America knows his first name. England knows his last. A computer operator five short months ago, Elvis Costello has come out of nowhere to the forefront of the British New Wave.
Little of substance is known about Elvis. He is 22 and has written songs for eight years. He spent a year hustling demo tapes before England's Stiff label realized he was as good as he claimed. His songs include such titles as "Less Than Zero," "Welcome to the Working Week," and "Waiting for the End of the World," and are a definite reaction against the current state of music today and particularly the music business, which he bitterly hates.
Like the best of the punks, Elvis writes singles. The songs themselves are important; instrumental virtuosity, expensive equipment, exclusive tastes — none of this interests Elvis. "Music has to get to people," he says.
This is the kind of attitude that is making rock fresh and exciting again. While Elvis is perhaps the ultimate anti-rock star, his angry, frustrated and vengeful songs are the latest rage of England and address an audience rejuvenated by nothing less than a full-fledged rock 'n' roll revival. His band is composed of young musicians who want only to go out and play, and according to Melody Maker, they are "so damned hot they could reduce the Post Office Tower to a mass of molten metal in 60 seconds flat."
Elvis Costello has just released a new album on Columbia Records titled My Aim Is True, and will be coming to Madcity and Milwaukee soon. Bunky's, Madison's showcase club, has signed Elvis for two shows on Tuesday, Nov. 29. This will be followed by an appearance in Milwaukee's Uptown Theater on Thurs. Dec. 1.
He now has his own band, called The Mutations, and they appear on the newly imported single "Watching The Detectives," with a live "B" side. When Graham Parker and The Rumour passed through these parts they raved about Elvis Costello. With friends like them, and his producer Nick Lowe, you know he's got a rock 'n' roll heart. Remember Elvis is King.