The Jacksons Dive Into Their Storied Past

Photo by Erik Kabik

Photo by Erik Kabik

From ancient Greek oral history to viral YouTube videos, storytelling is as natural as breathing. It’s only fitting that the Las Vegas reunion of the Jackson brothers—one of music’s most-storied families—has debuted in RockTellz & CockTails at Planet Hollywood. Modeled somewhat on the long-running VH1 Storytellers concept, RockTellz is a platform for the Jacksons to entertain musically, pictorially and anecdotally. We recently caught up with Jackie Jackson, the eldest of the brothers, to discuss his new show with Marlon, Jermaine and Tito.

The Jackson family last performed on the Strip 20 years ago for NBC’s special The Jackson Family Honors. Was it an emotional experience to return to the Strip?

Yes, definitely. That was a long time ago, but just being back and getting ready for the show opened a flood of memories for all of us.

It’s also pretty convenient since you live in Las Vegas.

That’s true. I’ve lived here for five years, in the Lake Las Vegas area. Tito does, too.

The four of you started performing together again for 2012’s Unity tour. Have you played together much since then?

Oh, yeah. Well, the tour kept going [through last July]. We went everywhere. We were all over the country, and then we went around the world. We performed in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia … everywhere. But it was great. Before that we hadn’t toured for more than 25 years. It was kind of tough getting the songs together. We had so many to choose from, and we wanted a song list that would please all the fans. It took us two weeks to do that.

What were rehearsals like?

At first, we didn’t know what to expect. I don’t think any of us knew what was going to happen. But when we started playing the music and getting into it, everything fell into place. It was amazing how it came together.

Do all four of you take turns telling stories? Or is there a primary storyteller?

We take turns, but Marlon tells the most. Marlon likes to talk.

Your last studio album was in 1989. Does this residency mean that the Jacksons will be releasing a new record?

We’re definitely working on it, and it helps we’re all in the same place. We’re recording at a studio in Las Vegas and hope to have something out by summer.

Your RockTellz shows alternate with Meat Loaf’s. If someone had to decide between attending your show and his, what would you say to them?

Go see Meat Loaf. He’s just great. He’s a good friend of ours.

RockTellz & CockTails Presents The Jacksons

PH Showroom at Planet Hollywood, 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday and 9:30 p.m. Thu-Sat through April 6, $54-$129, Meet & Greet $400, 800-745-3000.