Rocky Barra

EIN thanks "Uncle Buck" for his assistance in facilitating this interview!

Rocky Barra, the man behind one of the Elvis world's most beloved and iconic magazines, Strictly Elvis, takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to EIN's Nigel Patterson about:

  • his famous magazine
  • meeting Elvis
  • attending nearly 70 Elvis concerts
  • comparisons between Strictly Elvis and Elvis Monthly
  • what he has been doing since ceasing publication of Strictly Elvis
  • and much more.

For newer fans, Strictly Elvis was the US equivalent of Britain's Elvis Monthly. Strictly Elvis was published between 1968 and 1975. Each edition featured an interesting mix of articles, news, reviews, photos and items for sale.

In addition, Rocky Barra, himself a musician, made a number of recordings and released the album, Good Rockin' Tonight featuring authentic sounds of 1950s rock and roll including Rip It Up; I Feel So Bad; I Forgot To Remember To Forget and The Great Pretender.

(Reader feedback follows Rocky's interview)

EIN: Rocky, thank you very much for taking time to talk with us today.

RB:  Totally my pleasure.  You’re doing a fantastic job keep the fans informed of what’s going on.  I’m very impressed with all that you are doing.    

EIN: Many fans have long wondered what happened to the mastermind behind the fondly remembered Strictly Elvis magazine.  Strictly Elvis and the name Rocky Barra were both very important names in the 1970s. What have you been doing since then?

RB:  For the last 20 years, I have been the pastor of a wonderful church in Canton, Michigan called “Connection Church.” 

My wife, Nancy, and I have been happily married for 36 years ---- and we have a son, Rocky II, who lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Franki.  Our daughter, Lindsay, lives close to us with her husband Matt, and the world’s most beautiful grandchild, Kendall.

She is expecting her second child in December.  Both of my kids are very musical, and we have done some things together over the years.  Our church may not “fit” some people’s perspective ---- We have great music (worship) and I believe I have the best staff in the world.  The church has grown from about 180 to 1600 inattendance over the past 20 years and it definitely keep me running.   

EIN: Why did you leave the Elvis World?

RB:  I really never did!  There have been very few days in my life that I don’t play some of Elvis’ music.  I get all the FTD releases, etc. and have some great long-time friends that keep me “up” on things.  It’s funny, because I’ve read some things over the years about myself that weren’t true ---- but, obviously, I’m not in the mainstream like I was when the monthly magazine was being published.  There were a couple of reasons why I stopped publishing the magazine, but it was totally a “Labor of love” for me.  I had some fantastic adventures and met some wonderful people in the process.  

EIN: How difficult was it leaving behind what must have been a very important part of your life?

RB:  Well, you’re certainly correct about that --- It was an incredibly important part of my life.  As a matter of fact, even today, when I run into people that I haven’t seen since high school (a long time ago) they always ask me, “Are you still into Elvis?”  It’s only in retrospect that I realized what an incredibly profound influence he had on me ----- Not just musically, but in every way!

What I “miss” more than anything is the “new” material coming out and, of course, seeing him in concert.  I don’t believe anyone has ever come close to have the combination of “raw” talent and ability that he possessed.  Someone fairly recently asked me to make a list of my “25 favorite Elvis songs.”  That was a “Mission Impossible,” to be sure ---- but when I made another similar list a year or so later, only about half the songs were on both lists.  He left us an incredible book of music.  The amazing thing is that in the 50s and 60s, artists recorded and released 3-4 albums a year!  Today, it’s one album every 3 or 4 years.  So I'm thankful Elvis was so prolific, and that he came along when he did.  His music doesn’t sound “dated,” even today!  He was truly “One of a kind!” 

EIN Note: Strictly Elvis became so popular it was even the subject of a clever and entertaining two issue satire: Sticky Elvis, published by "Rocky Barre" aka Jim Van Hollebeke - see image below

EIN: Rocky, religion has always been a very important part of your life…..…a parallel with Elvis.  Please tell us about its role in your life.

RB: I wasn’t a Christian when I started following Elvis --- I was just a kid.  At ten years old, the first records I ever purchased were “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Too Much.”  I started to attend an Assemblies of God church in my neighborhood about that time.

My parents didn’t attend, but they didn’t really encourage me or discourage me from attending.  Looking back, one of the main reasons I attended was to play Softball on the church softball team ----- but, even though my attendance became somewhat erratic, I never stopped attending and I never stopped hearing the message about Christ.  During my college years, I was singing and playing in night clubs, and doing quite well financially.  

But, inside, it seemed like the more I had, the emptier I became.  It’s “odd,” but I recently found out that, when he became a teenager, Elvis’ parents didn’t attend church with him --- he just went on his own.  That’s what I continued to do.  I wasn’t into heavy drugs or anything like that, but you can’t play in nightclubs night after night and not experience some of the darkness.  

In September of 1971, I committed my life to Christ.  I never planned, or really desired, to get involved in ministry ----- but that’s what happened, little by little.  I like to say that God “oozed” me into ministry.  But today, I can’t think of anything that I would rather be doing.  Our son is incredibly musical, and is a worship pastor in Orlando.

My college degrees were in education, and my passion has always been music.  The things that I’ve done in Christianity have utilized both of those aspects of my life.

EIN: Strictly Elvis was renowned for its well written, current and topical reviews and articles and the latest photographs.  What was the genesis for Strictly Elvis – how did it come about?

RB:  Thank you so much!  As I said, it was definitely a labor of love.  Hmmmm, how did it come about?  No one has ever asked me that before.  Like so many kids growing up in the 50s and 60s, Elvis’ music touched me profoundly.  It was always mainly his music – but I remember taking the “G.I.Blues” cover to the barbershop, and asking the barber to “Cut it like that!”  I begged my parents to buy me clothes that remotely looked like whatever Elvis wore in his last film, and like 10,00 other kids, all of my school photos show me attempting the “lip curl” – just not successfully ---- etc. etc.

I also had a band at a very early age.  I was the singer and, like thousands of other kids, did mostly Elvis songs.  I originally played the drums, but switched tothe guitar because it was so much easier to “front” (lead the band) with a guitar than it is from the drums.   I wasn’t involved in a lot of fan clubs.  At the time, and I hope your readers won’t misunderstand this, many of them were run by girls who just wanted to talk about how beautiful Elvis was --- and, for me, it was mainly about the music!  There was a time in 1967, not Elvis’ peak year, when someone asked me to write an article for one of the fan clubs ---- and I did.  I called it, “The Singer’s Singer.”  I received a lot of positive responses to the article, and several people wrote something like, “I wish you would start a magazine.”  In other words, there were some people who liked to hear about the music…..and not just “Elvis looked like such a doll in Spinout.” 

Nigel, understand that at that time, I was a full-time college student, and I was playing music full time, too.  I didn’t have a lot of discretional time ---- but I’ve always had a lot of energy, and was passionate about Elvis --- so I started looking into writing a monthly magazine.  It was crazy, but no one was doing it in America.  I guess I’ve always been kind of a risk-taker. 

The only photos that were available at that time were movie stills and a FEW candid photographs.  I started a search to try and find the best ones that I could come up with.  The first issue hand the photo of the “new” single on the cover, “U.S. Male.”  From a perspective of Elvis’ popularity, it wasn’t very strong when I started – so that wasn’t the derivation of it ----- It was……………….well, a labor of love!  I had 500 copies printed of the first issue ----- then I had to figure out how to let people know about it.

I took out a couple of small ads in magazines, and really counted on “word of mouth” to get things going.  I think initially, I only mailed out 200-225 of the first issue – so I “encouraged” people to let their friends know about it.  I decided that it would be a monthly publication.  We started with 40 pages per issue. 

Again, this was quite a bit before the 68 TV show, so Elvis’ management was very glad to “help” publicize what I called “Strictly Elvis,” because that’s exactly what it was ----- never a single word about anyone or anything else.  Tom Diskin, in particular, was very helpful.  They sent me a list of fan clubs, and I wrote them all telling them about the magazine.  It took 3-4 issues before I could tell if it would “go” or not ----- I can tell you that it was a “non-profit” organization.  In fact, I was using most of what I made singing trying to just make it through the next issue.  Slowly but surely the subscriptions began to increase.  To me, it was almost like a baby being born, and watching it begin to develop.    

EIN: How many issues of Strictly Elvis did you publish?

RB:  Seven full years --- 84 issues!  Plus, we did several other magazines with just photos.  I think the first “extra” I did was called “How Old Were You in 1956?”  Because there weren’t a lot of 50s photos available – and I wanted to share what I had with other people.  Elvis really “re-invented” himself three different times……….but when he first “hit” in the 50s, it was pure originality.  So many people have tried to “copy” that sound ---- but it can’t be done……….not without Elvis! 

Then, after he came back from the army, he “emerged” as the All-America clean-cut idol and increased his popularity base.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the 60s music, too!  But the Nashville Sound was so very different that those early days when “He didn’t sound like nobody!”

There was some fantastic music from the 70s, too!  But, by then, Elvis had become a “product.”  A very extraordinary one --- but it was incredible that, once again, he was just who he was (albeit a littler flashier) and it was just “Right for the times!”  In fact, he defined the “look” of the early 70s. I’m getting off track, but you can see that I’m still a huge fan! 

EIN: How strong was interest in the US in Strictly Elvis during the 1970s?

RB:  I always felt that the International fans were some of the most fervent, and knowledgeable fans!  Being a Monday morning quarterback (sorry – an American term for looking back on a sports game AFTER it’s finished) – But one can only wonder what might have happened if Elvis had toured Europe, Australia, Japan, etc.

Excuse my ADD – I’ll eventually get back to all the questions --- but obviously the “interest” for S.E. was strong in the US, particularly in the early 70s.  We started producing 500 copies a month (all of the subscriptions were in the US) – but by the time of the last issue, we were running 5-7,000 a month and sending them to 21 different countries.  There were some wonderful fans in Australia and New Zealand.  I was so fortunate to see Elvis perform so many times, and I truly felt bad that it was so difficult, expensive, and too far a distance for many of his international fans to get to America to see him.  

EIN: What do you remember most about your years publishing Strictly Elvis?

RB:  It was so neat to see the magazine grow from it’s baby stages to what it became.  I met some wonderful people – and had some of the craziest adventures that I’ll never forget!  When Elvis started touring again in 1970, we would DRIVE to the cities he would fly to.  Sometimes we would get there just a short time before the concert began.  We would pass out fliers telling about S.E., and that’s how it exploded.  We would give a “free” issue to people who sent in a subscription.  It was twelve 40-page magazines for $6.00 a year. 

EIN: How difficult was it to produce, market and distribute an Elvis magazine in the days “pre Internet”?

RB:  It was impossible!  I’m embarrassed*, seeing some of the high quality magazines that are being published today.  I had an IBM Selectric typewriter --- forget a computer – this wasn’t even an electric typewriter.  I would do all the typing myself, usually over several days ---- then line the photos up (camera ready) then, take the paste-up to the printer.  It took about 8 days to print them.

Then I would pick up the magazines, put them in envelopes, and LICK all the stamps myself.  This was before the “peel-off” stamps.  You talk about paper cuts . . . . .   Then I would lug the boxes filled with magazines to the post office.  It’s a miracle that my back is still functional.  But when every issue was mailed, I’d stop on the way home and get a taco to celebrate!  It was insane – but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  

I have remorse over two aspects of the magazine

  1)   It was so primitive.  I would have used a computer, but PCs didn’t come out for years

  2)  The other thing I feel sorry about is that I just “believed” whatever people told me.  There weren’t the “ways” that exist today to check things out.  For example, I interviewed the late Jerry Reed.  I asked him if Elvis had recorded “Tupelo Mississippi Flash” (a song on one of his albums).  He told me, “Absolutely!”  It never occurred to me that people were saying things that weren’t necessarily true!  So I put that in the magazine.   

(*EIN Comment: Rocky is being too harsh. For its time, Strictly Elvis was a very well designed magazine)

EIN: Did you realize at the time how important Strictly Elvis was to fans?

RB:  No, I really didn’t!  It was sure important to me.  Actually, around 1972-73, people would start giving me tickets to concerts if I would come to their city and sit by them.  Elvis saw us in the front row so many times on certain tours, he would nod at us when he came out.  People would start to call me up from other cities and ask if they could “stop by” to talk about Elvis.  So, I guess in retrospect it probably was important to a lot of fans.  

EIN: Did you ever envisage issues of Strictly Elvis would become highly sought after collector’s items and that it would become one of the Elvis world’s iconic publications?

RB:  No. 

EIN: After Strictly Elvis ended, you started publication of Strictly Elvis Generation.  Why the change?

RB:  Actually I didn’t really have anything to do with Strictly Elvis Generation.  I’ve never really been asked this before, so there were actually 3 reasons that I “stopped” publishing “Strictly Elvis.

1)  I kind of got scared.  As I mentioned, we were mailing out 5-7,000 copies of S.E. each month in by this time.  A large, well-known American publisher came to me and wanted to put the magazine out “professionally.”  They would “retain” me as some kind of executive editor, but I really wouldn’t be doing anything.  They were going to put out 125,000 copies a month…to start!  125,000! Whatever S.E. was, I had put my heart into it – and I was just “scared” of what its future would be.

It would be bigger…..more professional – but there would be all kinds of advertisements, etc,  I got cold feet! This was around 1973, and I always wondered if I had made the right decision.

2)  A couple came to me who were doing a fan newsletter called “The Elvis Generation.”  They wanted to see if we could “merge” the 2 publications.  I asked them about 200 questions --- and just GAVE them “Strictly Elvis.”  When I say GAVE them, that’s exactly what I did!  I didn’t receive any money at all, and just gave them the magazine, all the photos I had (which were considerable)………….EVERYTHING! I thought they would continue it,

and maybe even take it beyond what we had been able to do.  I had actually put so many hours into S.E. that it equated to YEARS.  I wondered if I had taken it as far as it could go --- and maybe some “fresh blood” would make it even better.  They only did a couple of issues, then I never heard from them again.  It’s strange, but I felt that maybe I had let the subscribers down by doing that --- although it certainly didn’t seem like that was going to be the case at the time.  This really bothered me.

3) Whereas Elvis’ management was so very supportive of me in the beginning, it became almost hostile or toxic for me after 7 years.  At the beginning, Colonel Parker’s office was so supportive --- always sending me into / photos / literally anything they could do to help.  During the last couple of years, it just seemed like the “fans” were a “hindrance.”  Tom Diskin sent me tickets for the taping of the TV special (I couldn’t go because I had college exams to take) they just couldn’t be any kinder to me.  He would write that Elvis always read the copy I sent him (that floated my boat) --- but then, around the time I ceased to publish the magazine, a lot of us in the Elvis World started receiving edicts of what we were NOT to do!  Some were threatening. It was a total change of receptivity. 

I guess I was starting to wonder if S.E. had “run its course.”  I’m not the least bit bitter about any of the above --- I just thought that it might have been that my “time” had passed.  If it seemed like I had “disappeared,” this was probably the reason why.  For the above 3 reasons, I stopped doing S.E. 

EIN: You also published a number of special edition booklets throughout the 1970s, eg Elvis on TV.  Please tell us about these.

RB:  I was getting more photos than I could use, even with 36-40 pages a month.  Pretty much all of the “special editions” were laden with photos: “Elvis On TV,” “Elvis Today,” etc.  I had a sense that if I had something “good,” I should share it. 

EIN: You also released a number of vinyl albums.  What is the story to these?

RB:  “Strictly Elvis” was never designed to be vocational for me.  I was a musician/singer and we did several recording projects.     I wrote several hundred songs (not all good) and actually had a little recording studio in my basement where we would record the rhythm tracks, then rent professional studio time to do the vocals, etc. 

EIN: Strictly Elvis was considered to be the American equivalent of Britain’s Elvis Monthly.  Is this a reasonable comment?

RB:  I think it’s a fair comparison.  Albert Hand was the editor of Elvis Monthly when I began.  As far as the “equivalent” --- I think Strictly Elvis was a little more music-oriented --- but that’s just my take on things.  They were able to use glossy paper, and had everything typeset, so E.M. had a more professional “look.”  I read everything that came out on Elvis – even things from countries where I couldn’t understand the language --- and I marvel at some of the incredible things that are coming out today!  I was in Memphis for “Elvis Week” this year and got together with my friend, Jean-marc from France.  He’s had his “Treat Me Nice” Club for………………………….a long, long time!  We spent a lot of time together in Vegas in 1969, and again in 1971.

Some of the “new” projects some people had in Memphis that are coming out are fantastic!  You would think after all these years that all the “good” photos have been seen and used – but that’s definitely not the case. 

EIN: Did you have much to do with Todd Slaughter (Elvis Monthly) at the time?

RB:  I would have loved to have had more contact with Todd.  I saw him briefly one year in Vegas – I would have loved to talk to him, but he had a large group with him and had to keep moving.  We were going to meet for breakfast, but it never happened.

EIN: Also a major part of the Elvis world in the 1970s was Rex Martin’s Worldwide Weekly News Service.  Did you have much to do with Rex?

RB:  Rex was a subscriber.  We actually started a “News Service” before anyone did --- but, not having the internet at the time, it wasn’t feasible to keep it going.  I did it to try and give the fans (subscribers) an “edge” in purchasing concert tickets – but, again, we had to send everything out by mail.  It was a lofty idea – just not functional. 

EIN: Being at the forefront of things Elvis in the US during the 1970s meant you were able to observe Elvis “live”. How many times did you see Elvis live in concert?

RB:  I saw Elvis live 68 times!  He was the most incredible performer of all time.  The first time I saw him was in August of 1969.  Of course, none of the fans knew about tipping to get a good seat --- so the first time I saw Elvis, I was in the back row of the showroom at the International.  That “first year” was the most exciting time of all.  Elvis had something to prove – and, boy, did he!  The shows were much longer, Elvis actually did a somersault during “Suspicious Minds,”  it was really something!  Vocally, I thought he was actually stronger in 1970, but everything considered, August of 1969 was very, very special! 

EIN: Concert wise, do you have a favorite or favorites and why?

RB:  I have a ton of favorites……but, from a personal perspective, my “favorite” was in 1971 at the Hilton.  From my SECOND night in 1969, I learned what it took to get a front row seat, so many of the rest of the shows I saw in Vegas, I was right up front.  At this particular show, Elvis did something he rarely did – he said, “OK, what do you wanna hear?”  I have always loved “Tryin’ To Get To You.”  He did it for the 68 special, but hadn’t done it since in concert.  As I yelled it out at the top of my lungs, Elvis looked right at me and said, “My daddy always loved that song.  Key of E, James.”   It was a great rendition and, after that night, Elvis began putting it on the set list.  Obviously, it became a staple the rest of his life.  But the reason this is my particular favorite is that after he closed with “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the curtain came down, all the lights went up, and the crowd started to leave.  As I was standing up, Elvis came out from UNDER the curtain, ran up and grabbed me and gave me a huge bear hug and yelled “Uggghhhhhh!” while he did it.  About half the showroom saw him, and started screaming as he slid right back under the curtain.  THAT was my favorite concert that I ever saw! 

So many great ones ---- One in St. Louis that was outstanding, one at Notre Dame………………so many!   I liked the “intimacy” of the Hilton (if  2,500 can be considered “intimate”) but I loved the energy and the “variety” of the tour venues.  Great shows in Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas ---

Shown above: Two of Rocky Barra's "special edition" publications, Elvis Now and Elvis Today. Others in the series were Elvis on TV and How Old Were You In 1956.

EIN: Did you ever meet Elvis and if yes, please tell us about it.

RB:  I met him ever so briefly in 1969.  Again, Tom Diskin was so kind  - and he set it up.  When Elvis walked up in black, chewin gum, he looked so uncanny and “bigger than life” that I couldn’t hardly speak!  I didn’t even get a photo ---- In fact, Tom (because of the magazine) gave me “special permission” to take some photos of the concert --- which wasn’t allowed in Vegas.  I knew nothing about photography and have about a dozen photos of an ant-sized Elvis in a dark room.  All I had was a tiny Kodak. 

It was arranged for my wife Nancy and I to go up to the suite to meet Elvis in 1974.  We were to go to a certain spot at the Hilton following the show, and Joe Esposito was to come and take us up to talk with Elvis.  THIS TIME, we were really “ready.”  Joe did come to meet us but said, “Elvis is too tired to meet with anyone tonight,” and just walked away.   

We attended so many concerts on the road where we sat in the front row that either Elvis recognized us (as he would “nod” and smile at us) or he just thought it was weird that this couple “appeared” everywhere he was singing. 

EIN: Elvis’ decline by the mid 1970s.  How noticeable was it?

RB:  Well, I didn’t want to admit it!  There were ALWAYS some great shows, even into 1977.  For whatever reason, Elvis seemed to get “up” when he would appear at college arenas that had football teams.  (This is my own theory --- but he did a really great show in Ann Arbor in 1977).  However, same tour ---- we were at a matinee show in Detroit that was the worst I had ever seen.  It was ………………………..well, it wasn’t Elvis.  I saw Dion, who was in town, coming out of the concert and I said, “Dion, how did you like the concert?”  He replied, “That’s not the Elvis I know --- he was “on” something.”  I didn’t believe it, or didn’t want to believe it!   

I can honestly say that I saw some great shows in every year.  The “decline” seemed to me to come as much from the lack of “freshness” (new songs) as anything else.  I should say that I never, personally, saw any “declining” shows through 1973.  In 74-75, most of them were still great!  It was just the last year and a half ----- 

EIN: You must have amassed a significant number of Elvis concert photos as a result.

RB:  I did!  I gave boxes and boxes of things away ---- Again, it was a “different world” --- but I found 109 copies of the 1957 Christmas LP (LOC 1035) WITH the original cellophane and stickers during the Christmas season of 1971.  I gave most of them away, and sold the rest of them for $35-40 dollars each.  I found where the 1956 Elvis bubble gum cards were being stored in a warehouse, and bought every last one of them!  I sold the entire sets for $35…… not much more than I paid for them.  It was never about making a profit – I just loved Elvis and wanted to “Share” him. 

EIN: Have you considered releasing your Elvis photo archives in book format?

RB:  No, but I have spoken with someone about doing a book together focused on Elvis’ music.  I would actually love to do that.

EIN: Are you active on any of the Elvis message boards?

RB:  No, but I always try to answer people when they email me.  

EIN: The Elvis world of 2008 is a very different place to what existed in the 1960s and 1970s.  What are the major changes you have noticed and have the changes been a good or bad thing?

RB:  First of all, it’s amazing to me that there IS an “Elvis World” over 30 years after his passing.  That’s just a testimony to his uniqueness and genius.  For example, I met a couple of guys in their 20s when I was in Memphis.  They knew all kinds of minute details about his records --- things that I didn’t know.  Collecting Elvis records has become an entity unto itself.  And how about all the thousands of “Imitators” all over the world.  Again, the majority of the people doing this weren’t even alive when Elvis was touring……but they all have an “interpretation” of him.  In fact, they obviously “study” him.  Another entity unto itself.  Then there are the “Photo people,” the musicologists, the people who really care about how the music was made – and where it came from!  I really believe, in some ways, some of the “fans” are more serious today, and certainly more focused. 

What I don’t care for are that some products, both concerts and the endless array of Elvis “stuff,” that is being released that shouldn’t be! 

But, for me, it’s not like when Elvis was making records and personal appearances.  I once drove from Detroit to Cleveland just to get a new “release” two days before it would come out here.  I’m certain that there was NEVER an Elvis movie that came out that I didn’t see the FIRST DAY it was released.  And the excitement of what’s he doing next?  How does this album compare with the last one?  What songs is he considering for the next project?  He’s going to WHAT city on tour?  --

For me, how can there be anything that could compare with that?  And the years between Kissin’ Cousins’ and the TV Special, when I would “defend” Elvis against my friends who were following The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, etc.  That only toughened me up!  In fact, it was in that climate that I launched the first issue of Strictly Elvis. 

EIN: Do you have any plans to re-enter the Elvis World in a major way?  (EIN knows many fans would welcome this!!)

RB:  Occasionally some fans from Europe or Malaysia or South Africa “find” me and write and ask, “Aren’t you…….” Or “Didn’t you used to be…………”  I’m always happy to talk or write to people about Elvis.  There’s no way to describe what a huge part of my life he was, not even with all the excellent and intelligent questions you’ve asked.  I’m always more than glad to respond.  I don’t know about “re-entering” the Elvis World.  I’d like to think I’ve got another book or series of reviews in me! 

EIN: Rocky, is there anything else you would like to say?

RB:  As huge as Elvis’ popularity was, I’ve always felt his talent greatly exceeded his popularity.  I still love to listen to “Love Me” in the dark, “I Got Lucky” or “Follow That Dream” when I’m down, “Don’t Be Cruel” when I want to hear total creativity beyond anything being attempted at the time, and about half the songs from the LP he recorded at Graceland that make me “hungry” for more Elvis.  It’s easy to be greedy for more --- but in retrospect, I’m so thankful for everything that Elvis has left us.

Nigel, thanks so much for a wonderful interview ---- and please keep up the good work! 

Comment on this interview

September 2008

Reader Feedback

Luuk: Great interview. I still have one of Rocky's LP's plus an A4 sized autographed photo.

Betty Smith: Your interview with Mr Barra brought back so many wonderful memories. Thank you so much!

Phil Gelormine, ELVIS WORLD, Bound Brook, NJ, USA: Simply Brilliant. Thank you for the effort. He was my inspiration. 

Ken Eammons: Tremendous interview.

Sadie W: I was a long time subscriber to Mr Barra's wonderful magazine. It is wonderful to hear he is still active. I wish him and his family all the best and thank him for all he has done for Elvis fans.

Brian Quinn: Great interview from one of the legends of the Elvis World. I used to subscribe to 'Strictly Elvis' which was a great magazine. I certainly hope that Rocky brings out a book about the Elvis Concerts he attended. That would be special.

John Taylor: Yet another fantastic interview from EIN. I have about 40 issues of Rocky's mag in my collection and I often revisit them. They were in a class by themselces in the 70s.

Sally K: Keep up the good work EIN. You are the only site to bring us the best variety of info on the King. Your blasts from the past are great.

Trigger: Rocky Barra and Stricytly Elvis brought back many memories for me. I subscribed to this wonderful magazine for 4 years. Thanks for the interview.

James Toulon: Being from Europe I did not get the Strictly Elvis mags when they came out. At a garage sale a few years back I stumbled across a biox of Elvis memorabilia. It included records, trinkets and 26 copies of Strictly Elvis. I wasn't aware of the mag but it looked good so I bought the collection. It is now one of all time Elvis mags.

Jenny Collings: I remember Rocky Barra so well from the 1970s. Thanks so much for a wonderful interview.

Patrick: Strictly Elvis was a great monthly magazine. I rate it up there with the best. Elvis Monthly was good for a few years but it grew tired and repetitive.

Trevor Jardine: Thanks for a fantastic interview! I can't wait for a book from Rocky. His collection must be a staggering one.















































































































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