Our Favorite Band. Igor and the Red Elvises
Post-election we had the opportunity to hear our favorite band at Knucklehead’s in Kansas City. It was a rocking night!
Igor Yuzov is not only a gifted writer, composer, singer, guitar player, and dancer, but he is also a great entertainer. “Are you having fun?” is one of the lines he uses during the gig. He revs up the audience with hand-wringing and waving. The audience sings the lyrics to his tunes while spawning a smile as wide as Texas. One of my favorites is, “I am a closet disco-dancer.” (To hear the tune click on the previous link and wait for a few seconds to when he starts singing the lyrics. You can find his CD’s on Amazon and iTunes.)
There have been many Red Elvises over the years. Current talented band members include returning Sarah Johnson (on Sax and more), Jasmin Guevara (Hot and burning drums), Summer Sandoval (Balalaika), and Tim Hayn (Trumpet and keyboard).
Igor tours the United States with this group and then hooks up with other band members in the Soviet Union and other parts of the world. When he is not touring, he spends his time on the beaches of Thailand. All of his stage outfits are silk and handmade in Thailand.
I have been fortunate to have interviewed Igor for several months (mostly on the phone) and to have produced a biography of his life and talent. It took a little convincing but Igor finally agreed to the book. His son and others helped with the photographs that go back to his early life in the Ukraine when he was a teenager.
Born in Germany, raised in the Ukraine, and schooled in Moscow, Igor came to the United States after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He played his guitar and sang on the streets in California, while helping other Russians find their way to the United States. His musical roots reach back to the band “Limpopo” in Moscow which he carried across the pond with him. After tremendous success as a Russian cultural band, Igor had a dream that he should begin playing Rock ‘n Roll and sing in English. Elvis came to him and gave him the name of the “Red Elvises.”
The music that was born out of this transformation is tremendous. The Red Elvises have been described as rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, avante’ guard, and so much more. Igor brings to the stage a mixture of central European ethnic music and melts it together with sounds he has heard from all over the world.
Your first concert will send you flying into the air, because you will want to dance. Dressed in outrageous costumes, Igor and the Red Elvises, encourage their audiences to be just as outrageous. And they are! It is the best party in town. His lyrics mimic many great Russian poets and prose writers. In a way, he has tried to bring his own culture to English speaking people.
Find them. Take the journey that will certainly take you into outer space, or at least, to Thailand! Here is their schedule!
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge