It’s been ten years since Dunn made that life-changing decision and he hasn’t looked back. His sideburns, hair and love for everything Elvis are 100 per cent authentic.
“Elvis Presley was the greatest entertainer of our time,” says Dunn.
“If I can give the audience even just three seconds of them picturing they’re watching Elvis, then I’ve done my job,” he says.
Dunn will perform at the Digby Arena on Saturday, June 10 and is excited for Digby to “feel like they’re experiencing the real thing.”
40 years of Elvis
2017 marks 40 years since Presley’s death, but Dunn says Presley’s popularity isn’t going anywhere, even venturing to guess it could be better than ever.
“We’ve got the younger generation coming out to our shows now, which is a really cool thing,” he says.
“Quality lasts, know what I mean? And these kids along with older people know it.”
The act is officially called Thane Dunn and the Cadillac Kings and Dunn says he couldn’t be happier with the guys he plays with.
“One of the things I love about them is that I can stop a song midway and just mess around with it and have them pick it up right away, and they’re right there with me,” he says.
“Elvis was the orchestra leader, and we’ve got that going for us.”
His show features a whole variety of material Elvis covered during his career, including favourites such as Heartbreak Hotel and My Way.
Striking the right chord
Dunn says his show really took off once Bill Baize, a former member of Elvis’ backing vocal quartet The Stamps, came on board.
“This group was hired by Elvis in 1971 to tour with him, and Elvis loved Bill’s voice so much that he featured him sometimes during sets, and he even sang at Elvis’ funeral,” says Dunn.
Baize began working with Baize in January 2017, which was a surprise according to Dunn, who says he had to be vouched for before Baize would consider joining.
“Baize doesn’t normally work with people that do what I do, but he’s chosen to work with us,” he says.
Dunn also works with a photographer who was with Elvis in the 1970’s and even owns a jumpsuit with a metal stud that fell from Elvis during a performance.
He’s watched over 10,000 video clips of Presley and says living up to the legend can be hard.
“I try to be a perfectionist, and it’s hard when it comes to Elvis,” he says.
His efforts have certainly been noticed. After only two years of performing professionally as a tribute artist, Dunn won the world’s largest Elvis tribute artist contest in 2009, followed by a first place finish at the world’s largest Elvis gospel competition in 2012.
Before his success, Dunn worried his family – and his father especially – might not support his drastic career change. He was astounded when his father supported him and said, “I hae nothing but faith in you.”
His father has since passed, but Dunn still holds these words dear to his heart.
“That man was my best friend, and his support still means the world to me,” he says.
The Digby show will mark Dunn’s son Charlie’s first ever show. He says he’s excited, to say the least, to see his son’s reaction.
“My son thinks he’s seeing Dad when he sees Elvis,” says Dunn.
“It’s so normal to him.”
The world of Elvis Presley is normal to Dunn as well, who says he’ll never get enough of listening to and performing his music.
When he performs, Dunn often appears backstage in what he calls the ‘day-to-day’ Presley look.
“Elvis used to wear some freaky clothes even when he was off the stage, and I’ve got plenty of those as well,” says Dunn.
He will be doing just that before his show in Digby, where he will hold a VIP ticket meet and greet.
VIP ticket packages are available exclusively at his website www.thanedunn.ca. Regular admission tickets are currently being sold at the Digby Arena.