Who’s Bad’s live performance is an unrivaled celebration of pop music’s one true King. Their power-packed performance of Michael Jackson’s expansive catalog has ignited crowds on every continent and can only be described as a jaw-dropping, musical must-see. As the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band, and the only one to predate his untimely passing, Who’s Bad has awed even the skeptics, selling out nearly 50 venues in the United Kingdom including London’s O2 in December of 2010, the venue where the King of Pop was slated to end his career with a 50-show “This Is It” concert series.
Beyond this unparalleled achievement, Who’s Bad has checked some of the world’s most famous pavilions off their ‘to-do’ list, selling out their first tour of China with stops at Ningbo’s Grand Theatre and Hunan Grand Theatre in Chengsha. Never neglecting Michael’s U.S. fans, Who’s Bad has packed The House of Blues franchise all across the United States; rocked DC’s 930 Club and returned to their native Chapel Hill, NC boasting larger, more eagerly-awaited performances with every romp around the globe. Sold-out shows from Colorado’s Bluebird Theatre and LA’s Gibson Amphitheatre and Romania’s Sala Palatalui to Teatro do Bourbon Country (Porto Alegre, Brazil) tell the story: no corner of the earth is safe from this infectious party production.
Who’s Bad has earned its name by paying studious attention to Michael Jackson’s every original groove and gravity-defying dance move, boasting over 100 years of professional experience and a team of dancers with resumes that include Broadway productions such as Phantom of the Opera. Vamsi Tadepalli (Who’s Bad founder, composer, and saxophonist) assembled a cast of North Carolina’s premiere musicians and, from Who’s Bad’s inception, believed in the band’s boundless possibilities. The velvety vocals and pinpoint choreography of frontmen Joseph Bell and Taalib York’s combined with the six-piece band’s synchronized dance routines, blaring horns and down-deep rhythms, results in a performance delivered with soul and precision superseded by no one but the King himself. They’ve shared stages with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, The Backstreet Boys, The Four Tops, Boys II Men, and hip hop superstar, Pitbull. Captivated fans include LIVENATION’s Anthony Nicolaidis who calls Who’s Bad, “the real deal,” and Michael Jackson’s longtime friend and manager Frank DiLeo who proclaimed after Who’s Bad show in Nashville, TN, “the show was great….Michael would have been proud!”
Whether you idolized the Jackson 5, fell in love to Human Nature, or learned to moonwalk to Billie Jean, Who’s Bad is THE ULTIMATE music-and-dance driven Michael Jackson homage. This band of professionals relentlessly elevate the legacy of pop music’s King, always pushing themselves to be more precise, to raise the level of excitement and awe, while embodying Michael Jackson’s mission to bring people together of all races, genders, and cultures through music. As the curtain opens on a Who’s Bad performance, every MJ fan feels the adrenaline, screams at the sight of that unmistakable silhouette, and succumbs to a surefire Michael Jackson sing-along. The energy is purely magnetic, the musicianship is first-rate, the dance moves deftly inspired. Who’s Bad is a tribute befitting a King and their high- octane execution of MJ’s music and dance has catapulted them to the exclusive rank of Ultimate!
James Times III was born and raised in sunny Miami, FL and has always been a student of the art of music, dance and general entertainment. The core of his musical abilities began at Miami Springs Senior High School with his involvement in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Choir, Music Theory and Music History throughout high school.
After graduating and being accepted into Florida International University’s School of Music, James also became a member of Drum Corps International’s Phantom Regiment and Bluecoats from 2007-2009. It was the Drum Corps activity that shaped James into the person and perfectionist that he has become today.
A die-hard fan of Michael Jackson knowingly since the age of 3, James didn’t realize his unique gift of dance until August of 2009, the year of MJ’s passing. James’ dream of performing as MJ on stage became a reality when he made an email inquiry to MJ LIVE and was accepted to perform with them in Las Vegas in 2015. His time performing with MJ LIVE served as the ultimate preparation for joining the ranks of Who’s Bad.
Like Michael, James is a self taught and innate dancer. It has been said by most people that James captures effortlessly the mannerisms, uniqueness, and deep soulful dancing of Michael Jackson. That is the result of the countless hours of studying MJ’s every hand, foot, finger, head, upper and lower body placement and angle in each song/performance, along with his natural similarity to Michael Jackson’s height, weight, and body type. An absolute true perfectionist, James has set a strict standard and motto for himself and that is, simply, “If it’s not the way Michael did it, it’s not right”. James has never had the great honor of meeting Michael himself, but through his music and dance it becomes clear that the two souls are connected when James takes the stage as Michael Jackson, A.K.A.” The Master MJ”.
Joseph Bell, a.k.a. “JoBel” is originally from Hartford, Connecticut, and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a natural performer. To hear and see him sing is to realize you are bearing witness to a legend in the making.
This singer/dancer/songwriter/actor is simply one of the best! HE SOUNDS LIKE THE KING OF POP! He can hit ALL THE HIGH NOTES night after night! Travis Payne, lead choreographer of Michael Jackson’s “THIS IS IT” tour, and choreographer, Frank Gatson (dancer in the original “Smooth Criminal” video and today’s top choreographer for superstar Beyonce Knowles) both worked with Joseph to enhance his performance.
Joseph Bell’s very first contract was with “Walt Disney World” in Florida for Top Of The World Entertainment singing and dancing in front of orchestras and bands. He now collectively has over 25 years of experience on stages around the world.
Joseph has also appeared in the TV movie “The Jacksons. An American Dream”, he was on Ed McMahon’s Star Search, appeared on the silver screen in “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and sang on live TV for Baby Face and songstress Toni Braxton.
Malcolm “Blaze” Little is a passionate dancer and fitness instructor from Piscataway, New Jersey. He started dancing at a young age imitating Michael Jackson but didn’t take dance seriously until 2005 when he started bboying with his crew, Skillz de iLL. In 2009, he transitioned from bboying to choreography and started dancing with local New Jersey dance teams.
In 2011, director Alonzo Williams recognized his passion and drive and he joined the well-known dance company Rhythm City, who was featured on America’s Best Dance Crew Season 4. He has been given amazing opportunities traveling throughout the East and West coast, as well as overseas in China and Japan, performing with Rhythm City and upcoming R&B/Pop Artist Domo.
Malcolm has since been instructing workout classes, one that includes the Union County Sheriff’s Department. Malcolm’s dream is to just inspire others to spread love and joy through their craft and remember that you are only limited by the barriers you create in your mind. Break the rules and create the life you want to live!
Archie Logan started his life as a musician at the tender age of 8 years old. His uncle saw the gift God had instilled in him and helped Archie nurture this gift in the church, but soon after Archie began to venture out to play different styles of music.
Archie Logan is known as a hard hitting pocket drummer whose smoking grooves raise the level of excitement in any musical situation. “Archie is a bass player’s best friend, because he locks it in and stays there”; as quoted by bass player extraordinaire Chip Shearin. He is a true work horse and strives to be the best he can be as a musician and businessman.
Archie has shared the stage with many of the industry’s top artists, gospel and secular alike. This list includes the incomparable Roberta Flack, Morris Day and the Time, Vikki Winans, Jennifer Hudson, Charlie Wilson, Karen Clarke Sheard, Dorinda Clark Cole, Smoky Norful, Avant, Mario, Marvin Sapp, Rev Timothy Wright, Naughty By Nature, Malcolm Jamaal Warner and his band Milestone, Yahzarah (aka Purple St. James), independent R&B artists Dirty Sol and the list goes on and on. He also had the opportunity to play the Republican National committee Party with speaker George W. Bush Jr., the 2008 inauguration of President Barack Obama, 2 Super Bowls, in addition to many arenas and theatres.
Archie is on a continual journey to spread great music across the world while bringing an unrivaled level of excitement to the stage. Archie lives and quotes these rules: “In this acquisition of wisdom the first is silence, the second is listening, the third is memory, the fourth is practice a lot, and the fifth is teaching.” With that being said, he is a musician’s drummer and his goal is to keep making the grooves feel good.
Archie proudly endorses Pork Pie Drums and TRX Cymbals.
Mike Buckley grew up in Durham, North Carolina after his family moved from Dublin, Ireland. He began playing guitar in the early 2000’s, learning classic rock songs with friends. Shortly thereafter, Mike broadened his musical horizons to include jazz, classical, bluegrass and more through the inspiration and instruction of his teacher and good friend, Tom Hill. Since picking up the guitar there was no doubt that Mike would dedicate all of his time and energy to learning about music. During high school Mike attended a week long clinic with Guthrie Govan, Mattias Ia Eklundh and Andy Wood at the Raleigh Music Academy, earned the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award from East Chapel Hill High, attended workshops at various North Carolina universities and took lessons from some of North Carolin’s most talented guitarists and instructors.
Mike graduated from UNC Wilmington in 2014 with a BA in Jazz Performance. While there he was fortunate to study under music greats such as Bob Russell, Jerald Shynett, Steve Bailey and Joe Chambers. He also attended master classes with artists such as Victor Wooten, Jonathan Kreisberg and Chris Potter. In addition to studying the guitar, Mike applied himself seriously to the areas of composition and recording. He performed with various groups both in and out of school and was named the recipient of the Cape Fear Jazz Society Scholarship. Since graduating, Mike has stayed busy teaching private lessons, performing with various bands across NC, and working on his original compositions. Mike released his debut solo album “Dead Man’s Song” in 2015 which is available on iTunes and Spotify.
Mike began playing with Who’s Bad in the summer of 2015 and is excited to be part of a group that brings such a high level of passion and positive energy to crowds across the globe.
Lynn J. Grissett Jr. is a truly dedicated musician. Lynn, born in Wilmington, North Carolina is a 2003 graduate of West Brunswick High School (Shallotte, NC), having participated in Honors, All-County and All-State Jazz Band. In 2001-02 and 2002-03 Lynn was chosen to participate in the High School Honors Jazz Band, hosted by the University of NC at Greensboro (UNCG). He would later be awarded a scholarship to UNCG through the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program. While an undergrad, he immersed himself in all genres of music and frequently performed when and wherever he could. He formed The Lynn Grissett Trio and Quartet in 2007 and was a regular at many of the local and statewide jazz venues. Lynn graduated from UNCG in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance (Concentration: Jazz Studies).
Eager to expand his musical endeavors beyond the formal setting of a classroom and the occasional gig, Lynn enrolled in Graduate School at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) of Durham, NC. While there Lynn had the incredible experience of studying music under the Tutelage of Branford Marsalis, Robert Trowers, Dr. Ira T. Wiggins, Mr. Brian Horton, and Baron Tymas. In 2011 Lynn was voted Best Jazz Soloist at the 50th Anniversary of the Villanova Jazz Festival. Lynn’s Master’s Degree in Music Performance (Jazz Studies) was obtained in 2012. Though his genre of preference and first love is jazz, Lynn studies, writes and performs all genres of music. In addition to the trumpet, Lynn proficiently plays saxophone. His dedication to his craft has propelled him into the company of many reputable professional musicians and recording artists. Some of these artists include: Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Maceo Parker, Larry Graham, Nile Rodgers, Trombone Shorty, Marcus Anderson, Max Wienberg, the late Dewey Redman, Winard Harper, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Ledisi, Judith Hill, Cyrus Chestnut, Ocie Davis, Kobie Watkins, Terri Lynne Carrington, Liv Warfield, and Andy Allo.
Most recently, Lynn has the distinct privilege of being a member of New Power Generation Hornz; the horn section of the band New Power Generation (NPG) led by Prince. His trumpet can be heard on the following recordings: Prince: Hit N Run Phase One & Two (2015), Liv Warfield: The Unexpected (2014), Judith Hill: Back In Time (2015) , Mint Condition: Healing Season (2015).
When not performing, Lynn resides in Durham, NC.
Quinton Moore is a native of Whiteville, NC now residing in Greensboro, NC. He is the son of Glenda Baldwin and Craig Moore. Born into a musically inclined family, Quinton started his musical journey at a very young age traveling the road with his father, coincidentally also a bassist. Quinton has an affinity for learning multiple instruments, as he is fluent in bass guitar, drums, and keyboards. Quinton eventually advanced to playing bass guitar in which he has grown to love and made his primary instrument.
After graduating high school in 2008 he decided to take his music career to the next level which began with a move to Greensboro, NC in late 2008. Quinton has now toured and shared the stage with a host of artists playing several different genres of music. To name a few: The Renowned FOUR TOPS, Earnest Pugh, Ricco Barrino, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Natural Wonder Ultimate Stevie Wonder Tribute Band, Carolina Soulband, Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen and many more. Music is more than just a passion to him and he loves every minute of it. Right now Quinton is currently working full-time with Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience and also performs with many other groups. He is proudly endorsed by Lakland Basses, Micheal Tobias Basses and Gallien-Krueger Amplifications.
Aaron McCoy Jr. Saxophonist for Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band, graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, with a BA in Music performance and production and a concentration in Alto Saxophone. Aaron is the Music Director at Mitchiner’s Grove Baptist Church, Franklinton, North Carolina. He has been a woodwind instructor at South East Raleigh High School, Knightdale High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he was also the announcer and student instructor for Platinum Sound Marching Band. While at Shaw University Aaron was a member of the Concert Band, Jazz band and Pep Band, where he became the Pep band Director. After graduation Aaron recruited for the Jazz ensemble for the University.
Aaron has performed with such artist as Physhodelic Soul, Liquid Pleasure, and his own band Mixed Water Band which was the house band for Zydeco Downtown owned by the two time super bowl star Antwan Harris, Soul Blues Singer Lacey, The O’jays’s, foreign Exchange, Peabo Bryson, The north Carolina Symphony, opened up for Yolanda Adams, recording artist Coco McMillan, Gerald Hinton, North Carolina Jazz Band, Joey Holloway Project, Donald Lawrence, LeeAnne Faine, Shirley Caesar, Melvin Williams, and others.
Aaron was born in Norfolk, Virginia. His early schooling was in Virginia Beach, Va., where he fell in love with the saxophone, and music. His craft was enhanced during his high school years at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Virginia, under the direction of Mr. Elston Fitzgerald.
Daniel Rychlec began dance training at the Nutmeg Ballet in Torrington, Connecticut. His performance will speak for itself, but don’t be fooled — he is no newcomer to the stage. He was an accompanying member of BalletNet in Columbus, Ohio, the Washington Ballet and the Atlanta Ballet.
Dan also performed with the touring company of the Phantom of the Opera before joining the Broadway cast for a run of twelve years, who he made appearances with on the Rosie O’Donnel show and the Late Show with Conan O’Brian.
Dan joined with Who’s Bad in May 2010 doing a stint of 10 shows in China and has since then toured the United Kingdom and the continental US with the band, always excited for what the future may bring!
Vamsi Tadepalli, Whether paying tribute to the King of Pop in front of thousands of fans, performing small group jazz for discriminating listeners, writing and arranging, or teaching, Vamsi Tadepalli invests all of his musical pursuits with a confluence of creativity, professionalism and versatility.
Born and raised in North Carolina to Indian parents, Tadepalli is the first American-born member of his family. His parents, scientists by trade, placed a high value on the arts and on music in particular. Accordingly, he was exposed to Indian Classical Music and Dance from his earliest years. At the age of 8 he began formal musical study on the keyboard at the Yamaha Music School in Durham, NC. Although it wouldn’t be until high school that Tadepalli would study sitar, his early exposure to Indian Classical Music had a broader impact: its emphasis on improvisation undoubtedly contributed to Tadepalli’s affinity for jazz, America’s improvised classical music.
After taking up the saxophone at the age of 12 and several years of private instruction, Tadepalli entered Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham. Jordan boasted an exceptional jazz combo program rivaling those of many colleges, and Tadepalli began listening to and emulating recordings of such masters as Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. He also started performing professionally in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Tadepalli continued his study of jazz at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving both academic and music scholarships and majoring in Jazz Performance. He also studied with outstanding altoist Justin Robinson and sought out the expertise of legendary bebop guru and exponent Barry Harris, participating in Harris’ workshop at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He has shared the stage with Harris, Slide Hampton, Eric Alexander, Joe Farnsworth, Antonio Hart, Vincent Herring, and Jamey Aebersold, and has appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival and Smoke Jazz Club in NYC.
Concurrent with Tadepalli’s commitment to jazz was an interest in marching band, both as an instrumentalist and as a writer/arranger. He taught himself to play the mellophone in order to participate in Drum Corps International, marching in Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps and The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, and received the Distinguished Service Award from the latter in 2002. He has written for the UNC Marching Tarheels, the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, and writes and arranges the wind book for many competitive corps style high school marching bands, including West Johnston High School (a 4 time Bands of America Semifinalist).
Tadepalli has also taught extensively, serving as the marching, brass and woodwind instructor at Jordan and West Johnston High Schools, the jazz director at West Johnston High School, the Assistant Band Director at Rogers Herr Middle School, and as a longtime private saxophone instructor.
In 2003, Tadepalli founded Who’s Bad, a group dedicated exclusively to performing the music of pop icon Michael Jackson. As manager, arranger, saxophonist, keyboardist and choreographer of the group for the last 9 years, Tadepalli has had the opportunity to employ his full range of skills, performing saxophone and dance routines at 150+ shows across the globe per year. The group has performed for crowds numbering into the thousands and has shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys and The Four Tops.
Vamsi is currently off the road, stationed in San Francisco and acting solely as manager/owner of Who’s Bad.