Afshan Ahmed | December 29, 2013
Sugarfoot shares moments spent with the late King of Pop and grief felt by those close to him when he passed away.
When Jonathan Moffett heard that Michael Jackson had passed away, he was driving to the afternoon rehearsals of This is It World Tour in 2009. “Shivers shot up through my body and I was in a state of shock,” says the musician.
“I was absolutely devastated. It was something I had never experienced before , except when my father and brother passed. Michael in my heart and spirit was like my family member.” The drummer, who also features in documentary-concert film This is It that was released after his death, talks about memorable moments with the King of Pop.
Did Michael call you Sugarfoot, the monicker given to you by colleagues?
Michael called me Foot. Most of the other members on tour started calling me that too. But on occasions he called me Footery because of my unique foot techniques. He would joke that I should open up a foot store with that name.
What drew people to him?
When MJ entered the room it was like the molecules in the room changed. You could feel them floating around you. You couldn’t take your eyes off him a lot of times. I became naturalised to him, but I would see other people when he walked into the room, they would just be mesmerised. They went into a different state of being. He knew he was special and he knew he had to use it for positivity and to enlighten others.
How was it like working with MJ?
When you watch him, you see something beyond talent. He was so sensitive. His body movements, vocals, everything was so deeply rooted in his spirit. That is what made him stand out. Working with him we all learnt professionalism and perfection. He emphasised on it.
Any memorable incident while touring with him?
There was a very special moment during the HIStory tour. Michael was dancing and we had just finished a number. There was a bug on stage and he did not want to crush this bug. He basically stopped the show , the entire performance flow , to save this bugs life. He called his security team to get the bug before we could start the next song because he did not want himself or any of the dancers to crush this little bug while they were performing . The audience loved it. They started screaming and cheering because they saw the care he had for the littlest of life, the smallest of life, and that shows his sensitivity towards life.
How did you and the other members deal with his death?
He was like a real brother to me. I could not function for a long time, for months.
Find Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett’s take on the show and what the audience can expect here: Immortal World Tour is ‘next best thing to a Michael Jackson concert’, says his former drummer