At tonight's MTV Video Music Awards, Janet Jackson will pay tribute to her late brother's musical legacy, and among the Michael Jackson fans whose eyes will be glued to the stage will be [artist id="988"]Green Day[/artist], who've been paying their respects to the King of Pop on a nightly basis.
"I think one thing that people have to recognize is the fact that he had Eddie Van Halen play on a song when those were two worlds that never collided before. I think this was before Run-DMC and Aerosmith came together," Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said, noting Jackson's ability to reach across many musical genres. "I remember being in the fifth grade when Thriller came out, and Off the Wall is a great record. ... We've been playing a song off it for our pre-show every night."
On every stop on their 21st Century Breakdown tour, Green Day pump MJ's disco classic "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" through the house speakers, partially to fire up the crowd, and partially to pay tribute to Jackson's legacy. To them, the length of his career is an inspiration, one that they feel their contemporaries should take note of.
"I think [his] longevity is the thing. There's a lot of hip-hop artists who seem to go straight for the big success," Armstrong said. "It's about building a career and staying on it, but also about being able to ride the roller coaster of a career, because you have downs, you have ups. It's kind of the same for everybody. If you're playing Madison Square Garden or you're playing Bowery Ballroom, you have to hold on and see where they music takes you."
"It was almost MJTV and not MTV for a while," Armstrong laughed.
Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, live at 9 p.m. Check out our interactive map of New York to see how the city is celebrating the VMAs all week long, and stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.