Because I left Elvis in ’71 as far as an employee/employer relationship goes, but I still traveled with him as a friend. Then I went into the recording business.

Q: Did you still go to the recording sessions?

RD: Yeah. But Elvis hated recording sessions. He hated to record. Although he was usually pleased with the results after it was all over with, but it was like pulling teeth to get him to go to a recording session. I don’t know why. When it got to the mid-’70 – ’73 on – it was hard to get him in the studio, he just didn’t wanna go. So eventually they started recording him at home.

Q: What are your memories of Las Vegas?

RD: Boy, Vegas was somethin’ else. It was great. We had a lot of good times in Vegas. Elvis loved it, because he was performing live again in front of his fans – that was his true love. People came from all over the world to see him in Vegas and that made him very, very happy. It seems the more they enjoyed his performance, the harder he’d work for them. He really enjoyed it, but it was hard work. He’d have two shows a night and it was tough at times, but he really loved being out in front of a live audience

Q: Did he have any kind of social life when he played Vegas?

RD: Well, we were strictly night people – we’d sleep all day long and he’d get up maybe two hours before show time. We’d give him enough time to wake up, eat somethin’, rest, relax a little bit, then go down to the dressing room, change into his stage outfit. Then we’d just sit around and listen to the show over the loud speakers in the dressing room. We’d talk about this and that, then he’d do the show. He’d usually do two shows – the first was the dinner show, then there was the cocktail show at midnight. And between the two shows he’d usually have a couple of hours off, during which time he’d try to eat somethin’ or – if he wasn’t too worked up, ‘cause he was very hyper-active, he’d just walked around and try to burn up that energy. But after the shows, a lot of celebrities would come backstage to see him and they’d sit around the dressing room, talking. I remember one time, Muhammad Ali and his entourage came back to see him. He and Elvis got into a conversation about boxing and karate – Elvis was heavenly into karate at this time and they discussed the differences between boding abilities and karate abilities, who would come out on top if a fight ever occurred between the two. Well, they both had their own ideas about it, so finally Elvis gets up, then Ali gets up and they squared off against each other! Well, all of us guys are sittin’ around in various parts of the room and it starts lookin’ a little. He had all his bodyguards with him too – a bunch of big guys– and I had visions of it turnin’ into a mass rumble! Here’s the Heavyweight Champion of the world and he’s squaring’ up to Elvis! But they weren’t mad at each other or anything. Elvis just wanted to demonstrate somethin’ to him. And sure enough, he kicked Muhammad Ali’s feet out from under him and his ass hit that floor! There was complete silence in that room for a while, then all of a sudden Ali started laughing and everybody got relaxed again.

Q: Can you recall other celebrities who came backstage to visit?

RD: Yeah. Barbara Streisand and their husband at that time came back to see Elvis. It was just before she did the re-make of “A Star Is Born”, and she came in with a script, they wanted Elvis to read it. Barbara wanted Elvis to play the role that Kris Kristofferson ended up playing eventually. I remember they all went into the bedroom and sat on the floor in like a circle with their legs crossed, and Elvis took the script and read it real quick – like between shows. He said he liked it and everything and that he’d talk it over with Col. Parker. But, of course, it never came about. First of all, there were a couple of scenes in there where Elvis would’ve had to have been in bed nude – or appear to be nude – with Streisand, which the Colonel didn’t like the idea of. It didn’t bother Elvis as much as it did the Colonel. The Colonel thought it would be a bad reflection on Elvis’ image. Secondly, the Colonel didn’t agree with the fact that Elvis had no script approval, and they didn’t agree also on Elvis’ salary. So, there were a lot of reasons whys he didn’t do that movie. I wish now – and I’m sure he himself wished later on in life – that He’d have done that movie; it would’ve shown the serious side of his acting and I think Elvis was very capable of being a serious dramatic actor – if given the chance to, But he never was given the chance to because his movie deals, according to the contracts. The Colonel signed with the studio producers and so forth, they read that Elvis got one million dollars per picture plus 50% of box office, but it did not give Elvis any script approval or say on any of the songs that were in the pictures. So his hands were completely tied as far as that went. But I believe that if he’d been given a good script that would’ve shown his acting ability, I think he could’ve carried it off very well. Elvis was a professional, though his talent did lie in humor and comedy – he was great at that. Having such a great sense of humor himself in life, he was able to do that real easy.

Q: Who else came backstage to visit?

RD: Tom Jones, Glen Campbell – people like that. I remember once when Tom Jones and Glen Campbell and Elvis, all three were together in Elvis’ suite at the hotel one night and they got to jammin’….. Elvis was sittin’ at the piano and they all started singin’ and jammin’ together. It was fantastic. You couldn’t buy a show like that for a million dollars. And again, just like the situation with The Beatles, nobody thought to record it.

Q: I believe Elvis bought you quite a few cars over the years…

RD: Yeah, he bought me several cars throughout the years. Let’s see, he bought me three Cadillac Convertibles, a Mercedes sports car MK, 5 Continental with a sun roof, a truck, a Triumph motorcycle, a house trailer, horses, God knows the jewelry and stuff – yeah, through the years quite a bit. The cars are all gone now… I had a lot of his clothes, ‘cause we were the same size and when he got tired of somethin’ then I’d wear it – stuff like that. And over the years I’ve given a lot of that stuff away to radio stations and charitable organizations to be raffled for charity. What I do have left is my original TCB which, I hate to say it, but it is up for sale.

Q: On the subject of Elvis’ clothes and dress sense, did you have anything to do with the outfits he wore on stage? Because as time went by some of the jumpsuits became real gaudy and quite unflattering.

RD: Yeah, they did get gaudy, but I had nothing to do with that. They were designed for him. See, when he first started in Vegas he’d wear a two-piece karate-styled outfit or a regular pair of slacks with a wild print shirt. But several times he’d rip the seat out of his pants with all his movements and everything, so he needed somethin’ more durable. So Priscilla, and a guy named Bill Belew from Hollywood, came up with the idea for the jumpsuits. They were more durable and lasted longer and they were comfortable for him on stage. They were very hot, but he felt comfortable in them. But yeah, I guess I kinda’ agree with you, they did become more gaudy throughout the years. But I don’t know whether he didn’t really care anymore, whether he wanted ‘em that way or whatever. I do know that a lot of the designs for the suits would have to be Okayed by Elvis before they were made up, so apparently he did have the final say-so on the way they looked.

Q: Along similar lines, as time progressed his act hardly ever changed and it seems to become very “samey”. Where you ever around when his stage act was discussed? Did he ever talk about making changes to his stage show?

RD: He did keep his show basically the same. From time to time, of course, he did introduce new songs, but basically they were the same per se. I never did hear him discussing it, all I know is that he loved to be out there in front of an audience, that’s what he lived for and that was his true love. I know one thing he never did change was his closing song “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. That was our cue song, us guys that worked for him, that let us know he was about to come off and that we were to get the hell out of there. That was a cue for us to go tell the limo driver to crank up, get the motor runnin’ – get the doors open. As soon as he finished that last number, he was off the stage, we had him in that car, and he was gone. By the time the audience had got through clapping, Elvis was halfway back to the hotel or halfway back to the airport to get on the plane to go to the next city. Elvis was probably the only performer in the world who never did an encore – he couldn’t do it ‘cause that would give the fans the chance to enclose on us.

Q: Just like he got sick of the movies in the ‘60s, do you think he got tired of the concerts in the ‘70s?

RD: No. It was his first love. He enjoyed performing live more than anything in the world. To see his fans happy made him happy. The happier he made them the happier it made him. I think if Elvis was still alive today, he’d still be performing ‘cause that’s what he loved best.

Q: I understand you stopped working for Elvis in 1971 when Vernon fired you – is that correct?

RD: Basically that is true, yes. We were out on tour in San Diego, I think, and I had to have an operation – I had a pinched nerve in my neck and I needed an operation. Well, to cut a long story short, I had to go back to Memphis to have the operation and Elvis told me it was no problem, just to take as much time as I needed. Well I had the operation and the doctors told me I should have about six months off to recuperate. But I went straight back to work about a week after the operation – or at least I tried to. I really shouldn’t have done that and it ended up where I had to go back to Memphis and rest. Elvis wasn’t bothered about it; he told me to rest up and take time as much as I needed. Well, took about six months off, and during this period of time I guess that Vernon just decided I was “dead weight” or somethin’, so he laid me off. He sent me a pink slip and it said “lack of work” or somethin’ like that, y’know. He gave me two months’ severance pay…. I was upset about it, obviously, and I called through to Vegas ‘cause Elvis was in Vegas at this time, and I told Joe (Esposito) what had happened and he told me that Elvis did not know Vernon had done it. Elvis told him, “Tell him not to worry – if he wants to come back, he can come back”. Well, consequently I never did go back to work for him, but I still saw him regularly – I’d go up to the house and we’d run around together and stuff….

Q: Most of the guys who worked for Elvis have all written books – some good, some bad. What is your opinion of them?

RD: I don’t agree with the books, there’s never been a book written about Elvis yet that’s totally truthful. There’s some truth in all of them, but not 100% truth in any of them. There’s a lot of lies in them and a lot of fabrication. I don’t agree with them because they’re only written to make money at Elvis expense, and he’s not here to defend himself. George Klein and myself one day want to write a book and collaborate with a couple of other guys that were true friends of Elvis’ that have never written a book, but who have nothing but love in their hearts for Elvis. We have some beautiful memories that we’d like to share with the fans, and we want to show the fun side of Elvis – tell about all the good things he did for people, all the funny, crazy, dumb, stupid things we did in our life, all the practical jokes we pulled…. This is what the fans wanna hear; it’s what the fans need to know.

Q: Did you and the rest of the guys who worked for Elvis ever mix with his band - did you ever socialize?

RD: No, we remained separate. They never did party with us or associate with us or hang out with us. They went their way, we went our way. Elvis only kept his close entourage with him, and the band did their own thing.

Q: In the later years did Elvis ever spend time reminiscing about his early days – the Sun period and so on?

RD: No, I never heard him reminisce that much about the early days or the Sun days. I think those were times he remembered, because some of those times were real hard – in the beginning, y’d know.
Struggling and coming up from nowhere – tryin’ to get a hit record, tryin’ to gain popularity, tryin’ to break into show business, tryin’ to be a name – all that sort of stuff. I think they were hard times for him, although I’m sure he did have some good memories from those times too. But he didn’t sit around talkin’ about them.

Q: When was the last time you saw him?

RD: It was about a week before he passed away. I was up at the house and we’ played racquetball. The day he died - I guess it’s like the time when John F. Kennedy was shot – everyone can remember what they were doin’ and where they were when Elvis died. You can go anywhere in this world and they’ve heard of Elvis Presley. You don’t even have to say “Presley” – just “Elvis” and everyone knows who you’re talking about. But everyone remembers what they were doin’ when he passed. I know I can. I was on my way to the airport to buy my ticket to go to Columbia, South America – I was goin’ there to buy emeralds. And like I said, I was just with him a few days before that; we all knew he wasn’t in great health – but not that extent, of course. And I heard it on the radio. They broke in on the radio and said “Elvis Presley is dead”. I thought it couldn’t be true, I thought it was one of the Colonel’s sick publicity jokes. I’d just see the man, it couldn’t be true. But it came on the radio again, so I thought I’d better check it out. So I went back home and I called the house. Patsy, Elvis’ cousin, answered the phone and she was cryin’. I said, “Patsy, I’ve just heard on the radio that Elvis has died – tell me it isn’t true”. She said, “Richard, I’m afraid it is”. So I cancelled my trip and I went up to the house and I stayed for the next three days – helping with the arrangements and everything.

Q: When you look back now and think of Elvis and the times you spent together, what are the main thing that sticks out in your mind?

RD: Lots of things, really. His sense of humor, I guess, would be one of the main things – he was always jokin’ and carryin’ on. All the practical jokes and everything – that’s what I remember most. But he was a professional – a true professional – and when he was up on that stage - boy, he was unbeatable. I loved to see him perform. I loved almost every ballad he did. He could sing a ballad in a way that would put anyone else to shame that tried to cover it. I loved his gospel material too - “How Great Thou ‘Art” and this type of songs. I just loved to see him perform. You’re talking to a man who was there seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year and who saw almost every performance he did live – whether it was in Vegas or on the road – and you’d think that after seeing so many shows by the same performer day-in-and-day-out that it’d get monotonous and you’d get used to it. No sir. The man never ceased to amaze me. I was thrilled with every performance he did. I was like a teenage fan in that audience – I had chill bumps every time I watched him perform, every time I heard that beautiful voice come out of him. Sometimes I’d sit there with my mouth wide open and think “ Wow”!!! But let me tell you, Elvis was a beautiful person – inside and outside. He had a heart of gold. He loved people. He truly cared for all people, all humanity regardless of their race, creed or color. He had the most fantastic sense of humor of anybody I’ve ever met in my entire life. Our life together was virtually full of practical jokes – he would instigate most of them, but sometimes we’d pull ‘em on him. But the man was generous and he loved giving – he loved to see the happiness he brought to people by the things he did for them. He wanted no payment in return. He didn’t do these things for tax write-offs or publicity or anything like that – he did it from the love of his heart because he cared. If he made you happy then you paid him back ten times over because that made him happy.
He was a very God-believing, religious person, he believed in Jesus as a Savior. There was so much to that man. He’s one of the greatest men and talents that ever walked the face of this earth and ever lived, and no one will ever top him. I loved that man.



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The biggest part of Elvis Presley was his big heart. It was full of love for everyone
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 Post subject: Re: Talking Elvis-indepth interview with Richard Davis
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:38 pm 
Sun Dial
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Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:28 pm
Posts: 239
:hello: What A Fantastic Interview Thank You Angel Eyes for Posting this, I Remember Richard very Much in Elvis' Movies and especially in the TTWII Rehearsals. :love:



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Without you I am nothing an could never be so bold. The times we've shared, the laughter and the tears. Priceless memories, treasures all. How could I ever fail? With you I don't fear that at all. Elvis Presley!
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