Happy birthday, John Burrows, or a study in character


You might know that today is Elvis’s 75th birthday (holy God, can you imagine a 75-year-old Elvis?). I’m guessing, however, you didn’t know this: Elvis used an alias a couple times–John Burrows. I can’t imagine it actually worked, but who knows?

Elvis used to be in BEAUTIFUL MUSIC–as an actual character named (of course) John Burrows–and John-Burrows-as-Elvis still exists in a short story I wrote, called “Where Would Elvis Drive?”, which will hopefully be out this spring in the new issue of THE BLUEROAD READER. John Burrows-*not*-as-Elvis still exists in BEAUTIFUL MUSIC, and Elvis is referenced a bunch of times, but I had to kick his character out because eventually hijacked the book and overshadowed Gabe. Still–wow–was he fun. The most fun I’ve ever had with a character, actually.

It was incredible to imagine what Elvis would do after he faked his own death: how did he pull it off? Who did he pay to keep it quiet? What does he do now? Does he still eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches? Is he still involved in music? If you’re interested in my answers to these questions, the short story will answer them, though in the novel version, Elvis had a karaoke bar in Vegas. Doesn’t that make sense?

I think, if Elvis would have lived to 75, he would have become more simple: he would have lost weight, shaped up, stepped out of the spotlight, gotten rid of the creeps around him, and become a country boy again. He’d be a big producer in the alt country scene or in roots music. That’s my theory.

Happy 75th, Elvis Aaron Presley, Jr. I loved writing about not/you, and–I couldn’t resist the pun–you rock.

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