Interview with Ernst Jorgensen by Hans Altbark (Sweden)
Ernst was interviewed recently by Swedish journalist Hans Altbark who offered this brief interview to us this week. Much is already known, however there are a couple of interesting bits of information. One is Ernst's estimate of the life-span of FTD and the amount of time [years] Ernst says he has worked on this book.
Ernst, first, about your own interest for Elvis. How did it start?
The first I heard of Elvis was through two girls in the family - they had Pat Boone, Tommy Steele and Elvis records, and by far I thought Elvis was the coolest.
But how is it possible for a guy from Denmark to get the chance to work with Elvis music?!
And now, how much time is it possible for you to work from home in Denmark?
I had a career in the danish record business and when BMG decided to open a danish office I was hired to run the company. I eventually told the top management that we handled the Presley catalog badly, and I was offered A chance to change that. By 1991 one I left the Danish company to work fulltime on Elvis. With modern technology and courier services, it was cheaper for everybody that I worked out of Denmark.
Many of us think that Elvis music-catalogue was neglected by his record company during many years.
Is that your opinion too?
I think RCA had got so used to having Elvis, that they had forgotten how great he was.
Tell us how you got started - with the box-sets, and the Follow That Dream Label.
The KIING OF ROCK 'N' ROLL box set was the one to start it all. RCA in N.Y. didn’t believe in the idea but the German management did, and we were given free hands to do what we thought was right. When the box set became a worldwide success (more than one million copies) it was natural to let Roger Semon and I continue and redo the entire catalog - that took us through the nineties basically.
By the end of the nineties the Elvis world was plaqued by hundreds of illegal records for collectors, and it was decided the best way to beat the problem was to make a collectors label ourselves.
Have you got 'the keys' to all the vaults in the states that keep the old Elvis tapes?
Well, not the keys, but I can access the tapes through our studio in New York
Your feelings when you discover something new?
It’s a total thrill, but these days, it doesn’t happen very often
Is there today really anything more to discover?
I still hope to find the session tapes that are missing from some of his movies and I certainly hope we can find more his Louisiana Hayride performances
On FTD you publish up to ten (and even more) CD's, books and vinyl every year. For how long can you continue? How's the interest? Increasing, or...? To many, it's hard to belive how you can continue to release new records 35 years after the singer's death.
I won’t go on forever, but we will run out of material before people lose interest - certainly another 3-5 years
I know that a lot of fans have opinions about the releases. Are the Elvis fans a tough group to please?
They should be tough - they spend a lot of money on Elvis items, and I’m grateful for their interest, as it makes it possible to finish the job I set out to do - to document in detail all of Elvis’ recorded works.
Now, please tell us about 'A Boy From Tupelo', a magnificent book.
Tell us about the work behind the book.
I spent 17 years putting the book tohether - it was important to me as these first 18 months of his career was the period that hadn’t been documented well enough.
To the final questions (which I personally get from time to time):
What made Elvis and Elvis music so special? Your own favourites please!
I have too many favourites.
I just think that he was the most talented singer that modern music has produced.
Interviews with Ernst Jorgensen
Interview with Ernst Jorgensen
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