Audio Interview With Michael Jackson’s Drummer Jonathan Moffett

Sources: WS Radio | All Things Michael


Jonathan Moffett was Michael Jackson’s touring drummer going all the way back to the Jackson 5 days and has also played for Madonna, George Michael, Elton John, Saturday Night Live and The Arsenio Hall Show. He talks about developing his drumming talent at a very young age, having grown up in a musical family where he and his brothers were encouraged by their father to pick up instruments and start playing together, and how ironically, the drums were not his first choice. Jonathan talks about the importance of recognizing what your natural talent is and nurturing that gift. (Segment 1)

Jonathan talks about learning how to play drums from listening to vinyl records and learning to pick out all the details. He started playing clubs with his brothers when he was only 10, but it made it hard for the band do get into most clubs and bars and his older brothers ended up firing him. Jonathan spent his time practicing and developing a powerful technique of mimicking bass lines on the kick drum, which earned him some notoriety and the nickname “Sugarfoot”.  Jonathan goes on to talk about auditioning for the Jackson 5 in 1979, learning the whole stage show in 3 days and blowing Michael and the Jacksons away with his ability to hear and anticipate where they are going and what to play to complement it. He was told he was the best drummer they ever had and became Michael’s go-to drummer for decades to come. (Segment 2)

Jonathan talks about his faith, the feeling that his whole life God has been watching over him and making things happen. We talk about what he is doing currently – touring with the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson Experience, playing with the band Cameo, and writing music for his own solo project. (Segment 3)


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Motown Songwriting Team Holland-Dozier-Holland Receives Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Sources: West Side Today | All Things Michael


Pictured at a BMI luncheon held in Michael Jackson’s honor in 1990 are Berry Gordy, Edward Holland, Brian Holland, and Lamont Dozier.

The Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team received the 2,543rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday for composing more than 50 of Motown Records’ most memorable songs.

Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Mary Wilson of the Supremes and singer Ne-Yo were among those joining Lemont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland at the ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Live Nation Building. The ceremony coincided with Black History Month.

The team wrote and produced such songs as “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” for the Supremes; “Heat Wave” and “Jimmy Mack” for Martha and the Vandellas; “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “Baby I Need Your Loving,” for the Four Tops; and “Can I Get a Witness” and “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” for Marvin Gaye.

Holland, Dozier and Holland began their collaboration in 1962 with the single “Dearest One,” released under Dozier’s name on the Mel-O-Dy label, a Motown subsidiary.

In 1963, Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote and produced Martha and the Vandellas’ “Come and Get These Memories,” which went to No. 3 on the rhythm and blues chart; Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get a Witness,” the Marvelettes’ “Locking Up My Heart” and “Forever”; the Miracles’ “I Gotta Dance to Keep from Crying” and “Mickey’s Monkey,” and Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand.”


In June 1964, “Where Did Our Love Go” became the first of six consecutive No. 1 singles for the Supremes and Holland, Dozier and Holland.

The trio left Motown in 1968 to found their own Invictus/Hot Wax label, where they continued their hit-making ways with Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold,” Chairmen of the Board’s “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” and the Honey Cones’ “Want Ads.”

When Invictus/Hot Wax folded in 1973, Dozier returned to his performing career, resulting in a string of solo records that continues to be sampled by artists ranging from Lil Wayne to Linkin Park.

In the 1970s, the Hollands wrote and produced for such artists as the Supremes and Michael Jackson. They formed the Holland Group production company in 1988 and revived their label Music Merchant and continue to release material from their classic catalog and new material.

Holland, Dozier and Holland were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988.

Holland-Dozier-Holland have reunited for the first time in more than 30 years to write the score for the new musical version of “The First Wives Club,” based on the best-selling novel and the hit 1996 film. It begins its pre-Broadway world premiere run Tuesday at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre.


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Interview With Tommy ‘O’ Organ

Source: MJWN – By Callum Ross| All Things Michael


Tommy ‘O,’ one of Michael’s guitarists from ‘This Is It’ has been kind enough to talk to Callum Ross of MJWN about his guitars, his music, and of course Michael!

I have been a keen guitarist now for many years and have worked as a lead guitarist for a few bands, so can you imagine the delight when the team suggested to me that I would get a chance to interview guitar legend Tommy ‘O’ Organ, one of Michael’s guitarists from ‘This Is It.’

Tommy ‘O’ first picked up a guitar at the age of five and plays by ear, not by reading music, which is the way I like to play. He was a guitarist on Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ tour and has worked with Usher, TLC, Bobby Brown and Slash to name but a few. He also toured as lead guitarist with the Jacksons on their ‘Unity’ tour and has completed numerous studio recordings with artists such as Lionel Ritchie, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Randy Jackson and the late great Ray Charles so there was plenty to ask about…not forgetting about Michael of course! :-)


Hi Tommy ‘O’! It’s great to have such an accomplished musician willing to speak to us here at MJWN. Thank you!

Tommy ‘O': I’m honoured!

What was your very first guitar and what was the first song you ever learnt to play?

Tommy ‘O': My very first guitar was a Gibson Les Paul deluxe and the first song I ever played was ‘Batman!’

I hear that you were inspired by many artists, but I’m curious to know what it was about Angus Young (of AC/DC) that inspired you?

Tommy ‘O': I like Angus Young’s simplicity in the way he plays and his feel is excellent and his stage presence and performance is very exciting.

What is your favourite song (whether Michael related or not) to play and to listen to?

Tommy ‘O': ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”

Michael Jackson's "This Is It"

How did you get the chance to work with Michael on ‘This Is It?’

Tommy ‘O': Through Michael Bearden. He auditioned me, then he liked my style, the way I played and my stage presence – so I got the gig!

What guitar did you predominantly use for ‘This Is It’ and why?

Tommy ‘O': I use a specially made guitar by Akai. I used it because it was versatile to all styles of music.

How many guitars were you going to bring over to London for the ‘This Is It’ shows?

Tommy ‘O': I was going to bring twelve guitars!

Did Michael have control over which guitars you used for the set and did he have control over the amplification?

Tommy ‘O': No because if you sounded great he wouldn’t mind whatever you used. I never heard Michael once inquire about any guitars or amps because he had hired the best!

What amplification would you normally use, if you were in the studio for example, and why?

Tommy ‘O': I use my own personal amps because I like to keep my sound consistent to whatever songs I play on in the studio or live, for that matter.

Did you use any effects for the ‘This Is It’ tour? And if so, which ones?

Tommy ‘O': Yes I used a lot of Boss pedals, Hughes and Kettner effects, Akai effects pedals, several delay compression distortion pedals etc.

Did Michael give you plenty of flexibility over the way you played his songs and solo’s or did he ask you to play a certain way?

Tommy ‘O': Michael was pretty flexible on the way everybody played their parts. He just required that we listen to the CDs of the songs and the parts. And then I could play it my own way. All the solos were pretty free and open.

Were there any problems or funny moments you encountered whilst rehearsing with Michael that you can tell us about?

Tommy ‘O': Yes, (laughs) there was a big spider that was supposed to move across the stage on the song ‘Thriller’ and he thought he could get into it and ride in it, but it really wasn’t for that. It was a remote controlled spider just for show, so we all laughed and Michael laughed too!


What was favourite moment of working with Michael?

Tommy ‘O': Every moment of every day was an honor to work with Michael. And fun! He made it fun! He was also loving and caring, all the time.

How many guitars do you own and which is your favourite/s?

Tommy ‘O': Too many to count, I really don’t know! I rotate giving some away to less fortunate or to my fans and then companies/productions send me more for endorsements etc: My favorite is my signature guitars because, I helped create the look, feel and sound.

What are you currently working on?

Tommy ‘O': I am currently in the studio completing my solo musical debut which I am really excited about. You can listen to portions of my songs on my website – I know you’ll enjoy them! Also, I’ve been traveling to promote the music so that fans can get to know me and what I would like to express through my music. It’s about my life experiences and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been blessed with.

If you could give any tips to guitarists who are just starting out, what would they be?

Tommy ‘O': Listen to music, all kinds of music, different styles and try to learn the notes, guitar solos from different people. Learn songs and chords the best you can.

It is now five and half years since Michael died…do you feel that he would be proud of his legacy?

Tommy ‘O': Of course!

And lastly Tommy, what do you want Michael’s fans to know about you and do you have a message for them?

Tommy ‘O': I want fans to know that I am humbled when they come to the shows, enjoy the music, tweet me, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or visit the website and show love. I’m truly honored and love meeting and talking to as many people as I can. It’s funny because after shows, security always has to kindly ask my management team to get me out of the venue so that they can close down!

My message to everyone is to keep pursuing their dreams, never give up, success could be just one try away!

For more information on Tommy ‘O’ please use the links above or visit:

Follow him on Twitter: @TommyOOrgan

Instagram: @tommyoorgan


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Orianthi And Michael Bearden Hook Up With Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora As A New Musical Group

Sources: 3WS Radio | All Things Michael

The 2015 MusiCares Person Of The Year Gala Honoring Bob Dylan - Arrivals

It looks like Richie Sambora has got a new band together.

The former Bon Jovi guitarist attended last weekend’s MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Bob Dylan with what he tells us is a new group. He introduced them to us, and one of them is his girlfriend:

“We have Orianthi, who everbody knows from Michael Jackson and dozens of other stuff. Michael Bearden — genius. I walked into him, I don’t know how the hell we got together, but — Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga. Me. We started writing and we just started putting a record down and I think everybody’s going to be very pleased.”

The group has no name yet, according to Sambora, but he says that “as you make the music, everything kind of becomes clear.” He describes what they’re doing as covering multiple genres: “We can take it from acoustic intimacy to the heaviest heavy.” Sambora has already announced a limited run of a dozen dates with Orianthi in Europe from mid-June through early July.

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‘CNN Ones to Watch’ With Frank Gatson

Sources: CNN | All Things Michael

Lil Buck (MJ One) and Chris Grant (This Is It)

WSJ. Magazine's "Innovator Of The Year" Awards 2014 - Inside vibe-vixen-chris-grant-2

From Michael Jackson’s celebrated Moonwalk in the 80s to Miley Cyrus’ controversial twerking a generation later, pop stars have been stealing the secret moves of America’s inner city streets and transforming them into worldwide sensations.

From the tap, to the twist and the twerk, every age is defined by a dance. Where do they come from? Who are the stars of the future who’ll be shaking our world?

‘CNN Ones to Watch’ in February explores the evolution of dance from graffiti-sprayed ghettos to revolving arena stages through the eyes of legendary choreographer Frank Gatson, a man who began his career as a dancer performing alongside Michael Jackson in ‘Smooth Criminal’. Today, he is the choreographer who dreams up Beyoncé’s every move, including her iconic ‘Single Ladies’ routine, which has attracted over half a billion hits online.

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The programme introduces CNN’s viewers to two rising stars that Gatson thinks people will be seeing more of: Lil Buck, a Memphis ‘jooker’ who has created a fusion of Southern street dance and ballet that has caught Madonna’s eye, and Chris Grant, an LA-based dancer who was handpicked by Michael Jackson for his final tour and is now breaking into the world of choreography.

Gatson reveals where he believes the origins of dance lie, in distant places and times, telling ‘CNN Ones to Watch’: “I’m pretty sure that dance started in Africa. What I have learnt is that whenever I go to a warm climate those people naturally have the gift of dance inside of them. It is really, really weird to me. It is something about being in touch with the earth, being on the beach, the sand getting in your hair, the sand getting in your toes that makes you feel the earth and you can dance.”

Gatson has worked with many of the biggest artists in the world, including Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Beyoncé, En Vogue, Janet Jackson, Usher, R Kelly, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, Shakira and Patti Labelle.

What made him choose these two up-and-coming young men, Chris Grant and Lil Buck for CNN’s show?

On Lil Buck, Gatson says:  “He is a star. He’s an innovator…magical. His movement is so original. People have been waving and being fluid forever you know, but he’s made it be something else.”

Buck confesses to ‘CNN Ones to Watch’ that he feels most alive where he started out, battling on the dance floors of Memphis, Tennessee:

“When I battle people back in Memphis, they are always like, ‘how do you do this crazy stuff?’, and it is because my creativity is broader. I know how it feels to think like a ballerina. I know how it thinks to feels to think as a modern dancer, as a contemporary dancer.  I know how it feels to be in each of these realms and I can just mix these realms up. I am not just trying to become the best jooker I can be. I want to be the best artist of movement to the point where if I trip up, I can just push myself right back up!”

On Chris Grant, Gatson enthuses: “Chris is the best dancer in the world. I think the thing that makes Chris and people like Beyoncé, J-Lo and Michael Jackson, is the fire.  I will go on record to say that I think when Michael Jackson passed away, he left his soul of dance in Chris. ‘Dance like it is your last dance all the time’, always, and he does that.”

Viewers of the programme get to see Chris Grant and Gatson working behind-the-scenes on a special one-off show for Jennifer Lopez in Las Vegas.

During rehearsals, Chris Grant tells ‘CNN Ones to Watch’: “Jennifer Lopez has a Latin flavour. She just taps into it so easy. You can tell she just embodies that. She is not just about the movement or the dance. She really entertains you. It just has to really make sense depending on what the artist is saying or the movement or the sound of the music and that is the whole thing with booty…we just follow her booty…we reach to her booty…she inspires us to dance.”

‘CNN Ones to Watch’ airs at the following times on CNN International

Friday 13 February at 1030 GMT/ 1130 CET and 1630 GMT / 1730 CET

Saturday 14 February at 1430 GMT / 1530 CET and 2030 GMT / 2130 CET

Sunday 15 February at 0130 GMT / 0230 CET

Monday 16 February at 0430 GMT / 0530 CET

Tuesday 17 February at 1030 GMT / 1130 CET and 1730 GMT / 1830 CET

Wednesday 18 February at 0430 GMT / 0530 CET and 0930 GMT / 1030 CET


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Soul Man Alan Prater Remembers The Day He Was Hired For The Jacksons 1984 Victory Tour

Sources: – By Richard Burnett | All Things Michael


At the time, he was the trombonist for famed American R&B singer Millie Jackson (no relation to The Jacksons), whose promoter told Prater about The Jacksons auditioning horn sections.

“But my horn section (North Florida’s East Coast Horns) wasn’t famous like the Muscle Shoals Horns and all these guys,” Prater said in an interview this week. “The promoter got us an audition and we pretended to be the Memphis Horns!”

Days later Prater and his horn section flew to Los Angeles, where they were picked up at the airport by a driver holding up a sign that read “Memphis Horns.”

“That’s us!” Prater said. They soon found themselves in the Jackson home playing for family matriarch, Katherine Jackson.

“I didn’t tell the boys it was an audition, I originally told them it was a gig,” Prater said. “We all went into the kitchen and started playing for her. She called all of her sons and said, ‘They know all of your songs!’ We played for them, we danced, we were like the Jackson 5 with horns. And they fell in love with us. Later we told them we weren’t the Memphis Horns, and Michael told me, ‘I don’t care who you are, you’re the Jackson Horns now.’ ”

Michael Jackson later hired Prater to be in his solo touring band and, between tours, Prater spent time in Montreal visiting a friend. “I just fell in love with the city,” Prater said.

Prater was born into a family of gospel singers and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., where he learned to play trumpet and trombone before graduating from Florida A&M University in the late 1970s. Prater was a gifted musician, playing violin and drums before he became a one-man horn section. In 2008, his East Coast Horns was inducted into the North Florida Music Hall of Fame.

By the time Prater moved to Montreal for good in 1991, he’d spent the previous decade performing with a who’s who in R&B, including Cameo, Rick James and The O’Jays. He also toured across Canada (including headlining Montreal’s now-defunct R&B nightclub Checkers) with his former band Transit, whose members are now Al Green’s backup band. But Prater’s favourite performer remains Michael Jackson.

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Musical artist Alan Prater in his studio at his Montreal home Monday, February 9, 2015.When Jackson died in 2009, Prater was dumbfounded. “I tell you, Michael was one of the best and kindest human beings I ever met in my life. If you needed help, he was there for you, hands-on. It was a family thing. After each show, I’d sit in my hotel room and Michael would knock on the door every night and we’d talk. He was always curious about other people’s lives.”

In Montreal, Prater has been closely identified with two seminal local outfits, funk band The Aliens and his current R&B band JAMAD, which features renowned Montreal musicians Al Baculis (formerly of rock band Bootsauce) on bass, in-demand session drummer Max Sansalone, and Joel Campbell (Tina Turner’s piano player) on keys.

JAMAD packed Montreal’s Jello Bar and later Club Peopl for years during their weekly residencies there before headlining a big outdoor free show at the 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival.

“Residencies are important because people who love soul music seek them out. Touring musicians like Meshell Ndegeocello and Jeff Healey used to come by Jello just to see us play, and sometimes they’d join us onstage,” said Prater, whose band kick-starts its new residency at Rosalie’s bar on Feb. 26.

In fact, when funk legend Bootsy Collins headlined Metropolis at the 2011 Montreal International Jazz Festival, Prater was leaning against a bar enjoying a beer when Bootsy’s road manager approached him.

“Are you Alan Prater?” the road manager asked. “You’re a legend around here in Montreal. Would you like to introduce Mr. Collins to your people?”

So Prater introduced Bootsy and the band, and Collins later thanked Prater backstage.

But though Prater is a spokesperson for Montreal’s Black History Month this year (alongside singer-songwriter Valérie Daure), he doesn’t consider himself a role model, and downplays the accolades.

“You have to have a hustle mentality if you want to make it in the music business,” Prater said. “This was all I wanted to do. This was not a choice. I had a nine-to-five job once — I went on my break and never came back. Find something you love and do it. I found something that I love and that’s what I do.”

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JAMAD performs at Rosalie (1232 de la Montagne St.) every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. beginning on Feb. 26.  Admission: $10.


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Naomi Campbell Weighs In On Michael Jackson, Diversity In Fashion And More

Sources: Cocoa Fab – By Courtney Willis | All Things Michael


Naomi Campbell is a veteran in the entertainment and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.

The supermodel turned actress recently opened up to Sway on Shade 45 about everything from the fashion world to her friendship with Michael Jackson.

When it comes to diversity in fashion, she says things have definitely improved since she started her career.

“It’s getting better. You know I was here with Beth Ann Hardison who is like my second mother and Beth Ann has taken on this amazing challenge of diversity balance and Iman and I have stood by her. We’ve chosen to stand by her because we feel like we are the two that can speak out with her. The others shouldn’t because they are still working in the field and even though I am still working in the field I feel like I have to help the younger ones underneath me and get them a chance too,” she said.

“It’s like you go forward an inch and then go back a quarter. Yes, there are better quality models of color but you still have to keep talking, got to keep mentioning got to keep reminding.”

She also reminisced about her friendship with Michael Jackson.

“He’s so amazing. I miss him so much. He was very professional, very professional like a perfectionist. Every beat, every move to every beat in the song, I mean He knew what he wanted. But then also he was this amazing man-child at the same time,” she said.


See 6:50 – 10:06 for the conversation about Michael


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Ladysmith Black Mambazo To Perform At Strathmore

Sources: Gazette New | All Things Michael


Created by Joseph Shabalala based on a series of dreams he had, the all-male a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo from South Africa has been around for more than 50 years.

The award-winning singers will perform at the Music Center at Strathmore at 8 p.m. Friday.


Ladysmith Black Mambazo has won numerous awards, including two Drama Desk awards and four Grammys. They recorded their first album in 1973 and have since gone on to record more than 50 — many of those picking up gold and/or platinum certification.

The group is probably better known for their work with Paul Simon on his “Graceland” album, or recording with The Winans, George Clinton, and even Michael Jackson.

Tickets for the show are $28-$69. More more information, visit, or call 301-581-5100.


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