As Mojo Nixon once sang, we are all moving in perfect peace and harmony toward Elvisness.
But none of us are doing it quite like Matt Riggs. In 1997, he donned a green jumpsuit and took to the stage with a set of environmentally sensitive knockoffs like "Compost Hotel," "(Hunka Hunka) Burnin' Globe" and, of course, "Viva Las Vegans."
Although Riggs grew up listening to early Elvis, Eddie Cochran and Little Richard, the impulse to personally recycle the King didn't possess him until he hit upon the idea of an Eco Elvis.
"I don't really tap into the whole Elvis subculture that much," says Riggs. "I'm much more in the environmental field than I am in the Elvis field."
Riggs' day job, appropriately enough, is as outreach coordinator for the Mid-America Regional Council's Solid Waste Management District in Kansas City, Mo.
"Basically, I do recycling education for a living, so it's a close fit," he says. "And a lot of my presentations I do as Eco Elvis, just to up the ante a bit."
So how does Riggs — who's found his way onto CNN, the BBC and National Public Radio — manage to cope with the lure of prescription drug abuse, his field's most obvious occupational hazard?
"Well, my take on Elvis," he says, "is kind of that, you know, Elvis has seen the light. And he sees that part of sustainability is maintaining your own health. So he's dropped weight, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't do drugs. He lives a healthy lifestyle."
And while a number of Elvis impersonators and fans have claimed spiritual encounters with the King, Riggs says the closest he's come is listening to those old Sun Sessions recordings.
"His soulfulness is just so prominent that there are times when I feel like, man, I'm there in the room with him. But no, I've never really run into Elvis at a Burger King or anything."
So proud of you Catherine!!! I knew you could do it!!!
I read an early draft of Ghostland in 2014 that was written by Jon Orr…