Lisa Marie Presley talks to Larry King about Michael Jackson,
her new love, her daughter Riley and the Sale of Graceland
KING: What do you make of the coverage of your ex-husband?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: That I pretty much — it’s so delicate and it’s such a hot stove that, you know, it’s one of those things I’d love to chat with you about but anything you say at this point is going to add.
KING: Does it annoy you to see the focus on someone you cared about, probably still care about?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: To be honest with you I’m kind of — it’s kind of a blessing this is happening in that I don’t have to say anything right now, because there’s a trial going on. You know it’s…
KING: No, you don’t have to — I mean, emotionally though to see?
PRESLEY: Emotionally it’s never easy to watch anybody go through, no matter what, you know, something really difficult.
KING: Because you’ve been a staunch defender of him, right?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Well, I’m not going to talk about it.
KING: I’m mean as a person and a husband — we aren’t dealing with the charges or anything, you have been…
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: I at one point was.
KING: A supporter? And now you’re neutral?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: I’m just benign really.
KING: Are you going to tour again?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: I am. I am. I found — I sort of did it all backwards last time. You know, I did all the press thing and threw everything, and then I kind of got used — you’re supposed to do it the other way, see that you speak to the audience and see what your music does to people, and I kind of did it the reverse.
KING: What have you been doing between that CD and now? Like where have you been?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Where have I been? I’ve been writing. Writing this one, pretty much.
KING: You wrote all the songs except for the Henley song?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Right. I co-wrote one of the ones on this — but most of it’s all me.
KING: It takes that long?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: It took about eight months, and then you go through the mixing and that, you know, you know, different — I don’t like this and you need to change that, process.
KING: You sold 85 percent of the Presley estate, and it got a lot of controversy. Explain that. So you work out of love of working. You’re not working out of need for income?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Right. I work because I think that I wouldn’t feel good about myself unless I was contributing. It’s not as selfish — I’m not a vain or self-centered person in any sense, but I feel like I need to contribute. I am involved in — prior to singing, in a lot of different, you know, family housing, educational programs. I’ve gotten involved in, you know, stopping the — anti-drugging of kids campaigns. But for me, music is just another outlet.
KING: How did that story get so screwed up then?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Which story?
KING: The sale.
LISA MARIE PRESLEY:: Because it was very complex, and people only — couldn’t get past the headlines. Sold, 85 percent sold. And it looked like the estate and like I sold everything. And I’m going no, no, no, no. Business-wise, we’re getting a huge thumbs-up, that was an awesome move. But personally, it just came across wrong, because estate sold sounds like estate. Estate is mine.
KING: How big is the tourism industry there at the estate?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: It’s very — it’s quite substantial. It’s good.
KING: Graceland draws a lot of people? The interest in him seems to grow.
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: True.
KING: Right? Records sell inEngland.
KING: Right? He has rebirth in the United — is there a new audience all the time? Who is finding him?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: That’s what we’re hoping. I would imagine that more people are just kind of sick of what’s happening right now and they’re kind of looking back to what was, you know — you know, I don’t know. I know that every time, you know, we just recently went number one in England again, which is, you know, it’s amazing. But the bottom line is, music speaks, you know. And music tells the story. People…
KING: As his daughter — and you were only, what, 9 when he died… How do you appreciate his talent?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: God, you know, there’s a documentary coming out… in May. It’s called “Presley by the Presleys,” and I’m normally not involved in things like that, stayed away from it, but this is done so well that — it’s done in only his voice, my mom’s mine, my grandparents, his mother. You know, it’s through all of our voices. So it’s not someone narrating.
KING: “Presley by the Presleys.”
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Yes. It’s quite fascinating. And I learned so much about him actually watching — because there was footage pulled that no one’s ever seen. Which is interesting. It’s going to be for television. I think it’s a CBS special.
KING: What do you think as you look at him, hear him? I mean, you are (ph) the daughter. What was that appeal, what did he have?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: You know, what he had was completely uncontrived, and you know, what he was, was what he was. There was no — like nowadays you have machines and PR, you know, images being created and you have all these things going on and a lot of people working to create different things. And with him, there was none of that. There was nothing — everything you saw and people appreciated about him, he was that or more off stage, and there was nothing contrived or preconceived about anything he was about or did. And I think people feel that genuineness, and that doesn’t happen very often anymore.
You got like, you know, masses of people that are behind everyone, you know, making an image, making, you know, everything. So that just…
KING: He only had the Colonel, right?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Yeah.
KING: Managing him, and he did — he did the act. What was special about his voice, his singing, his music?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: You know, I can’t — I can’t answer that. I mean, I can tell you that…
KING: As a listener?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: His soul, spirit came through that voice. You know, and that moves people in a whole — there’s like an aesthetic plane it hits somewhere, where it’s a very spiritual thing, actually, and I feel — I really feel like he penetrated through his voice.
KING: How is your mom doing?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: She’s doing very well.
KING: You’re all like business people.
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: I guess so. She’s always been, but she’s, you know, she’s doing — now she’s also on the board of MGM, so she’s behind the scenes doing a lot.
KING: Still pretty?
LISA MARIE PRESLEY: Beautiful.
KING: After Elvis died, it was either sell Graceland or give it up to the state.
P. PRESLEY: And to go there now, it’s like comforting to see it in its original form and never touched, you know. And on the other hand, it’s sort of, you know, heartbreaking to go there and look at — it’s just a shell now of what was.
P. PRESLEY: It’s a house now. It’s not the home that it was, but trying to recreate that without Elvis, it really isn’t a home.
KING: A little bit about your daughter. First a record, she can sing. Did you know she could sing?
P. PRESLEY: You know, Lisa, for the longest time, did not sing. And I had no idea she even had a voice. She’d play music like most teenagers, but I remember even telling her to turn the music down it was so loud. She was probably practicing all of those years.
KING: When did it happen. When did you…
P. PRESLEY: She wanted to start singing, I guess about, maybe 10 years ago. And I tried to encourage her to take the lessons, because obviously, she has some big shoes to step in. And my concern was that she would try to do this with no training whatsoever. She eventually started taking voice lessons. But I don’t even know if she needs them.
KING: Were you surprised when you heard the finished product here?
P. PRESLEY: Well, not really. I think she’s very talented. I’m probably her biggest fan.
We ended the last segment talking about your mom. You wrote a song called “Raven” inspired by her.
PRESLEY: It’s for her.
KING: Explain, “Raven” is?
PRESLEY: It’s just me just — I wrote a song for her and one Christmas, I said, will you come out and listen to this song in my car? I kind of — I didn’t write one for her on my first record, because I was — I didn’t get around to it. And then I felt — I got really inspired and our relationship has evolved so much that I was inspired to write a song about her, for her. And I took her outside and played it for her and she started crying. And now it’s her favorite song on the record, of course.
And on the record there’s a tape recording of me at age 3 that I start playing in the beginning of the song, which is me, you know, she’s making me sing. She said, “sing is right” or something like that, and I start pouting and singing and then — it kind of shows — then song happens and then at the end it comes back with her and I arguing. And at the end of that, I sort of end it with “I think I love you,” which shows the entirety of the evolution of our relationship.
KING: And “Raven” means what?
PRESLEY: I’m just referring to her as that. And that’s what she inspired me to refer her to, as…
KING: Interesting bird. Complicated bird.
KING: Is it a blessing to be A Presley?
PRESLEY: You know, I was trying to figure out a way to — answer this question, where it doesn’t sound like — the last thing I ever would be or sound like is a whining celebrity in any sense. I agree with that’s not a good thing. The thing is, in any kind of situation that you’re in, where you’re a high profile — you know, you get a lot of attention. And to the degree that you get that attention is the same degree or more you’re going to get attacked. So you know, as much as people out there are routing for you and wanting you to do well, there’s a half or larger number that want to you to fall. So, you know, it’s finding that balance and not — without whining or saying I’m, you know, not very grateful of who I am and where I’ve come from. It’s still something that you end up dealing with things that other people don’t necessarily deal with, and you’re under attack more.
KING: Are there days you’re sorry you’re a Presley?
PRESLEY: No. I’m never sorry. It’s just that, you know, you always have to — but you never can get your guard down on how to handle things, you know. Constantly, things will happen, and you have to figure out how to combat.
KING: Why do you think people want to see famous people or the offspring of famous people fail?
PRESLEY: You know, I don’t — it’s really interesting, because I have recently talked to a couple other ones, and I won’t mention their names. But you know, historical figures’ off springs they’re petrified to take this route. And I said you know, you can watch me I’ll be the prototype. You know, I’ll just — I’ll do it. Whatever I do, you do the opposite. I’m going to go out and do it, because I don’t want fear to stop me. You know, I don’t know why — first there’s the comparison thing. You run into that. And then you run into, you know, climbing the — it’s just the a — it’s something that’s not easy for someone. It’s not always — it’s easy in that it opens the door. After that you’re on your own.
KING: You see any continuum in your own life, Lisa Marie, you’re the daughter of the most famous singer in the world, who then marries the most famous singer in the world.
KING: See a connection?
PRESLEY: Yes. You know, probably, you know, I’m not into psycho- analysis, you know, but there’s probably… There’s probably something in my, you know, looking — I had to experience that. And I think that there was some of that in the back myself mind probably.
KING: No regrets over it?