This interview is from the third update from ICE magazine publisher Pete Howard on the new Comeback and Aloha releases. You can read more on these and other Elvis releases in the June edition of ICE magazine.
Top of the day to you. In the current issue of ICE, we have a long article on BMG Heritage’s upcoming Elvis Presley titles: a single CD called Elvis at Sun and two multi-disc DVD sets, Elvis: ’68 Comeback Special - Deluxe Edition DVD and Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii - Deluxe Edition DVD.
In the article, we interviewed both Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, who produced the new Sun disc, and Todd Morgan of Elvis Presley Enterprises, who worked on the two DVD sets. In both cases, they had much more to say than we had room to print, so we’ve been making up for that here in the Daily News Flash. Last Friday we had Jorgensen talking about Elvis at Sun, Tuesday, we had Morgan’s extra information on the ’68 Comeback Special - Deluxe Edition DVD; and today, in our final installment, Morgan waxes on about the Aloha from Hawaii - Deluxe Edition DVD. In all cases, none of these quotes made it into the ICE article.
"Aloha has been out on DVD," Morgan tells ICE, "but it wasn’t out there complete. Again, we took the material, started from scratch and looked at nothing that had been done before. We simply sat there with our three choices on the screens in front of us: the line cut, which was edited as the shows were happening, and then there were the two tape decks which had material from the other cameras. So we started from the top, and just put it together."
The new DVD set includes the entire five-song "after-show" concert that Elvis and the band recorded to aid production of the television special. "This is in the wee hours of the morning," Morgan says, "when you know he’s tired and probably didn’t want to be there.
"They shot that with two cameras, with a deck dedicated to each camera. For some reason, perhaps to ease the montage process, they put Elvis off to one corner, with a lot of black behind him. Because he has so much black around him, we were able to put both camera loads on screen at once. You see both cameras simultaneously. And you might as well, because there’s so much black space… and we were able to do it without reducing Elvis’s image at all.
"As far as editing goes, I think the thing we’re proudest of is ‘Fever.’ On the original broadcast show, it’s a montage screen, and much of it is on the audience, or you see these little blocks of him in the montage. We spent a lot of time on that, doing everything we could to keep you on Elvis so you get to see what he’s doing when everybody screams. He’s really flirting with the audience, teasing them, and we tried to put that together so you could see it all. And it’s a completely different experience now."
Morgan took a moment to fill us in on a couple of business angles regarding the Elvis releases. "We would’ve done the ’68 and Aloha DVDs long before now," he says, "but we were locked in a [domestic] distribution contract up until 2001 or so, and we didn’t have overseas distribution. We weren’t going to do the dream-edition, full-tilt-boogie DVD releases until we had a global distribution deal."
Morgan was also candid about Elvis Presley Enterprises’ relationship with RCA/BMG over the years, and how it’s presently at a peak: "We’ve always had an OK relationship with the record company," he says, "but it had ebbed and flowed through the years… it’s had its good days and bad [laughter]. But a couple of years ago they put together a new team that’s handling all things Elvis who really ‘got it’ and wanted to work closely with the estate. It was as if the clouds parted, the sun shone through, the voice of God spoke and everything was suddenly the way it should be."
Talk about harmony! Thanks for dropping by, and remember to check out the June issue of ICE for the 2,500-word core story on the three Elvis releases.