Psychics have told Daytona Beach resident Jeffery Golden he is the reincarnation of Elvis Presley's twin brother, who died at birth. Saturday, judges will tell Golden and 19 other Elvis impersonators whether they have the right stuff to win the "Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest."
The contest at Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach is one of 23 preliminary competitions to be held internationally. Each preliminary location will send its winner to qualifying rounds and finals to be held Aug. 11 to 19 in Memphis during the 30th Anniversary Elvis Week.
You got questions about the Elvis artists competing in Ormond Beach? We got answers from three of them: 32-year-old Randy Filippi of Palm Coast, 39-year-old Jeffery Golden of Daytona Beach and 58-year-old Bill Passero of Ormond Beach. Filippi and Golden are full-time Elvis impersonators, each performing more than 100 shows per year. Passero is retired and performs a few times annually, usually at charity events.
Q. What was your initial inspiration to become an Elvis impersonator? Why do you do this?
Filippi: I was a musical theater major. After graduation, I opened my own theater company. I bought a karaoke system when I was 26, and "Blue Suede Shoes" was on the disc. I did the song at parties, and people enjoyed it so much that I learned a few more songs. Eventually people started offering me money to come to their parties and sing. The rest is history.
Golden: Being an entertainer since high school, people were always telling me I looked a lot like Elvis. I think he was in a different league from any entertainer I have ever seen or heard. No one before Elvis or today comes close to the excitement he brought to the stage.
No one can fill his shoes but, man, how I would love to sing with his band in concert. That would be like winning the Super Bowl. I guess music was my way of getting girls, and it was something I loved to do. Now it is how I make my living, and I still love it today.
Passero: I started playing the guitar when I was about 10 years old. My mom only listened to Elvis, so that's what I played. I do this for the looks on the young and older people. They make me feel like I made their day.
Q. What's the most unusual, crazy or memorable time you've had while performing as Elvis?
Filippi: Every show I do seems to bring some new memorable moment. My loyal following has grown to over 100 people that show up just about every week (at performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays at European Village in Palm Coast, and 8 p.m. Saturdays at Mad Dog's on the River in Flagler Beach).
I have a Flagler Mafia that leads me out at the beginning of each show. I treasure all the friendships I have made.
Golden: I was performing at an elementary school in Pensacola for about 900 students. Kids were screaming and crying like I was really Elvis Presley. Several would run to the stage and be taken back to their seats by a teacher. The teachers were almost in shock.
Finally, six or eight teachers had to stand in front of the stage to keep everyone back. Things always get pretty wild, but never before or since have I seen anything like that.
Passero: When I did a private performance for a 10-year-old little girl named Emma in Chicago. She knew all the songs, and sang "Teddy Bear" with me. She made me feel like a star.
Q. If you could ask Elvis one question, what would it be?
Filippi: If you could live your life over, what would you do different?
Golden: Three different known psychics have told me I was Elvis' brother that died at birth and was reincarnated. I was regressed and I named several names (first and last) of people and events that there is no way I should have known they were related to Elvis. I believe that I am, and I would ask Elvis if he could tell me if this is really true.
Passero: Elvis, are you happy now being in heaven with your mom?
IF YOU GO
WHO: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Destination Daytona,
1637 N. U.S. 1 (at the I-95 intersection), Ormond Beach
INFORMATION: (386) 671-7103
"Almost Elvis," a 2001 documentary, claimed 35,000 people around the world are impersonating the King of Rock 'n' Roll. A quick troll of Web sites revealed Elvis wanna-bes from China, Japan, Thailand, Australia and Great Britain, plus "El Vez" from Mexico, the "Black Elvis" from Alabama, tribute artists from almost all 50 states, the lesbian "Elvis Herselvis" and other, ahem, "Elvira" (female Elvis impersonators).
Comment on this article