Elvis Tribute Artist Aaron Smith (Part 2)

Nov 24, 2020

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Elvis Tribute Artist Aaron Smith (Part 2)

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Elvis Tribute Artist Aaron Smith (Part 2)

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Aaron Smith is a lifelong fan of the KING, Elvis Aaron Presley. He has made his career as an Elvis tribute artist. Autism has never slowed him down. Join us as we learn what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry!

Get in touch with Aaron on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/AaronElvistribute/

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Narrator: Welcome to the Autism News Network Podcast. We’ve got a very special guest with us today, Elvis impersonator, Aaron Smith.

Dr. Gwynette: Myles, do you want to ask him the next question?

Miles: What was it like growing with autism?

Aaron Smith: Challenging. Very challenging. The hardest part was I was in I… Appleton is a bigger metropolitan area, but I was growing up in a rural community before I moved to Appleton. And so, it was challenging because number one, there wasn’t much advocacy for it. It was challenging. It was challenging. Lots of bullying. Going through lots of different doctors, different counselors, teachers. Yeah, it was challenging because I was the type, as I got older, I wanted friends so bad. My mom and dad would say, well, they’ll come, they’ll come. And I wanted to be like everybody else. So, I was like, when are they going to come? So, challenging, very challenging. I would go home, and draw, and sit in my room, listen to Elvis by myself for hours at a time until dinner because I gave up on the wanting friends thing for a while.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s really hard. And as of right this minute, you’ve now got about 12 new friends with the Autism News Network and fans also because [inaudible 00:01:40] Yeah, we really…

David: I’ve been down that path too when I was that age.

Dr. Gwynette: Were you?

David: I have a lot of friends now I’m also engaged, so I know where you’ve been through, man.

Aaron Smith: Well, congratulations on the engaged part. That’s awesome.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That’s really exciting. So, our next question is going to come from Chris.

Chris: Yeah. How has the bullying effected you over the years?

Aaron Smith: Well, I mean, in elementary school, it wasn’t as prominent because we’re all elementary schoolers. We’re like, they just have a crush on me, or they’re just giving me a hard time because they like me. But as the years went on in middle school and towards high school, obviously, we had social media. But it wasn’t as predominantly, I guess… I don’t want to say accessible, but there wasn’t a lot of it.

Aaron Smith: There was your basic… But I wouldn’t say that helped the bullying because then it got… It was depressing one. But number one, I’m not the type of person, and I come from a family of really tough bullheaded people, to let it really dwell and bother me. It would bother me, but I’m like, no, I’m just going to do this just to spite them. And who cares if they think that. They’re not me. But for a while, it was difficult because I thought there was something wrong with me.

Aaron Smith: And so, I would always question why the other kids have friends and why I’m looked as awkward or picked last or what have you. And I think the Elvis thing… I would turn to music. I would go in my room like I said, and I would have this Elvis at Madison Square Garden CD on. And I would have it on repeat. And I would just sit in my room until three, four in the morning, even though I had to get up at 8:00 to go to the road, to get the bus, I would just sit in there and draw. And so that was an escape for me because for a while, like I said, I just said, screw it I don’t need friends. I’ll just play video games and draw.

Dr. Gwynette: I’m interested… I started to get a little bit teary eyed while you were talking here, but I’m interested are the other group members that… Do you feel like you can relate to what Aaron went through?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. I’m seeing a lot of nodding.

Chris: Very much.

Miles: I have to agree with that. It was rough.

Dr. Gwynette: And yet, somehow we’ve all managed to get to this point here, recording a podcast. So, congrats to everybody for being willing to share those experiences and hopefully grow beyond them. Okay. So we’re going to go to a more lighthearted question next from Kyle.

Kyle: [inaudible 00:04:31] You’ve mentioned before how you did do some Elvis Week and you had your first contest. How many Elvis outfits do you actually have now?

Aaron Smith: Three, three. Still pretty slim on the wardrobe department. I’ll tell you. I have three. My favorite isn’t the one I have on now. Just because this is just… It’s freshly dry cleaned, but it’s not what I have on now. My favorite would have to be the Madison Square Garden press conference suit.

Dr. Gwynette: Can you describe that one? Just I know we can’t see it, but just give us some imagery.

Aaron Smith: Sure. The Madison… Now in 72, Elvis played Madison Square Garden in New York. He had to wait his turn for the garden. He had gotten off a tour… And MGM made a documentary about that called Elvis on Tour. Great shape. He was, I want to say, a 36 waist and it’s a blue two-piece suit. But obviously in the seventies, they had the really wide lapel things with black accents, black pockets. And the pants are kind of like… In the Elvis world we call them kick fleets, but they’re bell bottom pants that fray and it has a midnight blue accent. The suit itself is a light blue. And then it’s paired with a 24-karat gold belt that he wore with it. And I have the belt as well. It’s not comfortable, but I have it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s so cool. Clothes these days in some ways are so boring. When you look back at how he was rocking all those outfits.

Aaron Smith: I’ll tell you, a lot of people… And I find this to be a coincidence because back in the day you think One Direction was like a boy band, girly thing. I always… It baffles me to this day, but I always liked Harry styles. Now, I always wondered if they would go solo or what happens, because NSYNC they did that. And only one or two of them became, I guess, a thing. And so now looking at his solo career and the way he dresses on stage, very Elvis-y, very David Bowie-y with the scarves and the ascots and the boots. I always say when it comes to molding my style, I would have to say it’s Elvis Presley and Harry styles would be my two fashion inspirations.

Dr. Gwynette: Kyle, does that answer your question?

Kyle: Indeed, it does. And I found the image. I’m going to see if I could link it into the chat.

Dr. Gwynette: And also I love how Aaron is familiar with the history of it. Like he wore something to the performance at the Garden, but then he’s wore another outfit at the press conference. I mean, that’s just awesome.

Aaron Smith: He never wore jumpsuits for interviews. Ever, not that I can remember, which I thought was weird because his casual wear is [inaudible 00:07:43] comfortable to me. And the suit I have on today is based off of the 1969 press conference at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow. That’s so awesome. There’s like a depth to it. This is not just a superficial hobby for Mr. Aaron Smith. That’s awesome. Okay. We’re going to transition now to another, I think, pretty fun question. Myles, do you want to take it away?

Miles: Have you ever eaten an Elvis snack?

Aaron Smith: An Elvis snack. I have had the famous peanut butter and banana sandwich. Yes, I have.

Dr. Gwynette: What’d you think?

Aaron Smith: Of the peanut butter and banana sandwich? It was tasty. If it’s done right. I found out there’s a way to do it and it’s not just make the sandwich. I found out you have to put it in a pan, flip it like you would a grilled cheese with butter and you know, the bananas and the peanut butter and then serve it. So, if it’s done right, it’s really good.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. So for our audience, you knew this question was coming, but you might not have known who was going to ask it. We’re now going over to Christina, who has the question of all questions?

Patrick: Oh boy.

Kristina: Do you have any blue suede shoes?

Aaron Smith: I do own a pair of blue suede shoes. Yes I do, Christina. I do. My first pair I bought back in 2017 when I was going to go to Memphis. I didn’t compete in Memphis in a contest. I’ve done a couple, but I didn’t when I was in Memphis. But yes, I bought some blue suede shoes and there’s an interesting story that goes with that. I was in, I call it my casual wear, I was in blue jeans and a black dress shirt and my blue suede shoes because we were going to go sightseeing and stuff like that. We didn’t have any shows that day. And we just wanted to see Memphis. We went to Sun Studios in Memphis where he recorded That’s Alright Mama, Blue Suede Shoes, a lot of the early stuff in the fifties.

Aaron Smith: And I was with a group of people and there was a lady who was doing… The tour guide, as you might say. And she was giving the tour and she said, Hey… And I love the seventies, that’s my era, 69 to like 73 is what I dig. That’s that’s my thing. I like the glitz and the glamour and the bling. But she said, hey, do you want to do a demonstration with Elvis Presley’s microphone in Sun Studio for the group of people I was with. So, she plucks me out of this and I’m like, I’m in jeans and blue suede shoes and a black shirt. I don’t dig… I like the fifties, with the Asperger’s and the autism I can remember everything one time around the block, but I was like, sure. So yep, I got to sing with Elvis’s 1956 microphone and my blue suede shoes in Sun Studios in Memphis. [crosstalk 00:10:34].

Kristina: Very cool.

Patrick: That is awesome.

David: That is really awesome.

Dr. Gwynette: That is so great. Okay. Now we’re going to go to another question. Patrick, you’re up.

Patrick: Can you do the hip wiggle that Elvis did onstage.

Aaron Smith: I can, I can. I actually have ripped my pants twice on stage doing that so [inaudible 00:10:57]. Yeah, we went on with the whole show. I had to stand kitty corner to my bass player and he had the guitar right here to see it was in… And I know you’re going to edit this so, like I said, I’ve done some interviews, but usually I like to be on my toes. But if you’re going to edit this, I was like, holy now I can’t move for the rest of the show. I had to stand kitty corner to my bass player because it was in the crotch area… and I thought it was there. It wasn’t there. It was down the side leg of my pants. So [inaudible 00:11:37] go that way.

Aaron Smith: And Elvis, when he wore… It’s funny you should ask that because in the seventies when he did two piece suits on stage, just around 72 and 76, then mostly you see him in the jumpsuits. And the reason he stopped doing two-piece suits in 72 was because every time he would do Suspicious Minds or Polk Salad Annie he would tear up the seat of his pants. So, he couldn’t wear a two-piece suit because he moved so much. So, that’s where the jumpsuits are made of a stretchy material so, he could do the karate. He could do the kicks. He could do the moves without worrying about tearing out the seat of his pants.

David: Well, I might need to start getting pants like that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that’s true. That’s great. So you’ve got a tear in the leg of your pants. The show must go on.

Aaron Smith: The girls went nuts because if I remember correctly like I said, I don’t wear any special underwear. My personality is loud and usually I’m wearing a dark clothes and I have my stage wears designed for me. So, colors doesn’t ever matter. But if I remember right, I think I had like blue or orange underwear on and that really showed with the black and the stage lighting and everybody… I’ve done a lot of shows and during this show everyone was wondering why I wasn’t moving for the faster songs. And all I can do is shake my leg and have my bass player kind of stand next to me.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s great and he knew what was going on? The bass player knew that you had a rip?

Aaron Smith: He saw it halfway through our second song and he kind of smiled. He’s a really good friend of mine now. At the time… He’s the person that inspired me and helped me link up with my band mates. But he knew. He looked, I looked at him. I gave him a little eye look and he had said… he’s kind of… he’s chuckling. And I’m like, I see it, but I mouthed it quietly because with all the people on stage, you couldn’t really tell because it wasn’t on mike and I had a drink of my vodka Coke and I’m like, well, let’s do it. Elvis did it so we can do it. Let’s keep it going.

Dr. Gwynette: That is fantastic.

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Narrator: Welcome to the Autism News Network Podcast. We’ve got a very special guest with us today, Elvis impersonator, Aaron Smith.

Dr. Gwynette: Myles, do you want to ask him the next question?

Miles: What was it like growing with autism?

Aaron Smith: Challenging. Very challenging. The hardest part was I was in I… Appleton is a bigger metropolitan area, but I was growing up in a rural community before I moved to Appleton. And so, it was challenging because number one, there wasn’t much advocacy for it. It was challenging. It was challenging. Lots of bullying. Going through lots of different doctors, different counselors, teachers. Yeah, it was challenging because I was the type, as I got older, I wanted friends so bad. My mom and dad would say, well, they’ll come, they’ll come. And I wanted to be like everybody else. So, I was like, when are they going to come? So, challenging, very challenging. I would go home, and draw, and sit in my room, listen to Elvis by myself for hours at a time until dinner because I gave up on the wanting friends thing for a while.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s really hard. And as of right this minute, you’ve now got about 12 new friends with the Autism News Network and fans also because [inaudible 00:01:40] Yeah, we really…

David: I’ve been down that path too when I was that age.

Dr. Gwynette: Were you?

David: I have a lot of friends now I’m also engaged, so I know where you’ve been through, man.

Aaron Smith: Well, congratulations on the engaged part. That’s awesome.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. That’s really exciting. So, our next question is going to come from Chris.

Chris: Yeah. How has the bullying effected you over the years?

Aaron Smith: Well, I mean, in elementary school, it wasn’t as prominent because we’re all elementary schoolers. We’re like, they just have a crush on me, or they’re just giving me a hard time because they like me. But as the years went on in middle school and towards high school, obviously, we had social media. But it wasn’t as predominantly, I guess… I don’t want to say accessible, but there wasn’t a lot of it.

Aaron Smith: There was your basic… But I wouldn’t say that helped the bullying because then it got… It was depressing one. But number one, I’m not the type of person, and I come from a family of really tough bullheaded people, to let it really dwell and bother me. It would bother me, but I’m like, no, I’m just going to do this just to spite them. And who cares if they think that. They’re not me. But for a while, it was difficult because I thought there was something wrong with me.

Aaron Smith: And so, I would always question why the other kids have friends and why I’m looked as awkward or picked last or what have you. And I think the Elvis thing… I would turn to music. I would go in my room like I said, and I would have this Elvis at Madison Square Garden CD on. And I would have it on repeat. And I would just sit in my room until three, four in the morning, even though I had to get up at 8:00 to go to the road, to get the bus, I would just sit in there and draw. And so that was an escape for me because for a while, like I said, I just said, screw it I don’t need friends. I’ll just play video games and draw.

Dr. Gwynette: I’m interested… I started to get a little bit teary eyed while you were talking here, but I’m interested are the other group members that… Do you feel like you can relate to what Aaron went through?

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. I’m seeing a lot of nodding.

Chris: Very much.

Miles: I have to agree with that. It was rough.

Dr. Gwynette: And yet, somehow we’ve all managed to get to this point here, recording a podcast. So, congrats to everybody for being willing to share those experiences and hopefully grow beyond them. Okay. So we’re going to go to a more lighthearted question next from Kyle.

Kyle: [inaudible 00:04:31] You’ve mentioned before how you did do some Elvis Week and you had your first contest. How many Elvis outfits do you actually have now?

Aaron Smith: Three, three. Still pretty slim on the wardrobe department. I’ll tell you. I have three. My favorite isn’t the one I have on now. Just because this is just… It’s freshly dry cleaned, but it’s not what I have on now. My favorite would have to be the Madison Square Garden press conference suit.

Dr. Gwynette: Can you describe that one? Just I know we can’t see it, but just give us some imagery.

Aaron Smith: Sure. The Madison… Now in 72, Elvis played Madison Square Garden in New York. He had to wait his turn for the garden. He had gotten off a tour… And MGM made a documentary about that called Elvis on Tour. Great shape. He was, I want to say, a 36 waist and it’s a blue two-piece suit. But obviously in the seventies, they had the really wide lapel things with black accents, black pockets. And the pants are kind of like… In the Elvis world we call them kick fleets, but they’re bell bottom pants that fray and it has a midnight blue accent. The suit itself is a light blue. And then it’s paired with a 24-karat gold belt that he wore with it. And I have the belt as well. It’s not comfortable, but I have it.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s so cool. Clothes these days in some ways are so boring. When you look back at how he was rocking all those outfits.

Aaron Smith: I’ll tell you, a lot of people… And I find this to be a coincidence because back in the day you think One Direction was like a boy band, girly thing. I always… It baffles me to this day, but I always liked Harry styles. Now, I always wondered if they would go solo or what happens, because NSYNC they did that. And only one or two of them became, I guess, a thing. And so now looking at his solo career and the way he dresses on stage, very Elvis-y, very David Bowie-y with the scarves and the ascots and the boots. I always say when it comes to molding my style, I would have to say it’s Elvis Presley and Harry styles would be my two fashion inspirations.

Dr. Gwynette: Kyle, does that answer your question?

Kyle: Indeed, it does. And I found the image. I’m going to see if I could link it into the chat.

Dr. Gwynette: And also I love how Aaron is familiar with the history of it. Like he wore something to the performance at the Garden, but then he’s wore another outfit at the press conference. I mean, that’s just awesome.

Aaron Smith: He never wore jumpsuits for interviews. Ever, not that I can remember, which I thought was weird because his casual wear is [inaudible 00:07:43] comfortable to me. And the suit I have on today is based off of the 1969 press conference at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow. That’s so awesome. There’s like a depth to it. This is not just a superficial hobby for Mr. Aaron Smith. That’s awesome. Okay. We’re going to transition now to another, I think, pretty fun question. Myles, do you want to take it away?

Miles: Have you ever eaten an Elvis snack?

Aaron Smith: An Elvis snack. I have had the famous peanut butter and banana sandwich. Yes, I have.

Dr. Gwynette: What’d you think?

Aaron Smith: Of the peanut butter and banana sandwich? It was tasty. If it’s done right. I found out there’s a way to do it and it’s not just make the sandwich. I found out you have to put it in a pan, flip it like you would a grilled cheese with butter and you know, the bananas and the peanut butter and then serve it. So, if it’s done right, it’s really good.

Dr. Gwynette: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. So for our audience, you knew this question was coming, but you might not have known who was going to ask it. We’re now going over to Christina, who has the question of all questions?

Patrick: Oh boy.

Kristina: Do you have any blue suede shoes?

Aaron Smith: I do own a pair of blue suede shoes. Yes I do, Christina. I do. My first pair I bought back in 2017 when I was going to go to Memphis. I didn’t compete in Memphis in a contest. I’ve done a couple, but I didn’t when I was in Memphis. But yes, I bought some blue suede shoes and there’s an interesting story that goes with that. I was in, I call it my casual wear, I was in blue jeans and a black dress shirt and my blue suede shoes because we were going to go sightseeing and stuff like that. We didn’t have any shows that day. And we just wanted to see Memphis. We went to Sun Studios in Memphis where he recorded That’s Alright Mama, Blue Suede Shoes, a lot of the early stuff in the fifties.

Aaron Smith: And I was with a group of people and there was a lady who was doing… The tour guide, as you might say. And she was giving the tour and she said, Hey… And I love the seventies, that’s my era, 69 to like 73 is what I dig. That’s that’s my thing. I like the glitz and the glamour and the bling. But she said, hey, do you want to do a demonstration with Elvis Presley’s microphone in Sun Studio for the group of people I was with. So, she plucks me out of this and I’m like, I’m in jeans and blue suede shoes and a black shirt. I don’t dig… I like the fifties, with the Asperger’s and the autism I can remember everything one time around the block, but I was like, sure. So yep, I got to sing with Elvis’s 1956 microphone and my blue suede shoes in Sun Studios in Memphis. [crosstalk 00:10:34].

Kristina: Very cool.

Patrick: That is awesome.

David: That is really awesome.

Dr. Gwynette: That is so great. Okay. Now we’re going to go to another question. Patrick, you’re up.

Patrick: Can you do the hip wiggle that Elvis did onstage.

Aaron Smith: I can, I can. I actually have ripped my pants twice on stage doing that so [inaudible 00:10:57]. Yeah, we went on with the whole show. I had to stand kitty corner to my bass player and he had the guitar right here to see it was in… And I know you’re going to edit this so, like I said, I’ve done some interviews, but usually I like to be on my toes. But if you’re going to edit this, I was like, holy now I can’t move for the rest of the show. I had to stand kitty corner to my bass player because it was in the crotch area… and I thought it was there. It wasn’t there. It was down the side leg of my pants. So [inaudible 00:11:37] go that way.

Aaron Smith: And Elvis, when he wore… It’s funny you should ask that because in the seventies when he did two piece suits on stage, just around 72 and 76, then mostly you see him in the jumpsuits. And the reason he stopped doing two-piece suits in 72 was because every time he would do Suspicious Minds or Polk Salad Annie he would tear up the seat of his pants. So, he couldn’t wear a two-piece suit because he moved so much. So, that’s where the jumpsuits are made of a stretchy material so, he could do the karate. He could do the kicks. He could do the moves without worrying about tearing out the seat of his pants.

David: Well, I might need to start getting pants like that.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, that’s true. That’s great. So you’ve got a tear in the leg of your pants. The show must go on.

Aaron Smith: The girls went nuts because if I remember correctly like I said, I don’t wear any special underwear. My personality is loud and usually I’m wearing a dark clothes and I have my stage wears designed for me. So, colors doesn’t ever matter. But if I remember right, I think I had like blue or orange underwear on and that really showed with the black and the stage lighting and everybody… I’ve done a lot of shows and during this show everyone was wondering why I wasn’t moving for the faster songs. And all I can do is shake my leg and have my bass player kind of stand next to me.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s great and he knew what was going on? The bass player knew that you had a rip?

Aaron Smith: He saw it halfway through our second song and he kind of smiled. He’s a really good friend of mine now. At the time… He’s the person that inspired me and helped me link up with my band mates. But he knew. He looked, I looked at him. I gave him a little eye look and he had said… he’s kind of… he’s chuckling. And I’m like, I see it, but I mouthed it quietly because with all the people on stage, you couldn’t really tell because it wasn’t on mike and I had a drink of my vodka Coke and I’m like, well, let’s do it. Elvis did it so we can do it. Let’s keep it going.

Dr. Gwynette: That is fantastic.

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