Elvis Costello will probably always be the second-most famous “Elvis” in the world. That said, Costello maintains that no one calls “Elvis” anymore. While promoting his newly-released album, The Boy Named If, Rolling Stone asked about the lyric in the album’s single “Farewell, OK,” that mentions “Elvis in the velvet hereafter.” Costello was asked what his relationship to his stage name is these days.
Costello, who was born Declan Patrick McManus, explained, “I never really hear it because my family don’t call me that; most people call me by my initials, which my dad began. He called me ‘D.P.’, so that’s an Irish convention, I guess, that he picked up. And I don’t really hear many people call me by that name, so I just don’t hear it anymore. It’s like a secret identity, or something; it’s like being called Clark Kent. It’s just a name. It’s just a brand.”
When pressed about what attracts him to still write rock music, Costello admitted: “I don’t like much rock music. I like rock n’ roll. I think if you lose the roll part, a lot of the fun goes out of it. And when people ask me, ‘What’s your favorite record?’ I usually don’t name any electric-guitar records made in the last 30 years because the beat is so square. I like things that float a bit or swing a bit, whether it’s rock n’ roll or actual jazz that swings, or even the way Hank Williams records lope.”
He went on to say, “You listen to these records out of Nashville, they couldn’t float if you filled them full of water. They just don’t; they’re square and they sound like bad rock records from the ’90s. To my ear, they just do. But somebody likes them. My grandfather — he was a trumpet player — never used to criticize other musicians. I’m trying to live by his example a little better these times and not be so critical of everybody else. But you can’t like everything.”
CHECK IT OUT: Elvis Costello & The Imposters’ 2022 lyric video for “Farewell, OK”: