Star of Torfaen's Elvis gritting YouTube hit says video success is 'incredible'
11:30am Thursday 31st January 2013 in Gwent news
HE’S had the nickname Elvis since he was 11 because of his black quiff, but now ‘bald as a badger’ Darren ‘Graceland’ Jones, 41, is a YouTube sensation.
Mr Jones, who is originally from Pontnewydd but now lives in Sebastopol, impersonates Elvis Presley as a hobby but is hoping to make it a full-time job.
And with more than 343,000 views on YouTube as the star of Torfaen council’s gritting video In the Depot, he may be on the road to doing just that.
The original King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll made In the Ghetto in 1969, but Darren ‘Graceland’ Jones and Torfaen council have given it a new lease of life in 2013.
Mr Jones’ current full-time day job is at Just Rollers in Cwmbran where he has worked for nearly six years.
He said: “It’s been absolutely incredible and non-stop. My phone keeps ringing and I had 10,000 e-mails in just 48 hours after the video was released.
“It was a little bit of fun and I thought it would just be seen by people in Torfaen, but what’s happened is mental.
It’s gone viral. It was a great way to get an important message across and people took notice.
“I loved Elvis from a young age and have had the nickname Elvis since I was 11 when I had a black quiff. I’m as bald as a badger now so the wig keeps me warm. I became a DJ and was known as DJ Elvis and it’s gone on from there.
“The last couple of years I’ve been doing a lot of charity gigs to get my name known, and I’m developing the act with my voice and costumes.”
Mr Jones has been married to Debbie, 45, for two years and the couple have been together for four years having met in Wetherspoon’s in Cwmbran.
He said: “Deb is very supportive and helps get the costumes ready before shows. I wouldn’t have got this far without her.”
Mr Jones admits he prefers the original hit and would rather keep In the Depot as a YouTube hit, but there is talk of it being released as a charity record.
Thousands see YouTube hit
THE In the Depot gritting video was shown in full during Torfaen’s full council meeting on Tuesday morning and received an enthusiastic round of applause.
Torfaen’s chief executive Alison Ward said: “Elvis-mania has swept the globe thanks to this video.”
Mayor Cllr Wayne Tomlinson thanked Mr Jones for making Torfaen council a global brand.
The video has now had more than 343,093 hits.