Machinist plans Elvis tribute show for Guide Dogs
EVERETT — Some people give lip service to helping in their community. IAM 751 member Tracy Alan Moore believes in a little less conversation, a little more action.
Moore and the band — complete with a horn section and back-up singers — will perform an Elvis tribute show at 8 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Historic Everett Theatre.
The show is a benefit for Guide Dogs of America, with all proceeds — after expenses — going to the charity.
Machinists Union District Lodge 751 is the No. 1 fundraiser for charity. Over the past six years, union members have raised nearly $1.8 million for the union-supported charity, which provides service dogs and training in their use free of charge to people who are blind or have impaired vision from across the United States and Canada.
Tickets cost between $12 and $25, and are available online at etix.com or www.historiceveretttheatre.org, or by calling the theater box office at (425) 258-6766.
Moore has been a member of the union for almost five years. He’s volunteered with Machinists Union Local Lodge 751-A’s annual Bill Baker Memorial Steel & Wheel SuperShow and District 751’s annual Guide Dogs of America Charity Golf Tournament.
“I did the car show last year and the Guide Dogs were out there — that’s where I got the idea,” he said. “I’d seen all the other events that we’re doing for the Guide Dogs, but I hadn’t seen anything like this.”
Moore has been performing Elvis tribute shows for more than 20 years.
It started when his wife convinced him to dress as Elvis and come with her to a Halloween party. It was a karaoke party. Moore is a native of Tennessee with a bit of a drawl and a passing resemblance to Presley in his younger years, and when he took his turn at the microphone, “it didn’t matter what I sang, it sounded like Elvis.”
People at the party noticed and “started asking me about going to birthday parties and events and things,” Moore said.
A few months later, the manager of the Safeway store he was working at recruited him to wear his Elvis costume from Halloween to hand out Hershey’s Kisses in the floral department to people coming in to pick up Valentine’s bouquets. As his shift wound down, a woman asked him if he’d come to her 6-year-old daughter’s birthday party.
Moore said OK, sang two Elvis love songs to a gaggle of giggling girls on the living room sofa, and spent a few minutes chatting with the birthday girl. “The little girl was just all about it,” he recalled.
As he left, her parents tipped him with a roll of cash — $85. “That’s when the light bulb went off,” Moore said.
In the years since, Moore has pursued his Elvis side job with a passion. He formed Rising Sun after watching a bad Elvis impersonator perform with recorded music. He upgraded his costumes. He poured his energy into his show, which he models after Presley’s Vegas stage shows later in his career. Moore said that allows him to perform everything from Elvis’ early rockabilly/rock n’roll songs to his later pop hits and ballads with some degree of authenticity, because Presley’s Vegas shows included songs from each stage of his career.
Authenticity is important to Moore. “It’s a tribute show,” he said. “I want to go out and do a good job. If people are going to pay their money, make it worth their money.”
Moore has even played in Vegas casinos — a three-week stint a decade ago that wasn’t all that much fun for him, he said. The casino management had a set list they wanted every night, and a choreographed dance routine he was supposed to learn and stick to.
He’s happier doing it as a side job, Moore said. “I’ve got my own band. I can do my own songs and I can do it exactly like Elvis did.”
This is the third year in a row that Moore and Rising Sun have played a charity benefit show at the Historic Everett Theatre. Past shows have raised money for childhood burn victims, Oso slide recovery and for the theater’s foundation.
Elvis Presley would have been 80 years old this year and the fascination with him and his music remains strong.
Moore said Presley burst onto the scene at exactly the right moment: Baby Boomers were coming of age and looking for something to call their own. Presley was a talented white singer who could bring them a taste of the rich stew that was the African-American music of the South: blues infused with country and gospel influences.
He came onto the scene just as television was taking off. Presley and his handlers exploited his good looks, his country-boy demeanor, and his dance moves, which were shocking to the ‘50s establishment — and thrilling to their rebellious teen daughters and sons.
“You talk about a guy being at the right place and the right time,” Moore said.
And as his audience aged, Presley remained a powerhouse. Some of the peak years of his musical career came in the early ‘70s, nearly two decades after he first hit the charts with “Heartbreak Hotel.”
All that combined to make Elvis, Elvis.
But all that is history. For his show in August, Moore has just one goal: “I want to fill up that theater.”
And generate a little more conversation and a lot more action.
Originally formed in 1935 — the year of Elvis’ birth — to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 34,000 working men and women at 52 employers across Washington and California.
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