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What do you think of the Memphis Mafia?

Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:50 pm

I used to think thy were ok, you know, Elvis' friends and all that.

However, now I think they're, for the most part, a bunch of old arseholes, out to get all they can for themselves.

Not real friends.

Thu Jun 12, 2003 4:48 pm

I agree that Billy Smith was/is not Elvis' real friend, he's his cousin.

I believe the only guys with any credibility in that group are Red West and Jerry Schilling (I know he's not generally referred to as a MMM).
I think Red West found his calling with acting. I mean he's no Robert Mitchum but he was pretty cool in the "Baa Baa Blacksheep" series and in "Roadhouse".
I met Joe Esposito 2 summers ago in Collingwood. He seems like a nice enough guy.
To a certain extent, although he uses his relationship he had with Elvis as his source of income, he always seems to do what he can to protect Elvis' legacy.
I don't know much about Lamar and Marty or Sonny for that matter.

When you get past all the crap they talk about in their video series "All The King's Men" at some point in time, I believe they all cared for and loved Elvis.
I imagine that lifestyle, at least back in the early 60's, would have been pretty exciting for all of them.
It's hard to say if they still feel the same way about him today.

can open, worms everywhere!

Thu Jun 12, 2003 4:56 pm

Where to start! My opinion for what its worth is that the MM on the whole were really bad for ELvis, but that was partly his own doing, as he kept them around. Examples?
George Klein tried to get Elvis not to record "In The Ghetto" as he didn't think Elvis should take risks" If more of his "friends" ecouraged him to take risks, he might still be with us.
Secondly, Elvis always seemed to enjoy meeting new people, but the MM tried their best to shield him, I think for selfish reasons, from the outside world, and you often hear stories of people who cared for Elvis not being able to get to him.
That said, there were some good people around Elvis, like Jerry Schilling, and while Larry Geller was a bit strange, at least he didn't mock Elvis and supported him in his quest for answers.
In short, one of the tradgedies is that Elvis didn't get access to the outside world, but as I said, that is no-ones fault more than Elvis.

Thu Jun 12, 2003 5:08 pm

Jerry Schilling is one of the few who seems a truely genuine guy.

They didn't help him out enough in those last few years.

I think Fike once said "We were his reality."

Well, with reality like that - "Good show, you're looking good, boss" circa 1976 - who needs enemies?

Thu Jun 12, 2003 5:33 pm

I think that the lesson of the Memphis Mafia is not to have a boss who is your "best friend."

Thu Jun 12, 2003 5:36 pm

(Continued from the previous message):

That type of relationship doesn't work. To a degree, work and social/family life have to be separate. They all seemed to be buddies but many members of the MM seemed to get jealous if anyone else was in good with Elvis or if Elvis got too close to anyone outside the circle...not a healthy situation. That line between being Elvis' friend and being his employee seemed to get crossed a lot, from the interiews I heard and books that I read.