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For Oslo's Elvis, it's good to be the King

It is less than an hour until showtime, and Jeff Bork's demeanor is changing into a famous face. The rings, sunglasses and hair go on. His lip begins to raise as he sings along with the opening band's set, but now in the voice of the King of Rock...

Jeff Bork sings as the crowd dances at the Southgate Lounge. (Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald)
Jeff Bork sings as the crowd dances at the Southgate Lounge. (Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald)

It is less than an hour until showtime, and Jeff Bork's demeanor is changing into a famous face.

The rings, sunglasses and hair go on. His lip begins to raise as he sings along with the opening band's set, but now in the voice of the King of Rock and Roll.

"I have to get into the part. I think of it as trying to channel Elvis and get his mannerisms," Bork said.

The dressing room routine helps him nail down the voice of Elvis Presley. The black jumpsuit with brass and rhinestone studs help him look the part.

Dramatic music blares from the speakers as a recorded voice announces that Elvis has arrived, and Bork takes to the stage.

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Not everyone has what it takes to be the King, but Bork, of Oslo, Minn., has a sideline job embodying Elvis Presley in performances around the region.

Bork is a partsman at Dahlstrom Motors by day, a musician by night and has been around music his entire life. His father was a professional musician, and his brother has a band , Wisegise. Bork's band, Full Tilt, and his brother's both cover classic rock like ZZ Top and AC/DC.

He fell into becoming Elvis after his band was asked to perform some Presley songs during a cancer fundraiser in 2012. Bork said that night all the band members were dressed as Elvis.

"It went over so well I decided to keep doing it."

He now travels all over the region, from Pembina, N.D., to Fargo, doing up to 10 shows a year.

"I do it for fun" Bork said.

Bork is always working on a more authentic Elvis impersonation and said his best resource is the Elvis movies.

"His old movies are great, and every time you hear him on the radio everybody sings along," he said. "My grandkids, 3, 7, have never experienced Elvis, but when they hear the songs they say, 'That's Papa.' "

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While his kids enjoy his Elvis work Bork admits that his wife probably gets tired of him practicing one song over and over to perfect a verse or chorus.

Bork starts thinking about the show a week in advance and goes through songs and setlists to make sure everything is right.

"It's fun to watch the crowd get along and sing," Bork said. "My brother is probably one of my biggest fans."

Bork says experience is fun from beginning to end.

"After the show I get everyone wanting pictures," he said. "They have to have their picture with Elvis."

Related Topics: OSLOGFH INSTAGRAM
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