Elvis comes alive in Secaucus; Impersonator to play in town park

It won’t take much to spot Elvis this week in Hudson County. The pop star will make an appearance at
Buchmuller Park in Secaucus on July 27 as part of a concert in the park series sponsored by the
Hudson Reporter and the Town of Secaucus.

Jerry Papp, who plays the role of Elvis Presley for the T.C.B. Band, says he sometimes forgets himself
when he is performing, and forgets that Elvis is no longer alive. And when he finishes some shows,
Papp says he sometimes sees the same feelings flowing through the people who have watched him
perform, a mixture of “elation, sadness, and a sense that we had experience something entirely different
than we had experienced before.”

Papp, who goes by the name of “Jerry El,” has performed for over 20 years, playing Elvis in countless
venues from Hawaii to Las Vegas, and even on various cruise ships sailing on the high seas. His
performances and stage presence are supposed to be so close to that of the original Elvis, he was
chosen runner-up in both the Chicago area and Atlantic City Elvis look-alike contests. He is also listed
in the book, “I Am Elvis,” a 1991 guide to Elvis impersonators from Pocket Books.

Papp says his chief motivation comes from entertaining his audiences and the reaction he gets from the

In his role as “The King,” Papp not only sings the songs, swivels his hips, and dresses in costume, but
also makes certain that each woman in the audience gets a scarf and a kiss.

“He puts the silk scarf on each lady himself,” said Mike Snuffer, the drummer for the T.C.B. Band, which
backs up Papp’s performance. “These are embroidered with Elvis’ face on each. When we the did a
performance at one of the Secaucus schools earlier this year, women were lined up to get the scarves.”

“TCB” was one of Elvis Presley’s favorite sayings, and although some people said it meant Taters,
Cornbread, and Beans, it actually stood for Taking Care of Business. It was Elvis’ way of keeping his
people focused on achieving results without dwelling on the process of getting there or who was to

Papp, along with Secaucus resident Mike Snuffer, helped found the T.C.B. Band in 1990. They have
performed across the country including shows from Atlantic City to Las Vegas.

One former and one existing member of the T.C.B. Band actually were asked to play with the real Elvis
years ago, according to Papp.

The current lineup includes Papp and Snuffer, as well as Northern New Jersey’s Jeff Gaynor, Nick James
and Jimmy Calvert.

“All of the guys in this band have worked with other groups,” Snuffer said. “Most of us have been
doing work in this band for about five or six years. We don’t always do Elvis. We have three different
concerts we put on: classic rock, Elvis and get back to the ’50s and ’60s. But really, we do almost
anything except classical music.”

Snuffer, who is a resident of Secaucus, has been performing since he was 11 years old, and under the
name Mikey Mayhem, he has had regular gigs in the late 1970s with such recording greats as Roy Clark,
Marty Robbins, and Bobby Dean and the Playboys. After serving in the U.S. Army, Snuffer made his
comeback with a group called Desert Rain, and has opened for Waylon Jennings. With a band called
Shotgun Wedding, he performed the backer’s audition for Honky Tonk Angle – the Patsy Cline Story.
He has played twice at the County Music Association gala in New York.

Jeff Gaynor, the keyboard player, has been playing professionally for about 13 years, moving through
an eclectic mixture of cover and original groups that included a Mansion Records band, Bill Turner &
Blue Smoke, the Protoculture Records band Programmed Response, and others. Gaynor had recently
released an independent CD called “Out of the Chute.”

Nick James, on bass, is the founder and lead singer of the country swing group Nick James and
Amarillo. His career spans nearly four decades and consists of four recording albums with countless
guest appearances on others. His band was named Band of the Year in 1999 by the New York Country
Music Association.

Jimmy Calvert, the guitarist, has been performing with Bill Turner & Blue Smoke on Mansion Records
for decades.

The Secaucus performance, Snuffer said, will be modeled after two of Elvis’ most famous shows: The
Honolulu show and the 1968 comeback special on television.

“We’re going to do two 50 minute sets with a 15 minute break in-between,” Snuffer said. “This will be
between 7 and 9 p.m.”

The band is currently putting together a CD called “Remembering Elvis.”


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