What started as a bunch of friends from the North East of England assembling an Elvis fronted Nirvana tribute for a friend’s fancy dress party has snowballed 4 years later into a tribute act called Elvana that has taken the UK by storm.
Ahead of the bands show at Cardiff’s Tramshed on November 9, guitarist, Danny tells us about Elvana’s rise to fame!
How did this come about as it’s not a natural pairing?
Well Sir, Elvis and I met after we got into a fight over an unclaimed Cheeseburger at a popular fast food outlet. Once the crowd dispersed, we made our peace and discovered our mutual love and passion of all things Nirvana and Elvis Aaron Presley. To our surprise no one had yet to combine the two, so we proceeded to explore this crazy idea. Fortunately, my baby brother had just returned to Disgraceland after spending some time overseas. Our momma said it was okay if we promised not to feed him after midnight. We found bass guy playing a game called ‘scrap heap challenge’ outside a night club. He had food and we were hungry and broke, so he was in.
Have you always been fans of both acts?
Pretty much. I mean, who doesn’t like Elvis or Nirvana?!?
It’s safe to say both have changed the face of Rock N Roll in their days, what’s going to be the impact of Elvana upon the world?
Pretty much a WTF!?!? … but in a “I didn’t know how much I needed this band until I saw them” sort of way.
Were you all in bands beforehand or just people who enjoyed playing?
Well Sir, we’ve all played in various bands over the years and enjoyed it immensely. We’ve paid our dues; played the likes of ‘The Dog & Handgun’ on a Tuesday night, travelled 300 miles to play to one man and his dog and never met a single sound guy that wasn’t sarcastic.
Was it easy to work out the songs and splicing some into each other?
Once we started doing it more and more the ideas came quite naturally. We love messing around with suggestions we all have … even Bass Guy’s*, and we’ll try all sorts of things out until we’re happy with what we’ve got.
At what point did you feel that ELVANA was taking off considering the size of the venues on the upcoming tour?
When we did our first UK tour in 2016 by the third show in, we were starting to sell out venues. That was a pretty incredible moment for us, and the realisation hit that this may have some legs.
You’ve gained a few well-known admirers over the summer; anyone you can let us know about?
Well Sir, we have been fortunate to meet a few people well known in the public eye over the last few years, but our recent highlight was meeting CBeebies legend Mr Bloom! He knows how to party man! We last saw him at Standon Calling festival. Having just watched Kate Nash’s set, he left us in a somewhat inebriated state clutching an umbrella on a mission to find more gin and a Scotch Egg. True story.
What Nirvana song gets the biggest reaction from the audience?
Well Sir, they pretty much all do. People tell us they just love hearing those songs live, sounding like they did when Nirvana played them … and they get to laugh and sing along to the Elvis parts also.
What Elvis song gets the biggest reaction from the audience?
Pardon my French but we do a pretty darn bad ass version of ‘Suspicious Minds’. Two mosh pits formed when we played this at Download Festival this year! It almost made us forget about Danny’s many, many slip ups during that show.
Who makes your jumpsuits ever thought of a hybrid jumpsuit/striped & ripped jumper combo?
A magical sorceress with mystical seamstress powers makes Elvis’ jumpsuits! We have set her the challenge of creating a fabric that can be cleaned by Elvis’ own sweat but she is yet to crack that one … just wait until you see the one that is currently being made, it’s a hybrid mind melter!
What do you put into a stage performance, what can an audience expect?
The audience can expect a roller coaster ride celebration of the works of Nirvana and Elvis Presley. Plus, vast amounts of hip shakin’, burger chompin’, head bobbing, sweat pouring’ energy and passion.
What’s on your rider?
QUILTED toilet paper can’t emphasise enough how important that is. And laxatives … we eat a lot of burgers y’know.
What would be the goal for the band?
Well Sir, we are humble boys from Disgraceland. We don’t ask for much, we’d just love to continue spreading our love of Nirvana and Elvis across the world.
What’s next for Elvana?
Well it’s nearly lunch time so probably a grilled cheese. I gotta take bass guy to the clinic to get his results then I gotta mow the lawn after Elvis left another Cadillac on there last week. After that, we’ve got our UK tour in the Autumn/Winter to round off 2019. We’re as excited as a rabbit on the first day of mating season!
Catch Elvana at Cardiff’s Tramshed on November 8.