Theo Wargo, Getty Images - Ozzy Osbourne fails to recall a rather hazy period of…
- Posted on Jun 26th 2009 2:56PM by Benjy Eisen
Thursday night, with very little prep time beforehand, the band encored with 'Billy Jean' at their concert in Richmond, Va. They also jammed parts of 'Smooth Criminal' and 'Wanna Be Startin' Something' in their own songs throughout the night. It was their way of paying respects to the King, who died earlier in the day.
"There never will be another musical talent as captivating as Michael Jackson," singer/guitarist Brendan Bayliss tells Spinner. "From the time he was five until his death, the entire world could never take its eyes off of him. His music was timeless, and like Bob Marley and John Lennon before him, it truly had a global impact. Very few musicians connected with people across lines of race and age, as well as international borders, the way Michael's did. His death truly is a major loss for us all."
His bandmate, keyboardist Joel Cummins, echos that sentiment by relaying his own experience with Jackson's music: "I was 9 years old and first tape that I ever bought was Michael Jackson's 'Thriller.' I immediately felt a like I was more of a cool kid once I knew the songs. The arrangements, Michael's voice and everything that went with that album just jumped out of the speakers like nothing else I'd ever heard," Joel says. "I still have a tape deck in my car to this day, and the two tapes that get the most play are Led Zeppelin's 'Houses of the Holy' and Michael Jackson's 'Off the Wall.' The timelessness of his music speaks for itself."
Umphrey's McGee got their start in Bend, IN, not too far from the city of Gary, where the Jackson family grew up. Percussionist Andy Farag actually has a personal anecdote about Jackson. "I feel a sense of pride that such a musical icon was from Gary, IN, where my dad grew up," he tells Spinner. "Fun Fact: Before the Jackson Five 'blew up' they played at my uncle's prom."