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Q&A With Joe Tunzi Part II

October 07, 2006 | People
Part II of the Q&A with Joe Tunzi by you, the readers of ElvisNews and For Elvis CD Collectors. Part II focuses on Joe Tunzi’s books.

Joe Tunzi on his books

21. A book on jumpsuits would definitely be a winner. But why has no one has ever done that? If somebody could pull it off, it’s you. I had high hopes for ‘Fashion’, but it turned out to be another 100% EPE book: nicely done, but it’s a book you can live without – no new information at all. Will a jumpsuit book ever see the light? (Question from Peter Verbruggen).

Joe: A book on jumpsuits would be a winner for the ‘70s Elvis fans. It would be a monumental task to undertake. The problem with this type of project to do it justice would be to include a photograph of Elvis in every jumpsuit and every combination he wore. The time consumption as well as finding photos of every jumpsuit makes it a costly endeavor.

22. As the President of the Elvis Presley fan club of Oklahoma. I am very pleased to see the upcoming book your doing "Elvis, starring in Oklahoma" My question is what is the one factor that interested you enough to do this book about some of the Oklahoma shows? (Question from Charles Reeves).

Joe: The book “Elvis Starring in Oklahoma” focuses on one specific concert, the July 8, 1975 show which kicked off the July tour. This will be the first concert book that we’ve ever done that from beginning to end that will be of Elvis on stage. The photos we have are from a Hall of Fame photographer. One of the reasons I chose this show was because there are not a lot of soundboards from this tour, which makes a book of a show from this tour even more intriguing.

23. I enjoyed your publication 'Elvis: The Hayride Years 54-56'. Co-author Joey Kent stated that he was planning a follow-up with Frank Page that would focus on Elvis's final Hayride show in December of 1956. Is this book still forthcoming? And can we expect any other books on fifties Elvis from you? (Question from Andrew Arnold)

Joe: I believe Joey Kent has a new project coming out which includes a book, a CD, and a DVD. I don’t think we will be doing a second Hayride book but I wouldn’t rule it out entirely.

24. What is the quality of the paper you have been using in your books? There have been several message board comments regarding how thin it is. (Question from Daryl Restly)

Joe: For most of our recent titles we use an 80 pound gloss. This sheet is called garda gloss. It's made in Italy and is considered a number one sheet. Brightness equals 90. Opacity equals 95. The caliper is 591 pages per inch. For the new "Oklahoma" book we're using a 100 pound sterling ultra gloss. This paper is made in the United States and is also considered a number one sheet. Brightness equals 90. Opacity equals 97. The caliper is 426 PPI.

25. Have you ever seen (or know that exists) a photo of Elvis with Jerry Lee Lewis taken later than the one from the Million Dollar Quartet session? (Question from Victor Manso).

Joe: I do not know of any other photo of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis other than the Million Dollar Quartet shot and I think it’s highly unlikely that a later shot exists.

26. What did happen to the original cover artwork for Elvis' albums? (Question from Joe)

Joe: Through research I’ve found that many are to be found in the RCA archives. Some are missing. I do know some people who formerly worked at RCA who have collections of artwork for singles, extended plays and albums.

27. Why didn't you use a color photograph from the benefit show on the cover of his most recent book and why did you use instead a publicity photo from "Blue Hawaii"? (Question from Daryl Restly)

Joe: If we had an original color photo from the benefit concert we would have used it since we featured the press conference and the show in the book. I don’t think some people realize how difficult it is to locate photos from that particular show. Recently, John Thornton reviewed the “Hawaii ‘61 Featuring the U.S.S. Arizona Benefit Show” book in the excellent publication “The Man And His Music” and was disappointed that the book wasn’t entirely on the benefit show. We never did advertise the book as being entirely on the benefit show, as the title of the book implies. Another thing that Mr. Thornton took issue with is why we included the photos of Elvis in Buffalo, New York in 1957. The reason is simple. Elvis wore the gold lamé in Buffalo ‘57, Hawaii ‘57 and at the benefit show. The photos from Buffalo and from Hawaii ‘57 were included in a section of the book entitled “More Gold Lamé.” It’s intention was to be a retrospective look at Elvis in 1957 when he began wearing the gold lamé. In closing, if you're going to review a book, you've got to do your homework.

28. Since the Sessions III book came out in 2004 have you been able to document any recordings that you didn't make mention of in the book? It would seem that Ernst Jorgensen hasn't been able to find any unless he has held back new finds for the 30th Anniversary next year. (Question from Daryl Restly)

Joe: Finding lost recordings has become harder than locating a needle in a haystack. Of course there are some Sun outtakes that will be on Ernst’s Sun project and there are some other tracks that may come to fruition. But it’s coming to a point where it is beginning to become more difficult. As for recordings that we didn’t mention in “Sessions III”, I am aware of tapes that come from 2 or 3 studio sessions but at this time I don’t want to elaborate on it.

One other thing I would like to mention is that the alternate take has lost a lot of it’s luster, zip, punch (or whatever you want to call it) because of a glut of outtakes found on numerous releases. It’s gotten to the point that the Elvis Channel on Sirius plays outtakes of songs more often than the masters. In a way I find that somewhat disturbing. Shouldn’t the masters get played more often? I don’t have a problem with them playing outtakes but shouldn’t they only be played in the context of programming where the show is strictly outtakes. It’s also a shame that Elvis’ original back catalog is in shambles. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even go into a music store and find an Elvis CD the way it was originally released. Most of the albums have been expanded exponentially with bonus tracks which in some ways can actually put a damper on the listening experience. Especially if the bonus tracks are not in relation to the original album. For example, in 2000 BMG released a 3 CD set "That's The Way It Is - Special Edition" which featured "Rags To Riches" a song recorded a month after the filming was done. To make matters worse, BMG forgot to include the studio recordings of "I've Lost You" and "Patch It Up" which were originally released on singles.

29. Is there also an army year’s photo book on your list to publish? (Question from Geert).

Joe: Several years ago I used several Army photos in “Photographs And Memories” which were from the photographer who took them. These photos at the time were quite expensive to use in the book and if I were to do a book on Elvis’ Army years I would most definitely want to use more of the photographs from his portfolio. Otherwise, I have no aspirations.

30. Is there enough material to release a book on Elvis’ Last concert in Indianapolis? And is there enough material to release a book about the famous Memphis sessions or any other session? (Question from Sascha).

Joe: A book on the final concert in Indianapolis would be challenging and is a project that potentially could be done. As for the Memphis sessions, I take it you are referring to strictly the 1969 sessions. I don’t think there is enough material to create a viable product. I've already done a book called "Elvis, Highway 51 Memphis, Tennessee" which covers some of this ground already.

31. I have read the Elvis Sessions vol. III book which is fantastic, and was curious how do you find all of this information whi

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Greg Nolan wrote on October 08, 2006
Interesting interview... Thanks to Joe, FECC, Elvisnews, etc.!