EIN - A fan asks if Elvis ever used curse words as she didn't think it was in his nature?
What about stories of Elvis temper?
LG - I've heard this before, and these stories stem from sources that have blown this subject out of proportion.
Did Elvis curse?
Yes at times - who doesn't?
Did he lose his temper?
Yes, but not that often.
Elvis was a super sensitive person, a true artist, but those around him didn't share in those sensitivities.
I'm not trying to make excuses for Elvis, but the stories and rumors are exaggerated.
This is a loaded and complicated subject, but for this forum, I have to say simply that over the years Elvis made a special effort to grow as a person and curb his anger and other tendencies that we all have.
In fact this quality, to learn and evolve is something most of us should follow; especially a few of those who have pointed the finger.
Believe me, Elvis was far more intelligent and insightful than those around him.
From my point of view he's been harshly and wrongly judged.
Naturally, by the mere fact that he was human - he was flawed.
He recognized that, and aspired to attain a higher and more refined way of being, both as an artist and as a human being.
EIN - What are your feelings about other members of Elvis' group - Do you stay in touch with the "Memphis Mafia"?
How do you feel about fans suggesting that their is tension between the whole group?
LG - Those of us who were part of Elvis' life shared something extremely personal and historical; we are in a uniquely special group.
Even if some of us are on different tracks in life, or some of us don't see eye-to-eye on certain issues, my feelings remain harmonious and special for all.
I want to say here that for any question that deals with my opinion or feelings about the many people associated with Elvis, that this is something I just don't do.
I'm not comfortable doing it; the main aim of my work is to write and speak about Elvis.
EIN - Everyone was very sad that Charlie Hodge died last year, when did you last talk with him?
LG - Thankfully Charlie and I kept in touch over the years.
During his illness we spoke quite a few times.
Two days before he died we were on the phone, and the last thing I said to him was that I loved him.
EIN - A fans asks why is the reason that you left Elvis after the Clambake incident - i.e. Elvis' increase in spiritual interest and the Colonel's dislike of it - rarely mentioned in official biographies of Elvis?
LG - Like it says in Kenny Rodger's, "You got to know when to hold them, an' know when to fold them."
It was crystal clear to me that I could serve Elvis and myself better if I left, on my own.
At the same time I knew without a certain doubt, that if I did leave - I would return, when it was time.
It was so difficult to make that decision, but I knew that if I did, there was no way the circle wouldn't be complete, later on down the line.
As it turned out we were re-united, and our bond only grew stronger over the next five years until his passing.
To more specifically answer your question: How could anyone else really tackle this subject?
It just couldn't be done properly without someone being inside my head. That's my territory.
EIN - It is so common now for Superstars to go to drying-out clinics and health farms.
Did you ever talk to Elvis about these possibilities?
LG - This is a huge subject.
Again I go into it in more depth in 'Leaves of Elvis' Garden'. I'll give you one brief example in the following short excerpt from the book.
"In the last few years of Elvis’ life, he increasingly suffered from a host of debilitating health conditions, and his state of health became a source of distress and continual conversation between us.
I’m confident that Elvis could have saved his life and lived longer if only he had only used the knowledge that he possessed.
Not just applying spiritual technology alone, but by integrating and practicing the principles and insights replete in the various books on nutrition, health and rejuvenation that I brought to him.
Titles like Adele Davis’ classic 'Let’s Get Well, The Book of Living Foods' by Edmond Szekely, and 'Become Younger' by Dr. Norman W. Walker, recognized as one of the most authoritative voices of health and nutrition.
He understood so much of this intellectually, but he seemed incapable, of putting it into practice for himself...
As his physical and emotional pain increased, he often said to me, "The spirit is willing, Lawrence, but the flesh is weak."
Approaching the breaking point, Elvis was determined to fight for and transform his life.
He knew quite well that he was entering uncharted waters, and that the road ahead for him would be difficult, even turbulent.
Elvis finally woke up to the painful reality of his situation and acknowledged that without dramatic changes in his life, both personal and professional, he would not survive.
Many times during the closing months of his life we explored ways for him to take on the task of transforming his body and revitalizing his spirit.
A plan soon emerged: we would go to one of his favorite places, Hawaii.
We even had the perfect house in Oahu picked out.
Elvis was burnt out after years of touring the country, and was excited by the prospect of taking off a year or so, if that was what it might take to turn everything around.
The idea of kicking back and relaxing, finally cutting out junk foods and getting off "all those **** pills they give me" really inspired him, lifting him from the boredom and the rut he had fallen into.
"Larry, just one of my doses would wipe out an elephant.
Man, if you were in my body you’d feel like a wrecked jalopy right out of demolition derby.
Believe me; I know exactly what’s at stake."
He was looking forward to his rejuvenating "sabbatical."
Eating loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking fresh juices, daily exercise, running and playing football on the beach and meditation were at the top of the list.
We were like little kids eagerly looking forward to the end of the school year and the long, happy days of summer vacation.
It’s a beautiful fantasy I carry with me to this day.
And there were other changes afoot.
For years Elvis had talked to me about making significant changes in his business and career."
EIN - As Elvis' hairdresser and close personal friend, what do you think was your most important contribution to Elvis' life?
LG - Being a true friend to the best of my ability.
EIN - Larry we have never talked before about Elvis and these strange stories of his alleged racism.
What do you think about these accusations that occurred throughout Elvis’ career?
LG - Elvis a racist?
Elvis was universal in his outlook; he accepted and respected all races, creeds and religions.
Elvis was very evolved that way.
He was the first to acknowledge that his music was rooted in the black race.
Of course back in the day, everyone including Elvis used the word Negro.
I remember once that he told me, '"Negroes have more soul in one finger than most whites have in their whole body."
EIN - The Osmonds are now saying that Elvis studied the Book of Mormon and they are making a movie about it.
Do you know if Elvis ever studied the Book of Mormon.
LG - This is absolutely not true!
Ed Parker gave Elvis the Book of Mormon, as he was a Mormon.
Elvis skimmed through it, read a few parts and lost interest.
He respected all religions, but never studied in depth their philosophy.
It's been also been bandied about that some of these 'Mormon people' have claimed that Elvis was planning on becoming a Mormon, and joining the church of Mormon.
There is no truth to this at all.
Elvis was not going to join any church, follow any guru, or belong to any cult, that's for sure!
I remember his outlook regarding this subject quite well.
EIN - Before we wrap up can you share one story with us that reveals what Elvis was like, that perhaps gives an insight to his way of thinking and the way he talked with you?
LG - Certainly.
I remember one afternoon in 1966 upstairs in Elvis’ bedroom at Graceland, he and I were talking about his mother’s passing in 1958.
It was the most turbulent, disoriented and confusing time in his life: drafted into the Army, leaving the career that had exploded two years earlier, uncertain what the future would bring.
"Man, you can’t believe what I was goin’ through back then.
I mean everything just crashing in on me at once, every dream I ever had.
Just when everything was going my way the Army calls me.
My career came to a screeching halt; all the movies I was starring in, TV, my records, everything.
I actually thought that nobody would remember me after I served my time, that Id be a flash-in-the-pan.
Then the first thing they do when I’m inducted is buzz my hair off!"
Elvis shook his head incredulously.
"Can you imagine that, my hair?
Then, when I’m struggling to deal with everything, my mom suddenly died!
Lawrence, I hope you never have to grieve like I did.
My mom was the light of my life, my best friend; I mean, she’s the one I could always go to...man, that’s a blow you can never really get over."
Elvis became very quiet, lost in his memories.
"You know me, Lawrence.
I’ve always had an inquisitive mind; I want to know what’s behind everything.
Even when I was a little kid, I would always be askin’ my mom about my brother Jesse, you know, why he never had a chance to live.
I can still hear her voice telling me just like it was yesterday, ‘Honey, God took your little brother back home to heaven ‘cause it was part of his plan.
He has a plan for everybody: for your daddy, for me…and for you too, Elvis.
Someday I’ll be goin’ back home, and someday daddy’s gonna go home.
And even someday – a long, long time from now – God’s gonna bring you home, too.
An’ then we’ll all be together again, all of us back home in heaven.’"
Elvis looked at me intently.
He leaned forward and, with conviction in his voice, said, "And that’s exactly what I believe Lawrence; we’re all going back home…someday."
EIN - Thank you so much for talking with us Larry.
You always offer the fans new insights into the wonderful human side of Elvis, and I really look forward to catching up in Memphis this August.
Interview by Piers Beagley, June 26th 2007