The king graces rockingham

Impersonator Joe Portelli, who goes by his stage name Joe Memphis, has been turning himself into Elvis for about 25 years and loves combining his passion for singing with the man in the blue suede shoes.

Thirty years ago, Portelli began singing with a band, then branched out into solo performances, doing a range of impersonations, or �interpretations�, as he calls them.

�I don�t impersonate him to the hilt, I do my own impression of Elvis,� he said.

�You have to create the look and illusion on stage; it�s an interpretation.�

His first band performance was at the Rockingham Hotel and he will return there on June 20 with Keith Rowe for an Elvis and Neil Diamond showcase.

Rowe, who goes by the stage name Keith Black, will impersonate Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison.

Portelli lives in Rockingham and said he recalled hearing Elvis� music played on the radio after his death.

He became interested in his style of singing, his movies and shows.

He eventually acquired a Cadillac and two replica suits, collectively worth $8000, and wears a wig to perfect his look after straightening his hair for years.

He always sports some serious side burns but for Portelli, it is all about the singing.

�I love people�s reaction and how they perceive me and the applause, of course,� he said.

Portelli said he did not have a favourite Elvis song because there were so many to choose from.

For him, impersonating was a hobby.

�You can make a living from it but not here,� he said. �You would need to be in Sydney or in America.�

Tickets to the Rockingham Hotel performance cost $15 and will be available at the door.