|Инна||Дата: Воскресенье, 14.10.2012, 10:27 | Сообщение # 1|
Интересные статьи о Майкле Джексоне на англ.
(Для желающих переводить)
|Инна||Дата: Воскресенье, 14.10.2012, 10:38 | Сообщение # 2|
Michael and Danny Sembello
This powerful twosome has been making music since the early 1970s. By 17 Michael Sembello was already part of Stevie Wonder’s band and went on the play with him for seven years. Younger brother Danny Sembello followed in Michael’s footsteps and at the same age had his first hit recorded by Donna Summer and produced by Quincy Jones. From sharing a pasta dinner with Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5 to having major hits like “Maniac”, these brothers shared more than a lifetime of music with us.
Michael (left) with brother Danny (directly to right). Oldest brother John in back
It seems as if you both were destined to make music. Can you each describe how you got your breaks as musicians?
Michael Sembello: It was really by accident that I auditioned to play guitar in Stevie Wonder's band. A friend of mine had come over early one Sunday and convinced me to go the audition with him. I was hesitant because I really didn't know who Stevie was. I was studying with the great Pat Martino and really wanted to be a jazz player. I honestly just went to the auditions to support my friend. Everyone there knew Stevie's stuff and some even had his song books. I remember one guitar player asking Stevie, "What song of yours are you going to play?" and he said, "Just follow me, I don't know what's going to happen , it's all about jazz now." Lucky for me we were both heading in the same direction. He played a lot of the complex jazz progressions I was already studying and very few of his songs. By the end of the day I was the only guitar player left standing.
I believe in serendipity and that there are no coincidences in the universe. I actually told Stevie that I couldn't go out on tour with him right away because I had some weddings to play the following weekend. His management just laughed and said, "If you want the gig kid, you better show up to New York day after tomorrow." When I stood on that stage with him for the first time, I realized who he was, the great "Stevie Wonder" and the next seven years where the most wonderful musical years of my life.
Danny Sembello: Michael was musical from an early age, but I wasn't as sure that the music business was the right place for me. It took me a little longer to realize that I wanted to make music. My cousin was playing with the Jackson 5 in Philly and he had invited them over for dinner before the show. Sitting around my cousin's table eating pasta, Michael [Jackson] began to egg me on saying that your brother bragged about how great of a keyboard player I was. I replied, " Well, I'm actually a better basketball player but I'll play something if you want. So I played "Shake Your Body Down to the Ground" then I segued into "The Secret Life of Plants" a song I learned in the studio with my brother and Stevie Wonder. Michael became captivated with the melody and asked me to play it at least a half dozen times. Each time I played, Michael leaned a little further over the piano to watch my hands. That night was truly magical for me. The day Michael died my brother and I both lost a great friend and inspiration.
Michael, Marlon and Danny Sembello
Michael, what was it like going on tour with Stevie Wonder so young?
MS:I actually didn't have a suitcase when I left home. My mom had packed an ACME grocery bag for me full of clothes. I went off to New York and started to practice with the band. Stevie liked to practice in basically old folks homes because they never complained. Getting an elevator would take forever. (Smiling) Everyone was getting in and out with their walkers at an incredibly slow pace. Sometimes it would take a half hour
How did playing in that band change you as a musician?
MS: Stevie helped me hone my skills as a guitar player. One night after a show he pulled me aside and told me tone it down. I remember thinking how I was playing my heart out each night and how I didn't know what else to do. Stevie taught me to use my solos to play meaningful lines, not just rip on the guitar. He helped me refine who I was as a musician.
Danny, Stevie was an important figure in your musical career as well. Can you describe your relationship with him?
DS: At 15, I was in a rhythm and blues band called MYX, which Stevie produced. Stevie inspired me to channel my creativity into songwriting. By the age of 17, I had my first song recorded by Donna Summer and produced by Quincy Jones. By the time I was 22, I had just won my first Grammy.
Michael, Stevie gave you advice when it came to songs - more specifically "Maniac," the song which earned you a Grammy.
MS: I left touring with Stevie to put out my solo album Bossa Nova Hotel. That album contained "Maniac," which became a huge hit. This is a song that always surprises me. After getting placement on the soundtrack to Flashdance, it went on to be a huge radio hit and has been placed in numerous TV commercials. I just found out that its chorus is used on the new Timbaland album, Shock Value II, on the song, "The One I Love" featuring Keri Hilson.
Michael Sembello and Stevie Wonder talk about the writing of "Maniac"
I understand you guys have some pretty rare recordings of Stevie Wonder live with Michael playing guitar. What do you plan to do with those?
DS: Those were recorded off a cassette deck on Michael's amp in the 1970s. He would set it up during the concerts so he could practice off of them later. I found them a few years ago and knew I had to do something with them. I've been using RX Advanced to restore them, and so far I'm amazed with what we have been able to do. As for what's going to happen with the restored recording, you'll have to ask Stevie.
Michael Sembello playing guitar at 17 in Stevie Wonder's band
Danny, Lets talk about your success as a song writer. You have such a huge catalog of hits.
DS: I've written for artists from Celine Dion to Brandy to Cyndi Lauper to George Benson to The Pointer Sisters to New Edition to Boy George and the list goes on. I co-wrote "Why oh Why" which was placed on Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love album. It was the album that had "My Heart Will Go On" and has sold over nine million copies world wide. My most known song is probably "Neutron Dance" which was recorded by The Pointer Sisters. It was one of the musical highlights of the movie Beverly Hills Cop, and won special recognition from ASCAP as one of the years most performed songs.
Danny, one of your recent projects involves using music as a conflict resolution tool with young kids. Could you tell us about RevolutionOfTheSpirit.Com?
DS: After writing for artists for such a long time, in 2000, when my publishing deal was about to come up, I was looking for a new direction. I was talking to my cousin Sharon Silver one night she began to tell me how the students in her class were singing rap lyrics during class breaks. It was almost like a light went off in my head and my focus turned from writing music for artists, to writing music for students. I wanted to give the kids a way to express themselves, but with music that was appropriate for them. I took off four years to write the album Revolution of The Spirit with my cousin, and to this day it's the product that I am most proud of.
Where can we find the album?
DS: You can find it on iTunes.
Being that you both knew Michael Jackson; Danny having played piano for him early in his career and Michael writing "Carousel" which was released on the Special Edition of Thriller, what went through minds when he passed away earlier this year?
MS: I immediately called Danny. I was going through a rough spot in my life and Michael's passing truly broke me heart. I had the opportunity to work with him when he was picking songs for Thriller. At the time, I had written "Carousel," which Michael loved and actually recorded a demo of. It was slated to be on the album, but then the orders came down from Quincy [Jones] that there was only room for one song on the album with that kind of groove and "Human Nature" won that slot. "Carousel" was released on the Special Edition of Thriller a few years ago, and in Quincy's commentary he talks about the song and my time with Michael. He will always be a legend to me.
DS: To be honest, I cried. Playing piano for Michael is a memory I never forget. Having him respond the way he did made me want to be a musician. It was the first time I felt I had inspired someone and witnessed first hand what music can do. Right after that, I graduated high school and then jumped on a plane to California to become a musician.
What's next for you both? Can you give us some info on any upcoming projects?
DS: Well, musically I'm working with young talent (both artists and writers) to score music for movies and TV. Screenwriters come to me with scripts and I work with the artists to put together the soundtracks. Sync licensing is a great part of the business to be in right now.
MS: I am working on the first "Sembello Brothers" record with John and Dan. This is the first time the brothers have ever worked together on a record. I am continuing to perform live as a Global artist and remain committed to singing in other languages.
Майкл, Рэнди и гитарист Bud Rizzo, который работал с Джексонами в туре Destiny World Tour
|Инна||Дата: Пятница, 01.08.2014, 13:02 | Сообщение # 3|
Tommy Sims with a reminder of the days he spent with Michael Jackson
For 20 years, Tommy Sims did hair and make-up for the stars, most famously Michael Jackson.
Now he owns a roast meal takeaway business in Motueka. ALASTAIR PAULIN tracks his course from the Hollywood Hills to High St.
Tommy Sims first met Michael Jackson in the late 1970s.
A rep from Jackson's production company called Sims out of the blue and asked if he wanted to help with some designs for the upcoming Destiny tour by the Jacksons. So he found himself hanging out with the rising young star, bouncing ideas back and forth and making sketches of hairstyles and wigs. He had just left high school.
It sounds like an abrupt entry into the world of Hollywood, celebrity and fashion, but Sims was no stranger to the scene. A third-generation Los Angeleno, he started modelling when he was six and by the time he was in high school knew he wanted to be a hairdresser. He loved to sing but had seen enough of the Hollywood life to adopt a maxim he repeats often: "Make me rich, not famous."
If that seemed unlikely on one level "I never thought I was going to make it as a hairdresser because I hated getting up and I hated going to work" Sims had talent and an eye for a niche. "I would go round to yard sales and buy old wigs and repair them and every drag queen in West Hollywood would buy them."
His hairdressing career took off when he went to work at the salon of Beverly Hills celebrity stylist Tovar. He was Tovar's assistant (like Madonna and Prince, Tovar only went by one name) and took over the celebrity clientele after Tovar died.
Among them was Bette Midler, who one day around 1980 asked Sims if he did make-up as well as hairdressing. "I don't know where the word `yes' came from," he laughs. She offered him a job doing hair and make-up on her upcoming tour and Sims was launched into a new career that would see him travelling around the globe, as part of the entourage of a range of stars of the show-biz world.
But first, he called every woman he knew and begged for lessons in the art of applying make-up.
He says now he had recognised that salon life was not for him. Still, as his own celebrity grew, he used it to charge $800 for a haircut. "When I came into a salon, I made sure my prices were higher than anyone else's. I wasn't looking to build a clientele."
The Bette Midler tour was a launching pad for him, and he became known for his wild hair designs. It was the 1980s, big hair was in, and Sims loved to work with artists like Midler who delighted in taking designs way over the top.
He was head-hunted to design for the Las Vegas showmen Siegfried and Roy, the camp German illusionists famous for their flamboyance and white tigers, and would fly out to Vegas to work two shows a night for them.
Looking through his thick scrapbook of photos and clippings that document his showbiz career, Sims points out a towering hairpiece he designed for a lead performer in Siegfried and Roy's show. It was constructed of three wigs, an elaborate necklace he bought at a boutique on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood and a "piece I found in Thailand".
"It's not the kind of make-up you wear on the street. It's completely over the top and that's what I love," he says.
Among the tours, salon guest gigs, work for hair product companies and celebrity clients including Farrah Fawcett, Raquel Welch and Kylie Minogue, his sporadic association with Michael Jackson was his longest and most fulfilling.
In Jackson, he found a willing collaborator for his theatrical visions. "Michael liked wild, the more wild the better," he says a driven performer who loved to be on stage and to entertain.
Sims' last work for Jackson was as the primary hair and make-up artist for the HIStory tour in 1996-97, which he calls "the most exciting thing I've ever done in my life". The 82-concert tour lasted a year, visited 58 cities in 35 countries on five continents, and was seen by more than 4.5 million people. "Michael's amped up, we're all amped up. We're going to see 150,000 people in Wembley Stadium today!"
Sims was Jackson's personal make-up artist and oversaw the make-up and hair team who were implementing his designs "keeping everything up, making sure everyone is doing your work perfectly".
A big part of his life on tour was shopping. Asked to describe a typical day, he laughs: "Shop, shop, shop, shop. Because who knows when you're going to get back there?
"I would go out and I'd find a piece of jewellery or a new jacket. Michael would say, `Where did you get that?"'
Sims would gift his find to Jackson until eventually he had to explain that he couldn't afford to hand over all his shopping, so instead it became part of his job to shop for Jackson. Once, he found himself flying back to Poland, the previous stop on the tour, to buy another jacket Jackson had admired.
He would accompany Jackson on shopping trips too, although "going out with Michael is not a pleasure; it's real work. You're stuck in the crowds, you can't move, security is very tight. You never know what fans are capable of doing. The fear that sets in when there's that many people is a real awakening."
That taste of the downside of fame was one of the factors behind Sims' eventual decision to move to New Zealand.
His house in the Hollywood Hills was on a private street, and yet Jackson fans would "congregate at the back of my drive and if I had the top down on the car, they'd put teddy bears, flowers, toys for Michael in the car".
He finds it incredible that he could be stalked just because of his association with Jackson. "I mean, really, I'm a make-up artist."
But he understands the passion Jackson inspired, calling him "one of the most amazing human beings I've met in my life", and admitting that Jackson was the only celebrity he felt starstruck around.
Sims grew up listening to Jackson songs like Ben and Going Back to Indiana but says that he didn't let his fandom influence his work or relationship with Jackson.
"Of course, I'd never show it because it's not professional and it makes everybody uncomfortable."
Sims first visited New Zealand with family in 1980. He returned here on the HIStory tour, and moved here permanently in 2000 with his long-time partner, lawyer Richard Hunt, whose parents, Sally and Robert Hunt, founded the luxury retreat Paratiho Lodge near Ngatimoti.
Once the lodge was completed, Sims and Hunt moved to their own house in the Little Sydney Valley near Riwaka, where there was plenty of room for Sims' growing menagerie. He had kept animals in Los Angeles but had to leave his three large macaw parrots behind they are now at Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
Sims had been with Hunt since he was 17 and says that when Hunt died in 2005, he wanted to get rid of everything that reminded him of their life together. He thought of moving back to Los Angeles but realised the city was the backdrop to their long partnership too. Thirteen months after Hunt's death, Robert Hunt who Sims refers to as "Dad" also died.
Sims says that when he and Richard Hunt moved to New Zealand, it had been to retire, but with his partner gone, he found himself getting bored. He worked at salons in Mapua and Nelson, and at a Motueka real estate office, but "I didn't enjoy it. I'm not an office person, I'm an artist."
In April this year he bought Coast Roast, a takeaway roast meal business on Motueka's High St. He and Hunt had been among the first customers when the previous owner opened the business in 2004 and became its "most regular customers".
Carving roast pork in an open-fronted shop on cold Motueka evenings doesn't seem like an obvious fit, although Sims cuts a dashing figure in his chef's whites and clearly loves the sociable, front-of-house side of the business. He knows lots of people in Motueka, remembers their names and asks after their families while slicing thick hunks of meat with an electric carving knife.
The business also supplies frozen roast meals all over the region. He bought a freezer truck and his driver delivers to people's homes, often stocking the freezer for elderly clients. Sims says their clients love the contact, travelling nurses are recommending their meals, and they are supplying some old age homes.
"I'm doing exactly what I want to do. I felt like in my last life it was all about money and publicity but here I'm in help mode. I'm now an entrenched member of the Motueka community and I've never been happier."
After a quarter-century of the jet-set life, does he not miss the glamour, the travel, the parties, shopping? Sims, who recently turned 50, admits he misses aspects of it but has no regrets. "That would be like saying, `Do you miss being 30?"'
He's at a stage of life to savour his experiences with the King of Pop. "My life with Michael Jackson was a gift."
- The Nelson Mail