Dave Pyle isn’t the average Elvis impersonator–even if he wears a white jumpsuit. His hour-long show combines witty lyrics with karate kicks and stage banter about blue-bag recycling, vegetarianism, and environmental racism.
“I’m just tryin’ to save the planet one song at a time,” says Pyle, whose stage persona is Green E., the “environmental Elvis.” His shtick consists of spin-off songs with titles like “Don’t Waste Fuel” (“Don’t Be Cruel”), “Viva Felafel” (“Viva Las Vegas”), “Burning Sludge” (“Burning Love”), and “In the Landfill” (“In the Ghetto”). His voice may sound more like Roy Orbison than Elvis, but, he says, “I’m working on that.”
For $1 Green E. will autograph his photo; he passes the money on to Citizens for a Better Environment. “If I do my show for two people 4.5 million times, I will have reached everyone in Chicago,” he says. “And if someone gets an eight-by-ten of me and sticks it above their recycling bin, I’m the happiest camper in the world.”
Pyle invented Green E. a year ago as a character for his stand-up routine, but it soon turned into a one-man show. Last summer he moved to Chicago from Athens, Georgia, wanting to present Green E. to a larger audience. Appropriately, Pyle lives with the lead singer of Jerry’s Kids, a Grateful Dead cover band. “We’re looking for someone who looks like Jim Morrison to move in,” he laughs.
Green E. performs at Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, Saturdays and Sundays in October at 7 and Mondays in November at 7:30. Admission is $6. For more information call 666-2426.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Cynthia Howe.