updated 03/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/28/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST
First impressions to the contrary, Gold, 29, can and does report non-Michael stories. Later this month, for example, he will interview LaToya Jackson, Michael's sister. As for non-Jackson stories, PEOPLE subjects who've felt the touch of Gold include Phil Collins, Mel Brooks, Nelson Riddle, Howie Mandel, Lionel Richie, Barry Manilow and many, many more stars. Gold has learned much from his brushes with greatness. "Heather Locklear is even lighter than she looks," says Gold, who hefted her during a photo session. "Rod Stewart makes a fine tuna sandwich."
Away from reporting, Gold, who grew up in L.A. and studied history at nearby Occidental College, strives for greatness with brushes. "I paint to relax," he says. "I couldn't afford the art I like, and since I could always draw, I started painting acrylics, mostly portraits and scenes from the Southwest. They're all over my home." Luckily, Todd's wife, Beth, 28, a high school history teacher, and daughter, Abby, 7 months, like Nouveau Buffalo decor.
As for riding the rock-and-roll range, "I love it," says Gold. "I get to step into the fantasy of every guy who's wondered what goes on backstage. I got to jump off a drum riser holding Eddie Van Halen's guitar. Lionel Richie recorded my phone machine message for me. Hey—is this a cool world, or what?"