Ben Thompson The Definitive Elvis Experience Queens Hall Edinburgh Friday 13th May 2016. Questions and Answers with Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson was kind enough to answer some questions for us ahead of his forthcoming show at The Queen's Hall in Edinburgh

Q 1. Do you remember when you first heard Elvis?

A 1 The first time I heard and saw Elvis was at the age of around 7. I watched the movie "Loving You" which was one of Elvis’s movies from the 50’s. The whole film captivated me especially the song "Got a lot o' livin to do". Watching Elvis sing and move for the first time was exciting and I made sure that as soon at the film was over I listened to Elvis.

Q 2. If you are going to do a tribute act, then few performers have the musical scope or public appeal of Elvis.  When did you decide that you could do an Elvis show of the standard that Elvis fans and yourself would accept?

A 2 Having being an Elvis fan for years I did my first tribute at the age of 15. Now it’s fair to say at the age of 15 I would still have a lot to learn about stage craft and portraying Elvis Presley on stage, however I fully believe that if someone is sincere and respectful about what they do, people appreciate it. I think it would be wrong of me to say that I knew I was ready because even 7 years down the line and performing around the world I still worry that people will not like the show.

Q 3 You probably get asked what your favourite Elvis song is all the time, but if you are like me, that can change all the time, so I won’t ask that one.  However, is there a period of Elvis that you are most comfortable with on a personal level?

A3 You're absolutely right, my favourite song changes daily and also what kind of mood I’m in. The era of Elvis I would say I most love is the 1969- 1970 (That’s the way it is) for me this was Elvis at his best, his performance was simply magnetising and the energy and persona he had on stage was simply unmatchable. I love performing this era of Elvis because there are so many songs in those concerts I love for example; "Just Pretend", "Bridge over troubled water", "Polk salad Annie".  And with every song he performed, the movement that went with them was incredible. However, being an Elvis fan I can pick something from each era that stands out about Elvis.

Q 4 How do you feel about the Elvis movie years of the 1960s?  A lot of people tend to gloss over these years, but there were some great songs in there – “Can’t Help Falling in Love” from Blue Hawaii is one that comes straight to mind.

A 4 You're correct when you say Elvis’ movie years are not as highlighted as other parts of his career. But what I love from the movie years is watching Elvis’ acting ability get better and better. For me the movie years just showed that Elvis was multi-talented and worked hard to be best he could be whether it was singing or acting. However, it is well documented that Elvis missed live performing so it was great to see him come back in 1968. A lot of people forget about all the iconic songs that came out of those movies. For example," Jailhouse Rock""Viva las Vegas", "Little Less Conversation", "Can’t help falling in love" just to name a few.

Q 5 Elvis sang and recorded music in so many styles, but for me he often seemed happiest singing Gospel music.  To me, Elvis was one of the great Gospel singers.  Would you agree with that?

A 5 Without doubt Elvis was agreat Gospel singer, for me one of the best, the passion and love that he puts into every gospel song is simply amazing. My favourite gospel song and footage is when Elvis sings "Lead Me Guide Me" around the piano in the studio with everyone around him, it’s a really special moment for me.

Q 6 For people that have not yet seen your show, how would you describe it in a quick summary to them?

A 6 The Definitive Elvis Experience is one of the most authentic Elvis shows around and offers something for everyone. The show takes great pride in bringing you all the eras of Elvis’ Career; The 50’s, movie years, 68 comeback and the concert years as well as some gospel throughout the show.  The show is backed by a 13 Piece band which has a quartet and brass section included, and really is the most authentic Elvis show in Britain.

Q 7 Is there any one period of Elvis in a show like yours that is any more popular with an audience than others?

A 7 In my opinion there are so many Elvis fans that love all eras of Elvis, because each era’s Elvis is completely different, It’s actually amazing to see how unique Elvis was in each era. I think the era that is most popular in my show and possibly many other shows are the Vegas and concert years. I think the majority of people associate Elvis with a jumpsuit and as soon as you walk out in that jumpsuit the crowd respond so positively to it.

Q 8 What would you say the age range of an audience at your show is these days?

A 8 What is really lovely to see is that Elvis keeps regenerating and keeps getting passed to the next generation. So I would say the audience that attended my show are people of all ages. And I literally mean 1 to 100 years old, which is so incredible to see. It really shows you how amazing Elvis really was and the footprint he has left.

Q 9 There are a lot of Elvis tribute acts around the world.  What to you makes the difference between a show being respectful to the memory of Elvis (like your one)  and one being exploitative?

A 9 I think it is always important for an Elvis Tribute Artist to give everything to a performance. In my opinion an Elvis tribute artist who takes the time to work on every little detail and really study Elvis, shows that he has the utmost respect for Elvis. I like to think of myself as respectful and sincere tribute to Elvis, and we take great pride in being as authentic as possible.

Q 10 How do you find Edinburgh audiences usually react to your show?

A 10 I’ve only performed in Scotland once before and I can safely say that I have never forgotten it.  One of the most energetic crowds I’ve ever had the pleasure to play to and can clearly see there are so many sincere Elvis fans up there, so I can’t wait to perform up there once again.

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