Joe Jackson -- He's the Man (just not with autographs)

Joe Jackson is amazing. What’s baffling to me is, if you Google his name, he’s third on the list of famous Joe Jackson’s. Now, I have no problem with Shoeless Joe Jackson being ahead of him. That’s a guy that should be in the baseball Hall of Fame, but the “Blacksox Scandal” ruined his career; but...Michael Jackson’s nutty father? Anyway, the Joe Jackson I’m writing about I have a love/hate relationship with. I love him, for all the amazing tunes. I dig his albums “I’m the Man,” “Look Sharp,” and “Night and Day.” Perhaps you know the hits: Is She Really Going Out With Him, Steppin’ Out, You Can’t Get What You Want, It’s Different For Girls, Sunday Papers, Breaking us in Two, Fools in Love, and so many other great songs the radio has unfortunately ignored.

The “hate” part of the love/hate, is that he’s so difficult when it comes to autographs. Once when I got him at the soundcheck of one concert, his manager said he was in a bad mood because he had hurt his back. There were about 25 people waiting, and nobody noticed him walking right by us, carrying clothes over his shoulder. I asked for his autograph, and he signed my Night and Day album (which had earlier been signed by his long-time, amazing bassist Graham Maby, and Sue Hadjopoulos, who plays bongos and other assorted instruments on it). I engaged in a conversation with him, that was rather one-sided. He just looked at me with that sourpuss of a face, not responding to anything. I asked for another album to be signed. He said nothing, just stuck the pen back at me without signing anything else. Now, other people noticed he signed an album for me, and they came rushing over. He didn’t sign for anybody else.

The next time I saw him at a different venue, a few years later, he walked by me. He looked angry, and even though nobody else was around, I was afraid to ask for his signature. I just froze. He walked backstage and I missed my chance (at least it was an amazing show). After the show, I saw one guy with an album of his called Jumpin’ Jive. It’s an album of all big-band covers he did. The guy told me, “Jackson didn’t want to sign it for me. He said, ‘I didn’t write these songs! They’re cover tunes. Why would you ask me to sign something I didn’t write?” It was a question that baffled us both, since it is an album he put out. The guy was ticked about it, and I offered to buy the album for $50, or trade him for one of my other signed pieces. Sensing I was really into that, he figured maybe he had a cool item, and turned down my offer.

The third time, at the same venue as the first show, I asked for his autograph. He said, “I’ll only sign one thing for you.”

I had 4 of his CDs with me. I left the albums at home, so I wouldn’t be stuck carrying them during the show. He signed one for me, and I started asking him questions about the “Night and Day II” album. I was shocked to see he got Marianne Faithful to sing on a track (she sounded absolutely horrid on it). Again, a one-sided conversation, where he said nothing to me.

During that show, a guy tried taking photos from the front row. Jackson grabbed the microphone stand, and kept threatening to hit the guy if he continued taking photos. Ouch.

So, it had been about 8 years since I last saw him, and he played a sold-out show here in San Diego. Unfortunately, the friend that called and asked me if I wanted to go, was bringing a chick (side note: no offense if any chicks are out there reading this). When women are involved, and it’s a dating situation, you don’t want to bore them standing around asking the artist to sign items. So, even though it was a venue that would’ve been easy, we didn’t try.

The show was great, as he did the unusual thing of opening for himself. He came out with just a piano, and did some songs with just him on the keys. His amazing, powerful ballad “Real Men” and a cover of The Beatles “Girl,” were both treats.

Later, the band came out (with Maby at the bass again). The show was terrific, especially a smokin’ hot version of the Television song “Hear no Evil.” (which I highly recommend you buy on his new record, or download for $1.29).

I decided to Google, to see if anybody had gotten his autograph on this tour. I was surprised to see he was signing, but begrudingly. Watch this video, to see how he snaps at people asking their names before signing (something a lot of artists do, to assure you won’t try to sell on eBay):

Views: 492

Tags: Joe Jackson, Marianne Faithful, Michael Jackson, Night and Day, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Television, The Beatles

Comment by Josh Board on March 6, 2019 at 9:14am

No problem. Let me know how it goes.

I was going to go to this show, but I have a movie screening I have to hit tonight to review. And, I saw his set list. I love 4 of the songs he's doing, but a lot from the new CD which I didn't care for.

Comment by Scott Williamson on March 6, 2019 at 9:50am

Will do! I have seen him many times since 1979, the 1st show I saw him at was at the old Universal Amphitheatre in Hollywood when it was an outdoor venue!

Comment by Josh Board on March 6, 2019 at 9:55am

I came late to the Joe Jackson game. In 1979, I was a 10 year old kid obsessed with classic rock. It wasn't until 10 years later, that I started liking some of those punk/alternative groups, and I now love Jackson, X, The Clash, Violent Femmes, Bow Wow Wow, etc. So, I've seen Jackson about 5 times. Always great shows. Met him a few times, always a jerk...LOL

Comment by Josh Board on March 10, 2019 at 8:32pm

Come on, Scott. The suspense is killing me. What happened? Did you get the signature? and, what songs were on the set list?

Comment by Scott Williamson on March 13, 2019 at 9:16pm

YES Josh!! I got the Auto!! Sorry for my delayed response!! I finally calmed down enough to reply! HAHA! A big thanks to you, I got it! Would not have been able to get the Joe Jackson success without your help! So I checked into the US Grant Hotel about 2:45pm last Wednesday, March 6 with my girlfriend and walked across the street,  went down to the side door of the Balboa Theatre, made friends with the security guard, Bianca ! I Met Joe and his guitarist, Teddy Kumpel! Teddy was great, signed my photo and shirt and posed for a photo with me.

Joe comes by a moment later, (I' m the only one there) and I got lucky, told him I would love an auto personalized, I was a huge fan since 1979 and I said my name before he could ask my name! Got a big, clear signature, then asked for a photo with him, but he said NO to the photo! I knew that was a longshot, as he never takes photos with fans. So I got a photo of him signing with his back to me, and then later as he walked by again. Graham Maby, however, did not sign for me. Maybe Graham was having a bad day! Josh, thanks again for the tip!  Finally was able to get Joe Jackson after many tries over the years! Set list was great, as this tour he is playing "I'M the MAN" , my favorite song from the old days!

Comment by Scott Williamson on March 13, 2019 at 9:19pm

Here's a couple more photos!

Comment by Scott Williamson on March 13, 2019 at 9:21pm

and with Bianca, 

Comment by Josh Board on March 13, 2019 at 9:31pm

Yes!!! This story just made my night. Although...I'm surprised about Graham. He signed my Night and Day album one year, and drew a picture of himself standing on Jackson's hand. It's awesome. Another time he signed my CD. He's always super friendly, so MABY he was having a bad day, excuse to diss the fans. Anyway, glad it all worked out.

Comment by Josh Board on March 13, 2019 at 9:33pm that first picture, is that Joe Jackson in the background, walking up to you? If so, that's awesome.

Comment by Scott Williamson on March 13, 2019 at 11:37pm

Yes,  that's Joe! My girlfriend was scared to take the photo, because he said no earlier, that's as close as she could afford before she put the phone away,she thought he would yell at us! He walked by us twice after he signed!

Graham is there by the bus too in that shot! 

San Diego Set List (in order):

Alchemy (opening), One More Time, Is She Really Going Out with Him!, Another World, Big Black Cloud, Fabulously Absolute, Real Men, Stranger than Fiction, My House, Rain-(Beatles-cover), Invisible Man, Wasted Time, Strange Land, Fool, Sunday Papers, King of the World, You Can't Get What You Want ('Till you know what you want), Ode to Joy, I'm the Man,  Encores--Steppin' Out, Got the Time, Alchemy (reprise).

Would have like to have seen 20 songs from Look Sharp and I'm the Man, but I'll take it!

Hey Josh, also, I wrote the Charlie Watts article for Autograph Magazine many years ago (December, 2008 issue.) You wrote a great piece on Bill Wyman (In the Trenches,  I think in the December 2009 issue.) I mailed the article to Wyman and he signed it shortly after it published!

Steve Crykin ran the letter from me with Wyman's sig. in the April 2010 issue , (in the "Letters section of autograph magazine if you have that issue..  My e-mail is, send me a pm and I'll send you a scan of it!, if you don't have that Autograph magazine issue. 

Great Memories!  I'm a huge Stones fan, also!!

I really have enjoyed your work over the years! It was a great dream to get Joe Jackson's auto, I couldn't believe how quick you responded, as the night before I left last Tuesday, I just sent you an e-mail on a whim, and you immediatley responded. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate I!

My best always,

Scott Williamson



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