Elvis Costello at Book People


Photo courtesy of Todd Crusham

Once again, life and stress got in the way of getting this story out in a timely manner plus I let down the very nice photographer who gave me permission to use this picture he took, I couldn’t even see thanks to assholes standing on stools. Check out Todd Crusham’s Flickr page.

So Elvis Costello dropped by in mid October to promote his memoirs or autobiography, can’t recall which. I will get around to reading it like the other two-dozen autographed books I have lying around in the “office.” What makes his different according to him was it doesn’t necessarily go in chronological order. Elvis didn’t want to repeat the usual route may bios take. It was pretty funny to hear that he’d been approached to write one when he was only 24, the usual quick cash grab on a rising star.

Now I’m not a huge fan, this was a Christmas present for my friend and concert buddy Mark. He’s the fan and I’m a bit jealous, since he’s a little older, he saw Costello in his prime plus Mark to hear the music when it was new. I on the other hand, learned the hits back in Houston when KLOL would play “Watching the Detective” or “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes.” By the time I started college in 1986, he was going through a crummy stage in his career.

Elvis is a great storyteller in person. He amused the crowd by showing this clip of his father’s career. Then came the Q&A which was moderator via some guy with Texas Monthly or whatever. The topics appeared to be rather boilerplate stuff he’s been answering throughout the tour: what was it like working with Paul McCartney in the late Eighties; Burt Bacharach in the Nineties (like getting his homework corrected); I forgot he sang a song with Daryl Hall (I even saw the video); wish someone asked him about the Eurythmics, he did a duet with Annie on “Adrian;” and of course, what was the real story over his being “banned” from SNL after performing “Radio Radio” against the orders of Lorne Michaels or some NBC  brass; his brief career in computer science; and learning the ropes from the legendary (to us) Nick Lowe.

Mark and I did have a good time despite it being a mini-marathon of standing. I’m not sure if Austin was a unique stop for the finale. Elvis was joined by an old bandmate from his “high school” days. They did a Buffalo Springfield cover and Van Morrison’s “Domino.”

I am looking forward to Elvis’ side of the stories. Even if you don’t like him (my mother had a weird, unexplained hatred) or have no idea, his influence continues today. He recently did an album with the Roots and for me, I recall he produced some work with Squeeze and Superdrag borrowed his early sound in the Nineties.

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