Elvis Week Survival Guide

By Jon Waterhouse

Having another opportunity to serve as Elvis Week Blogger —the eyes and ears of fellow fans— and share my big hunk o’ love for all things Elvis remains a huge honor. Now comes the time to put on my game face and curl my lip, dive head first into the deep end of Elvisness and take care of business in a flash. EPE and Graceland have quite the celebration in store, blending tried-and-true experiences with new additions and enhancements. Expect more shiny bells and whistles than a tricked-out Stutz Bearcat. It’s more fun than a barrel of hound dogs for sure, but navigating Elvis Week 2014 takes planning. Consider the following tips and tricks.


ELVIS WEEK SURVIVAL GUIDE

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Elvis Week blogger Jon Waterhouse packs as he preps for Elvis Week 2014.

The Elvis Week App
Juggling all those Elvis Week activities almost requires the time management of your own personal Col. Tom. Good thing you can have one in the palm of your hand. Grab your smartphone and download the Elvis Week App. It comes loaded with a fully customizable schedule, maps, up-to-date Elvis Week news and more. You can even use the app to fire up your own virtual candle for the Candlelight Vigil.  Plus, they have this new Photo Booth deal where you can Elvi-size your photos. Download the app for free!

Water
In Memphis, the sun doesn’t strictly shine at the famed studio. Throughout Elvis Week, that flaming star will produce temps expected to reach the 90s. Make sure and stay hydrated at all times by keeping bottled water at the ready.

Sunscreen
With that said, Elvis Presley’s Graceland is breaking ground on the new Guest House at Graceland on Thursday, August 14. Gotta protect yourself from those UVs!

Comfy Shoes
Elvis Week can easily inspire fans to dress to the nines. Just save the blue suede shoes and high heeled sneakers for special events. Many fans find themselves on their feet hoofing it from one event to the next, not to mention standing in line for the Vigil. Comfortable footwear is a must, so make sure and love those tootsies tender.

Power Up
Sleep isn’t always a top priority among fans at Elvis Week, so always fuel up on food. Eating regularly and keeping snacks within reach is important. And don’t forget your cameras and mobile devices need power, too. Hit the events with phone chargers and camera batteries in tow.

Fan Connections
Countless attendees describe Elvis Week as a family reunion of sorts. Our passion for and appreciation of the world’s most iconic entertainer creates an unrivaled bond linking us together. Sharing business cards can be a great way to start lasting Elvis fan friendships. If you’re comfortable trading digits and/or email addresses with fellow fans, a pocketful of cards can help.


MEET MEMPHIS JONES

Memphis Jones, Elvis Week Video Host

The uber-talented Memphis Jones serves as the 2014 Elvis Week online video host. It’s a sheer pleasure sharing bandwidth with a guy like Memphis. Not only is he a living, breathing Elvis almanac with an infectious love for the king and the town he called home, but musicianship oozes from his pores.

Memphis sure knows how to surf the Elvis Week wave, so we had a quick conversation in advance of the big event.

Q.: You get your name honest, because of your great knowledge of Memphis and Elvis. How did you get to that point?

A.: Well, I’ve always loved music. When I was just a toddler my favorite thing was to get my mom and dad’s records and play them. I picked up a couple of instruments as a kid, and when I was 12 I started playing the guitar. So that kind of sealed the whole deal for me as far as finding my own destiny. But apart from that at the same time, I was just always fascinated by the stories and histories of musicians. As a musician myself, I wanted to know who my heroes’ heroes were. My very first favorite band was Kiss. I wanted to know who they listened to, and what inspired them to make their music. And that cycle continued, no matter who my favorite band was at any given time. I love to research and connect dots, because I can kind of interpret a story better than I can tell it. Before long I realized I had a lot of very useful knowledge about the history of rock ‘n’ roll. To put a bow on it, a new Memphis tour company called around 2008 and asked if I would work with them giving music history tours in town. So I got to polish a lot of the trivia and facts that I amassed. I got to laser beam it everyday with international groups who loved the music.

Q.: What bit of Elvis-related information that you’ve uncovered has surprised you the most?

A.: What I’ve always been thrilled to discover is how much of an impact and how unpredictable his career was. The set up for it was insane. At the end of World War I, the guys who invented radar were paid to continue researching it. Television [came out of it] and is kind of like radar’s son. If that hadn’t happened, then no one would’ve seen Elvis in 1956, which was the thing. If we hadn’t seen him, then he might’ve come and gone like a lot of other popular and very talented artists. But then we saw the package. So many things had to lead to the one little point in the middle of the 20th century where, for good or ill, rock ‘n’ roll was here to stay. And it was because of this one guy who pushed it beyond pop culture, made it a heartbeat and gave it to the youth. He changed pop culture forever. Every rock ‘n’ roller in the world today is basically just doing an impression of Elvis Presley, because no one was wild before him. And I continue to discover how every single thing he did seemed to change or impact culture around him to this very day.

Q.: There’s so much happening at Elvis Week, it’s almost sensory overload. Do you have any suggestions on how fans can make the most of it?

A.: First and foremost, I’m a professional Elvis fan. And my job is to experience and interpret so that everybody else who’s coming along can have some wisdom about how to do it. People who don’t have the opportunity to come just yet can sort of vicariously experience it through what I’m doing on my videos. This is the advice I would give: I would look at Elvis Week like a buffet. You take a little of this and a little of that, because you can always come back. You don’t have to load up your plate with your favorite item right away. Just plan on chewing slow and enjoying every bite, and taking your time and breathing. Always remember to celebrate when you have that moment when you realize you’re here living a lifelong dream that means so much. Any time you get that little bit of revelation, take a minute and celebrate it. Be thankful, and have fun. Buy yourself that one extra milkshake or one extra T-shirt; whatever celebrating means to you. Keep those peak moments at the top, because when you get home those memories last forever. Even if you can only get to Graceland once in a lifetime, you’ll have the memory of the amazing time you had there.

Q.: You’re a musician in your own right and Elvis songs find their way into your sets. What Elvis tune do you enjoy playing the most?

A.: Right now I’m kind of in love with “Hard Headed Woman” from “King Creole.” There’s something about it that’s absolutely wild. The most fun to sing vocally is probably “Promised Land” by Chuck Berry. I think Elvis’s version of “Promised Land” is just perfection. That song can’t be done better than the way Elvis did it. And as far as the fans go, it’s got to be “Suspicious Minds.” It’s always a pleaser. When they hear it, people hug, weep, shout and cheer.

You can learn more about Memphis Jones at MemphisJones.net.


Need help downloading the app, Memphis Jones to the rescue! Also, you can always watch his daily videos, plus see more photos and blogs by visiting ElvisWeek.com.