The recent buzz about the High Times magazine has fans up in arms about an article most haven't even read. When I first got High Times, I thought what a cool cover! When I opened to the article I was a little shocked by the artwork which said, "Addict". But before judging, I read it thoroughly. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the article and even had a few laughs. I especially liked the comment about EPE maybe having the Colonel's Brain in a jar calling all the shots. Right a way, I realized this article came from a fan. I realize how sensitive fans are about Elvis' own dependency to prescription drugs. But since this article doesn't touch that topic, I was astonished fans were so upset by Elvis being on the cover. How could this hurt his image? This is a story about two guys who travel to Memphis to pay respects to the king. What they do to get their fix while there is their business. This magazine has been around since 1974 and has it's own readership. "Someone" is reading it.
If Chris wanted to do a full blown "Elvis on drugs" article, he did not have to come to Memphis and stand in the rain talking to fellow fans. He could have sat back in his air conditioned office and written an article that has been written so many times before about Elvis and drugs.
What amazes me is all the fans shaking their fingers at this magazine. Are there NO Elvis fans who smoke pot? I doubt that very much. Another point so many brought up (which had nothing to do with Elvis) was the other article, " Was Jesus A Stoner?" So many sinless perfect fans brought that up saying the writers would go to hell for that. Now, I ask is that a "Christian" thing to say? Especially coming from such Holy people?
We all have our vices even Elvis. I don't think this magazine hurts Elvis' image. Elvis hurt his own image (just slightly) by his own addictions. How "legal" were Elvis' prescriptions?
I think the difference between "legal" and "illegal" drugs in both these cases are in the gray area. So can we honestly say this magazine is hurting Elvis' image? Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? The facts are Elvis abused drugs. He even tried LSD. He was human and so are we, not perfect.
I think the fact that twenty five years after Elvis is gone, yet still on the cover of so many different magazines proves just how big Elvis is. And is the highest compliment. There have been many magazines Elvis has graced the cover of. Many negative and some that just wouldn't interest me.
Yet I respected other's opinions and lifestyles. Right or wrong, who am I to judge? I hate to be judged as a stereotypical Elvis fan. And I hate that Elvis is judged by so many. Fans too often find quotes of Elvis' to justify how great a fan they are. Well, here's a favorite, "Don't criticize what you don't understand, you never walked in that man's shoes." Wouldn't it have been better to prove your point by reading the article before barking about it? It seems to me whenever fans think someone has said something against Elvis, they go off on a tirade. Not everyone has to be an Elvis fan. Too often I see Elvis fans putting down other artists. Yet these same fans get so hot under the collar if anyone says anything about Elvis. Hypocritical?
In this case, this was a fellow fan that was attacked. This "BUZZ" was stirred up and went wild like the game telephone without many facts. No one has to endorse this magazine. And if you feel strongly against this, fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.
I just can't see shooting off at the mouth about something you haven't even read. I wonder if that borders ignorance?
Yes, Elvis sells. He sells just about everything from EPE endorsed coffee, wine, and even cigars. His image is sold off to bad movies, batteries and blue aliens. That says a lot. Elvis can sell anything.
Good can come of Elvis appearing on the cover of such a diverse magazine. Especially when the article is a positive one such as this about Elvis Week. Elvis can gain more fans. The Elvis World is huge and there's so many different kinds of fans. I would welcome any new fans or closet fans this magazine would bring to the Elvis kingdom. Welcome to our world, won't you come on in?
Just before this buzz began, I contacted Chris to tell him my thoughts on his article. After all this started and I saw how his article was being misjudged, I asked Chris to tell his side. While corresponding with Chris, I felt so bad that his article was being attacked. Chris is a genuine fan.
Well, I could go and on, but why don't you read for yourselves.
I thank Chris Simunek for taking the time to answer my questions. You're fan indeed!
Hey, Elvis is for everyone even pot smokers! But that's just my opinion.
MM: Why did you do "Trippin' With Elvis At Graceland" ?
CS: The story is actually called "The King and I" The words "Tripping at Graceland" that appear on the cover of the magazine came from someone else. I pitched the story because I've been an Elvis fan almost as long as I've been alive, and I wanted to visit Memphis to pay my respects.
Meditating upon the passing of the greatest American icon of all time caused me to think about death in general and to question what is really waiting on the other side for all of us. With all the books out there, I couldn't really hope to add to people's knowledge of the facts of Elvis' life, so I decided to write an existential Elvis article.
MM: Are you an Elvis fan? Have you always been a fan?
CS: Always, since I was like 3. Back in the late 70's all things fifties were cool, especially if you were a kid. They had Happy Days, Grease, American Grafitti, The Lords of Flatbush, and of course Elvis. I have very vague memories of watching Aloha, but I remember watching the CBS broadcast well. I was eight then and Vernon's private message to the fans at the end really freaked me out. When he's surrounded by all that unopened mail. Before that, death to me meant your friend shoots you with a plastic gun, you fall on the ground, count to five, and get up again. After seeing Vernon on TV, I knew Elvis was never going to get up again.
MM: What did you think of Elvis after Elvis Week? His fans? And the whole scene?
CS: Well, there were things about Elvis week I liked and things I didn't. I liked that you can look around and see hundreds of people and know that they all like Elvis Presley. It's a pretty cool meeting point. I mean, people get together for all sorts of reason--because they like baseball or motor cycles, why not Elvis? Why not Jerry Lee for that matter? We need more cool holidays.
On the other hand, it was commercialized to death, to hell. The way I saw it, Graceland wasn't really doing anything for the fans besides collecting their money at the shops across the street. They were managing the event for utmost profit potential. Now is that anyway to pay respects to the dead? It was just one rip-off after another.
The "Concert" featuring Elvis' video ghost. Elvis commands a higher ticket price 25 years after he's dead than he did when he was alive. And the way they mercilessly hawked that greatest hits album full of all the songs we've all bought ten times over already. If Graceland loves the fans so much, why didn't they throw the "Concert" in a park for free? Give something back to the people who waited 8 hours in the rain to pay their respects to EPE's dear departed meal ticket.
MM: Did you pick the cover for the magazine? And if so why?
CS: I didn't pick it, but I liked it when I first saw it. We didn't want a 50's pic, or a bloated late 70's. We wanted him in his adult prime. I think the photo is from 71-72. He's got the shades, the cigar, that cool walking stick. He looks like a king.
MM: How do you feel about all these fans accusing High Times of "using" Elvis on the cover to sell more magazines ( after all this magazine has been around since 74)?
CS: Anybody whoever put Elvis'