Gino Monopoli is from Toronto, Canada; Vic Trevino Jr has his roots in Texas, and Greg Miller is from Las Vegas. Together they pay tribute to The King, Elvis Presley, in Elvis: An American Trilogy.
Each bears a more than passing resemblance to the hip-shaking superstar and portray different segments of his life.
Monopoli was chosen among the Top 10 in the world at Elvis Presley Enterprises' Ultimate Elvis Contest and has performed as the great man on four tours to Australia.
He says people love musical retrospectives and keep coming to shows like his. “I am in a lot of different productions, sometimes Legends in Vegas. The circuit is fairly small as far as top level tribute artists go. Vic and Greg are great entertainers. I’m fortunate to work alongside these guys.”
When asked was it hard for a Canadian to connect with the Presley southern drawl, he says he still doesn’t know if he “has it down great”, but there isn’t too much banter in the show. “We concentrate on the music with more emphasis on delivering the song the way Elvis did.”
Monopoli has two older brothers who were Presley fans. “I grew up listening to their music. It caught me as it catches many people, it’s charismatic. Jailhouse Rock – even little kids stop when they hear that song. Nothing else really compared.”
He’s had vocal coaches and some guitar lessons and is doing choreography and physical training non-stop. “It’s a high energy show. Doing the movement and the vocals you have to have the stamina.”
Monopoli says Elvis’ vocal range was a phenomenal low B to high G. “You have to be loose and physically fit so you can sing and gyrate.”
He believes Elvis was very special but says it’s really hard to pinpoint one thing. “His soul was vibrant, the way he portrayed every song; he put everything into it, sang from the heart, and transcended into the audience; they wanted to listen to his story.”
His sideburns are natural and he wears minimal make-up and no wigs. “We all have our own ‘Elvis’ hair.”
His favourite Presley song to perform changes daily. “I do love a really heartfelt ballad like Love Me Tender.”
It is his role to recreate the sophisticated sound of the Elvis movie years with tracks from GI BLues, Kid Gallahad, Speedway and more. He is also charged with wearing the black leather look of the Elvis 1968 comeback TV special.
Interaction with the audience is a big part of the show. “I remember one show I went down for a couple of kisses in the audience and one lady got pretty aggressive with her tongue. So when I got back up to the microphone I said, ‘I guess you must be French’ – it got a good laugh. With a live show, you’ve gotta be prepared for anything.”