The 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's "Bad" last year was good for the tribute group Who's Bad -- even if the band didn't do anything special for the commemoration.
"We were toying with the idea of doing a show recreating the 'Bad' album, but in the end we didn't want to limit ourselves," says Vamsi Tadepalli, the San Francisco-based saxophonist who founded Who's Bad in 2004, while studying music at the University of North Carolina. "It mostly just got us excited to perform the songs again, and it was nice to reinvigorate the fan base a little bit.
"Whenever his name is out there, they think about it and say 'Oh, Who's Bad is playing. Let's go see what that's about.' Any press is good press, we say."
Who's Bad, which uses two singers to impersonate the late Jackson, plays up to 120 shows a year, according to Tadepalli, though it packed 170 into 2009, most scheduled after Jackson's death that year. The shows are patterned after Jackson's own "Bad" and "Dangerous" tours, but Tadepalli says the group will "add some new songs here and there, of course, to keep it fresh."
And the audience certainly tries to have its say about that.
"I think probably the biggest request is for 'Free Willy' -- which is not the name of the song," Tadepalli, 32, says. "The actually song they're referring to is 'Will you Be There.' That's probably the one that's yelled out the most, but we're like, 'If you don't know the real name of the song, we're not going to play it for you.'
"That's a little bratty, maybe, but if they're really Michael Jackson fans you'd think they'd know the right song title."
Who's Bad and Bodymath perform Friday, Jan. 18, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call 248-353-9030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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