INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — At the Indiana Statehouse, Curtis Hill is all business, doing the work as the state's new Attorney General. He sounds every bit like the people's lawyer. But, when he is not working as Indiana's chief legal officer, Hill enjoys talking about one of his passions.
"Elvis is the quintessential American story," said Hill. "It's really a Hollywood-type story that's really about America. The fascination people had with Elvis is just interesting."
Hill grew up watching Elvis movies, listening to the songs and started mimicking the "King".
"I was toying around with it, I discovered I sounded sort of like Elvis," said Hill. "I recall being at a high school party that was kind of dull. One of my best friends said, let's go home, I've got this Elvis Presley record, let's go get that and bring it back. So, we went to his house and he brought back this Best of Elvis record album. I got a broom and a scarf and he played the record and I went around and pretended I was Elvis."
When Hill was only 15 and living in Elkhart, Elvis Presley played a concert at Notre Dame in South Bend. Hill could not drive because he assumed that he would see a future concert. It never happened. Elvis died in August of 1977. In college, Hill found more opportunities to impersonate Elvis.
"I had some opportunities at different venues, locations, parties, to grab a microphone and just break into an Elvis impersonation," said Hill. "In the early days, I did the young Elvis because I didn't have an outfit. I'd get some baggy pants and do 'That's Alright Mama', 'All Shook Up', 'Don't Be Cruel'. the young 50's things."
Hill said he won $50 at an Elvis look-a-like contest on the strength of his Elvis singing.
"I don't know if you've noticed but I don't look much like Elvis," said Hill.
Hill found a seamstress in Bloomington that created country western outfits. She measured Hill and designed a jumpsuit out of white gaberdine. He bought a belt and a wig.
"We had a show at Mother Bears in Bloomington. I was in law school at the time. That was the first time I did Elvis with the actual outfit and I was able to do some of the later songs," said Hill.
Hill did Elvis impersonations at his friends' weddings and birthday parties. During the National District Attorneys Association board meeting in Napa Valley California, Hill did an Elvis impersonation for former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Conner.
"I think she was very impressed. I took a picture. I'm on her lap. I've told people that just goes to show you that you don't have to have the A-star law paper in law school to end up on the seat of the Supreme Court," said Hill.
When he first ran for his first elected office, he was asked to do an Elvis impersonation at a benefit for a police officer who was diagnosed with cancer.
"Some of my campaign people said, you can't do that because people won't take you seriously. You're running for office. I said, what the heck, it's just for fun," said Hill.
Hill performed as Elvis for several hundred people and heard about his impersonation on the campaign trail.
"I'm walking in a parade and I'll hear someone shout out Elvis! People would shout Elvis! It actually had a very good impact," said Hill. "It's something that people remembered, but I think it's also something that demonstrated that all of this rough exterior about locking people up and holding people accountable, which I believe firmly in, is tempered with the ability to make light of and have fun doing some other types of things," said Hill. "It's not anything I ever did for money. It's always for something that is fun, if I had time."
Friends started giving him Elvis gifts like a pair of glasses with sideburns. He's got an ornament, an oven mitt and a heartbreak hotel toothbrush. He can keep time using this Elvis watch and has an Elvis bobblehead too. Hill's interest in Elvis has been part of his life for years.
"I used to tell folks that I was doing the Elvis thing, just in case I lost my license and I needed a new gig," said Hill. The attorney general said he still has the Elvis jumpsuit. He keeps a number of Elvis accessories in a bag that help him transform from politician to Presley.
In his family room at his Elkhart home, the attorney general performs many of Elvis' hit songs.
"I can't walk out because I love you too much baby," sang Hill while mugging for the camera in his Elvis suit.
"And now, the end is near. And so I face the final curtain. My friends, I say it clear, I state my case, of which I'm certain," sang Hill.
So, when he is not in the Attorney General's office there is a good chance Curtis Hill is channeling the "King".
"I think more people should get in touch with their inner-Elvis,' said Hill. "I'm not going to go out and make a living doing Elvis Presley impersonations, but in the sense of picking up a microphone and having some fun and singing like Elvis, if that brings a smile to a few faces, why not."