Joseph A. Tunzi is an acknowledged author and
researcher of Elvis Presley music and life. A reputable authority in Elvis
recordings, his three sessionography books about Presley’s recording legacy,
Sessions I, II and III are among the most praised works among the singer’s
He is also author of many photo-book projects, as well DVDs like Hot
shot and Cool Clips, that includes rare footage.
In this follow up to his 2007 interview for Elvis Collectors Brasil,
Tunzi talks about his upcoming projects and give us some updates about some
interesting Elvis stuff.
ECB: Your newest project is
Elvis Presley And Nancy Sinatra On The Speedway. What will the fans encounter in
the book and how was the research process?
book takes you through a journey from the beginning of shooting to the wrap
party. Some photo stills, candid’s, and rehearsal shots are included as well. It
contains a vast amount of great unpublished photos throughout. The research is
simply having the documents and photos and going from there. A vast amount came
from Director Norman Taurog.
ECB: What can the fans expect to see in the upcoming Elvis By Special
Request: 71 at 40´s?
JT: We never did a book on 1971. We captured every element in Elvis
Presley’s career but 1971. The November tour was eluding me until now, working
with Paul Lichter. I think you will be pleasantly surprised when it comes out in
Elvis By Special Request: 71 at 40´s can be ordered directly
from Jat Publishing. Click on the preview above to be redirected to the
ECB: Last time we interviewed you, which was about 4 years ago, you
mentioned a newly discovered home recording entitled Let Me Be The One. Your
information proved to be correct in 2009 when the record surfaced in the market
via a bootleg label. So, this begs the question: Did you uncovered any new
information since then, that gives us hope for a new song to surface in the next
two, three years?
JT: I believe in the next few years there will be at least one if not a few
songs that nobody has heard.
ECB: While we are at the subject, Let Me Be The One seems to be part of jam
session with the group Voice. Do you have information if the tape contains more
JT: The tape of “Let Me Be The One” was owned by Sherrill Nielsen. It
contains a version of “Spanish Eyes” which is also out there. He claimed it was
ECB: Let´s talk a bit about the rumor mill section from Sessions III. Last
time we talked about a home movie of Elvis and Tom Jones jamming together,
Stormy Monday Blues, Out Of Left Field and Will It Be Me. Any new information
regarding the existence of this material recently?
JT: Elvis and Tom Jones jamming together on film does exist. I believe, Tom
Jones mentions this in his book. “Stormy Monday Blues,” “Out of Left Field,”
“Dark As a Dungeon” and “It’ll Be Me” were what I now believe, songs that were
suggested and or were given consideration for Elvis to record in a cancelled
1974 studio session. More information will be in our Elvis Sessions IV
ECB: You mentioned back then that new evidences had give you hope in the
search for The Pied Pipper Of Cleveland footage. Any updates on this?
JT: None what so ever. I was optimistic at one point but pessimistic now.
This is one of those - let me get your attention - and then nothing. The last
news on the subject suggested it has nothing to do with Bill Randle and
Universal Pictures but actually may have more to do with the Alan Freed
estate whom for whatever reason acquired the film. The mystery continues!
ECB: The last volumes of Hot Shots and Cool clips series got some
criticizing for being too short and offer little new interesting material,
according to some. How do you respond to this criticism and will be more volumes
of the series?
JT: Volume 5 will be out with some new clips and old clips in perfect or
better quality than on our last volumes. We do not have the rights to use Elvis’
singing voice hence the music but the amount of footage on all 4 volumes is
staggering and with this new volume we have probably used almost every known
piece of professional footage shot other than, of course, his contractual
television appearances and motion picture films.
ECB: Is there more footage from Madison Square Garden available? If yes, do
you plan to release it in the near future?
JT: To my knowledge the professional footage taken by NBC is all there
ECB: On Hot Shots and Cool Clips Vol 2 there’s a wonderful piece of 8mm
footage of Elvis live in Chicago. The footage is very close. Is there more from
the same source?
JT: I wish there was but I seriously doubt it. This was basically shot by a
television crew for a story about Elvis appearing in Chicago for the first time.
The station had limited access.
ECB: What can we expect from Sessions IV, In terms of new
JT: Right now we are at 2000 pages with color and B/W photographs in a 12 x
12 book. This could change. There will be a good amount of new and revised
ECB: In your research for new material, did you came across any new
information regarding any of the long list of rumored songs done at SUN
JT: The one surprise and hold out may be a version of “Satisfied.” I am
hoping like everyone else that this may surface.
ECB: In your website there is some very interesting
projects. Would you care to talk about them and give more information?
JT: “Rock, Sex and Roll” is based on Elvis in 1956 when music and sexuality
changed forever. It will cover January to December with over 200 images many
“Atlanta in Black and White” should have been out a few years ago but keeps
getting bumped by special edition anniversary books. It is coming and of course
contains some fabulous shots.
ECB: Its seems that with new technology available,
which permits to restore and synchronize with better results, the 8mm footage is
again being attractive to collectors. Do you have any plans to compile a DVD of
8mm live footage?
JT: I may if the material is in particular Elvis in 1969 or 1970, but again
we cannot use Elvis singing voice. If its great footage we will use it. There
may be more of Chicago 1972 in Hot Shots 5.
ECB: You saw Elvis in concert a few times. Could you share some of your
memories of those times?
JT: I did see Elvis many times. I had the good fortune to meet Elvis in
Chicago on October 14, 1976. I shared those memories in “Elvis Encore
Performance IV” and in “Elvis Concerts.” Hearing his music and watching his
TV/video performances while great really can’t compare to the experience of
seeing him perform live. Some shows were better than others of course, but
that’s how it goes. The audio, visual and emotional experience, while close,
really can never been caught on film or video. Once you saw Elvis on stage -
that sight - that sound - that voice - they come close but never close enough if
you know what I mean. It was a thrill and a privilege.
ECB: In your researches, did you found any evidence of footage or even
audio for the press conference Elvis gave in 1968 for the comeback special and
the one in 1969 after his comeback?
JT: No footage but I now have a complete transcript of the “1968 Special”
press conference that will be included in “Sessions IV.” So a tape must exist or
it was erased. NBC did shoot some segments of the 1969 press conference. Maria
Columbus does have a incomplete tape of the press conference. She has about
5mins at the end when the press conference was over. Elvis can be heard asking
Maria for a pen thats about it. KVBC LAS VEGAS, an N.B.C. affiliated
covered Elvis Presley´s 69 press conference, but no film found as of yet. Also
the July 31st opening night, less then 45 seconds on stage plus celebrity
interviews approx. 10 mins. The August- September 1972 Las Vegas opening was
partially filmed, a few shows, about 16 mins with fan interviews amounting to
about half of the 16mins . Finally, the September 72 aloha press conference
which we all know and love"
ECB: In your book Elvis Presley As The One Called Charro, there’s
interesting information regarding Elvis performing for the cast and crew of the
film. Do You think there is any chance of these impromptu performances were
captured in pictures, film or even sound?
JT: It is highly unlikely that this was filmed. I do not believe
this is going to happen. The only thing I saw from “Charro” was a film outtake
of Elvis at the bar with one of the bar girls in this scene. She took her top
off and Elvis just burst out laughing. It will probably show up on a you tube
ECB: Do you have any knowledge of more visual material from Elvis last
vacation in Hawaii in 1977 being it pictures or even better, home movies, in the
possession of Elvis collectors?
I can’t answer this one. You may know more about this than me.
ECB would like to thank Mr. Tunzi for taking the time to
answer our questions. Mr. Tunzi Interviewed by Sergio Biston. March,