BMHOF Class of 2017
The King is gone, but he’s not forgotten. And he won’t be as long as Terry Buchwald is around to pay tribute.
Buchwald is one of the foremost Elvis tribute artists in America, a model of sincerity atop a field where many are mere imitators.
Buchwald has been identified as one of the top artists in the U.S. by the Los Angeles Times, both for his sound and his look.
It all started on Halloween in 1991, when he went to the Apple Tree Mall dressed up as Elvis. The band Flip Side was performing, and when band members noticed his costume, they invited him onstage. He sang “Blue Suede Shoes” and a career was born.
Before that, Buchwald had performed in high school musicals, choirs and summer theatre, but he had never been in a band. But he grew up surrounded by music.
“My mom was a huge, huge rock ‘n’ roll fan and my dad was a huge country fan, so I got a mix of everything,” he said in a recent interview. “Plus, my oldest brother, Eddie, was a singer in a band when he was young, so I watched him and what he did.”
Buchwald was the youngest of six and graduated from Depew High School (which has since inducted him into its Alumni Hall of Fame).
From that start Buchwald has gone on to shape his performances into what he regards as a tribute to Elvis Presley rather than imitation of him.
“It’s more me trying to do Elvis rather than be Elvis,” he said. “It’s paying tribute to him and getting the crowd involved. … You know what? They hear the same song over and over again, but you have to make it new every time you sing it.”
Buchwald said one of his biggest thrills over the years was a show at Southgate Plaza in West Seneca. It drew over 20,000 people.
“There’s a picture that was taken onstage, and I’m facing the camera and the audience is behind me,” he said. “The audience just went on and on and on.
“I go out into the audience and that day I couldn’t make it to the end because the microphone wouldn’t reach that far – and it was wireless.”
Over the years he has gone on to record five CDs, selling over 40,000 copies as the disks were stocked in 13 Walmart stores, plus Sam’s Club, Media Play and Barnes & Noble. About $4 from each CD sold at Walmart was donated to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo through the Children’s Miracle Network.
Buchwald has made national television appearances on “Your Big Break” (a Dick Clark Production), “Doc” (PAX TV hit sitcom starring Billy Ray Cyrus), “U’s Place” (a FOX 29 children’s show) and national Variety Club Telethons.
Buchwald’s performances have taken him to many cities in the United States and Canada and as far as away as Japan, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
The Guitar Center chain named Buchwald its national spokesperson and performer for all store openings in 2000. He has helped open over 250 stores throughout the United States. There will be more to come into 2018.
But Buchwald says there’s something special about his home area.
“To be able to do this for 26 years in an area that is so giving … is an amazing feeling,” he said. “I’ve traveled to pretty much every state and performed, and I don’t get that feeling like I do when I’m performing here in Western New York. It is a special place.”
Buchwald has received many awards throughout the duration of his career. He was a Buffalo Music Award Winner for Best Show Band every year from 2002-2009. In 2010, he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Awards Hall of Achievement. In 2011, he received the Night-Life Lifetime Achievement Award from the Buffalo Night-Life Music and Club Awards.
He takes part in fundraisers and awareness events for organizations such as Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, United Cerebral Palsy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, AIDS Rochester, Western New York Heroes and the Western New York Elvis Appreciation Society.
Buchwald lives in Lancaster with his wife, Aubrey, and daughters Bryn, 6, and Madison, 4, and son Brooks, 2.
For more information on Terry, visit his website at: www.tcbtribute.com