Jim Anderson is not an Elvis Presley impersonator.
He doesn’t wear a jumpsuit or a black wig and you won’t see him sporting fake sideburns.
But on Friday when Anderson and his band “The Rebels” take the main stage at the San Joaquin County Asparagus Festival at 3:30 p.m., those in attendance will get to see him doing Elvis the way that he feels it should be done – focusing on the style and the music rather than the sideshow element that has overtaken the image.
“This last year has been pretty crazy for us,” Anderson said of his appearances with his band. “The crowds have been getting bigger and bigger and louder and louder and as performers we’re naturally having more fun.
“This show in Stockton is going to be rocking, and we’re just grateful for the opportunity to be there.”
The medically retired Sheriff’s Deputy, who made a run for a vacant school board seat last year, has always been a fan of the music of “The King” – regardless of the era.
And he literally puts everything that he has into the performances that he gives audiences.
Before having a knee replacement, Anderson would have to make sure that he had plenty of ice on hand so that immediately after concluding his set he could numb them – wincing in pain from hours and hours of gyrating and making the moves that made Elvis Aaron Presley a household name.
Even his persona – the way speaks and carries himself – is a throwback to the rockabilly days of yesteryear, and while there is no more Elvis to give his seal of approval of the show, Anderson says he got the next best thing.
“We did a show for Darlene Tompkins, who was Elvis’ co-star in Blue Hawaii, and she described my show as the most authentic tribute to the music of Elvis Presley to date,” he said. “Coming from her that was a big deal for us, and we want to carry that every time we step out on stage.”
Friday’s show, which will start at 3:30 p.m. at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds at the corner of Airport and Charter Way (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) and admission to the show is free with the purchase of admission to the three-day fair that celebrates Stockton’s agricultural bounty.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for teens, $6 for children from 5-12 and $7 for seniors (60 and older), college students and military personnel, all with identification.
It’s not the only big show that Jim Anderson and the Rebels will be playing this year.
In August the band will be playing multiple dates at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Reno for Hot August Nights – a venue that they’ve never performed at but are graciously looking forward to the challenge and the audience.
At the end of the day, Anderson said, it’s all about the audience.
“Getting up there and doing what you love to do is all about the people – it’s about taking them away from their lives for a brief minute,” he said. “You never know what kind of hardships somebody might be going through, but when you’re on and they’re having a great time, none of that matters in that moment.
“Happiness is the best part for me. That’s what I love to see.”