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The King of the tribute
It started for Randy Friskie when he was 10 years old.
He crossed the border from Ontario into the United States with his older sister, who had secured a couple of tickets to see Elvis Presley perform at the Niagara Falls Convention Center.
Friskie watched the King of Rock & Roll walk through a corridor and up onto the stage, where he proceeded to perform to a sold-out crowd.
Eighteen years later, Friskie would make the same walk — wearing a similar get-up and sporting the iconic Presley ‘do — for a performance of his own.
“I remember that and I remember thinking, ‘This is cool,’” Friskie told KTW.
Now one of the most successful Elvis tribute acts in the world, Friskie will be playing the Sagebrush Theatre in Kamloops later this month.
The Niagara Falls, Ont., native said his infatuation with the King began long before that concert in Niagara.
“I must have been pretty young, but I remember watching Love Me Tender and I got really sad when he died at the end,” Friskie said.
“I thought, ‘Oh, he’s dead. I’m never going to see this person again.’
“My mom said, ‘No, it’s just a movie. I’ll show you another one tomorrow.’”
From a young age, Friskie said, he would imitate Presley.
“I just started mimicking him,” he said.
“All my friends said, ‘You sound like him.’”
Then it was singing contests and more movies and even an Elvis puppet for a class project in Grade 4 — something Friskie said earned “good marks.”
At the age of 14, Friskie began playing part-time in his dad’s country band, so he knew he had musical chops.
The following year, at an outdoor festival in his hometown, Friskie said he saw an Elvis impersonator take to the stage.
“This guy came out and what bothered me the most was his attitude,” he said.
“He just kind of walked around like a rock star.”
A few months later, Friskie had decided to pursue the Elvis thing as a career.
But don’t call him an impersonator — Friskie bills himself as an “Elvis tribute act.”
Now, after decades of taking to the stage and portraying Presley at various points in time, it’s becoming a bit of a family affair for the Friskies.
When he takes to the stage in Kamloops, Friskie will be flanked not only by his band — who he calls “some of the best players in the world” — but also by his 23-year-old daughter, Cassandra.
Like him, Friskie said his daughter caught the performance bug early in life.
“I remember when she was three or four years old, she’d be out playing with her friends,” he said.
“She’d make a makeshift little stage and be belting out Annie or something and all of her friends were smiling.”
As part of her dad’s act, Cassandra portrays such performers as Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Dolly Parton and Cher.
The Kamloops show — Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Sagebrush Theatre — will be a re-enactment of Presley’s famous 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert.
Tickets are $39.50 and can be purchased at the Kamloops Live Box Office, 250-374-5483, or online at kamloopslive.ca.
For more information about Friskie and his show, go online to randyelvisfriskie.com.