Shawn Klush, a native of Pittston, will be coming to HBO’s new hit series “Vinyl” as the King of Rock and Roll — well, at least depicting “the King.”
Klush, well known as the “World’s Greatest Elvis,” will be portraying Elvis Presley on the episode that will air on Sunday night at 9 p.m., with several repeat presentations.
In a phone interview, Klush said that in some ways the experience has been incredible.
“I’m just a Pittston boy,” he said of the awe he felt when he met Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, producers of the program.
In other ways, Klush seems to have prepared for this all his life.
In eighth grade, during a school play, he was asked to sing a song.
Klush said he chose “Memories” from the ‘68 Comeback Special, which seemed appropriate as the class moved on to high school.
“That’s when I began to realize the potential of all this,” he said during a previous interview.
Klush went on to become internationally recognized as an Elvis Tribute Artist and in 2007 was named “World’s Greatest Elvis” by BBC One in London, England. He was also named the first-ever “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist” by Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis, Tennessee, on the 30th anniversary of Presley’s death.
The episode in which Klush will appear is entitled “The King and I.” The series has been described by as a “very gritty, mature and realistic look at the diverse music scene of the 1970s, as told through the eyes of a New York record company executive.”
Klush remembers being called in to read for the part last August at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, New York.
After a second reading, he received a call from the studios saying, “you don’t have to come back for another audition.”
Klush said his heart dropped before he realized he didn’t have to read again because he had gotten the part.
Working in television, he said, was a wild ride.
“I was out on tour and I was trying to do both things at once,” he said. “I’d be coming back to Brooklyn from all over the country.”
Finally, he said, when his tour was over, he worked 12 hours a day for seven days to complete the project.
“And when I say 12 hours a day, I mean 12 hours,” he said.
Once on the set, though, he said he was very well taken care of.
“There was a limousine available to me, even at 3 in the morning,” he said. “HBO is a class act.”
He said those around him served as teachers, helping him acclimate himself to a new medium.
The show, he said, was very realistic.
“It was a show about rock and roll in 1973,” he said. “It was pretty edgy in those days. People took drugs and had a lot of sex, that’s the way it was.”
Now that he has a taste of television, Klush said he wants to do more.
“I’ll play any part,” he said.
And then laughing, “not any part.”
When asked what he found difficult about television, he said it was the lack of immediate response.
“There is no laugh track or music that lets you know that you did well,” he said. “That all has to come from inside you.”
Klush cautioned that some of the scenes may not be suitable for children.
“I had an amazing experience working with all the actors, especially Bobby Cannavale and Ray Romano. I was honored to be directed by Allen Coulter who also did Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Sex in the City and so much more,” he said in a Facebook post.
Klush and his team will be leaving on Monday for a 10-day tour of England, in which their Liverpool venue is already sold out.
For more information, access Klush’s website at www.shawnklush.com.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLGGibbons.