Joe Jackson: Michael Jackson Pushed Into Too Many Tour Dates

Joe Jackson told ABC News that Michael Jackson wasn't capable of finishing tour.

ByABC News
July 13, 2009, 7:07 AM

July 13, 2009— -- Bucking assurances from managers who had seen Michael Jackson's final concert rehearsals, Joe Jackson said his son would not have been able to complete the 50 shows scheduled for the pop icon's "This Is It" tour and was forced into booking more performances than he was capable of.

"The comeback tour was a good idea, but the wrong idea about it. There was more tours added onto it," Joe Jackson told ABC News' Chris Connelly in an exclusive interview. "Michael told me himself. That he agreed to 10 shows. But they went and added all these other shows."

For more on Chris Connelly's exclusive interview with Joe Jackson, tune into a special edition of "Primetime: Family Secrets -- The Jackson Family: Life After Michael", Tuesday, July 14, 10 p.m. ET

Michael Jackson, who died June 25 at the age of 50 from apparent cardiac arrest, was to have kicked off the tour today at London's O2 Arena. Video footage and photos from some of his final rehearsals showed the King of Pop looking energized and smiling.

But his father, who told Connelly he believes foul play was involved in his son's death, said he was concerned from the beginning that promoters were pushing Michael Jackson too hard.

"I was worried about his health because all the shows that I'm seeing -- no artist can do those many shows you know, back to back like that," Joe Jackson said. "And so I knew Michael couldn't do all those shows."

Jackson said suspects his son's sudden sudden death may not have been an accident.

"I just couldn't believe what was happening to Michael," he said.

"I do believe it was foul play," Jackson added. "I do believe that. Yes."

Longtime friend and sometime financial advisor Leonard Rowe, no relation to Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe, told "Good Morning America" today that he agreed with Joe Jackson.

"Michael Jackson was not ready. He was not fit," Rowe said, "If you can call weighting 110, 115 pounds fit … no."

But the tour's producers have said that Michael Jackson was in top form and would have had lots of rest during the run, which would have extended through March 2010.

AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips told Connelly that Jackson would have averaged two-and-a-quarter shows per week.

"If that was too many, then one would have been too many," he said.

In a statement, Phillips said it was Michael Jackson's idea to up the amount of performances to 50, from the original 31.

Rowe said he called Phillips in the weeks before the singer's death and tried to get him to agree to a lower number of shows.

"He told me to shove off," Rowe said." He didn't want to talk about it."

Asked about a May 20 letter apparently bearing Michael Jackson's signature telling Rowe he no longer represented him and wished to cut off all communication, Rowe said that was a letter he never got. He claimed that AEG was controlling every aspect of the singer's life at that point, holding his turbulent finances over his head.

But Jackson manager Frank DiLeo agreed with Phillips that claims Jackson was being pushed too hard are unfounded.

"He built up his stamina. There would have been no problems, I don't think, with him doing this tour," DiLeo said. "Nobody was pushing him into it. Nobody was overworking him. You know, all those reports are false."