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Special thanks to Jacqueline Ulmo who helped in the questions and the translation into English. A big kiss sis.
Angel Presley - Question #1. Mr. DH, what’s your profession these days?
Dave Hebler - Since 1959, I have been a Martial Artist and self-defense instructor. I remain so to this day. For a fuller explanation please go to davehebler.com for more details. While you are there, check out my new book on self-defense for women (How to Survive Encounters of the Worst Kind). Over the years I have also had other “careers.” These careers would include:
• For 4 years I served in the US Air Force as a Senior Intelligence Operations Specialist.
• For 12 years I was a test engineer for various NASA companies. I spent 4 years test firing solid propellant rocket engines.
• For 4 years I was Elvis Presley’s personal bodyguard.
• For 15 years I was a dealer and pit boss in various casinos in Nevada.
Angel Presley - Question #2. How was it for you working for Elvis?
Dave Hebler - This is a huge question and difficult to answer simply. I usually answer this question (as I do most questions) with a little humor:
You might think that being Elvis Presley’s personal bodyguard was a pretty cool job. Many people think that, but it really was a horrible job. It was the worst job ever. Think about it, everywhere we went there were hundreds of love-starved women just doing their very best to jump on Elvis and it was my job to stop them from doing that. I often had to sacrifice my own body to save his! Pretty crummy job huh (that’s a joke in case someone might think that I’m being serious)? Actually, it was really a pretty great job during the good times and an awful job during the bad times. Sort of like your job maybe?
Angel Presley - Question #3. In 1976 (not 1977), you, Red and Sonny wrote the book “Elvis What Happened?” Why do you believe that some fans like the book and others can’t even hear about it even after reading it?
Dave Hebler - I believe that some fans liked the book because they appreciate why we did it and because we told the truth. I believed then and I believe now that it is far better to be slapped in the face with the truth than be kissed on the lips with a lie.
I believe that some fans hate the book because they didn’t want to hear anything negative about someone that they cared about and some of them still don’t want to hear the truth. I understand their feeling that way but they were not there and because they were not there, they cannot really know or even want to understand the truth about Elvis the person. They love Elvis the singer, Elvis the movie star and Elvis the performer. They don’t know, nor will they ever know Elvis the person. They would rather believe those who tell them sugar-coated excuses and outright lies to explain Elvis the person’s drug addictions than understand that Elvis the person had his good points and his bad points just like you and I. One of his bad points was that he was addicted to drugs. That doesn’t make him a bad person, it makes him a victim.
Understand that Elvis was a drug addict and being addicted to drugs is a nightmare of a life to live and pure agony for those friends and family who were trying to help him get off of the drugs that were killing him. I don’t know if you have ever had someone you cared for addicted to drugs (and I hope that you never do). But, if you do, you soon learn that you cannot save somebody from himself. No matter how much you care, if he refuses to help himself, no one can help him. Sadly, Elvis rejected all efforts of those trying to help and even refused to believe that he even had a problem in the first place.
Angel Presley - 4 - Currently you are releasing a DVD named "The Elvis Experience. Could you please tell us why did you decide to do it all over again after 37y of the already mentioned Book?"
Angel Presley - 5 - Is the DVD like a "documentary"w/never seen before footages? Any new stories? Or does it basically covers the same content of the book ? Would you mind to let the fans know a little bit more about the DVD vs the Book please?
Dave Hebler - Questions 4&5: I’ll answer these questions together.
1- I did not decide to “do it all over again.” The DVD has nothing to do with the book.
2- The DVD is almost entirely new stories never told before. The focus of the DVD is about various fun episodes with me and Elvis the person and some funny episodes having to do with the fans. Probably the best way for me to describe the DVD is to let you read some of the comments from some fans who have actually seen the DVD:
• Mr. Heber, I just received your DVD and just watched it….I loved it. Can you make another one, vol. 2 or 3? I enjoy when someone tells the truth and doesn’t sugar coat anything…you were honest.
• I received your DVD today. I have been an Elvis fan all of my life. The good times you talk about are clear to see and hear in your eyes and voice. As is the pain when you talk about the hard times you have when you see somebody you love going through pain that you have no way to ease. “How do you protect someone from himself?
• I watched it today Dave. I guess that it ran for maybe 75 minutes but it was way too short for me, but I loved it! I think that it’s important you speak Dave and I’ll be blunt, you’re in an unfair position of being quoted mostly about negative areas of Elvis’ life. I may have forgotten to say how much fun it was to watch just you talking about riding around town in the car with Elvis, you really almost put us fans in there with you. Thanks again and please do another book.
• The most honest documentary on Elvis that I have ever seen.
• Hello GM Dave. I received your DVD yesterday (thank you). I and my wife both watched it last night. We absolutely loved it! As you know, I have been close to Sonny, Marty, Lamar, etc. for over 20 years. I have heard their stories, but have never been moved as I was listening to you. First of all, the way it was filmed was like you were sitting on a couch, talking directly to me and looking me in the eyes. I love that. As a man and as a Grand Master, I obviously respect you. But you take it one step higher, you have dignity and character! As we were listening to you speak, my wife leaned over to me and said: I love this man! I really respect him. You have my promise that I will go to the top of the highest mountain and hold up your DVD because I think that everyone should see it to get a better understanding of who Elvis was! And I will do that. Thank you for making this DVD. To you it may just be you telling your stories, but to the people watching and listening, it is priceless.
Angel Presley - Question #6: What would you have to say about Elvis the human being, the generous man, the guy who helped so many people he didn’t even know….the humanitarian who supported so many charities… what would you say about him please?
Dave Hebler - As you might imagine, over the years I have received thousands of questions about Elvis. One of the most popular questions is “what was Elvis really like?”
Obviously this is a question that would require another book to explain fully. So I thought that since most people already know that Elvis was a very generous man, why not tell a few stories to illustrate Elvis’ generosity? More to the point, why not tell a few stories of what it was like to be on the receiving end of his generosity? So that’s what I did. In fact, the major theme of the stories in my DVD is about his generous nature. And when I do personal appearances, these stories are the most popular of my presentations.
When I do personal appearances, sometimes I do them alone and other times I do them in partnership with an Elvis tribute artist (ETA). In Europe I partner with a terrific ETA, Heiki Losoa. Basically he sings Elvis songs and I tell Elvis stories and answer questions from the audience. It is really a lot of fun both for me and for the audience.
In conclusion I would like to say thank you to you and your club for the opportunity to answer your questions. Good luck to you on your future plans and endeavors.
If you get a chance you might want to visit my website: davehebler.com.
You have my permission to publish this interview any way that you would like.
Best Regards and TCB,
Dave Hebler 3/2/2014