Q: Now that your show at the Las Vegas Hilton has run for several years, do you get a permanent suite?
A: I do, I do. They treat me like a king. It's only about 25 minutes from where I live, which is Palm Springs. I fly to Vegas for three or four days a week, and then I go back home. I don't have to live out of suitcases.
Q: So where do you sleep?
A: I stay in Elvis' suite.
A: They gave me Elvis' suite. Well, they redecorated it, but it's, like, 11,000 square feet, and it's all pink! With cherubs and frescoesit's so Las Vegas, it's perfect. It's on, like, the millionth floor, and it's got a pool outside and a lawn. It's just overdoneit's overkill. Vegas is the land of overkill.
Q: You've talked about turning into a "brat" toward the end of the seventies. What happened?
A: I was treating people badly, and that's not my style. I thought I was being rude. I thought I was being demanding. I was being a brat, and I think that's what happens to most young people whose star explodes overnight. You can't possibly prepare for what happens to you the day you hit No. 1 and people treat you differently. I didn't want to be treated like a "star." I fought it constantly, and I think I was rude. I'm telling you, when success hits, you go through your asshole period. And I went through my asshole period.
Q: You didn't have a lot of money growing up.
A: Oh, none. Zero. Zip. Nothin'. I come from nowhere Brooklyn, New York. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. These days Williamsburg is kind of a hip area, but when I grew up there, the taxi drivers wouldn't even go over the bridge, it was so dangerous.
Q: So you were the original Williamsburg hipster.
A: I wasn't really a hipster. I was a geek.
Q: Hey, geeks rule the world now, right?
A: You know, you're right. That was me. Steve Jobs? Bill Gates? See how they look? That's exactly how I looked. Worse! My hair was slicked down with a part. But that was before I discovered the blow-dryer. Now I'm fabulous.
Q: Your hair in the seventies was magnificent.
A: Oh, pfffffffft. We all looked like that!
Q: Do you ever consider growing it out again?
A: I did once, and I looked awful! I always thought I'd do it again. I chicken out every time. It's a young look. I can't do it anymore.
Q: I've seen references to your having had a fractured ankle, bronchial pneumonia, and a cyst in your upper jawa lot of medical crises.
A: Yeah, I think I've had everything that everybody else has had. It's just that I usually have it in the middle of a show. So it makes the papers. But, you know, I'm pretty damn healthy for a 95-year-old guy.