El Vez in 2009
|Origin||Chula Vista, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Latin rock, rock and roll, punk rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards|
|Labels||Sympathy for the Record Industry|
|Associated acts||The Zeros, Catholic Discipline, Phranc|
Robert Lopez (born 1960), better known by his stage name El Vez, is a Mexican-American singer-songwriter and musician, who performs and records original material and covers classic rock songs. Mixing the styles of Elvis Presley and many other American rock artists with his own Latin-American heritage and music, he is known for expressing revolutionary views through the satire and humor in his songs.
Lopez got his start in music playing guitar for the punk band The Zeros. As El Vez, he is known for his high-production-value, frenetic stage show, which features two backup singers/dancers (the Elvettes), numerous on- and off-stage costume changes, and between-song monologues mixing humor and political activism.
Lopez's main persona and style is very similar to Elvis Presley, as his stage name suggests. However, he is not strictly an Elvis impersonator; on his recordings and in his live show, he covers many non-Mexican artists, such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, T. Rex, Queen and the Beatles. Also known as the "Thin Brown Duke", "The Chicano Elvis", or "The Mexican Elvis", he got his start in the Latino punk band The Zeros, and played in Catholic Discipline with the folk singer Phranc.
El Vez was once a contestant on the game show To Tell the Truth and starred in Wes Hurley's cult comedy musical Waxie Moon in Fallen Jewel. He was also a contestant on The Weakest Link during an episode featuring Elvis impersonators.
- 1994 - How Great Thou Art (the cover art is a play on Elvis Presley's How Great Thou Art album)
- 1994 - Fun in Español (the cover is a parody of Elvis Presley's Fun in Acapulco LP)
- 1994 - Graciasland (the cover art is a play on Paul Simon's Graceland)
- 1994 - Merry Mex-Mas
- 1995 - El Vez is Alive
- 1996 - Never Been to Spain (Until Now)
- 1996 - G.I. Ay! Ay! Blues (A play on Elvis's G.I. Blues)
- 1998 - A Lad from Spain? and Son of a Lad From Spain (the cover graphics play on David Bowie's Aladdin Sane)
- 2000 - Pure Aztec Gold
- 2000 - NoElVezSi
- 2001 - Boxing with God
- 2002 - Sno-Way José (the cover is a parody of Bing Crosby's Christmas album)
- 2013 - God Save The King (the cover is a parody of the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" single sleeve)
- Mi vida loca (1993)
- El Rey De Rock 'N' Roll (2000, documentary)
- Gospel Show in Madrid (2008, live concert)
- Several other appearances in documentaries
- 2 Hip 4 TV (NBC variety show)
Notes and references
- El Rey De Rock 'N' Roll, short film review on the site of the New York Times. Accessed online 31 October 2006
- "El Vez", St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, Thomson Gale 2005–2006. reproduced online at BookRags.com and accessed online 28 April 2007.
- El Vez Biography, Allmusic. Accessed online 28 April 2007.
- Michelle Habell-Pallan, "El Vez(The Time) is 'Taking Care of Business': The Inter/national Appeal of Chicano Popular Music", Cultural Studies, Volume 13, Issue 2, April 1999, p. 195–210. Abstract accessed online 28 April 2007.
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