Lee Elvis has been emulating Elvis Presley since he was 3 years old, many years before Presley died, rocking out to the music of The King and getting paid for it.
Elvis, who has lived in Marlboro for 16 years, said he began performing Presley's songs in hotels in New York when he was 11, making enough money to join the Musician's Union.
"I was one of the earliest Elvis Presley performers," Elvis said. "I picked up the guitar at 7-years-old."
And his passion has never died. In 1969, when he was 17, Elvis traveld to Las Vegas with his parents to see Presley open the International Hotel. After a week of hanging out at the hotel, meeting Presley's family and becoming close with the Presley family, Elvis found his way to Presley's dressing room.
It took a trip through the hotel kitchen and down a service elevator, but Elvis got a hand shake from The King.
"I told him he was my inspiration," he said. "It was a dream come true."
Presley took a liking to the young performer. He told Elvis that he could tell that the young boy continue his legend.
"He said, 'Keep doing what you're doing, keep my music alive.' I don't think I washed my hand for a week."
Elvis met Presley two more times in his life, and Presley remembered. Today, Elvis wears two pieces of jewelry that Presley personally gave him.
"I still have the pictures and the menu he signed," he said. "It's priceless."
And since Presley died in 1977, Elvis has become one of the most famous performers of his music. In 1987 he performed a sold out tour overseas.
"I had bigger advertising than Michael Jackson over there," he said. "I was mobbed with groupies, hundreds and hundreds of people."
But Elvis isn't an impersonator. He said that when he does perform, it is with a live 12-piece band, and he isn't lip-syncing.
He can't stand look-a-like contests where other Elvis performers who do them, and his goal is simply to keep Presley's image alive.
"All these Elvis impersonators are trying to hard to copy. They are carbon copies of each other," he said. "I am an emulation of Presley. When I do Elvis, it comes from inside. I try to do it out of love and devotion for Elvis."
And Elvis' devotion extends far beyond the stage. Elvis now owns King of Rock n' Roll Treats, a gourmet soft serve ice cream truck that began servicing the streets of Marlboro, and now graces festivals and fairs in the tri-state area.
And on the side of the truck is a picture of Elvis himself, decked out as the King of Rock and Roll.
"The glory of all this is the execution of the ice cream truck...the look on Presley's fans faces when they see it," Elvis said.
Elvis said he plays along with people when they ask him if he is really Presley.
"Wherever we go, people take pictures of the truck, and then they realize that Elvis is actually in the truck," he laughed. "[Presley] never really died, he is working on a soft-serve ice cream truck."
And he has worked diligently to make his ice-cream perfect, working tirelessly to find the taste of custard he knew from Coney Island when he was growing up. But the egg used to make custard is hard to sell these days, with the possible allergies of his customers.
"You get what you would get in an ice cream parlor from me," he said. "People swear it is custard, and it is the closest thing to the custard I remember."
Elvis works events and street fairs with his truck, and in Monmouth County he most recently worked at the and the Irish Festival at Monmouth Racetrack.
Today, Elvis' focus is his ice cream truck. Occasionally, he performs at corporate events when he is hired, but Elvis is passionate about his gourment ice cream sundaes.
"I've developed a hell of a following," he said.
To find out more about Elvis and to track his truck, visit his website at LeeElvis.com