View Full Version : Duke Bardwell

Shane Shepherd
08-18-2009, 02:50 PM
Hey guys, I met Duke Bardwell a couple weeks back and thought some might be interested in the few questions I got to ask him. He was playing with a band here in Austin, TX doing a tribute show. It was way cool as they, the tribute band, had a horn section, background singers, etc etc. They did their best to capture a 70's show. The singer didn't try to be Elvis which made it even better. Nobody can be Elvis so why try. Anyway, I got to meet Duke after the show and had him sign a copy of The Live in Memphis FTD circa 1974. I asked him if he would share any memories of the show. He said that he didn't know they were recording the show until they were about to walk onstage. Someone came up and had him sign a release right before walking out and that's how if was notified. I believe he said it was his first tour and he was nervous just playing with Elvis let alone being recorded. My wife asked if he had good memories of Elvis being a nice guy at which point he kinda laughed. He said "there were two sides to that coin...he could be nice and there were times he wasn't." Which is like everyone of us I suppose. He did say that he was on that night..."While I'm sure he had had his pills...he was on". He mentioned that Elvis said the "just killing time to drink water line" and it made it on the record. Duke said it was a hellava way to be immortalized. I asked him if Elvis nuts like me annoyed him and he said "I grew up being an Elvis nut too that's why I was so nervous playing with him." Sorry this was so long..hope some find it interesting. With that I bid you a fond f'n farwell. :D

08-18-2009, 03:02 PM
Thanks for sharing, Shane. I really have to admire Duke, I've read an in-depth interview he did and if you read between the lines, Elvis was far from being a nice employer - he & Duke didn't mesh & Duke was made well aware of that. BUT, Duke did not once say anything disparaging about Elvis, never ran him into the ground, which would have been easy. Glad that Duke has some good memories.
Was this band traveling thru or are they an Austin staple?

Shane Shepherd
08-18-2009, 03:12 PM
Lisarose, Every year at the Continental Club in South Austin, about a week or so before the 16th, they have a show. The bands are real bands that have there own music but for this show they do only Elvis music. The thing I enjoyed was that 1. They sang Elvis music but didn't try to impersonate 2. It was everything from Milkcow Blues to Just Pretend. They really don't do Teddy Bear, Hound Dog, etc. The headliner knew Duke from playing gigs overseas and had him come in for the show. Do you know why Elvis was especially fond of Duke?

Shane Shepherd
08-18-2009, 03:14 PM
Do you know why Elvis wasn't especially fond of Duke?

08-18-2009, 03:36 PM
Not really, it seems that they just didn't mesh. Elvis was pretty set in his ways, and Duke came in suddenly. What made Elvis unhappy was on a performance, Duke's amp was buzzing while Elvis was singing and [just guessing here] maybe Elvis thought Duke was doing it on purpose and felt a bit embarrassed.
They did have some good times - behind the scenes though, so not all was a waste and Duke was a huge fan of Elvis' before hand.
I think you can find the interview on elvis.com.au I'll see if I can find it.

08-18-2009, 03:44 PM
There's a much longer interview on another forum, but I've got no clue as to how to find that one!

08-19-2009, 01:06 PM
Thanks for the story Shane...very interersting indeed!!! ;)


08-19-2009, 01:22 PM
Good topic and very relevant now! Good to get to know more about Duke Bardwell's experience.. Anyhow - Duke! And good to see there are bands out there performing music in his spirit, but not trying to be him. Yes I even failed trying to be Louis de Funès - to no avail!