Over time I have met many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that have left a lasting impression on me. Each have something unique about them that make them stand out in my mind. But I have to say that Chad Gibson is one that I will never forget.
I met Major Chad Gibson, Chief of Public Affairs, with the USAFR when I did the Hurricane Hunters Blogger Flight back in May. At that time he mentioned that he had an alter ego….ELVIS! I have to say that I was intrigued by this and made my mind up that I had to see his show at the Hard Rock in June.
I invited an ole high school classmate and his wife to join me and they were as excited as I was. We met and drove to the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, MS on June 14th with great anticipation. I have been to Vegas and seen a few Elvis impersonators, some were OK and some were not. So I was very surprised when Chad, aka Elvis, opened his mouth and really sounded like Elvis! (watch a video from that night here)
Chad started singing when he was 3 and impersonating Elvis at about the same time. He told me, “I wanted to imitate that sound that I had records of. Mom let me play only so many records, many being Elvis. When he died (I was 5) I ran into a closet and cried — I truly thought there was no more music for me to sing with. Mom let me listen to all of her records after that and I never quit singing. Mostly in churches and Southern Gospel quartets, the same way Elvis started.”
As my friends and I sat in the back of the Hard Rock Café we all noticed that Chad really had the “Elvis” moves and sound down to a T. “I watched many of his concerts and movies, repeating particular moves, accents and mannerisms. YouTube is great for unreleased shows. My Favorite is the 1972 Aloha from Hawaii concert – his voice was spot on for that one. I have been doing this for much of my life, this was a life-long endeavor (music, in general), and for whatever reason, Elvis’ voice came naturally to me and emulating it did not take long.” Chad told me in an email. He says he has several favorite Elvis songs, “How Great Thou Art”, “Way Down”, Suspicious Minds”, and “Love Me Tender” to name a few. But his favorite to sing is “American Trilogy”.
Chad had great support from his Military family in the audience that night. “The Air Force Reserve is a huge family and whether it is a deployment, hurricane or concert, the Citizen Airmen family is there to help and support.” In the audience cheering him on were Brig. Gen. James Muscatell, 403rd Wing Commander and wife Nancy, Brig. Gen. Rich Moss, Retired, former 403rd Wing Commander and his wife Suzy and many, fliers from the 815th Flying Jennies and 53rd Hurricane Hunters (Lt Col Roy Deatherage, Capt Darren Ray, Lt Col Doug Fairtrace to name a few).
And never to forget his fellow troops over seas, he helped collect over $1100 for phone cards to be sent to troops deployed around the world.
“Elvis” back up singers are also members of the Air Force Reserve, Christi Vallo, Dhiana McKaig with Michael Duhe on guitar. Chad has been performing at the Hard Rock in Biloxi for about a year now and already has 2 more shows scheduled with the next to be October 8th. I encourage any one in the area who can, to attend this show. You will be amazed! I know my friends and I had a blast and so did the folks sitting around us. As with a real Elvis concert, we sat in that back yelling and screaming with every hip movement and toss of an ascot.