Rudi's Childhood!

Rudi Stumbecker (RUSTY) was born on October 16 , 1969 at 4:45am. He was born in the city of St. Michael (a small city with a population of 3.000 people), in the county of Lungau. Rudi was the first son of Berta Christine and Rudolf Stumbecker. Rudi comes from a large family which includes, 3 brothers and 1 sister. The 2nd born was Wolfgang 1970. Ulrike his only sister and 3rd oldest, was born in 1976. In 1978 the 4th child was born named Helmut. The youngest of the 5, Hansi, saw the light of the world in 1986. Rudi attended elementary school in the city of Tamsweg for 4 years. At the time Rudi´s birth his farther was a trained merchant. Later down the line his father´s occupation was a rural police officer. Rudi´s mother was an employee at a café/bakery. August 16, 1977 was an important turning point in Rudi´s life. Even though Rudi was only 8 years old, he decided on this day, the day Elvis (the King of Rock´n´Roll) died, he would never allow the music of Elvis Presley to die. Newspaper articles and reports were collected of Elvis Presley and stuck into a briefcase from this time on. At first Rudi was more fascinated with Elvis´s appearance then Elvis´s excellent voice. The black hair and sideburns always impressed him. Rudi´s mother supported his love of Elvis from the beginning. His mother gave him his first cassette collection of Elvis 2 months later on his birthday, which was, 100 Super Rocks! Rudi believes 100 Super Rocks is a collection of the best songs the King ever produced in the course of his life. Soon after he received the cassettes, Rudi felt he needed a guitar because Elvis without his guitar was unimaginable. Rudi´s wish came true on Christmas 1977, he received a guitar from his parents.

Rudi´s Life Decision!

In the beginning Rudi played Elvis music just for fun. He did not want to work yet because he felt he was still missing the musical knowledge needed to go professional (considering the fact he was only 8 years old). He was bound and determined to gain the musical knowledge needed, so in 1978 he began guitar lessons, his guitar teacher was Hans Neubacher. Music ran through Rudi´s veins, undoubtedly due to his father, who is a long standing member of the "Lungauer Liedertafel" male-voice choir. In 1981 the Stumbecker family moved to the city of St. Michael to their newly built house (25 Kilometers away from Tamsweg). Rudi attended music classes in junior high school in St. Michael from 1980 - 1984. Mr. Gottfried Tippler was the teacher who furthered Rudi´s musical education during this time period. During his school days Rudi played guitar during is free time (lunch) at school. He continuously made progress. In 1982 Rudi wore jewelry for the first time in public, because he was always fascinated by Elvis\'s jewelry. The first pieces of jewelry he wore was a chain, which his friend welded together for him (the chain was made from the chain normally used to fasten the drain stopper to the basin edge) and a silver ring. After attending the music courses in junior high, Rudi attended and graduated business school in Tamsweg. It normally takes 3 years to graduate but Rudi accomplished this in only 1 year. He was determined to graduate early because he wanted to get a job so he could earn money to buy anything that had to do with Elvis, such as, records, cassettes, videos, books, etc.

Rudi was never interested in studying in school; his goal and interest had always been to become a professional musician. From 1985-1988 he became a respectable waiter in the hotel Eggerwirt 
in St. Michael. During his occupation as a waiter he began giving short shows as an Elvis Impersonator at various celebrations. In 1988 he began working at the luxurious 5 star hotel, Zürserhof, at the Arlberg (a very famous ski resort) as the "chef de rang". The summer of 1988 he worked in the "Einkehr Munic", Germany and when summer was over he returned back to work at Zürserhof. Rudi did the mandatory 8 months service for the military from April until November 1990. Normally men must serve for the military when they are 18 years old, but due to the fact, Rudi had excellent jobs he was allowed to serve at 21 years old. After his 2 months basic training, he worked as a waiter in the main gathering hall of the high commanders for his remaining 6 months. The military camp is located in "Struckerkaserne" by Colonel Günther Janda, in Tamsweg.

The Beginning of Rudi´s Career was Very Tough!

When Rudi was in the military he often sang in discos, open bars and beer tents for his friends. His shows were only 15 or 20 minutes each and he always performed with different live bands (karaoke did not exist yet). Rudi waited with patience in the meantime to get the opportunity to present his musical knowledge to a larger audience. One day during the wheel marathon, which takes place annually in St. Michael, Rudi finally got his opportunity. He was asked to present his "Elvis Parodie" in a tent filled with 2000 people. Rudi performed without any hesitation. This was "Rudi´s day in the sun"! When he demonstrated his musical talent to the crowd, through his "Elvis Parodie" a man from St. Michael named Ludwig Zitz was amazed. Zitz was so impressed with this young musician he told his friend, Egon (a manager and studio owner from Tamsweg) that very same evening he had found a very wonderful and unusually talented young man: RUDI STUMBECKER. June 1, 1990 Rudi was signed to his 1st contract with Egon. After the contract was signed Rudi quit his profession as a "chef de rang" and worked as a professional musician from this day forth. Now all Rudi was missing was a pseudonym, a suitable outfit, a band and technology. Rudi came up with his stage name by the fact that RU stands for RUDI, ST stands for STUMBECKER, and Y because Elvis had the name RUSTY in the 1965 movie, Girl Happy. After Rusty had his new pseudonym; Rudi´s father put together a band from the Lungauer musicians. The band consisted of Ernst Galler on leadguitar, Johann Perner on the bass guitar, Herbert Trausnitz on the keyboard, Herbert Rabitsch on the drums and eight ladies and gentlemen of the "Lungauer song panel" who formed the choir. The songs were arranged by Horst Aigner, music professor and head of the music school in Lungau. At the end of 1990, Rudi Produced his first cassette, which was entitled " Rusty and Band live". Rusty dedicated his 1st cassette to his mother, just as Elvis did. The recordings were not professional yet, due to the lack of technology. This cassette was primarily produced so he would have a demo tape to demonstrate his musical talents in America. America was Rusty´s next great goal in life.

America, the Country of Unlimited Possibilities!

Rusty traveled to Los Angeles, California on December 4, 1990. He traveled to California primarily to improve his English. In order to improve his English, Rusty applied at the "Saddleback College South", a private language school and to the "Saddleback College South" he applied the UCI "Irvine College", an institute for song education. The education for both schools put together, took him 7 months. Rusty went to school Monday through Friday, twelve hours a day (8 Hours at the "Saddleback College South" and 4 hours at "Irvine College"). On the weekends Rusty earned money to finance his expensive private schools by babysitting, window cleaning, garage sales, and various other jobs. Rusty´s girlfriend, Ernestine also sent him money to help finance his studies on multiple occasions. So one can say, Ernestine was Rusty´s first sponsor. At the beginning of 1991 Rusty became acquainted with Kim Simpson. At that time, Kim Simpson worked as a Station Manager at "KTLM 99.5", in Los Angeles which mainly played oldies. Rusty gave Kim his demo tape. Kim told Rusty, "I love your voice, but you sing with an Oxford English accent. You need to sing in American slang. After you learn to sing in American slang, you can sing very similar to Elvis\'s voice!" Kim suggested to Rusty that he chooses 2 songs and practices hard at singing the songs in American slang. Kim introduced Rusty to his family, Bobby (dad), Carol (mom), Kima (sister) and little Jenny (niece) Simpson. From that time on Rusty and the Simpson's became very good friends. Now the Simpson's is Rusty´s 2nd family. Rusty lived with the Simpson\'s for 6 months in the city of Garden Grove (Orange County). After living with the Simpson\'s for 1 ½ months and intensive musical training, he finally chose his 2 songs, which were "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds". Kim sent the demo tape of the 2 songs to the biggest Elvis-Impersonators organization, which is in the city of Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs has an annual contest and gives the winner a big trophy and a flight for 2 to Memphis (where Elvis lived). In 1991 Rusty was the winner of this huge competition. Every year 2000-4000 Elvis Impersonators take place in the contest. Since Rusty sent in his demo tape he didn\'t have to compete against the people. He automatically was put in the top 400. He competed against 400 people. When the competition was down to the top 100, Rusty never could of imagined he would of made it that far. When they announced the top 10, they called the names of the people who won starting with 10th place and by the time they announced the 4th place winner Rusty was very nervous and sure he had not won. But all of a sudden on that day - MARCH 20 , 1991 - at 12.25am the winner was announced: "And the #1 for this year is Stumbecker Rudi, it\'s a funny name so I will spell it,

S T U M B E C K E R Rudi. Rusty was the first and only European Elvis Impersonator to win this competition in Palm Springs. At first the organizers couldn\'t believe Rusty wasn\'t an American. Rusty won a trophy and a trip for 2 to Memphis (Elvis\'s home). Shortly after Rusty won, him and Kim flew to Memphis Tennessee to visit Graceland (the main home of Elvis) and the grave of Elvis. After their trip to Memphis they returned back to Orange county (Los Angeles) and Rusty finished his language school and song education with excellent success. Rusty returned back to Austria in July, after the successful completion of his education. The experience and education gained in America could be utilized now. After his return home to Austria, he performed many concerts. His appearances still wasn\'t professional but the quality of his song presentation had become much better and changed drastically. Rusty sang Elvis's songs without accent and managed to pick up Elvis\'s southern slang as well. At this time Rusty was the warm-up program for "Saragossa Band", "Jazz Gitti", "Schürzenjäger" and many more. Another big milestone in Rusty´s career was his first CD production in 1992 entitled, "RUSTY - Separate Ways". The CD contained eleven titles from Elvis\'s last album "Moody Blue". Rusty dedicated the song "If You Love Me Let Me Know" to his beloved friend Kim Simpson, just as Elvis did. Rusty always has and will continue to perform for cancer patients which he also donates some of his profits to. Every year he performs 5-10 shows for cancer patients and donates all the money to cancer research.

Rusty on Tour

Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas 1994
Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas 1994

From 1992 - 1993 Rusty was on the "Separate Ways Tour" making appearances in Austria and abroad. Rusty had hired a new band of musicians since the old band consisted of amateur musicians. In order for Rusty to try to make a professional musical career he needed professional musicians. Rusty returned to America in the summer of 1993 and visited the "Union Plaza Hotel" in downtown Las Vegas. Rusty watched the impersonators practicing and wanted to sing one Elvis song with them, but the manager of the hotel (Mr.Walker) said, "that is out of the question". He would not allow Rusty to sing since he didn\'t have a green card. In America if you are not an American citizen, you need a green card to legally be allowed to work. The musicians had no problem with Rusty performing one song with them, so they allowed him to perform "Teddy Bear", which was already in their program. Half way through the song Mr. Walker interrupted the song and ordered the musicians to switch the tape off immediately. However, the musicians assured Mr. Walker that Rusty was singing live and there was not a tape running. Mr. Walker still didn\'t believe it was Rusty singing, because earlier he had a conversation with Rusty and he had a thick Austrian accent. When Rusty sang his voice was quite different, there was no sign of an Austrian accent. Rusty performed another excellent song and Mr. Walker was so impressed with Rusty´s presentation, that he immediately offered Rusty a year contract to impersonate Elvis at the "Union Plaza Hotel".Unfortunately, Rusty had to turn down his extremely generous offer because Rusty couldn\'t cancel his concerts, he already had booked in Austria and Germany. In addition to this generous offer, an opportunity arose for Rusty to appear on a television program. Rusty was invited by his friend Kim Simpson, who had switched from the radio station "KTLM 99.5" to the "Multi Vision Channel 3 (Orange County)", a private television show. The television program was a late night talk show. November 28th he had in Vienna for a popular television show "Nix is Fix", Channel ORF 1 (Küniglberg) which was hosted by Rainhard Fendrich a performances. Since 1991 Rusty has been a professional artist (entertainer). In 1994 Rusty signed his 1st monthly contract at the "Union Plaza Hotel" in downtown Las Vegas. Rusty performed at the "Union Plaza Hotel" from the beginning of April to the end of May. He performed concerts every day. Every appearance Rusty made lasted half an hour.At one of the appearances Rusty presented the songs in a manner that was nearly identical to Elvis. He performed so excellent that 2 passionate female fans tore the clothes right off of Rusty´s body. Unlike Elvis Presley who had always been protected by his bodyguards, Rusty had to escape this tricky situation all on his own. In the years 1994 and 1995 Rusty had very successful concerts. In 1995 Rusty produced his 3rd CD, "In Love with Rusty" which, American musicians recorded in the USA for Rusty to take back and sing the vocals in Europe. Although Rusty wasn\'t completely satisfied with the production of "In Love with Rusty", the CD never the less sold very well. In July of 1995 Rusty became acquainted with Alfons Schuhbeck at a concert in Waging at the lake. Alfons Schuhbeck is similar to Eckart Witzigmann and Wolfgang Puck because he is the most well-known star cook in Europe. Schuhbeck owns a exquisite restaurant in Munich, Germany; his restaurant is for movie stars and all other high society people. The 1st concert Schuhbeck booked was Rusty in 1995. The Concert sold out with 2000 people. Schuhbeck was so impressed with Rusty´s performance that he asked Rusty if he would perform numerous concerts for high society formal dinners in 1997. At these events Rusty gave a 40 minute Elvis show between the main dish and the dessert. The events were celebrations for the German Federal Chancellor (Mr. Kohl), Christmas Show for the German Soccer team (Bayern Munich) and birthday parties for television hosts such as, Harald Schmidt, Hans Meiser, Arabella Kiesbauer, and etc.

A Dream Come True

Rusty´s biggest honor occurred in 1996 when he was personally invited by "Elvis Enterprises" to Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee) for 2 weeks at the end of March. Rusty, manager Mr. Setznagel, and Christian Pfarrkirchner (a friend Rusty has been close to since 1992) flew to Memphis. During their stay in Memphis they had a private tour of Elvis Presley\'s Graceland. They also had access to the rooms in the upper floor which normal tourist may not see. The upper floor included Elvis\'s bedroom and the bathroom Elvis died in. In addition, Rusty received a special present and to be more precise, an original Elvis belt, which Elvis wore in his lifetime > when Rusty returned home from America he immediately went back on tour. In the summer of 1996 Rusty once again left his old band and put together a new professional band. His greatest wish was to put together a band that was just as professional or more professional then the band he performed with in Las Vegas. So, in the summer of 1996 he founded his "Las Vegas Band"! Rusty was now able to give the people of Europe who could not afford to go to America the opportunity to see what Rusty´s Las Vegas Shows were like. Rusty was able to show the people the same moves Elvis performed on stage in Las Vegas in the time period 1972 - 1973. All of Elvis\'s Las Vegas Shows were sold out. Rusty and his new band (Las Vegas Band) were able to present all of Elvis´s popular Las Vegas songs identical to Elvis. At the end of October 1996 Rusty signed a contract with the "MS Royal Star". The 2 week cruise started in Mombasa, (Kenya), then cruised to Sansibar, Mayotte, the next stop was Madagascar, and the cruise ended in Seychelles.

The Music of the King is Alive Again

On December 4, 1996 Rusty and his "Las Vegas Band" made their 1st appearance in the "Star Club" in Vienna, Austria. At this concert Rusty presented the "Las Vegas Band" and sold his newest CD "Live in Concert". 1997 was a special year for Rusty and all Elvis fans in the whole wide world because it was exactly 20 years since the King of Rock `n `Roll, Elvis Presley pasted away (August 16, 1977). This year was absolutely the best year in Rusty´s career because he gave over 160 Concerts. In May 1998 Rusty flew to South Turkey for 2 weeks with the accompaniment of his mother and grandmother. Rusty performed 1 Show a week in front of 2000 people. His sponsors were so excited with his 2 performances that they booked Rusty again to perform in South Turkey in November. On August 8, 1997 he performed for the 1st time in his hometown (St. Michael/Lg.) with his original "Las Vegas Band". This concert was recorded by channel ORF, "Salzburg TV" and "Radio Melody" because it was in memory of Elvis Presley\'s death (August 16, 1977). The numerous appearances Rusty made was very demanding and took a lot of strength and energy out of him. He takes his profession as a music artist very seriously and tries to live according to the motto "quality instead of quantity". Due to Rusty´s continuous song lessons he was able to use the correct breathing techniques in order to reach the high notes, which is necessary to sing like Elvis. 1998 was a very successful year for Rusty. In March 1998 he had a concert at the hotel "Zürserhof" in the county of Arlberg (city of Zürs) booked by Willy Skardarasy (hotel owner). At this concert he met numerous old acquaintances (team-mates) from the time he worked there as "chef de rang". In the same year he had television shows with Bavarian TV with a famous European singer, Karel Gott. The next television show was with ARD (famous German television) entitled, "Immer wieder Sonntags" in which Max Schautzer was the host. In May 1999 he signed his 5th contract with the cruise ship "MS Royal Star". For 2 weeks he was on "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean" tour, upon the "MS Royal Star".1999 was also stressful for him because he performed many concerts for the European Union. On October 3, 1999 Rusty performed for a live television program (ZDF - German channel). The performance was in front of 30.000 people. There was another wonderful reason for celebrating October; Rudi "RUSTY" Stumbecker had his 30th birthday. Many fans and friends (including people from foreign countries) came to Lungau, Austria just to celebrate Rusty´s 30th birthday. Ferdi Wegscheider and his television team (Salzburg TV) did an exclusive show of Rusty´s birthday party. Unfortunately Rusty didn\'t have much time for celebrating because he was on tour.