Local Wire

Red Elvises

One can't help but chuckle at the Red Elvises' appropriation of cheesy American culture — the colorful bow-tie tuxedos, the lopsided pompadours, singer Igor Yuzov's lounge-lizard panache. The band's flair for fusing Russian folk music with American surf, rockabilly, and even disco led to interesting concoctions like "I Wanna See You Bellydance," which featured some booty-shakin' balalaika playing alongside springy surf guitar riffs, and the blending of blues bridges with overly operatic backing vocals on "Siberia Song" (which is the "land of cottage cheese and giant trees," according to the lyrics). Red Elvises are full of surprises, too — in 2001, when co-founders Yuzov and bassist Oleg Bernov were touring sans drummer with guitarist Zhenya Kolykhanov, the trio took turns playing the drums and came together for a thundering three-way drum solo in the middle of "Sad Cowboy Song." Though the band hasn't released an album since 2004's Lunatics & Poets, Yuzov and Bernov continue to tour with a live lineup that includes Oleg "Schramm" Gorbunov on keyboards, Adam Gust on drums, and the spirit of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, who'd probably be chuckling at the good-humored tribute, too.
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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea