Want to know a secret? Elvis is alive and living in the foothills of Provo.
It's true! And anyone who thinks the king of rock 'n' roll is dead hasn't met Dr. Robert "Von" Moody, a Provo physician. Even some of his patients have noticed the similarities between the two.Moody, who calls himself an Elvis re-creator - not an impersonator because that's too impersonal - gives crowds a chance to thrill again to "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog" or "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
On stage, Moody sounds, looks and acts like Elvis - so much that people get wrapped up in the image and react just as Elvis fans did years ago.
After one concert, Moody said he walked into the audience but had to jump on stage and run out the back to keep from having his clothes and jewelry ripped away.
"It is really a fun fantasy for the audience to imagine Elvis is alive," he said. "It is fun to project myself as Elvis. I know when the audience is screaming that it is not for me, it's for Elvis."
Only in the past eight years has Moody begun to play Elvis. When he was in medical school he sang at a night club to earn some extra money, but he sang mostly folk songs.
His first Elvis performance was at a Christmas party with friends. Since then, the re-creation of Elvis has snowballed.
Moody is 10 years younger than Elvis, but their physical qualities are identical in many ways. They have similar builds, are the same height and have the same eye and hair color. Moody dyes his hair black for performances, just like Elvis did.
Even Moody's house is similar to Graceland, the famous Presley estate. Moody's house is Greek revival style complete with two lion statues.
"When I bought it I didn't know what Elvis' house looked like. I was surprised to find they looked alike."
In reading about Elvis, Moody has also found that they played similar guitars. "I had my guitar 15 years ago. As I studied his life, I felt more and more like him."
Moody said he has been accused of lip syncing the King's songs, but says that is the greatest compliment he could ever receive.
"I liked a lot of his songs when I was growing up," he said. "I used to think how neat it would be to sing to a large audience like Elvis did."
Now he does just that, and says he can because "it's not me, it's Elvis."
Performing as Elvis has also given him some insight into the famous singer's life and how he must have felt singing to screaming fans.
"It's a real revelation to me to feel the energy coming from the crowd and the music," Moody said. "The energy takes me above my own natural ability to perform."
Most of Moody's performances come as benefit concerts. His next concert, sponsored by the Federation for Drug-Free Youth, will be at 7:30 p.m. April 27 at Symphony Hall. Tickets are available to the public and all proceeds will go to the federation.
If the real Elvis were alive today, he would do such a concert, Moody said. "It was certainly within his style to do things for charity."