Casino fan John Stevens with some of the items from his Elvis collection.
Casino fan John Stevens with some of the items from his Elvis collection. Jacklyn Wagner

Lifelong passion for Elvis

THERE is zero chance that John Stevens will forget that today marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

That's because six months ago the Elvis-obsessed Casino resident had his hero's date of birth and death tattooed on the inside of his left arm.

"I don't listen to nothing but Elvis and my wife hates that because she's an Abba fan," John said.

"But after 20 years of being together I think she just gave up (objecting)."

The 53-year-old father of seven has no regrets about the tattoo but does admit he's taken his fandom too far at times.

Up until 18 months ago there were no pictures of their seven kids inside he and his wife Gail's home.

That's because every wall and flat surface was covered in Elvis memorabilia.

John has since transferred most of his collection into their double garage, leaving just two walls and two glass cabinets devoted to Elvis inside his home.

"Our little girl is an Abba fan. She takes after her mother but the boys are true-blue Elvis fans," he said proudly.

John will today mark the 35th anniversary of the King's death by watching the DVD of his classic 1968 comeback special for the umpteenth time.

"When I watch Elvis it's like (nothing) else matters," admits John.

"I can sit there for hours and hours and listen to it."

But John isn't so starry-eyed over the cultural icon that he can't see a big life lesson in his untimely demise on August 16, 1977 at just 42 years of age.

As he tells his kids: "There's a man who had it all in the palm of his hands and he lost it all to drugs."