Hammer predicts return of Tiger Jam

MC Hammer hints that his friend Tiger Woods will return to lady-loaded Las Vegas at the end of 2010 to produce his annual charity concert "Tiger Jam," which usually comes in spring but was sidetracked with Tiger Tail-gate.

"I'm not at liberty to roll out, but keep your eye on late November, early December," says Hammer, who performs Saturday at the Silverton.

Hammer performed at many House of Blues after-parties for "Tiger Jam," which previously headlined Prince, Stevie Wonder, Van Halen and Christina Aguilera.

Hammer won't discuss Tiger's affairs. But he laughs that other celebrities have kept mum.

"You haven't had, in this whole scenario, one major athlete say one thing -- not one -- because they know better," Hammer tells me.

"You better not say anything. As soon as you say it, all those skeletons are gonna come falling out your mouth!"

And this is hilarious: Hammer says the media is dogging Tiger, but journalists have their sexed-up groupies, too.

During Hammer tours, he says with another laugh: "When groupies came around, the last groupie left was for the reporter!"

He half-jokes that after musicians pick out groupies, reporters hide pen and pad and say to the last groupie standing, "What are you doin', sweetheart?"


Hammer -- who grew up partly in Vegas and went to Kit Carson Elementary -- says he's in talks with Strip hotel execs to become a showroom headliner in a city he dubs "my second home."

It could be a kind of Jacksons/Osmonds family affair, a "power-packed 75 minutes," says Hammer, who turns 48 on Tuesday.

"'Hammertime Las Vegas' is what I call it. 'Hammertime Las Vegas' will be arguably the best show that Las Vegas has ever seen, because of all the sensibilities of a complete Hammer show in one location, with all the production value and the technology I know how to bring to a show."

This may happen in two or three years, after he finishes extended world touring.

But it hinges on money and location.

"There have been ongoing talks. The numbers have got to be right. When we get the numbers right, then I'm willing to come do it. And the venue's gotta be right."

He would move his family here from the Oakland area in California. His dad already lives here, having relocated and retired in Vegas around age 60, after working as a casino manager in Emeryville, Calif. Hammer's mom used to live here but moved to California last year. He says he has a "hundred" cousins here.

In staging "Hammertime Las Vegas," he could draw on the talents of his 22-year-old daughter, who has sung with the Austin (Texas) Symphony Orchestra and has two degrees, in film and communications; plus his 16-year-old daughter, who sings and dances; his 14-year-old son, who he says Usher has called "an amazing dancer"; and maybe even his 4-year-old son.

Any or all of them could perform on stage with him here.

"They do that on my show on the road, anyway," he says. "Being in Vegas, they'll be right at home. I would put them in places where they could continue to cultivate their talents."

Part of his pitch to hotels: His fans are too legit to quit. In the last 12 months, his videos have gotten 20 million views on YouTube. And he has 1.8 million Twitter followers.


Hammer is also expanding into the gambling business, while also investing in a new PayPal-like company headed to mobile phones.

First: He's in the "semifinal stages" of licensing a new microbetting platform for mobile phones, allowing users to make small pool wagers, not just for sports but for reality competition shows.

"You can bet a pool on an existing TV show, being able to pick who will win 'American Idol' and bet on it," he says. "That's a game changer, right?"

"You can bet a dollar and have a chance to win $10,000."

Second: He's an investor in Square, a new PayPal-like application coming to mobile phones, via a company headed by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey.

With Square, a phone user plugs a little plastic square into the phone's microphone jack, then slides a credit card through it.

The phone application, likely $1 to download, then charges the person's credit card and e-mails a receipt. Dorsey is contemplating giving away the plastic square for free.

The potential for Square is big. It could be used by pretty much anyone or any business, from bands selling merchandise to fans at gigs, to regular people making classified ad transactions.

"Everybody becomes a mobile merchant with this new Square. Isn't that amazing?" Hammer says. "It has much more flexibility than PayPal. You are actually a mobile merchant."

Hammer has become such a business and Internet guru, he's delivered addresses (on helping companies build platforms and interacting with social media) at Harvard Business School, Stanford, Oxford Union, Intel Capital and the Wharton Business Technology Conference.

But this Square product sounds so prime to explode, I told him it could make him a zillionaire.

"Hey, who knows," he said and laughed. "That's never the goal. The goal is just to keep doing good business. The fruits of the labor are the fruits of the labor. We just want to keep havin' a little fruit!"

Doug Elfman's column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 383-0391 or e-mail him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.