Subject: Elvis Costello
Born Declan Patrick McManus in London in 1954; moved to Liverpool as a teenager. The son of a big-band singer, he began playing guitar and writing songs in high school. Started out performing in folk clubs; played in a country-rock pub band called Hip City; later moved on to pop and rock. Signed to adventurous Stiff Records in 1976; changed his name to Elvis Costello. Formed original backing group, the Attractions, in 1977 and released critically acclaimed debut album, My Aim Is True; one song from the album, "Watching the Detectives," made the U.K. Top 20 that year. With his frequently venomous, offbeat style and a carefully contrived look of purposeful nerdism, Costello became an overnight success in U.S. post-punk/new wave music circles in 1978. He has continued to attract attention through various stylistic changes, though his hefty reputation as one of rock`s more original artists generally has eclipsed his actual record sales.
Once worked as a computer operator. Was christened Elvis Costello by a former manager. Got punched out by singer Bonnie Bramlett in a bar in Columbus, Ohio, during 1979 tour after making insulting racist remarks about Ray Charles and James Brown; later claimed he was just trying to get Bramlett riled. Currently keeping steady company with Cait O'Riordan, the lone female member of U.K. punk-folk band the Pogues].
Taking the adventurous route, Costello has put together a six-city tour that will find him playing three-night engagements in small halls (including Chicago's Riviera Theater), with a different show scheduled for each night. Sunday at the Riviera, it's "Costello and the Confederates," featuring special guests and the musicians who played on his King of Pain album. Monday`s show is dubbed "The Spectacular Spinning Song Book"; audience members will spin a giant wheel to determine which of 40 possible songs Costello and the Attractions will play. Tuesday's set will consist of material from Costello and the Attractions' new album, Blood and Chocolate.