Ants will rock this weekend’s Michael Jackson tribute concert… in a manner of speaking.
Alien Ant Farm, the alt rock band that can claim a surprisingly long history with the late King of Pop, is on the bill. The group famously recorded a cover of Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal“, which hit No. 1 on the modern rock charts in 2001.
The band will be performing that song along with a version of MJ’s “PYT” at the Michael Forever concert in Cardiff, Wales, on Saturday.
We talked by phone with AAF frontman Dryden Mitchell, who says he’s stoked about the concert.
“This show is going to be gi-normous, so it’s good for us,” Mitchell told reporters. He says he never got to meet Jackson personally, but heard from his reps that Michael liked their “Smooth Criminal” cover. “We’ve all been fans [of Michael] since we were little shavers.”
Joining Alien Ant Farm are Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, Beyonce (by satellite) and Gladys Knight, among other artists.
Jackson brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie are performing together, and sister LaToya will make what’s being called her “first full concert performance” in nearly 20 years. The Black Eyed Peas, however, dropped out of the tribute for undisclosed reasons.
Mitchell told reporters he wasn’t sure why the Peas bailed, but he’s focusing on AAF’s performance. He promises a lively set.
“We’re a pretty energetic band,” he said dryly.
The world may have lost the iconic King of Pop, but on a day in June, 2009, his children suddenly lost their father.
Michael Jackson‘s bodyguard Faheem Muhammad testified Wednesday in the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial, saying that he entered the star’s bedroom minutes after his death and saw Jackson’s two oldest children watching in horror.
“Paris was on the ground, balled up and crying,” Muhammad testified, adding that “Prince had a really shocked, just slowly crying kind of look.”
He said that Jackson lay sprawled diagonally across his bed, his eyes open and his mouth slightly open, as Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray – who was in court for the second day of his trial – frantically tried to revive him.
“He appeared to be administering CPR,” Muhammad testified. “He appeared very nervous. He was sweaty.”
During the testimony, Jackson’s family, including sister Janet, listened intently. Jackson’s mother Katherine clutched a tissue and looked down.
Muhammad also testified he had the nanny take the children away so they wouldn’t see the paramedics carry Jackson out. Then he called security at UCLA‘s hospital to warn that paparazzi were already in the trees outside the house and would likely try to sneak in to Jackson’s hospital room.
Prosecutors say Murray was grossly negligent, administering the hospital-strength anesthetic propofol without using proper monitoring equipment or even making sure someone was always in the room.
Michael Jackson‘s personal physician, Conrad Murray, has gone on trial in Los Angeles, charged with involuntary manslaughter of the singer.
Prosecutors say he gave Jackson a lethal dose of the sedative propofol, which the star used as a sleeping aid, on the night he died in June 2009.
The defence says Jackson gave himself too much of the drug.
If convicted, Dr Murray, 58, could face four years in jail and the loss of his medical licence.
The proceedings will be televised and broadcast online.
Focus on final hours
Hundreds of Jackson fans gathered outside court on Tuesday for the start of the trial, which is beginning with opening statements from defence and prosecution.
ackson choreographer Kenny Ortega was set to be the first prosecution witnesses to take the stand.
Mr Ortega was expected to lead the court through some footage from Jackson’s final rehearsals as the 50-year-old star prepared for a series of comeback concerts.
That video eventually became part of a documentary, This is It, directed by Mr Ortega.
A judge has blocked some details of both Jackson and Dr Murray’s lives from being discussed at the trial.
Jackson’s history with drugs and financial troubles, as well as Dr Murray’s debts and personal affairs, will not come out in court.
Both sides were expected to focus on Jackson’s last hours.
Multiple witnesses, including security guards, paramedics and emergency room doctors are to be called.
The prosecution also plans to play a recording of Dr Murray’s police interview two days after Jackson’s death, in which the doctor says he gave the singer propofol for his insomnia.
The disclosure led to charges being brought against Dr Murray in February 2010.
Propofol is usually administered intravenously, often during surgery. Medical experts are expected to testify about the drug’s effects, as well as how a trace amount of the drug was found in Jackson’s stomach.
Defence lawyers are putting forward the theory that Jackson drank or somehow administered an extra dose of propofol after Dr Murray left.
The prosecution, meanwhile, will try to prove that Dr Murray was grossly negligent by administering too much of the drug and doing so outside of a hospital setting, without life-saving equipment nearby.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
The jury comprises seven men and five women, one African American, six whites and five Latinos.
Acts signed for October’s tribute concert for Michael Jackson include Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Smokey Robinson, Cee Lo Green and JLS, the promoters told CNN Thursday.
Members of the Jackson family taking the stage October 8 in Cardiff, Wales, include several of Michael Jackson’s brothers, “the next generation of Jacksons,” and 3T, which consists of Tito Jackson’s three sons.
Alternative rock band Alien Ant Farm and British R&B singer Craig David are also on the bill, while other artists will be added in the next few days, according to promoter Global Live Events.
“This announcement is just the beginning, we have many more to announce,” Global Live Events executive Paul Ring said. “This concert will unite various generations and musical genres, remgenerations and musical genres, reminding everyone of just how amazing a talent Michael was.”
With the “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert” line-up now known, fans can start “registering their interest for tickets” online at http://www.michaelforevertribute.com/ beginning Thursday, the promoter said. A lottery will determine which fans will be invited to purchase tickets, it said.
Organizers of a Michael Jackson tribute concert, supported by the late pop star’s mother and four siblings, promise they will announce “an incredible line-up very soon” that will include “some of the greatest names in music.”
Promoters missed their deadline of Thursday to name the performers for the October 8 show, forcing them to put registration for tickets to the Cardiff, Wales, concert on hold.
“The registration period was put on hold because we want people to know who they are registering to see,” Chris Hunt, the head of the British company promoting the concert, said in a message posted online Friday.
The plan had been to announce the acts over a 10-day period following the July 25 news conference in which Jackson brothers Marlon, Tito and Jackie, sister La Toya and family matriarch Katherine Jackson endorsed the “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert.” READ MORE HERE.