When 12-year Duke Bardwell first heard Elvis Presley’s “Old Shep” on the radio in 1957 he knew “instantly” that one day he would find a way to play music for a living. At the time, there’s no way he could’ve known he would one day grow up to play bass for his childhood idol.
The new documentary film Duke & The King explores the fascinating story of Duke’s rise from Elvis fan to TCB Band member … and his equally dramatic fall from grace. They say there’s danger in meeting one’s heroes. But what if your hero becomes your boss, and your boss is the King of Rock & Roll? That’s the issue at the heart of Duke & The King. It’s a story of “be careful what you wish for.”
Long before the Elvis years, Bardwell’s musical career got off to an early start in his native Baton Rouge, La., playing in popular regional bands including the Dixie Crystals, The Greek Fountains, Basement Wall and Cold Gritz & The Black-Eyed Peas. Over the years, Bardwell has performed and recorded with many influential artists, among them: Tom Rush, Jose Feliciano, Gene Clark and Emmylou Harris. And, in 1974-75, he was the bassist for The King.
Bardwell also makes a special guest performance in the newly released music documentary Back from the Dread.