On Sunday, March 12, 2023, the Chicago Prime Timers hosted Crocodile Rockstar at their open social meeting. David Zak interviewed him and presented the responses at the event. Here is the interview recap:
Do you remember where you heard your first Elton John song?
Rocket Man and Levon were the first Elton songs that I heard, and I immediately loved everything about them. I have a somewhat abstract mind and the imagery from the lyrics, music, melody, and background vocals just blew me away.
When did you try creating or wearing his costumes for the first time?
I’ve always played a few Elton John songs, but it wasn’t until I injured my right arm and wasn’t able to play piano for nearly a year-and-a-half that the Elton John tribute came about.
I was asked if I was able to perform a couple Elton John songs for a corporate Halloween event right after my injury. I told them that I could only play two or three songs and they said that was fine. When I told my husband, he asked me what costume I was going to wear. I remember replying, “Costume?” That was the catalyst for me starting my first Elton John costume.
How do you recreate the looks, and how does it feel when you are wearing one?
I start with a list of iconic costumes that I think people recognize. I sketch out a plan and then the Internet is my first stop. Every costume is like a new puzzle to solve; I’ve had to teach myself how to sew various fabrics, work with feathers, create wire harnesses, and work with leather to name a few skills I’ve taught myself. I make a lot of mistakes, but I try to learn from my mistakes and improve the costumes over time.
The costumes are an aspect of my performances that people really connect with. I always try my best to make them as accurately as I can; if I feel good about it, then I love performing in it. It’s amazing how much love there is for Elton John and people always love talking to me about the costumes after a show.
I know you are in Buena Park - do people recognize you when you walk down the street?
The costumes and glasses are so over-the-top that it’s not always easy to get an idea of what I look like behind the glasses. When I am not onstage, I am a quiet guy in khakis and black t-shirts, but once people hear my unique name (Beazley Phillips) or know that I am Crocodile Rockstar, that’s when they tell me when they saw me and want to talk about Elton John’s music, the show and costumes.
Have you ever been in touch with Sir Elton?
I have seen Elton John in concert many times over the years, but I’ve never met him. I love what he has come to stand for in our community and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather become for a night than Sir Elton John. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet him.
Events can be the highlight of the year for many companies. Morale, job satisfaction, and retention rates have all been shown to increase from company events. Thoughtfully produced corporate events foster connections between colleagues and enhance company culture. After being involved in corporate events for 25 years, I have found these four essential and most often-overlooked tips make corporate events ROCK:
A fun and relatable theme gives corporate events a focus around which you can create your event decor, presentations, food, entertainment, and ambiance. If you make a theme too specific or irrelevant to your audience’s interests, participation will decline. Themes can be integrated into presentations and spoken components, and they make it easy for employees to remember your event.
Picking a relevant theme your clients and employees can engage in also gives team members a way to participate in the spirit of the event – they become representatives of the experience you’ve created – and brings the spotlight of the event onto them – which is exactly what you want. You can encourage guests to dress up by offering significant prizes (free vacation days or bonuses) and giving out awards. Photo booths with props related to the theme are excellent additions that amplify the theme’s visibility both during and after the event.
Lighting can transform a space. You don’t have to spend a lot of money renting a venue for your corporate events – your office spaces can be vibrant backdrops to your special event. I’ve transformed ordinary conference rooms with event lighting that turned the spaces into magical wonderlands that facilitate more interesting conversations and memorable experiences:
King Arthur Court at The Intercontinental Hotel:
The Florentine Ballroom of the Congress Hotel before lighting:
Here is the Florentine Ballroom with our event lighting:
Entertainment is typically the most memorable component of corporate events. Consider your guests’ demographics when choosing your entertainment. Most guests prefer music they recognize; younger audiences tend to gravitate towards pop and house music, so DJs like Greg Haus or EDM DJ Sean G Parks make great DJs for events with younger audiences. More mature audiences tend to appreciate music from their era like DJ Marc Mooser Moder or an Elton John impersonator/tribute artist like Crocodile Rockstar. Elton John has wide appeal with music spanning across 5 decades, so it’s a safe bet that his music will connect with a variety of people and demographics. Crocodile Rockstar’s Elton costumes are also spectacular, which adds flair and panache to special events of all kinds:
Beazley Phillips as Crocodile Rockstar:
Whatever talent you choose to feature, make sure it resonates with your guests and elevates your event. Entertainment is a key component so you should make sure it is a net asset to your guests’ experience.
The connection that happens between colleagues during company functions is the holy grail for event producers. Downtime is possibly the most precious element of company events; it gives colleagues the time they need to connect, engage and enjoy their time together. Your responsibility as an event producer is to facilitate your guests’ journey to bond with each other and create more meaningful connections, so give them adequate time and conversation space to deepen their relationships.