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Kiss dropped from Michael Jackson tribute show

By | Published on Wednesday 17 August 2011


The Michael Jackson tribute show being organised by the singer’s mother Katherine, which is due to take place at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in October, is proving controversial.

Before any bands had been booked, the singer’s brothers Jermaine and Randy had said they thought scheduling the show on a date when the trial of the man accused of killing Michael, Dr Conrad Murray, is likely to still be in full swing was inappropriate. Then the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, John Branca and John McClain, released a statement confirming that they have no involvement in the event.

This week, fans were up in arms because Kiss were among the initial acts announced to play the event, alongside join Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, Leona Lewis, JLS, Smokey Robinson, Craig David, Alien Ant Farm and Jacko’s nephews 3T.

Katherine Jackson told CNN that Michael “would be very excited about Kiss”. Though fans took to the internet in droves to point out that he might be slightly less excited following the interview Kiss bassist Gene Simmons gave to Classic Rock last year, in which he said: “There’s no question in my mind [Michael Jackson] molested those kids. Not a doubt”.

In fact, Simmons said considerably more than that. He told the rock magazine: “I knew Michael. I ran into him a few times. I met him the first time before he became the superstar, when he was sort of teenagey, when he was still a Jackson Five. But as time moved on, and no matter what my fond memories and fond images of Michael were, with one allegation of paedophilia after another and another and another… oh dear”.

He added: “I knew some of the musicians he toured with, and specifically one who quit because of seeing boys coming out of the hotel rooms. And then you factor in that his travel agent was put on the stand and in court said that she was authorised to fly to Brazil and bring boys back to America for him… Well, you know, where there’s smoke there’s fire”.

Michael Jackson was, of course, accused of child abuse a number of times. However, on the one occasion he faced trial in a court of law, he was cleared of all charges.

Yesterday, Chris Hunt, CEO of Global Live Events, the company putting together the show, said in a statement: “We have listened to Michael’s fans and are grateful to have been alerted to these unfortunate statements by Gene Simmons. Under the circumstances, we fully agree that even though Kiss is a band Michael admired, we have no choice but to rescind our invitation to them to appear in our tribute concert”.

According to Reuters, Howard Weitzman, a lawyer acting on behalf of McClain and Branca also wrote to Global Live Events saying that the executors of Jackson’s estate were “disappointed” in the decision to book Kiss. The letter also raised questions about the event as a whole, noting that Jermaine and Randy Jackson were not supporting the concert and asking if all the acts announced had actually been booked. Weitzman wrote: “We are extremely concerned about Michael’s legacy, his fans and the public-at-large”.

As you may remember, Jermaine Jackson was behind plans to stage a tribute show for his brother in Vienna in 2009, but it all fell to pieces after half the acts announced to play told the press they’d agreed to no such thing. Jermaine then announced that the show was being moved to June 2010, though it never happened. Although he is clearly not involved with the latest planned tribute, and Global Live was not the promoter of either of the cancelled shows, the executors of the late king of pop’s estate clearly aren’t convinced that anyone in the Jackson family can pull it off.