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Behind the scenes with Elvis

John Lang's game day will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, when he leaves Lockport with his Elvis "overnight" leather satchel that carries all he needs to transform himself into The King.


*Five pairs of dark shades with black furry sideburns (already attached).

*Selection of glitter scarves that double as neck warmers in cold weather.

*White polyester onesie decorated with red and white sparkles that leaves those nearby all shook up (It's been refined four times to make it more showy, plus the white stains badly with the slush and everything).

Believe it or not, Lang does nothing with his hair but pull a comb through it. The white guitar - freshly painted with a slogan relevant to the game - Lang carries separately. It may join the others in guitar heaven if the Bills win, such is the jubilation displayed by Lang after a score.

"They usually take a beating by the end of the season," admitted Lang, a husband and father of two. "When I beat them on the wall, they're pretty much shattered, although I've been more gentle lately. A lot of them I have given away to bars or restaurants that want to hang them up or auction them off for charity events."

Lang's game day routine includes a massive tailgate party in a stadium lot attended by 50 of his closest friends from Lockport.

"The best tailgate I ever saw," Lang describes. "Shrimp and clams and ribs and steaks. And then on the walk in, we stop at the Crown Royal truck, have a beverage, get up on the truck and jump around a little bit."

He doesn't get into his Elvis mode until right before the stadium walk.

"Sometimes it takes me 25 minutes or more just to get to my seat," he said. "People want my autograph. They want their picture taken with me. I get stopped by people from all over the country who just want to stand next to me for a while."

By the time The King arrives at Section 126 and makes his way down the stairs to his front row, aisle seat, he is ready to rock. Lang loves playing Elvis, even though he isn't a big fan of his music.

"I don't dislike him," Lang said, and then laughs big. "Elvis is fine. I mean I don't have him in my car CD player."

But Elvis has opened doors for Lang, getting him invites to private suites, a place on numerous commercials and an autograph request from his daughter's gym teacher. One year, he appeared on a Super Bowl pregame show when broadcaster Howie Long named him as one of the top fans in the country.

Seat upgrade? Lang is stunned by the suggestion.

"Never," he answered. "I like where I am. A lot of the players come over and give me high fives."

- Jane Kwiatkowski

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