- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

PERU, Ind. (AP) - Michael Rasor looks like any normal 13-year-old kid.

But that all changes when he puts on his big, black wig with sideburns, dons a white, one-piece suit studded with rhinestones and slips on his thick-rimmed, aviator-style sunglasses.

Then Michael isn’t Michael anymore. He’s the King of Rock and Roll. He’s the Pelvis.

He’s Elvis Presley.

For the last two years, Rasor has lived a kind of double life. In one, he’s a student at Peru Middle School. In the other, he’s an Elvis impersonator and general super fan of The King.

Rasor doesn’t put on his Elvis act often. In fact, he’s only done it twice in public. But when he does, he’s a crowd favorite.

On Friday, Rasor made an appearance at the Peru Public Library as part of a celebration of Elvis’ birthday, who would have turned 81 this year.

As the crowd gathered, Rasor’s grandpa, who is also named Michael Rasor, got the sound equipment ready as his grandson geared up in the back of the building.

“Roadies don’t get paid enough,” the elder Rasor said with a laugh as he got the CD player set up. “I need a raise.”

Then he pushed the play button. The CD was a live recording of an Elvis show, with the sounds of cheering and clapping in the background.

Some bombastic introductory music started up, and a few moments later, Rasor ran from the back of the library in front of the crowd as the band began to play “Suspicious Minds.”

And then Rasor was in full swing. Grabbing the mic, he belted out the song while pulling out classic Elvis moves like the pelvic thrust, gyrating hips and doing the pinwheel with his arm.

Then he was out in the crowd, putting his red cape around the neck of a woman and passing out autographed pictures of himself.

“We can’t go on together, with suspicious minds,” Rasor crooned. “And we can’t build our dreams, on suspicious minds.”

That song ended with huge applause, and then Rasor launched into his second tune, which was “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” again showing off his Elvis moves.

The show ended with Rasor leading the audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate The King’s birthday.

“Thank you, thank you very much for coming,” Rasor said in an impressively accurate impersonation of Elvis’ signature phrase before walking away to the back of the building.

Today, Rasor said he can’t get enough of Elvis and his music. Not only does he impersonate him, but he’s also an avid collector of Elvis memorabilia.

He’s got tons of his albums - which he has on CD, tape and vinyl - as well as framed posters, old bills advertising Elvis shows, baseball-style cards with his image that came out decades ago, and lots of his movies.

But if you would have asked Rasor two years ago about Elvis, he would barely have known who you were talking about.

That all changed when he happened to hear his first Elvis song while riding in his grandpa’s truck. Rasor had bought a CD with a bunch of general top-hit tracks on it, and the last song on the album was Elvis singing “Suspicious Minds.”

Rasor was hooked from the first moment.

The same day, he looked up YouTube videos of Elvis singing the song, which led to other clips of other songs. Pretty soon he was buying his albums, which led to even more of his music.

Rasor said he liked about all of it, and couldn’t stop listening.

“His music doesn’t get old. You can keep listening to it without getting annoyed,” he said. “After 20 hours, maybe it might get old, but that’s about it.”

His obsession with Elvis quickly spread. Soon after that, he ordered an Elvis costume online and started practicing the moves he saw The King perform in his shows and movies.

His grandpa said at first, he was pretty taken aback by his grandson’s Elvis fixation. After all, the elder Rasor never listened to him much.

“I still don’t know where it all came from,” he said. “We grew up with Elvis, but we weren’t really fans . But it’s whatever he wants to do. We back him. If he wants to do this, that’s fine with me.”

But the elder Rasor more than supports his grandson’s hobby. Last year, he took him on a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, to visit Graceland and stay at the Heartbreak Hotel. Then they drove down to Tupelo, Mississippi, to see Elvis’ birthplace. After that, they drove to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to an Elvis museum.

On the trip, Rasor picked up a few accessories for his costume, including a ring, sunglasses and cape similar to the ones Elvis wore.

Rasor said he knows he’s bucking the mainstream with his passion for Elvis. He said his friends don’t really get it, but that doesn’t matter to him.

“They think (Elvis) is old and they like all the new popular jocks,” he said. “My friends are like, ‘Oh, old music sucks.’ But I’m like, ‘You haven’t listened to it. Listen to it first.’”

Rasor said he’s not sure how many more shows he’s going to put on as Elvis. The last time he performed was in 2014 at the nursing home where his great grandmother is living. As chance would have it, that show was on Aug. 16 - the day Elvis died in 1977.

Even though he doesn’t know when he’ll perform next, one thing’s for sure: He needs a new costume. Rasor said his is starting to get too tight.

“It’s starting to get a little small,” he said. “I’ve already had it for two years. I probably need to get a new one.”

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, [email protected] or on Twitter @carsongerber1.


Source: Kokomo Tribune, https://bit.ly/1N3uhCW


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

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