Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Jun 30th 2009 2:00PM by Nick Zaino
It makes more sense if you know that the musician in question is Robbie Fulks, who has been covering 'Billie Jean' for 10 or so years, stretching back to a Jackson tribute show he staged in 1999. At the end of Fulks' near two-hour set last Friday with guitarist Rob Gjersoe, the encore requests heavily favored 'Billie Jean,' and Fulks obliged. "If you came here expecting smart ass Michael Jackson jokes," he said, "you'll be disappointed."
Fulks said he was saddened by Jackson's death, and how he loved some of the early records, how they were dark with a strange sense of humor. Darkness and humor happen to be two of Fulks' best traits, too, which is probably what made him record a tribute album of Michael Jackson songs in 2000-2001, a record he says may finally see the light of day now.
Fulks says he'll look to have the album out, "after the initial wave of grief dies down a little bit, in a month or two. I think it will be a really strong memory for a long time. Like Elvis." He says the record contains 12 or 13 tunes, from more obscure Jackson 5 songs, to hits like 'Ben' and, of course, 'Billie Jean.' The way Fulks describes it, the tribute should be an eclectic affair. He recorded 'Privacy' with Chicago punk band Shellac and a singer named Azita, whom Fulks says "just shrieks tunelessly and scarily on the song." On a different end of the spectrum, Fulks praises the performance of John Hughey, who played steel guitar for Vince Gill and Conway Twitty, on 'Ben.'
Fulks mentions that Yep Roc, the label that released Fulks' 2005 album 'Georgia Hard,' has already expressed interest in releasing the tribute album. Fulks is also kicking around the idea of a digital release, having had some success with his 50-song album '50-Vc. Doberman' in February.
The one thing he knows for sure is that he's eager for this project to finally see the light of day after roughly nine years of trying to release it. "With music like that, it sits there aging on the shelf, and I've gone back and listened to it a couple of times," he says. "Some of it stands out to me and some of it I don't like so much anymore. The longer it sits, the smaller a record it gets. It'll be one song in another five years." Let's hope we don't have to wait that long.