ELVIS AND ME I used to sneak downstairs in our two-storey house in the New Territories - my parents were missionaries in Sha Tin - to listen to American forces radio. The first time I heard Elvis, I knew what I wanted to be and I never deviated from that. Rock'n'roll ruled as far as I was concerned. I took my trousers to a tailor to have them turned into drainpipes and, with that and the Brylcreemed hair, I often spent time outside the headmaster's office at King George V school. In my last year at KGV, there were 40 of us in the class [and] 36 nationalities. Teenagers were very conservative and well behaved in those days. There were no drugs. It was alleged you could get a high from aspirin and Coca-Cola - but I just got diarrhoea. GOING KONTINENTAL Our band [most of whom were from KGV] developed into The Kontinentals in the early 1960s. We started as Cagey V, which we thought terribly clever, but no one got it because they just heard K-G-V. We quickly changed to The Vampires and then, because [the band members] were from different continents, The Kontinentals, spelled with a 'K'. That was very cool. And 'kool' was spelled with a 'K' in those days, too. The minute The Beatles came in, we washed the Brylcreem out of our hair and all started to speak on the playground with Liverpool accents. We began recording when I was 16 or 17. The lyrics were normal teenage angst. My first song, and our second single, was I Still Love You - 'You don't want me, you don't need me' etc. You can't get more teenage angst than that. Our first song was written by our guitarist, Roy Davenport, who was in the British forces. He was nearly double our age and introduced us to the blues and Muddy Waters. SPIES AND PROSTITUTES Tea dances were very big in the 60s, mostly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. At a talent contest, we were approached by a Filipino gentleman, who invited us to play at The Bayside in the spanking new Chungking Mansions. We also played at The Golden Phoenix, where we charged the outrageous price of HK$10 a head. We played from 4pm to 6.30pm. It was very tame. There was rock'n'roll but no sex and drugs. The sex was not screaming girls, but the professionals, the bar girls. They had a thing for band boys. We had no idea what was going on. The Bayside was a cesspit. There was a coffee shop upstairs, where the media used to hang out with the China watchers and spies. Russian hookers would sit there in the winter in mink coats. We would go there before playing and listen to all these spy conversations. It was a strange time for someone in their late teens. WE WANT YOU ... NO WE DON'T Elvis Presley joined the American army to do his national service, which I thought was very cool. And I spent three months in the Swedish military. I spoke Swedish but not well enough to understand all the weapons instructions. [They decided Nelsson was a liability and released him from national service.] I continued to play in bands after returning to Hong Kong but I made a conscious decision in my 20s not to perform beyond the age of 30. I didn't want to be one of those older cabaret singers. So I went into production and the business side of music, including making television jingles. I didn't go back to performing until I was 60. BRUCE LEE OVER YUM CHA [In the early 70s] I was on Nathan Road, at a new yum cha restaurant called the Golden Crown. It was jam-packed but someone called out to me; it was Robert Lee, who was in a rival band, Robert Lee and the Thunderbirds. The whole Lee family was there, including [Robert's brother] Bruce Lee, who was already a movie star. He had been in The Green Hornet and had had a couple of kung fu hits. Bruce asked me, 'What are you doing tomorrow? You're going to be in my movie.' He gave me a nice little role. I was one of several baddies in the backstreets of Rome, and I had to attack him from behind with a fake lead pipe. Of course, within seconds, his nunchaku sticks had knocked me out. But there is a beautiful still of him looking cool with his nunchaku sticks and me looking like a complete idiot behind him. He was very much into music and dance: he was the Hong Kong cha cha champion of 1958. He would have been 70 years old [on November 27]. THE EVIL GWEILO On the acting side, I've been in something like 400 hours of [Cantonese] soaps and series, purely for Hong Kong and Chinatown audiences, usually playing some kind of 'evil gweilo'. Western friends have no idea; it's like a separate world, because none of these series gets translated. In the trilogy to celebrate Lee's life, I play the headmaster of La Salle College, which he attended. More recently, I wanted to get back into singing ballads. I've done one song in Mandarin. The lyrics are so simple - 'I love you, I miss you' - they're no different from the 60s bubblegum boy bands. But the public has received it very well. And I'm having a party to celebrate my 60th anniversary [Nelsson arrived in Hong Kong on November 18, 1950, at the age of four] and hope to get a few friends, such as Joe Junior and, hopefully, Robert Lee, to sing. All of us old-timers seem to have improved with age. We may not be young and beautiful anymore but, hey, we have our audience. Anders Nelsson and The Stray Katz Big Band will perform on Thursday at Grappas Cellar, Jardine House, Central. Tickets cost HK$238 in advance or HK$288 on the door and include a drink and a CD. To book, call 2521 2322.