Whats everyones opinion on each of the guys, who do you think genuinely loved Elvis and who was after the money etc?
Are they leeches as some have said or devoted to Elvis?
Who has met any of them and what did you think?
Whats everyones opinion on each of the guys, who do you think genuinely loved Elvis and who was after the money etc?
Are they leeches as some have said or devoted to Elvis?
Who has met any of them and what did you think?
A lot of questions but a good thread, Joanne!!
I have never met any of the members of the Memphis Mafia and, to be honest, what I know about some of them is what I've read from books or through documentaries and so on.
I can only say that I have my favourites..those who, according to me, were real friends and didn't care about his success and money...for example Charlie Hodge and Jerry Schilling (although he still pays too much attention to the "widow").
Red and Sonny West...well, they did a really filth with their book in that particular moment of his life...maybe they really told the truth but I'd never hurt a friend in that way.
I don't know enough about the others as Marty Lacker, Lamar Fike, Joe Esposito or Larry Galler (what they did after his death).
Anyway, it's so hard to have an opinion...they all tell different stories about Elvis, their life with him and the facts happened...I'd be curious to know more and to read others posts...:hmm:
I gotta say that Charlie Hodge and Joe Esposito were my favorite two...I don't really know too much about others, though. But I think Joe and Charlie were true friends to Elvis and didn't care about his money ;)
The Memphis Mafia on the whole served the purpose with which they were tasked............ That said they all had an agenda which Elvis new about.
They all wanted to be the one who Elvis was closest to......... and if you believe the many biographies they were ideed Elvis' closest companion :lol:
There are those who were around Elvis who were genuine and remain true to his legacy today, Joe Esposito, Charlie Hodge spring to mind although with the passing of time history has become blurred and events, shall we say have become embelished somewhat.
There were people like Larry Galler who have an inflated sense of their part in history and basically are just bullsh*ters.
Some of the guys around Elvis had been around since the beginning for instance Charlie met Elvis just prior to being drafted in the army where they were re-aquainted and remained friends. A similar time line goes for Joe Espositio who met Elvis in the army and in 1960 became Elvis' aide and road manager.
Red West had known Elvis from high school and after Elvis' discharge from the army became Elvis' personal bodyguard.
Sonny West (Cousin of Red) also met Elvis at Hulmes High School and was later introduced to Elvis by Red and looked after vehicles and as a bodyguard also.
Lamar Fike was a fan turned friend when Elvis lived in Audubon Drive. Lamar used to hang around outside the house until one day Glady's invited him in. Lamar was responsible for lighting (and Tour manager?) whilst Elvis was on tour.
Billy Smith was Elvis' cousin (Glady's Nephew).
Marty Lacker had known Elvis from Junior High School and was Elvis' book keeper and secretary.
Jerry Shilling was a friend of Elvis since 1954 another of those guys who is on the level and most of what he says can be considered legit.
Well there are others but that is the brief overview.
I have become quite interested in what Marty Lacker has had to say recently as I think he has been very honest with his views-
He says he doesn`t get on with Joe Esposito anymore and hasn`t spoken to him for years "I always basically liked Joe, I just didn`t like the way he treated others or spoke down to them. He thought he was something special in the group but he wasn`t. He was no more than any of the other originals. We haven`t spoke in many years because of that attitude."
On Larry Geller and the spiritual quest he said "I thought it was bad for him. It`s one thing to question why you have been given a special place in the world but you can screw your head up by being too intense about it."
On the Elvis By The Presleys dvd and that only Jerry Schilling was involved and Billy Smith wasn`t and he is real family he said "It should have been called Elvis By The Beaulieus."
Asked if he was upset about not being involved with the DVD he said "Not at all. The five of us have nothing to do with Priscilla or Lisa. We didn`t expect to be asked and if we had been we would have declined."
On Priscillas handling of EPE he said "People do not realize that there was a board of advisors from the bank along with Priscilla that was making the decisions about running Graceland. People also forget that she was not the only executor of the estate the other two were the bank and Joe Hanks, the accountant. Scatter could have opened Graceland and made money."
On Priscilla`s flirtation with Mylon Lefevre "Just what Jo Smith and my wife told me. Priscilla went after him while Elvis and us were in Hollywood making movies before they were married."
On Lisa`s latest video clip, *****, which features a same sex kiss (with herself). He said "That might not have happened if he was alive just as her not marrying Michael Jackson or being a member of Scientology."
"Lisa cannot sing."
"I am not a Lisa Marie fan as an artist or person."
On Ann-Margret and Elvis he said "They both were somewhat similar and understood and loved each other."
"Ann is a great down to earth person and we got along great and had a lot of laughs. Unlike Priscilla she was not threatened by the guys being there."
On Ginger Alden when asked if Elvis would have married her if he hadn`t died he said "I doubt it."
"According to Billy and Lamar, there was no way he would marry her. She was a trophy for him. The age difference was too great."
"What it was for her I don`t know but I doubt it was love."
On Linda Thompson he said "Linda was a lot of fun. She cared for Elvis in many ways and she was basically good for him."
On Sheila Ryan he said "Sheila was someone you could take or leave. No big memories of her."
On being asked if he thought Elvis was bipolar because the symptoms sound like people`s description of Elvis he said "I`m not a doctor but he suffered all that at times but don`t we all."
On Colonel Parker he said "Parker has never been one of my favourite people. Parker was only interested in one thing $$$$$$$$."
"I never liked or trusted him. My loyalty was to Elvis and Parker didn`t like that especially when I was foreman."
On Vernon Presley "We got on alright. He didn`t really like any of us being there, he thought Elvis was spending too much money paying us which in itself is a joke."
On Dr Nick he said "He truly cared about Elvis but he got caught up in a lifestyle that he shouldn`t have and it made him do things he shouldn`t."
On Tom Jones and his comments "If Elvis had had a few more friends around...he wouldn`t have died when he did."
Tom Jones also said that "he could have straightened Elvis out."
Marty said "Tom`s remarks can be answered by people shooting their mouth off because they think it makes them look and sound good. Elvis would have kicked his *** out the door if Tom talked to him about his pills."
On Robert Goulet and the TV incident he said "Elvis harbored some bad fellings about Goulet from back in the late 50`s when he was in the army. Elvis` girlfriend Anita Wood was a singer and she did shows with Goulet and Buddy Hackett. Anita would often write Elvis in Germany and one time Goulet added a post script to one of them telling Elvis in a sly way that he was personally taking care of Anita. Elvis didn`t like that and he never forgot so when he saw Goulet on TV, he shot the TV out."
"Most of us original Memphis Mafia are still very close friends and we talk with each other every week. There are just a couple of people who were friends of Elvis that have made it clear, that the close brotherhood we had when Elvis was alive, all those years, really didn`t mean that much to them. Instead, they have shifted their loyalty to Priscilla and Lisa since they control the money and publicity of Graceland. We are not interested in that. Our loyalty remains with Elvis!
I personally agree with a lot that he has to say.
You took the words right out of my mouth. (y)
Jumpsuit Junkie, thanks a lot for the info about each of the guys, I knew that Charlie and Joe knew Elvis since around the army years, but didn't know too much about others, thanks ;)
NatureBoy, I'm glad, lol ;) :D (y)
No problem (y):
I personally think that Joe Esposito did care about the money but I think that if being truthful they all did.
I`ll never forget seeing Joe in Elvis On Tour when Elvis had just come off stage and he`s in the car and Joe keeps saying good show, good show and he came across as a sickafant.
When Marty Lacker states that a couple of people have moved to Priscilla and Lisa`s camp instead of defending Elvis I would guess them to be Jerry Schilling and Joe Esposito.
These two guys are so far up Priscilla`s behind that they can`t see anymore.
They are keeping in with her because of the money.
With her approval they can do a lot more and they know it but the price they pay is to defend her on talk shows and documentaries etc.
Jerry Schilling claims to have been Elvis`s friend but he was involved with the Elvis and Me mini-series and also EBTP both of which run Elvis down and if I hear him tell that story one more time of how Elvis was mad at him in the kitchen and said if anybodys gonna ask Priscilla how she is it`ll be me, I`ll scream. No doubt he`ll recount it one more time in his new book.
My guess is it will be fill of praise for Priscilla.
She seems to spend more time with him these days than her own partner (read into that what you will) and he was recently at Lisa`s wedding.
His loyalty is now to Priscilla and Joe is headed that way as well.
Only like Joe E. and Charlie H.
I think there are several categories of Elvis' friends and not all of them are counted to have been part of the Memphis Maffia.
Red West apparently was the rough schoolkid who saved Elvis in the boys room at Humes I believe who wanted to rough him up. Elvis remained grateful, and later when his career slowly started up, he asked Red along for company. Red more or less naturally fell into the role of bodyguard, and Elvis was all too happy with that. Though he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself in fights, he really preferred Red (and later others) to handle that kind of stuff for him.
Sonny was the younger cousin of Red, a big guy, who later - shortly before Elvis went overseas to Germany - got Elvis' promise that as soon as he'd return, could be on Elvis' payroll for whatever that needed to be done.
I think Red for the longest time genuinely was grateful to Elvis and cared about Elvis. He's not much of a talker yet his song lyrics (and I think his acting too) prove him to be a sensitive man. My belief is that he really thought writing "Elvis, what happened?" would serve as a wake-up call to Elvis, after having tried so many times to get through to him.
Red, his cousin Sonny and Dave Hebler all later claimed that the person who wrote the book for them after long conversations with them, did focus too much on the negative stuff they'd told him and forgot about the context in which they had told him things as well as all the positive things they'd told as well.
I also believe that Red's feelings and pride were hurt by Elvis more than once. Contrary to what, unfortunately, many fans wish to believe Elvis really could be a not so nice person at times, and often lashed out at people closest to him, who did the most for him. I think the West cousins (not so much Hebler, because he entered the fold much later) must have come to the end of their rope with Elvis, not knowing how to get through to him, and also not being able to take anything of him anymore.
It remains debatable whether they made the right choice writing their book, chose the right time or had the right motivation. But what's done is done. By the time the book came out, Elvis was beyond salvation anyway> all medical experts who have studied his medical records and autopsy reports have said that he wouldn't have lived longer than 12 months past 1977 tops.
I believe both Red and Sonny really truly cared for Elvis, but had just been through too much with him and had to witness too much bad stuff happening to him and that drove them to what they did. I also believe they regretted it later on, for various reasons. I haven't seen or heard much about Red for a long time, but Sonny always struck me as a kind and genuine person.
Personally I'd really rather have him stick to his version of "Elvis, what happened?" instead of doing some back pedalling and now claiming he made a mistake. We can't judge them for telling us their experiences from their viewpoint, we weren't there. It's just odd when your perception of your own reality changes.
As much as I think Charlie came across as a very likable man, I did always get a sense from him that he saw Elvis through rose colored glasses and indeed the comments about him "always automatically laughing when Elvis did, being mad if Elvis was" etc. etc. strike me true about him. I'm not questioning his sincerity, I'm just saying that he was never the type to spill any negative beans, even if there were plenty of them, and probably was also willing to whitewash things for Elvis. To some that spells the qualities of a true friend. Others might describe it as an "enabler", a "yes-man".
Whatever his motives, I do believe Charlie truly cared, yes even loved Elvis and just went along in the great adventure that was Elvis' life.
I think Joe Esposito is a much more calculating man, literally. He was good with finances, at least Vernon thought so and put him in charge of finances when traveling with Elvis. He's street smart, kind of a entrepreneur type, salesman, so I think he's less spontaneous in his utterings than people at first glance might think. But Joe is not as glib as Jerry Shilling, who's more sophisticated in his entrepreneurship.
I think Joe really cared about Elvis, but always kept an eye out for his own interests as well. He always makes sure he is known as and introduced as "Elvis' closest friend", but then, if you look up all the interviews with everybody remotely connected to Elvis, except perhaps Richard Davis, they all said that about themselves.:lol: I do believe Joe, like many others, knows much more than he's telling, and in that he is calculating that he only tells after having considered what the effect will be not only to Elvis' legacy, but to his own position in it as well. You will notice in interviews that Joe will hardly ever take sides or make a statement that in any way can harm anybody. He's - at least now he is - looking out for Joe.
Jerry Schilling, sigh. I think probably the smartest, most educated and sophisticated of the lot, but also the most glib one. He's become a showbiz type and has jumped on the bandwagon, more than any of the others, of seeing and handling Elvis as a product. He will only say things about Elvis (and Pris and Lisa) that will perpetuate the positive image of Elvis or downplay the bad stuff. It's not that he won't say truths about Elvis' prescription drug abuse or something, but he will always have a scenario ready in which everything is explained and excused. He's still heavily in with Morticia oops, Priscilla and Lisa, so I also believe that he has rules to obide by (or is that to?) and what he says in some ways is censored by his relationship by Pris and Lisa.
Lamar Fike I think is a vengeful, spiteful man, who - once Elvis died - saw his chance to get revenge for all the mean (in his eyes, and sometimes really) things Elvis ever said and did to him. He's the one who told stories about Elvis' bad body odor, Elvis inability to eat with utensils, Elvis not knowing how to cut meat or eat at a restaurant etc. etc. All those things he said were really kind of petty and say more about HIS lack of character, than Elvis'.
I'm sure Elvis really could be nasty sometimes, but to sit the ride out and profit from your bully, and then attack him after death is simply pitiful.
Larry Geller may appear nice, and sweet, and kind of flowery, but I find him a weird character. Hairdresser/Guru, yeah right. I also always question people who - years after the facts have taken place - vividly remember conversations, looks, body posture, and the exact time things took place, what weather it was at that moment, yes - even what the other person was thinking......:rolleyes: I think Larry may have smoked a few too many mushrooms and dreamed most of it:lmfao: :lmfao:
Those are the ones that come to mind first....... Just my opinion, of course.
Great post cherokee...
I agree with a lot that you say and thank you so much for the information.
I think it's hard to tell which were sincere or not. Obviously, when being connected with such a phenonemon as Elvis who was so universally known and loved, there will be speculation that they were just in it for the money. Elvis himself probably wondered who really cared about him and I think that that is very sad. The sad irony about Elvis is that he WAS so loved by millions and millions of strangers... yet he must have doubted the love given to him by people he knew.
I have always liked Charlie Hodge immensely (RIP Charlie :'( ). He always seemed to be such a funny and warm man who cared about Elvis as a person. Yes, he may have gone along with what Elvis did/said but I think that Elvis needed someone who would just make him cheerful and happy- I think Charlie did that for him. He never ever betrayed Elvis and continued his whole life to show respect and love towards him.
The others I think are harder to understand.
When I first knew about Joe Esposito, I thought he was one of Elvis' closest friends and truly sincere and genuine. Now.. hmmmn... well I think that money was a big part of the picture for him. He did care about Elvis, I'm sure of that, but I think he does up his position with Elvis for himself. In addition, I feel that if he continues to label himself as "Elvis' best friend", I think he may well lose a lot of respect from numerous people. He has that respect for being a friend of the King, and I feel that if he continues to show himself to be a possible money-lover, that respect will diminish. He does seem to be a nice man though and I do think that he cared about Elvis, but maybe not quite as much as himself and how he would fare in the long run. Elvis cared about him though...
I personally find it hard to forgive Red and Sonny West for the book. It was such a bad timing and that telephone conversation Elvis had with Red... ugh. Maybe what did start out with good motivations ended up being a mistake and maybe they did want to shock Elvis into doing something about his drug usage and maybe the writer concentrated too much on the bad things they said and not enough on the good ones, but still- they can't just backtrack and say that they were innocent. However, the fact that they haven't appeared much in the last few years does seem to suggest to me that they did cherish their time with Elvis. I'm sure he was a hard person to be around at times, he was a human after all, and I personally think that Red and Sonny did care about Elvis- although the book does of course raise some concerns that no one other than themselves will ever know the truth about.
As for Dave Hebler.... well- in my opinion I don't think that he was ever such a good friend to Elvis.
Jerry Schilling was a good friend of Elvis, I think. Yes, he's gone over to Priscilla but I don't really know what to think of that. I have no real problem with any of them being connected with Lisa. But Cilla... hmmn... well, I don't know. I've never heard him say anything derogatory about Elvis and I do think that Elvis did care about Priscilla (however many qualms we do have about her- but then again it was Elvis' private life and we were never actually there. As Elvis himself said "The image is one thing and the human being is another"). I think he was a friend to Elvis in Elvis' lifetime, certainly. As for now... well I simply don't know.
Anyone who was friends or even connected with Elvis I can imagine would certainly be proud of it. I can understand them wanting to give their side of the story and let the whole world know. But does that give them the right to damage Elvis' legacy, in no matter how small way... :hmm:
I don't feel I know enough about the others to air an opinion about them. Then again, I've never met any of them so really I shouldn't comment. All I, and many people, can go on are the stories and opinions of others and photos and pictures. The truth may be a very different thing.
Don`t forget that in the 60`s Joe was feeding the Colonel information about Elvis and Elvis knew what he was up to.
I know that nobody likes Lamar because of his cooperation with Albert Goldman, but I believe him, that Goldman "adjusted" his stories to the image he wanted to paint. Mr. Fike has a great sence of humor and seems to be one of the very few people who dared to tell Elvis the truth. The same goes for Red West. So in the end, Elvis first fired Red in 1976 and Lamar was supposingly to be fired in 1977. Especially Lamar tells stories that seem to be nearer to the truth, than the stories from other people. They may not be nice, but I'd rather hear the true story than some nice tale from wonderland. Billy Smith seemed to be another one, who cared for Elvis, the same goes for Charlie Hodge. Joe Esposito seems to have been closer to Vernon and the Colonel than to Elvis.
Goldman did adjust his stories because JD Sumner who we all know truly loved Elvis and Elvis loved him said on a show when the Goldman book was mentioned that "The Goldman book is a lie. He took some statements from me and made a lie out of them.":
The guys were around Elvis more than anyone. It's better to get all their accounts and stories, than to have things left unsaid. Elvis is becoming more mythical than historical, and his artistic creativity is being overshadowed by the Elvis ideal formed through popular culture.
Lamar Fike , by his account, says he told Elvis the truth. This claim is not always supported by others. He was, is, and will aways be IMO a jealous man who now tells every one how he was the one true friend who always stood up to Elvis. He has an ax to grind because he was a big target when Elvis was mad- one book called him a "whipping boy who took it with a smile") He was more than willing to help Goldman paint the most twisted, slanted, one sided version of Elviss life with no balance. And he has consistently over time changed his accounts to more and more lurid tales.
Red West did at times tell Elvis the truth, but not always especially in the late 50s into the mid 60s.
Joe was not from the south and had a little more education, and he knew where his bread was buttered somewhere between Elvis and the Col. is where he played it.
Charlie (God rest his soul) was in many ways devoted to Elvis, and was a true yes man.
I think without Elvis's version all there accounts are skewed and will be forever. Each has at one time or another had differing accounts of incidents and have disagreed on many when they were all involved when you read there books.
I don't believe that we would hear the truth from Elvis himself. Elvis was without any doubt a great singer and entertainer, but he was also a very good actor. Elvis never really realized what was going on around him and he was betrayed by a lot of people. You can say, he kept himself uninformed and uneducated. And he clearly seemed to have been one of the people who believe what they wanted to believe. So I don't think we would get the truth from Elvis. It would be just another version of the same old stories. No more worth than the stories from Charlie, Lamar, Joe or whoever.
Are you an Elvis FAN? :D Just curious ;):
Since the person every one is talking about, is ELVIS- not Lamar, or Joe, or Charlie etc. his version would at the very least be helpful in sorting out fact, fiction, and out and out lies. I am not saying his would not be any more slanted than anyone elses but its his story, his life. Without him they are you or I- unknown people to the world who would not have books, videos, interviews etc about anything on the market to promote and make money from. Like I said its his life and the story is being told by everyone BUT HIM. He would have his own reasoning for his actions whether you believed them or not. Perhaps he did not trust any of them fully-perhaps he at times felt like he was the golden goose and all they wanted was the eggs and it bothered him- perhaps he truely felt no one understood him- maybe he felt unworthy of all the fame-not to far fetched. Whatever his story is will never be known, for he will not write or tell his story( whatever it would be) That they can almost 30 years after his death still be raking in money from each new "revelation" is what really bothers me and many others. I 'm sure some of what they say is true and some lies or misunderstandings of situations- but its their version-period. His bones have to be the cleanest in history because they are picked clean every year. Each new book, no one comments after reading it- wow what a voice, or what natural talent he had or about how gifted he was as a musical artist-its always the new dirt or "revelation" or horrible story that gets the comments. To say "his version" of" his story" would have no more worth than guys commenting unchallenged on his life seems unfair. They could not know what was in his head, nor his motivations- his "inner circle" did not stretch that far no matter how many books they write.