Lonnie’s new show is receiving great reviews because the change allows him to freely relax, sing, chat and give back to his many fans, the love and support he feels they have given him over these years
In 1956 at the very start of Rock’n’Roll, a young country boy stood on stage alone with his guitar, introducing Rockabilly to Australian audiences. Now 66 years later, as the last superstar from his era, his iconic career has come full circle. As we draw to a close on this rather difficult time, it has been one of reflection for our team to look at a new and exciting direction for this iconic legend. He and his team have decided to disband his band The Leemen to concentrate on his new personal ‘up close ‘ shows.
I was born and named David Laurence Rix but in 1959 adopted the stage name Lonnie Lee.
Q: Where were you born and raised?
Born in a private hospital on September 18th 1940 in Chatswood from a sheep station just outside the tiny North West NSW hamlet of Rowena.
Q: What and who were your influences growing up?
Anything to do with living on a sheep property but in the early 1950’s music became my primary influence. Church and School Choirs and popular music pre Rock’n’Roll.
Q: What was the path you took (in career/life) that lead you to the Parkes Elvis Festival?
Over the years, I have taken many shows to Parkes since 1960 including a Line Dance Show when it was popular in the early 1990s. I have performed twice before at the Elvis Festival and have been inducted into the Wall of Fame.
Q: When was your first visit and/or performance at the Parkes Elvis Festival?
I guess it would be at one of the very first festivals, 2002 to be exact.
Q: How many Festivals have you been to/performed at and what brings you back?
I have performed at two. One at the Services Club in 2002 and one in a massive tent in 2013.
Q: What was your first memory of Elvis and what makes him so memorable?
My first audio memory was hearing him in early 1956 on my home made Crystal. At that time Johnnie Ray was my favourite artist and it was in a way the similarities between the two that attracted me. The way they sang with emotion unlike any others and the way they both moved on stage. As I also liked the new Rock’n’Roll of Bill Haley and His Comets from 1954, as well as some American Country music, Elvis with a guitar and the back beat of new Rock’n’Roll sealed it.
Q: Give us a shout out to the people of Parkes or the Festival goers?
As a country boy myself, towns like Parkes and Forbes still feel like ‘home’ to me. In my early recording career, 2PK was one of my great supporters and every time we were on tour in the area we would call in and say hi as they played our hits. It is wonderful to see that the council gets behind the Festival and realise the massive international promotion potential the Festival brings to the area businesses. I hope they continue it into the future for that reason as well as for the fun it brings to visitors and town folk.
2024 Parkes Festival Shows
In his Wall of Fame 30 minute Cameo show, Lonnie will present his solo performance of, ‘The Hillbilly Cat’ which features many of the songs a young unknown Elvis recorded at Sun Records. These are the same songs that Lonnie sang when he became Australia’s Elvis’ in Jan 1956. There is also a video to accompany his performance. At 5pm he will present his 90 minute ‘Last Man Standing’ Show which features his own rockabilly Gold hits and those of his friends and peers. Over 35 songs from country to rock and rockabilly this show has toured Australia to rave reviews. It also features an amazing video. After the show Lonnie will be available for signing, photographs and merchandise at his ‘Meet’n’Greet’