Cab Elvis is back! After living in Hawaii for the last seven years, Rev. David Vernon Groh, the local cabbie/Elvis impersonator who made a name for himself back in '03 by challenging the taxi driver dress code and forcing a City Council vote to allow drivers to wear costumes, has returned to our streets-- and has added "Car-aoke" to his riding experience.
The first time ever I witnessed karaoke in a bar was my cousin Oniol delivering a knock-out performance of "Blue Suede Shoes" at my 21st birthday party. I will never forget how spot on his voice and moves were and realized at that moment the precision required to really pull off The King. Since then I have steered clear from singing any Elvis--until last Tuesday.
I called Rev. Groh earlier in the night to see about his availability. He said he was down in Woodinville but to call him whenever I was ready and he would head over from wherever he was. It was good to know he covered that much ground, as I often find myself drunk on the eastside. After four Rainiers at Tim's Tavern, I was ready.
A bright yellow hatchback rolled up 15 minutes after I called. When I hopped in, there he was with slicked back hair, sideburns and gold sunglasses dressed in a black Tommy Bahama style shirt with a collage of Elvis images printed on the front. My plan was to have him take me around to different karaoke spots throughout the night and the first stop was the Dubliner in Fremont.
During that trip we talked a lot about Elvis and karaoke and sang a duet of "A Little Less Conversation." He has a stellar sound system but no microphone. In that intimate a space, it's not needed. The lyrics screen is an iPad he has mounted to the dashboard, and there are around 50 songs to choose from.
The first time Rev. Groh ever dawned an Elvis outfit was Halloween of 1999, and a couple years later he started dressing in capes and jumpsuits full time after 9-11 to help cheer people up. He is a big fan of KJ Auri Moore's Sunday night Ohana show, and has been a follower of hers since 1992, back when she hosted downtown at Gibson's (R.I.P.). Rev. Groh himself will be hosting Elvis Extravaganza karaoke at Bumbershoot Labor Day weekend.
Rev. Groh dropped us off at the Dubliner in Fremont. Karaoke aside, I've been waiting for one more good reason to take a taxi over driving, and I've finally found it. At the Dubliner, I ended up delivering an awesome rendition of "Treat Me Nice" that would have made my cousin proud. Having conquered my fears, I was happy to call it a night and dial up Cab Elvis to get me back home.
Cab Elvis, Rev. David Vernon Groh, cell: 307-7897, dispatch: 242-8800.