KING TO REIGN AT VIVA
Having admired Elvis since he was a tot, it’s not so surprising that Bill Cherry has made a successful career impersonating the King
Bill Cherry has been captivated by Elvis Presley since he was a five-year-old. “My mother loves the Elvis movies and all of his songs – I watched them with her and thought Elvis was the coolest guy,” he says.
“He had the looks, the voice, in fact he had it all going for him including the girls.
“In addition to being a very talented person with his singing and dancing, he came from humble beginnings and a religious background that I was drawn to.”
It was 30 years ago that Bill worked up the courage to step into Elvis’s blue suede shoes and sing one of his songs to an audience.
“At the time it was a hobby but I had seen others impersonating Elvis and thought to myself, ‘I can do that’,” he says.
The American performer, who drives the same car as the King of rock ‘n’ roll, has since won multiple awards as an Elvis impersonator.
Setting out to capture “what it would have been like to see an Elvis concert live”, Bill isn’t afraid to throw some of his own pizzazz into his live shows.
“Everyone should put at least a little bit of their own personality into the show. If you do it full-time it just happens naturally,” he says.
This weekend Bill heads to Australia for the first time to headline Viva Surfers Paradise.
A celebration of all things Elvis, the 10-day event features live tribute shows, a classic car show, competitions and rock ‘n’ roll dance lessons.
Next weekend the Elvis Tribute Artist contest will see some of the best talent battle it out for a spot in America’s Memphis Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist contest, part of next month’s official Elvis Week.
Viva Surfers Paradise will also see Dean Vegas, the Gold Coast’s own answer to the King, host a mass renewal of wedding vows in true Vegas style.
“I am very excited about performing at Viva Surfers Paradise,” says Bill.
“I have never been to Australia so I am really looking forward to going Down Under. You can expect a lot of fun, music, memories and Elvis.”
Specialising in the concert years, specifically the 1970s, Bill says he is drawn to that era because of the costumes, the jewellery, Elvis’s overall look and the songs.
“The jumpsuits I have are accurate, made by B&K, which is the same company that made most of Elvis’s,” he says. “Some people say they look expensive but I didn’t spend quite as much as Elvis.”
In 2009, Bill took out the crown for Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition.
When it comes to Elvis memorabilia, the performer owns several prized possessions.
“They are mostly concert banners and tour books from the 1970s,” he says. “My most prized possession is a pair of his sunglasses – the square ones you see while he’s on tour.”
The Bill Cherry Show also revives the classics of Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.
As for Bill’s favourite song from the King’s extensive back catalogue, he finds it hard to choose just one.
“It could change tomorrow because I like so many, but today it is Mystery Train/Tiger Man,” he says. “I like it because of the raw drive of the music.”
Viva Surfers Paradise runs until July 19.
Bill Cherry heads to the Gold Coast for Viva Surfers Paradise.