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James Kruk Elite Elvis Tribute / Press

“Musically, Kruk has transcended mere impersonation. The current word used for bands that perform at this level is “tribute,” and it’s apt in this case – because what Kruk delivers isn’t karaoke, but a chance for audiences to capture a live glimpse of the musicality and stage presence that made Elvis the King. Kruk, who headlines Saint Rocke’s celebration of Elvis’s birthday on Friday night, has since become one of the premiere Elvis’s in Southern California. His gigs vary wildly – from corporate functions alone with his jumpsuit and sound machine to full-on theater gigs with his full band – and one in particular gave him an unofficial benediction of a sort from the Elvis world: he played a housewarming party thrown at Elvis’s former mansion in Beverly Hills, which a millionaire Elvis fan had recently bought. Among the guests was Elvis’s former girlfriend, Linda Thompson, who sat and chatted with Kruk before and after he sang. ”

“Kruk added his high-energy show is not what most people expect from an Elvis impersonation show. “I guess the hardest thing is trying to break the negative stereotypes of people who do what I do,” Kruk said. “It’s very much a full on rock ’n’ roll show and a lot of fun.” ”

“Now that Kruk has achieved championship cred, he’s hoping gigs – and the attendant paycheck - will increase. “I can now say I’m the best in southern California, as I defeated all the best from the area, so I’m officially on the national Elvis map.””

““We do close to 60 [Elvis] songs,” says Kruk, “but in a 1970s live setting.” Kruk first appeared in public as the King as an actor in the national touring company of a play titled Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Kruk says he was auditioned for the part by the playwright, comedian Steve Martin. ”