Long live the King – Eugène Weekly
When David Lomond shows up for a show, he often arrives in a gold 77 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, a race fit for the king of rock ‘n’ roll.
Lomond, 61, calls himself the Hawaiian Elvis, a distinction that is needed when Elvis impersonators vary in appearance and performance styles. His impersonation career paying homage to the King’s showmanship and songs began decades ago and took him to county fairs in Branson, Missouri, and, on December 18, to Monkey’s Paw Tiki Springfield Bar.
Growing up in Hawaii in the 1960s, Lomond says he could see Elvis in Hawaii Blue, listen to a song by Don Ho on the radio and watch Hawaii 5-0 on TV. “We thought the whole world was revolving around Hawaii,” he says.
After graduating from high school, Lomond sort of followed in the footsteps of Elvis’ character in Hawaii Blue: He was a tour guide and often sang in an Elvis voice, which he said resulted in big tips from tourists. He learned Elvis songs by singing along with the albums.
But Elvis de Lomond’s professional endeavor would occur decades later.
His impersonation of Elvis began around 1995, he says. He had lived in Eugene for years and worked for the family business after giving up his music career. He applied for an Elvis competition for Eugene’s 99.1 FM KODZ radio station, which then broadcast alumni. The management of the radio station was impressed, he says, and Lomond was the official Elvis of 99.1.
The title came with commercials and promotions on the radio that led to more work leading it to do shows including casinos, country clubs, and county fairs. “I was able to buy a house, take care of my children, I had another child – I really make a living,” he adds.
Elvis de Lomond’s career has seen him compete across the United States, where he says he would often place third or fourth. The contests have sometimes attracted imitators who have invested tons of money in plastic surgery and costumes, he adds. But few of them could match Elvis’ voice, which Lomond says is his strong suit. He proves it over the phone by humming a bar of “Blue Christmas” with Elvis’ unique baritone voice.
Around 2003, Lomond went to Branson, where he played the role of Elvis and did a Sunday gospel show for five seasons. During that time, he did 12 shows a week, a workload that resulted in a double hernia, he adds. But playing Branson led him to do gospel shows for churches in the Midwest. “I’m one of the few Hawaiians to walk around the Bible Belt,” he laughs.
In 2009, Lomond returned to Eugene. Since his return, he has continued to play the role of Elvis at events, and he says he’s the only Elvis impersonator in Oregon who performs year-round (the others are moving to more areas. sunny areas of the country).
Since social distancing measures relaxed, allowing live performances to return, he says his private shows have attracted increased interest as young audiences rediscover Elvis. “They have the opportunity to hear from someone who was a master,” he says of the younger generations discovering Elvis. “He was the biggest influence of the 20th century, and he was a showman. It’s all on YouTube, and it’s addicting to some.
Lomond also does ministry work, so it’s not too surprising when he says that Elvis’ evangelical works are among his favorites. But he says his favorite Elvis era was post-army, when he recorded songs like “Can’t Stop Falling in Love”, “It’s Now or Never” and “Surrender”.
Of course, Lomond’s repertoire spans the gamut of Elvis’ career, from “Hound Dog” to popular songs from Elvis shows in Las Vegas, like “Sweet Caroline” and “Proud Mary”.
Lomond’s stage performance is inspired by salon performances, he says, and is inspired by how Elvis would run shows. He interacts with his audience, tells stories and jokes and directs the setlist according to the energy of the crowd.
Salon art, he adds, is something the younger generation – Millennials and Gen Z – don’t know about. When he performs at Monkey’s Paw Tiki Bar, he says he will show audiences “old school entertainment.”
And nothing says staging more than pulling over in an old-school Cadillac.
David Lomond, “The Hawaiian Elvis,” performs at Monkey’s Paw Tiki Bar, 420 Main Street, Springfield, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 18. FREE.