Randy Jackson is possibly best known by the younger generation as the most popular Judge of American Idol. He's also known amound music buffs as a singer, songwriter, bass player for many top artists, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Bob Dylan, and rock group Journey, producer, and manager.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Randy Jackson about the inauguration of the second annual Morris' Million Cat Rescue from 9 Lives, home of the famous Morris, a several months-long effort that Jackson joined last year.
This year's tour will kick off June 13th, 2007 in Chicago, birthplace of Morris the cat whose handsome mug graces 9 Lives products. I'm pleased to present my interview, including the latest news about the Million Cat Rescue, Randy's thoughts about American Idol, as well as what's coming up professionally for Randy Jackson.
Franny Syufy: Good morning, Randy. How are you today?
Randy Jackson: Hi Franny. I'm great, thank you.
Franny: I was a little disappointed that you didn't say "Yo dawg!"
Randy Jackson: Laughs (a hearty rich laugh) No, but we're cool. We're cool.
Franny: Tell me, how did you become part of the Million Cat Rescue?
Randy Jackson: Well, the 9 Lives people asked me last September if I'd like to be part of the campaign. You know, I'm an animal lover from way back, and it's something that's close to my heart. I like to give back to those things you're really close to and I've always loved animals. We've got dogs, cats, birds, fish, even two turtles. I really liked the idea of giving back by helping homeless kittens and cats find good homes.
Franny: That's great, Randy. How is the Morris' Million Cat Rescue campaign going?
Randy Jackson: Well, we hope to reach our goal of one million cats. It's just amazing. We started just a year ago and Morris is criss-crossing the country in a big tour bus. It's really a cool thing, giving homes to orphan kittens and adult cats. We're close to 300,000 now. Maybe this year we'll reach the half million point.
Franny: I saw that you did your part by adopting a kitten at last year's kickoff - and you named him Dawg! He must be getting pretty big now. How's Dawg doing?
Randy Jackson: Mr. Dawg is a little more than a year old now. He's having fun around the old homestead - interacting with our kids and all our other pets.
Franny: You said earlier you had cats. How many do you have?
Randy Jackson: We have two cats, three little dawgs, two big dawgs, two turtles, goldfish, and two birds.
Franny: Wow! You really are an animal lover. How do the cats get along with the birds?
Randy Jackson: Well, you know, birds and goldfish, cats and birds, cats and fish. Actually though, they get along pretty good.
Franny: Any chance you will be on the Adoption Center Bus or meeting it at any point on this year's tour?
Randy Jackson: Not on this year's tour. But y'know, Morris will be on the bus for the whole tour at all the stops along the way, so his public can see him.
Franny: As a multi-faceted celebrity, you've worn many hats over the years, including bassist with Journey, songwriter, music producer, and of course, judging American Idol. How does it feel to be rubbing shoulders with shelter cats now, including the inimitable Morris?
Randy Jackson: Laughs. It feels really cool. The dawg really loves cats. I love the whole shelter thing. It's really cool, a really good feeling.
More: Randy Jackson answers questions about American Idol and some of his upcoming projects.