If it hadn’t been for a knee injury, Rob Kingsley would still be working towards 22 years in the army.
But injury struck – and Elvis picked him up.
Rob, who brings his A Vision of Elvis tribute show to the Hawth, Crawley, on Thursday, August 8 7.30pm, is delighted at the way things have worked out.
He is now into his fourth year with the stage show, and bookings are going up and up.
“I started off in the recession so I haven’t really known anything else.
“But to survive the recession means that I must be doing something right!
“I am getting more shows each year. This year we have already got 50 shows booked in. Last year we had about 30 shows.
“I try to keep a gap between going back to venues so it doesn’t feel as if I have only just been there, and we are now doing overseas. We do quite a lot of travel. I was in Australia and Singapore and Bucharest. We are going to Norway, and we are in negotiations to take the show out to Canada.”
And all because of that injury.
“I was in the army. I was a recruit instructor, but I had a knee injury.
“I was offered another job but it wasn’t doing what I wanted so I came out of the army.
“We went on holiday to Cyprus, and I got up and sang one night. And the owner decided to book me as Elvis. I had never done anything like that before. It sounds a cliché, but I was always a massive Elvis fan. Luckily through injury, Elvis found me!
“I would have been in the army for 22 years. I did 14. I served in the Gulf. I was in Ireland. I was in Kosovo. I did Germany. I only joined the army because Elvis was in the army.
“Really I started listening to Elvis from day one. My mum was a fan. We had music on. There was always music around.
“I can still remember the first day I heard Elvis. I was in the garden playing. The voice just captivated me. I heard Heartbreak Hotel for the first song, and then I heard Teddy Bear – those two different styles. To me, there will never be another Elvis. I just try to do my tribute.
“I study Elvis every day. I have got the knowledge. If fans ask me questions, I can answer them. I don’t just do the show and walk off.
“I find out something new about him every day. There is always lots more to find out. That’s what keeps it interesting.”
And from what he gathers, Rob believes Elvis was a very humble guy – a superstar in the days before the internet, in the days before things could go global in an instant: “It was so much more difficult back then, but I think he was humbled by it. He did remain a normal guy. From what I hear, he loved practical jokes. He just liked to be one of the guys, but that’s not easy when you are Elvis.
“When I go off stage, I have got a Scottish accent and I don’t have sideburns, but he was Elvis all the time. It must have been hard. People think it is easy doing the shows, all the radio and interviews and television.
“They don’t see the practising, the rehearsals, all the hard work preparing the shows.”
By Phil Hewitt