BWW Interviews: Tito Jackson Chats Unity Tour and Jackson 5 Musical
The most legendary family in music history, The Jacksons, are returning to the stage this summer with their highly-anticipated Unity Tour 2012. A worldwide sensation since the 1970s, the Jackson brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito will appear at concert venues throughout the country. This extraordinary reunion tour marks the first time the siblings have toured together since their groundbreaking Victory Tour in 1984.
Beloved by millions of fans across the globe for their soulful, sound, contagious stage presence, and unforgettable roster of hits, the Jacksons first achieved international superstardom with their late brother Michael - becoming the first group ever to have their first four singles hit #1 on the Billboard Charts. Throughout their four-decade long career, the group revolutionized music and pop culture, getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. The Unity Tour 2012 will be yet another milestone for the Jacksons, bringing the most famous family in music back together for a historic series of shows.
Tito Jackson took a moment from his busy schedule to chat with BWW about the group's current Unity Tour, as well as why he thinks a Broadway show based on the music of the Jackson 5 is a 'great idea.'
The music that you and your brothers have made has influenced so many generations. I was wondering who some of your musical influences were.
Oh, that's an easy one! There were quite a few. Of course, the whole Motown roster, from Stevie Wonder to Gladys Knight to The Temptations, The Four Tops, Sly and the Family Stones, The Bee Gees, The Beatles, Three Dog Knight. We just had a whole bunch of them. We even went as far as people like BB King, Joe Tex, The Mills Brothers, it goes way back. We loved that music and we tried to sing the things we heard on the radio.
Was it difficult to decide which songs you were going to include in this current tour?
It was difficult. There were so many songs to chose from. So we narrowed it down to the ones that the public in advance would want to hear. And of course we're doing a large variety of all our hit records. But we have a few songs that were popular songs that were never released as a single song, like Heartbreak Hotel. Old things like that, Man of War. So we do have a few songs in there that weren't singles, but that the public just absolutely loved.
Why did you decide to call it 'The Unity Tour'?
Well, to bring the world together. People think it's unity to bring the brothers together, but it's called the Unity Tour to bring the world together. We thought it would be something to help make the world a more peaceful place. That's what we're about, trying to improve our environment, our relationships with each other, and we sing about it all the time. And that's what Michael did and that's what the group always had done and what we're always going to continue to do.
That's wonderful. I understand that within the show there will be a special tribute to Michael?
Yes, we have a segment that is a tribute to Michael. As a matter of fact, the whole show is dedicated to Michael. We feel his spirit on stage with us. I can imagine him in my mind when I perform, taking control of the audience and doing what he did. He's missed very much but we all felt that he would want us to continue to entertain people, so he's with us and he supports us 100%.
I wanted to ask you about your upcoming performance at the Apollo Theater. That's really where it all began for the Jackson 5, so in a way, it's a homecoming.
Yes. Yes. Apollo was a home for us. We haven't performed at the Apollo since I believe 1968 or '69. Prior to Motown. And we had done many shows at that theater in our early early career, prior to 'I Want You Back'. We would open up for James Brown, and Smokey and Gladys Knight and all these other professional artists, Jackie Wiilson. So to come back to the Apollo after all those years is such a pleasure. As we all know it's a landmark theater and every performer goes to the Apollo. Just to bring it back home will be a touching moment and an exciting moment.