Ray, Gerry O'Day and the living Elvi
Elvis & Me in Penticton
Penticton Ho! #2 by Ray Ramsay 7-11/15
This one is dedicated to my friend John Ford, he’d GET it and I bet he could use a good laugh about now.
The Busman’s Vacation
Sometimes, it seems I’m never too far from a spotlight, whether it’s under a hot Penticton Sun, a Police car, or on a stage, but it should be remembered that in my previous ‘Life’ being a Power-behind-the-throne person, I spent little time front and center, it was about the Artist, not me.
On the Friday night we met up with Gerry & Marty at the warm & welcoming Penticton Golf & Country Club, what ensued seemed a non-stop talk-around-the-table, while Sherrie and Emily endured us (if I were them? I’d have Jammies handy to put on so p’raps the pissers would get the hint and go the Hell home, or at least, elsewhere, so in fairness, I could get on with MY life?) Yeah. BUT those girls are Troupers.
So we got to know each other quite well, all of us, punctuated only briefly (but often) BY BUCKETS OF Busch an’ Howser! Music people find Music People, it’s natural, we’re different and we flock together.
Gerry and Marty invited us to the wrap-up Elvis show, Sunday afternoon at the Convention Centre, when the awards would be given out for the best Elvis Aper (is that polite?) and due to my tenure with RCA & my hire date, Aug 16 1977, the day he turned Moody Blue himself (something I said, or would say?) they asked if I would go on and do a bit with Gerry, so… okay!
Unlike my previous incarnation, “so what time does the limo pick us up?!’ I considered this an honor and didn’t think about preferential treatment (what am I, New?!) but did ask Gerry how much $ tix were, and he responded..about $10 not thinking I was asking for myself, altho nobody had mentioned Comps, it was understood, I’m a bit rusty but completely crusty. They had it goin’ on, I was on Raycation.
$10 wasn’t much, and again, this was our Anniversary and Elvis was more Lynne’s thing than mine, this would be a treat for her, altho make NO mistake, she was in the Music Biz WITH me for a time and right up to her hips and suffered me when she wasn’t, so she had a pretty good idea how things worked, but is too gracious to say so, I’m not.
I’m the high maintenance bastard she’s had to deal with over all these years, and again, as this was a Sunday, she should have been up for Sainthood based on that alone.
So we looked at this as being fun with friends and when we got to the Convention Center I was shocked to find out the tix were actually $50 to see somebody that wasn’t even dead pretend they were, still alive.
Just as I was texting Good Bye (instead of good buy!) To Gerry, here he comes with our Comp Tix! WHAT a guy!
The venue was set up for 1,200 and was busy!
We all had a quick ‘your cue/your mark’ meet pre-show and then, the show is on!
Now, I AM a bit jaded, and this IS more Lynne’s thing than mine, so no way I’d spoil that, but having endured my first Elvis Convention in Vegas years before, which I found creepy, seeing the Principle cadaver wherever I looked, I tend to look at this as more Rock & Ghoul than Rock & Roll, BUT these events are great entertainment for the fans and VERY $ucce$$ful, so who am I to judge?
The first part of the show was for the Amateurs, and they performed to a backing track, no band (THAT was for the Pros) and they all did their best, or tried, a couple were very trying.
I swear one of the guys was a ringer for Kevin Costner, so either he has a double or he’s working on a ‘Dances with wElvis’ thing.
I did notice that there seemed to be a marked similarity with each of the performers Jumpsuits, but more on that later.
One of the ImPresleys had trouble hitting the notes, in fact he was killing them, sharp AND flat, OUCH!
There was also the Human windmill, in his set, he had arms akimbo, winding down from a jolly good flail (Note: Stay well back from the Buckskin fringes on the jacket as it stings and scars if you’re not careful) and I thought if he doesn’t make it as an Elvis clone, he has a GREAT future as a carpet beater.
A spot of panic set in as the line-up seemed to have changed and just as I thought we’d missed out, here comes our guy, so up we go to stage right and waited, and waited until I thought we’d miscued again. Seems I’d forgotten the prime rule of the Music Biz…hurry up & wait.
I noticed immediately, this journeyman performer had a markedly different, and splendid, Jumpsuit, different from the Apprenticing performers Elvis Jumpers, Hmmmm.
….the side curtain opens and out comes Marty, waving us in to the security of Backstage, safe from the shambling hordes armed with Oxygen Bottles and Walkers, and they hurt when thrown, or rolled toward you with a group effort.
Safely ensconced backstage and NOW I see what was different between the Amateurs and the Prosleys, the Ams shared a Jumper apparently while the Pros had their own individual suits ALTHO it looked like the Pro’s might share wigs altho there were a lot of Bouffant present and not a Hair-Loss Elvis in sight.
I go about the room meeting the individual ‘E’s…Hello, Good show! And how’s the afterlife treating you?
Marty guides me to the side of the stage, and on Gerry’s cue, pushes me on and..applause! How very kind, really.
I should mention that while we had agreed to do this bit, I had NO idea what we’d say, so I had to be on FULL Alert and not say fuck or fall off the stage, which would have been surprisingly easy. And THAT’s an interesting point too, as you know it’s a full house, but looking out from the stage towards the audience, all you see is pitch black with random Cell/Camera flashes, and that is IT.
Gerry had the lead and we all had some laughs and got thru it and the fans once again, were gracious enough to give a big hand when Gerry announced that it was Lynne and my 28th anniversary but poor Lynne was stuck backstage so all I could do is point to where nobody could see her, which was too bad as she was shooting all this from that angle and it would have been better if she was out front where it could pick up the audio better as well, but that’s Rock & Roll.
We did get a number of Congrats and Well wishes from fans as we walked thru the room at intermission which was nice too; those cool old-school Elvis fans!
Here is the link to the Video Lynne managed to get,
keep in mind the audio is not good so with that in mind, the following is the transcript of what was said (you can read along as we move our lips) to the best of my recollection and I may have taken some liberties here.
The Gerry / Ray Elvis Interview Dialogue:
G/ Intro..The former RCA mover & shaker (bowels and hands), the undisputed ‘R’
in RCA, keeper of the ‘Dog House’, Big Sugar Ray Ramsay! (WILD Applause).
Ray, nice to see you!
R/ Thanks Gerry, at my age it’s nice to be able to see anyone
G/ in a stage whisper..RAY! I’m over HERE!
G/ Ray is one of the BEST, most Professional, Tallest people with nice hair, Hardest working, that provided me with one of the perks for being in Radio…FREE Records and CDs!
R/ Free? You didn’t get the invoice yet?
G/ asks about the many groups I signed/got onto the RCA label
R/ I run thru a litany of Vancouver groups/Artists that I was associated with that made it big, (Altho that may fallen on deaf ears for some of the audience…what did he say, the tall boy? He said Doug has Slugs! Well, serves him right, the big Galoot!.... ) not immodestly, but I had to wrap that up as I was running out of breath, what a Blowhard. If Gerry had asked who the 3rd one was, I would have lost it. I thought it better not to bore the people with all my miserable flops, why spoil things.
G/ Asks if I miss the weekly twisting of assholes with Music directors (Well, Proctically ALL of them, I resist)
R/Not really, I got along with most of them except for Benoit DuFresne, who happened to be French Canadian, but I didn’t dislike him for that, it was because he could say NO! in two languages! (GALES of laughter!)
G/ Congrats Lynne and I on 28 wonderful years, very gracious of him but nobody can see her except that Clark Kent guy as she’s backstage, so I thanked him and mentioned that I chased her til she caught me. (A Snicker from the back of the hall, some guy dropped his chocolate bar in the dark, so not a real laugh )
G/ I actually don’t recall what he said next, something about continuing support for Radio, which I do as well as the other Media and then he suddenly went all John Lennon on me and demanded I get the F**K off his stage…Gerry/John It’s me RAY, not Red!
R/…and I did but not without a flourish of my version of the Elvis flail (it never flails), my Achy, Breaky Back version, and there is was, another Kojak moment.
…and now, back to our story….
Finally, the moment of truth for the competitors!
THE Winner, living in the Great Mans shadow, is…………….the Scottish guy, Haggis Presley!
(That might not be his real name but for the purpose of the story…)
Who KNEW, sorry kenned?
Actually, it’s not such a stretch as Elvis came from Irish Heritage and the only difference between an Irishman and a Scot is half a glass of whiskey anyway.
BUT, here’s where I play the Devils Avocado, I believe the award should have gone to the performer that DIED (Yes!) before the show, now THAT is true deadication to one’s craft, yeah.
The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.
Great tale, Ray — thanks for sneaking me in the back door. Can see it being a hit with the crowd. Merci, compadre!
04.06 | 20:20
That's good Ray - spread it around
04.06 | 18:55
Hopefully history will finally teach us that we are all one. No better, no worse.Love one another as you would be loved - and the world and people will be in a better place.
04.06 | 18:46
Excellent musings my friend. What a twisted world and to look now and see it get worse instead of better.
04.06 | 18:16
Wow cuz that's great writing and truth