It started when he was a kid: A friend gave him a record player and lent him some albums, his older brother bought him an Elvis record set. Gospel singing, a musical wife with a beautiful voice and a talented jazz guitarist father-in-law didn’t hurt. These days, Maine’s Don Boudreau is busy most weekends, performing as Elvis, singing one of the 250-plus songs he knows.

It might be in front of a family of six at a nursing home. It might be in front of 800 or more at an outdoor festival in Vermont. Or at Lewiston’s Franco Center. The look and sound is always Elvis, and the goal is to make people feel good.  

Name: Don Boudreau, stage name EP Rock

Grew up where? Waterville

Now living where? Sidney

What’s your day job? I’m a managed print services consultant for Transco Business Technologies in Augusta.

What is it about Elvis that makes him such an icon not only in the U.S. but all over the world? Elvis is the epitome and embodiment of the American Dream. He was definitely the key pioneer and persona of the most important musical movement of our generation. He seemed to be born and appointed for greatness and his life appeared at precisely the right moment in history. His gifts were exceptional as he was filled with a natural charisma and aura as well as tremendous God-given natural talent. It’s very difficult to not like Elvis. Not to mention he was a very humble and endearing person and quite a philanthropist as well. He certainly wasn’t perfect and had his shortcomings, but I often try to consider what a trial it would be to handle that level of success and popularity as gracefully as he did.

What’s one of the favorite shows you have put on, and why? I’ve had a lot of very fun shows. But one of the best was a recent trip to Canada (my first event outside the U.S.). It was a surprise birthday party done in conjunction with another major event they were putting on at an eco village in Quebec. The atmosphere was celebratory and the crowd was having a wonderful time and really enjoying themselves and dancing the night away. The birthday boy was a big Elvis fan, so it made his night. Everyone was wonderful and they were so appreciative. It makes you feel good when the crowd really enjoys themselves and the performance.

What’s the worst? Have you ever had any major problems? Embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions? Bad audience members? I can’t say I’ve had any bad problematic events. No major wardrobe malfunctions. I did have a little scare one night when I left my costume bag in the bathroom and returned to change into the ’70s outfit to find the bag was gone — about a $4K value. Someone had reported it and thankfully I quickly recovered it at the lost-and-found. A necklace broke off one night and went flying across the floor. The first public event I ever did was with a rented costume and the belt buckle flew open and the belt fell off, but I wasn’t even a serious Elvis performer at this time. Occasionally someone gets a little tipsy and may get a little brave and get up on stage with Elvis, but really nothing out of the ordinary that would make you feel it was a bad night.

Do you own any original Elvis memorabilia? I don’t have Elvis memorabilia that is something originally owned by Elvis. Fans give me Elvis memorabilia all the time. One lady gave me an Elvis gold record collectible. My neighbor had given me a large portrait of the Elvis stamp, as he used to work at the post office for years and had acquired it. He also connected me with a friend who recently sold me three unused tickets for Elvis’ last scheduled appearance in Portland, Maine, that was scheduled two days after he died. One man took a concert ring off his finger one night and gave it to me. I met a man in Georgia who was a client when I did sales for the Yellow Pages and his mom was in Elvis’ grade-school class and he gave me a copy of the class portrait and told me a bunch of stories.

You’re an actual guitar-playing, song-writing musician who is as familiar with gospel and jazz as you are with Elvis songs. Does that distinguish you from many other Elvis entertainers? In many ways it does, and it seems the best of the pro ETAs (Elvis tribute artist) that I know certainly have these abilities. An Elvis Presley doesn’t come along every day, and the other aspects of looks and charisma are something people are born with. We all have gifts, but most of us have to work hard at developing them. Elvis played both piano and guitar. So musical experience and having that music be inside you makes you connect better with an audience. Elvis was very well versed in the music of his day, including various genres and a huge repertoire of gospel songs that he grew up with. I don’t believe people should do Elvis simply because they enjoy the fact that Elvis is popular and loved and they want to feel that way too. I always try to look at it objectively when it comes to Elvis entertainers and ask the tough question: “If you take away the costume are they still a very good singer, musician or entertainer?” Do they make you think “He sounds like Elvis”?

Favorite Elvis? ’50s-’60s Jail House Rocker or ’70s Vegas crooner? I love all eras of Elvis, but was first hooked on the early music of Elvis mid-’50s to early-’60s.

One fact most people would be surprised to know about Elvis? Elvis only won Grammy Awards during his lifetime for his gospel music. They were for the live performance of “How Great Thou Art,” the album “How Great Thou Art” and the album “He Touched Me.”

Favorite Elvis movie? “King Creole”

Can you pick a favorite Elvis song or two? “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Big Hunk O’ Love,” “What Now My Love,” “An American Trilogy,” “Swing Down,” “Sweet Chariot.”

You’ve said doing your show is actually like a ministry. What do you mean by that? Well I’ve been in music ministry all my life, so it’s important to me to make a positive impact on people. Elvis’ music has a way of touching people. It can rekindle the memories of youth or contribute to a great celebration for a family, and people are often encouraged by one of his inspirational songs. My goal is to do the best I possibly can to represent one of the greatest talents in our lifetime and rekindle their appreciation for the king of rock ‘n’ roll. And for those who are not yet fans, I hope to influence them to be a fan. But most of all I want my clients to have fun and meet their expectations. I perform for a lot special events for families, and really they are sacred times for them, and it is important that it is a special celebration.

Recently I had one client who left me a review online and said: “A man with the soul of Elvis as well as the voice and appearance.” For me, that was one of the highest compliments I could get, because it makes me know that I made a difference at that event.

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