Duke Bardwell

The following telephone interview was done with Duke Bardwell about a month after the first interveiw that aired on Elvis-express.com

Duke and Elvis weren’t the best of friends, to say the least. Bardwell replaced Emory Gordy but got off to a bad start in Vegas when a loud hum in his amplifier annoyed Elvis on Opening Night. Anxious to fit in, he thought that he had finally arrived when Elvis presented him with his own TCB pendant after the Memphis Show. But in fact, Elvis was not impressed with his playing. Also, their personalities didn’t seem to click. Throughout the year, Elvis had taken to picking on Duke, even onstage. Listen to the import record “Breathing out Fire” and hear Elvis introduce Duke Bardwell. “Play something Duke, just do the best you can”.

Eventually, Felton Jarvis erased all of the bass parts Bardwell recorded at the studio sessions, either at Elvis’s instigation or with his consent, replacing them with new recordings by Elvis’s proven old friends Mike Leech and Norbert Putnam. “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” would be Duke Bardwell’s only surviving master with Elvis, and then only because RCA rushed it out as a single before Felton could get to the overdubbing. “Elvis was good at that syncopated funky stuff”, Duke said later. However, he doesn’t think of his time with Elvis as a pleasant one. In fact, shortly after he left the TCB-Band in order to do studio work for others, he threw away his 14 k gold TCB-necklace.