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Friskie ready to shake it like Elvis in Penticton
Having paid tribute to Elvis for over two decades, Randy Friskie still gets nervous when he hits the stage in his jumpsuit — especially when that stage is in Penticton.
“I’m nervous but really looking forward to it,” said Friskie, who is touring with his Las Vegas show band in a tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. “It’s a real honour to come to Penticton, I know it is a big Elvis community and I always want to be the best I can be. Guys often say to me I must walk five miles behind the stage pacing before a show, but when I get out on stage and I get into that first song and see the people smiling and having a good time I just tell a couple of jokes and ease right into it.”
Friskie was born into a musical family and started performing in his father’s country band at a young age. He was 12-years-old when he saw Elvis perform live in Niagara Falls, New York.
“That is when he was best, when he was performing live. Elvis called a guy up on stage from Niagara Falls that did an impression of him as a joke. This guy was then walking around like he was God’s gift and it bothered me because I respect Elvis so much because he didn’t carry himself that way. All my friends told me I should get up on stage and blow him away,” and that is when it started, said Friskie.
He played Elvis songs with his bands in his teens and later cut his hair and decided he would try out his Elvis tribute show for a year. Little did he know that it would become a full-time gig for over 20 years.
“I have seen some pretty amazing things and met some really cool people,” said Friskie. “Making people believe it and giving them a chance to know what it was like to see Elvis live is my goal. I’m just an entertainer and anyone that comes to see our show will know that every bit of energy goes into making it a great experience.”
Friskie said he has appeared with Bob Hope, Pat Boone, Bobby Curola, Donna Presley (Elvis’s cousin) and Bill Burke (editor of Elvis World and former publicist). The tribute artist said he was a “hippy” in his teens and loved everything from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, but it was Elvis’s charisma and the way he carried himself that really drew Friskie in. He tries to bring that exact attitude to the stage.
“I have worked with all the guys in Elvis’ band and they have actually said I am the most natural up there. Bill Burke actually cried at my show and I didn’t know what to think. Maybe this guy doesn’t like me? But, he came up afterwards and said some of your facial expressions and the way I moved up there is like seeing his old friend,” said Friskie. “Now that is a compliment, it was really cool.”
For Friskie’s Penticton show at the Cleland Community Theatre he will have musicians from the Uptown Horns and Appaloosa, back up singers and even his daughter Cassandra will be performing as Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee and Cher.
The tribute artist said expect to see the King at his prime when he hits the stage. Friskie has mastered Elvis in three stages of his career and spends hours in the gym each day to ensure he is up to the task to put on a energetic performance.
“I can still do the splits,” he laughs. “I have to put that time in the gym so the leathers look OK, that is all.”
Friskie is at the Cleland Community Theatre in Penticton on Feb. 23 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.50.