CATCHING UP WITH ... MAC DAVIS
THE KING AND I
Mac Davis' youngest sons, Noah, 13, and Cody, 11, know their dad is a songwriter, but they weren't very impressed with his career until they heard he penned Elvis Presley's newly revitalized tune "A Little Less Conversation."
"I was watching the new movie Ocean's Eleven," remembers Mac. "Here comes Elvis singing this old song -- and it took me a second to realize it was mine!"
A Nike executive also heard the tune, and to Mac's delight decided to use it for the company's soccer ads. Later Mac asked Noah if he had heard the song from the commercials.
"When I told him I wrote it, his eyes got like saucers!" laughs Mac, who lives in Los Angeles with his sons and wife, Lise. "He said, 'Dad, everybody's singing it at school.' That's the first time I've seen respect out of him in a long time!"
Mac commanded even more respect when a remixed version of the song -- which he originally wrote with Billy Strange for the 1968 Elvis flick Live A Little, Love A Little -- went to No. 1 in Europe.
There was another upside to this resurrected hit reaching the top spot -- it became a last-minute addition to the hot-selling album Elvis: 30 #1 Hits, on which Mac's memorable Elvis smash "In The Ghetto" is also included.
"It was almost enough for me to hear my songs being sung by Elvis," recalls Mac, who also wrote "Memories" and "Don't Cry Daddy" for the King in the late '60s. "The money was gravy."
Mac went on to write hits for other stars -- and himself, charting 30 country tunes in the '70s and '80s, including the No. 1 pop hit "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me." With good looks and a charming manner, Mac was a natural for TV and landed his own variety show, The Mac Davis Show, which ran from 1974-76. He also starred in the movie North Dallas Forty and in Broadway's The Will Rogers Follies.
Mac now says his performing days -- on stage and screen -- are mostly behind him.
"Let the young guys do that stuff!" he declares. "And let Willie handle it for us old guys."
These days Mac spends ost of his time happily playing the role of dad. "I'm pretty much a professional chauffeur now," he laughs.
When the car is parked, though, Mac still concentrates on his first love -- songwriting. "I've got songs in my head all the time," says Mac. "I'm constantly picking up a guitar and honing this or that.
"On my tombstone it will say SONGWRITER."