In the summer of 1953 Elvis recorded two songs at the Memphis Recording Service. Fast forward 65 years – and around 4,500 miles across the pond – and the fabulous Elvis Tribute Act (ETA) Lee Grindey is performing at the Whitwell Steam Fair in preparation for his big showdown at Todd in the Hole Festival’s The Great British Elvis Off!
Yes, the team were out in force last weekend promoting the festival, which meant we also had chance to grab a few words with Lee before he started his set!
Lee will be competing against four other passionate Elvis aficionados for the 2018 title and prize of a holiday for two to Las Vegas! Oh, and it will be up to you guys to pick the winner. We’re going to be recording the audience cheers and screams to every live Elvis number that our competitors sing. At the end of the competition, the Elvis with the loudest cheer wins. No pressure then!
In between selfies with fans in front of the Todd in the Hole Cadillac, Lee treated the Whitwell Steam Fair goers to all the classics including Burning Love, Sweet Caroline, and the one he said we’d all know from the AA advert – all together now… “A big wheel keep on turning…”!
No stranger to the stage, Lee’s been singing and performing since 1998 – anything from Neil Diamond to the Bee Gees to Robbie Williams – but only recently became an ETA full time in 2015:
“I was brought up on Elvis – my parents were huge fans. So becoming an Elvis Tribute Act was a natural progression really. I’ve performed at concerts, events, charity events, weddings – it’s massive and I don’t have a separate day job; I’m performing three or four times a week!”
Lee’s competed in Blackpool, Wakefield and, for the first time last year, at the Porthcawl Elvis Festival in Wales. If you haven’t heard of this, Google it. It’s huge with 40,000 – 50,000 people coming from across the world to this little seaside town for their Elvis fix!
Heading back home to Stoke for a gig that night (before driving back down to Hertfordshire to see us for the second day of the steam fair!), we asked Lee what keeps his passion and dedication alive:
“It’s wholesome, clean music that is just timeless. Some modern music can have pretty rude lyrics, but this stuff is pure. It attracts all ages and everything has a story to it.”
“It feels amazing every time I perform. I put the suit on and am ready to go out – it’s just awesome.”
In between performing, Lee enjoys football, cars and spending time with his kids. He went over to Memphis in 2003 and, who knows, if the audience love him just as much at Todd in the Hole we could be sending him back to the States and heading for Vegas!
There’s no doubt the life and work of Elvis impersonators has kept the soul and sound of the King himself alive all these years later… let’s face it, these guys are awesome and they are committed! So good luck to Lee and all our other ETAs at this year’s Todd in the Hole.
You can catch them in action on Sunday 22nd July so get your tickets online today!