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View Full Version : Elvis - What Happened? - here we go again!



NEA
02-11-2005, 03:45 PM
Hi Guys,

Just as a follow-up to one of my previous threads re: That book by the Wests and Hebler...I've recently given some thought in trying to throw a little more perspective on the situation, as I know that some fans find it an interesting, albeit controversial subject, to discuss.

On my original thread I stated that I don't understand the whole appeal of some Fan Clubs allowing such MM characters be the headlining guests of honour either at a convention or via an interview in one of their magazines. But, for some reason I have been addressing my thoughts and feelings regarding this subject and I found myself being faced with putting myself in Red and Sonny's situation at that time (don't really want to mention Dave Hebler because he knew Elvis all of two minutes compared to the Wests).

Now, I am not dismissing my original thoughts and feelings on this subject - Elvis was very stressed and hurt about this publication especially when it was eventually published at the very beginning of August, 1977 - we all know what happened on the 16th of that fateful month. The guys had very mixed feelings about Elvis at the time hence the writing of this type of book - I still feel that they wrote it out of pure bitterness but obviously there was something behind this.

Vernon Presley had fired the guys in July, 1976...the story goes that Elvis left Memphis in order for Vernon to do this and tell them the reason was to do with cutting back on expenses, etc. So, obviously Red, Sonny and the other one were obviously very hurt, frustrated and bewildered by such a turning point in their lives. The guys had obviously experienced Elvis' declining health and prescription drug habits over a certain length of time leading up to their dismissal, so no matter what, they always did have feelings for Elvis even though rumour had it that Red and Sonny were being a little heavy-handed with security measures at the time regarding his fans.

I now believe that Red & Sonny did care for Elvis and that book was written out of total frustration. At the time of their firing their worlds were turned upside down and they also had their families to think about - if only Elvis would have faced them with the problems that were re-occurring...if only Elvis would have fired them himself - I feel this would have softened the blow slightly...Elvis did not address all the years friendship let alone service that Red and Sonny had given him. Elvis did take the coward's way out where this matter was concerned - no question....or was it the medication that Elvis was taking that made the decision? At this time the racquetball business venture with Joe Esposito came into play also - this no doubt added to the stress and pressure of putting your legendary name and money to a big project like this...still no consolation for Red and Sonny.

I think the publication and the idea behind it wanted to very much make public Elvis' drug problem because it certainly held a big influence over his behaviour at this point in his life. But, I do think that the guys were subjected to a very sensationalistic co-writer in the form of Steve Dunleavy -this guy didn't really do them any favours let alone Elvis.

Over the years I have never really given the guys the benefit of the doubt - until now...for some reason, I don't know. I've seen Sonny on a couple of TV shows being interviewed and as I've stated before he does appear to be somewhat of a genuine man who did really care for Elvis. I've read about interviews Red has given with fan clubs and magazines - he appears somewhat of a harsh person but I'm sure he does have his own regrets about certain aspects of being involved with that publication.

Nevertheless, has anybody got any word on Sonny's new book? And, has anybody ever heard about what Dave Hebler is thinking after all this time?

I would like to hear your comments, guys.

Many thanks.

Captain Elwood David
02-11-2005, 04:54 PM
I give The Wests credit for being the only ones to have the guts to stand up to EP in an effort to get him to face his problems - in his lifetime.

Keeping in mind, I've never walked in their shoes, .......... I try not to judge them. Afterall, they too, have their side of the story.

The book, actually, is pretty tame by today's standards. (Goldman did far more harm). The incidents in the book are "factually" correct, but are obviously skewed to the opinion of the authors writing the book (what book isn't?).

On "All The King's Men" (with The Wests, Billy, Lamar, & Marty), .......... one can see the regret in The Wests ....... & sincerity. There is a ton I can say on this topic, but don't have the time at the moment; it is most definitely fascinating.

EP was climbing The Learning Curve with Hebler ........ & one can get a glimpse as to what I'm getting at in the infamous Red / EP Telephone conversation from 1976. The Wests, however, were in a completely different category than Hebler - especially Red. Red & EP went way, way back. I dare say, in a way, there were almost even like brothers, ............ which makes it all the more tragic the way things turned out.

Bottom line - I think the only thing The Wests were guilty of were trying to protect EP too much - not only from himself, but from others as well. Their getting the axe was first & foremost a consequence of EP's own denial about his problems and The Wests making EP a bit too uncomfortable with hard confrontation. As a result, public confrontation may have been the only way to have an genuine / realistic effect. For good & bad, it did.

------------------------------

On a related note, .... I want to clear up some MYTH regarding the EWH? book. EP did indeed have a copy of the book. He marked in it, & read it - heavily.

EP was obsessed with the book both pre- & post- publication. It weighed heavily on his mind & caused him many sleepless nights.


- Capt. "EL."

eileen
02-13-2005, 04:45 AM
EP did indeed have a copy of the book. He marked in it, & read it - heavily.

This question comes out of my reading of the published Kurt Cobain Journals and similar works: If the Elvis-annotated copy of EWH were published, how do you think it would impact the general public perception of Elvis?

Eileen

paulsweeney
02-13-2005, 10:01 AM
You have nicely summed up what I have thought for years, very well written. As for Sonny's book, I'm not sure when it will be out - hopefully sometime this year!

carolynlm
02-13-2005, 05:09 PM
Hi guys,
I had only read this book a few months before I went to Memphis last year. Sonny West was speaking at the hotel I was staying at, and I got to speak to both he and his wife Judy, a number of times. Surprisingly, we only briefly spoke about Elvis......I really didn't have any opinion on Sonny West before this, as I had never met him, but now, I can say, I admire him....He and Red did have the guts to finally stand up to Elvis, and in my opinion, the only mistake they made was the choice of the writer. Sonny is a nice man, who really loved Elvis...and I firmly believe that Red was the same. Sonny takes these speaking engagments knowing full well, that there is going to be someone in the audience that is going to heckle him...he states clearly at the beginning of the talk that if a question comes up that he doesn't want to answer, he won't....but he didn't side step any of the questions when I saw him. He told me that the book is almost finished, but he couldn't give me a time when it would be published. :king:

Captain Elwood David
02-14-2005, 03:54 AM
This question comes out of my reading of the published Kurt Cobain Journals and similar works: If the Elvis-annotated copy of EWH were published, how do you think it would impact the general public perception of Elvis?

Eileen
Eileen -

Excellent question.

I can't speak as to the Coban journals (have no knowledge), but .................

Generally speaking ................. if E's private thoughts & details surrounding his private reading(s) (EWH, included) were ever to be discussed - substantively - there would not only be some big surprises, ................ but much MYTH would be cleared up in the process; I have no doubt, whatsoever, it would influence the perception of Elvis in a positive direction.

(Please not the operative word above in bold; also, hence the conundrum).


- Capt. "EL."

Liverbobs
02-14-2005, 10:07 AM
I always thought that Elvis did the dirty on Red , If he was going to "Let him go" then the least he could have done is tell him to his face and give him a decent redundancy payout, one weeks pay was just a token gesture (and illegal if US employment laws regarding redundancy payments are the same as the UK's).

Capt. El - If the release of the EWH with Elvis' comments etc would influence the perception of Elvis in a positive direction. Let's get on with it and have them published , I'm sick and tired of trying to explain to my non Elvis fan friends that there was more to him than this fat bloke in a jumpsuit.
:cursing: but should "private " remain private"? hmmm :hmm:

jbgude
02-14-2005, 10:38 AM
The trouble is, even if they are published now there will be doubts to the authenticity -ie: were they really Elvis's comments or just some good forgery. For what it is worth, I say leave it alone. Let the music - released with a genuine concept speak for Elvis. There are several ideas for a blues or Romantic and Alternate takes made on many different boards.



jb

quinn53
02-18-2005, 05:24 PM
How many times was Red fired and then hired back? Quite a few I tink. So why at that time did he have to write the book? I ain't judging nobody. Shit happens. I think Red never got over not being able to be at Elvis' wedding. Who knows? Anyway, Red wrote some awesome songs and Elvis left us with some awesome music and I sure am happy about that.

Captain Elwood David
02-18-2005, 05:59 PM
Greetings,

With regard to some inquiries on this topic, both here on the MB & privately - these will be my final words in response to all:


Capt. El - If the release of the EWH with Elvis' comments etc would influence the perception of Elvis in a positive direction. Let's get on with it .....

.......... but should "private " remain private"?
Any such decision rests in the hands of the current owner of such items. Period.

Some people make money off of EP, some don't.


The trouble is, even if they are published now there will be doubts to the authenticity -ie: were they really Elvis's comments or just some good forgery. For what it is worth, I say leave it alone. Let the music - released with a genuine concept speak for Elvis.
With regard to authenticity issues, ............. genuine items always speak for themselves - on multiple levels.

It is never, only, just the music .................... this, I can assure you.



- Capt. "EL."