FAIRFIELD — In a dream, albeit a short one, Elvis Presley visited Igor Yusov and told him to play rock ‘n’ roll. When the king spoke, Yusov listened and gathered his Russian friends to play on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.
“I’m grateful to the King,” Yusov said. “It was good advice.”
Then the legal system stepped in. The city of Santa Monica took them to court and ordered them off the streets. So the band hit the road and stays there, usually eight months a year.
It’s anything but a normal life, Yusov said in a phone interview.
“It’s abnormal, but it’s a lot of fun,” said the German-born man who grew up in the former Soviet Union.
For the second time in less than a year, Igor and Red Elvises are stopping at The Rellik in Benicia for a crowd-participation show.
“It’s a fun show. A lot of drinking and dancing,” Yusov said. “It’s like a party in someone’s house, with a band coming and hanging out.”
The band will be in costume. They don’t leave home without them. Yusov said he has about 40 costumes and usually takes five or six with him on each road trip.
“It’s like (having) a work uniform,” he said.
Their sound is eclectic, based on surf tunes of the 1950s and 1960s with some Russian, rockabilly and classic rock thrown in the mix. Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Ventures and Dick Dale are among Yusov’s favorites.
Igor and Red Elvises began in 1995 and have recorded a dozen CDs. They are in the studio working on another at their own pace, Yusov said.
When the band isn’t touring or recording, members are often working on a television or film project.
Yusov is happy to be playing again at The Rellik.
“We liked it so much, we decided to come back,” he said. “It has a special flavor.”
For those who don’t make the gig, he has one sentiment: “If you don’t show up, you’ll regret it the rest of their life,” he said.
The band is easy to recognize on the road as they travel in a bus that resembles a huge billboard of Communist propaganda.
“Some people take it seriously,” Yusov said. “Communism and rock ‘n’ roll don’t usually go together.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.