Episode 094 – Harrison Funk Special

This week, just as The MJCast was about to release a surprise episode between seasons, news broke that the Sundance Film Festival was preparing to screen a documentary smearing Michael Jackson as a child molester.

As shockwaves rippled through the fan community and listeners sprang into action, it seemed to be an inappropriate time to release the episode.

The show’s special guest was to be Harrison Funk, renowned entertainment, fashion, and advertising photographer best known for being Michael Jackson’s personal photographer from the early 1980s through the mid-2000s. The interview with Funk had been recorded months ago, and The MJCast team had kept it in the can, ready to release as a special New Year treat for listeners. 

But, upon re-visiting the interview in light of this week’s horrifying news, the timing could hardly be more apt. Harrison spends a great deal of time during his conversation with Jamon Bull and Charles Thomson discussing the false abuse allegations which plagued Michael from 1993 onwards. He speaks movingly about the physical and psychological toll the allegations took on his friend, and how those who loved Michael rallied around him, but watched helplessly as his life and his health slowly fell apart until his eventual death in 2009.
 
As the media prepares to stick the knife into Michael one more time and give it a sharp twist, this interview with one of Michael’s closest friends makes for a sobering listen.

In addition to the allegations, Harrison discusses the kind of man Michael really was, not the lie Dan Reed, Wade Robson and Sundance are going to try and sell the world. The MJCast and Harrison explore stories around Michael’s process as a live musician, the Victory Tour, the Bad era, Harrison’s love of photography, his fascinating observations as he photographed Teddy Riley​ producing Cascio tracks in the studio and SO much more!

This episode of The MJCast is dedicated to Friend of the Show and fellow MJ podcaster Jordan King of King Jordan Radio, who recently and tragically passed away. We will always be missing you, Jordan.

We hope this episode brings some positivity and truth to an otherwise dark time for MJFam.

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Episode 093 – Season Four Christmas Special

It’s the time of year for cookies and carols and ornaments on the tree…and The MJCast’s annual Christmas Special!

Jamon, Q, and Elise wrap up Season Four with discussion of developments in the world of Michael Jackson, including John Cameron’s terrific Musicology podcast, the “On the Wall” exhibition moving to Paris, Janet Jackson’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett’s health scare, and the inspiring results of a music scholarship which Michael Jackson established in 1984. The MJCast Correspondents also chime in, with news on the Cascio Case, MCFFC charity efforts, and the Jackson family.

It’s been a whirlwind year, full of great discussion, lots of Jackson news, and illuminating conversations with amazing guests. The team reflects on the past year, highlights favorite clips from this season’s Special episodes, and also looks to the year to come, as The MJCast continues to grow.

We want to thank our listeners for all your support throughout the year and hope that you enjoy our episodes coming up in Season 5! Happy holidays, #MJFam!

Follow Up

  • #UndieGate
  • #MoonwalkWalks #Book4 is out in the QLD wild!

News

  • John Cameron has dropped his latest episode of #JCsMusicology, focusing on Michael Jackson’s HIStory era
  • “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” exhibition has moved to the Grand Palais in Paris
  • Janet Jackson is to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett suffered an emergency triple bypass operation and has started a GoFundMe page to help with his medical costs
  • The Cascio Case is headed to the Supreme Court of California
  • The artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, is designing a new collection based on Michael Jackson
  • Groovefunkel has released a new remix of Michael Jackson’s Thriller
  • The 1984 music scholarship fund that Michael donated has awarded scholarships to four students! (Thank you to listener Kayla Salem, of Jacksonville, Florida, for this tip.)

Season Four Highlights

Main Discussion Topic

  • A year in review.
  • What’s to come in Season 5!

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Episode 092 – Humanitarian: The Real Michael Jackson Special

A crucial aspect of Michael Jackson’s life, which is rarely highlighted (and often blatantly ignored), is that of his amazing humanitarian work. While this comes up on The MJCast frequently as a point of discussion, the team is finally taking the opportunity to dedicate a full episode to this important topic. At last, the time is right for a deep-dive chat. Q welcomes to the show megafan and author Paul Dwyer, whose book, Humanitarian – The Real Michael Jackson, has just been published, as well as Friend of the Show and MJ Charity Correspondent Steven Hodges, of Michael Jackson Fans for Charity.

We encourage all of our #MJFam out there to #MakeThatChange!

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Episode 091 – The Rarest of Beards

Jamon and Q are back with their first regular news and discussion episode in quite some time. The fellas kick things off with a bit of follow up around the recent Thriller 3D Roundtable episode and a fun story from Jamon’s recent Awards Night experience for work.

Following this, Jamon and Q delve straight into the news, covering The Jacksons’ upcoming Australian tour, more MJ auctions, a new Netflix show featuring Jackson 5 music and the recent Heal The World demo leak. This is followed by discussion around Taryll Jackson’s new music, Michael’s place atop Forbes’ highest earning deceased celebrities list and Amazon’s new holiday ad campaign. To round out the news, the boys chat about Anthony King’s new book on the Dangerous World Tour and Vincent Paterson’s upcoming charity fundraiser around Debbie Reynold’s Legacy Studio’s floorboards.

The MJCast’s main discussion topic’s this week include 2018’s #RemoveCascioTracksNOW campaign and a new article quoting Sony’s CEO, Rob Stringer, revealing his plans for future Michael Jackson music releases.

Follow Up

News

  • The Jacksons are set to tour Australia and New Zealand as part of the Summer Series music festival in January 2019
  • One of Michael Jackson’s wigs is up for auction, as well as a black Bad Tour costume, and collection of drawings and hand written poem of Planet Earth
  • Jackson 5 classics to be featured in new children’s Netflix show, Motown Magic
  • Heal the World demo studio recording leaks
  • Taryll Jackson releases a new song titled Next Time
  • Michael again tops the list of highest earning deceased celebrities
  • Amazon’s 2018 holiday campaign is based around the Jackson’s classic track, ‘Can You Feel It’
  • The MJCast’s Live Performance Correspondent Anthony King has announced his new book ‘Anthony King’s Guide to Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Tour‘ through a YouTube video at Germany’s Olympic stadium in Munich
  • Vincent Paterson is selling floorboards that Michael Jackson danced on from Debbie Reynolds’ Legacy Studio

Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

  • Jamon – Viral Dancer Salif Gueye wows Ellen with his Michael Jackson moves. The video that first caught my attention was this one!
  • Q – John Cameron’s Musicology Podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts!

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Remove Cascio Tracks Now

Eight years ago, on November 8th, 2010, Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson ignored the express wishes of the Jackson family, Michael’s collaborators and his loyal fans. They released a track that they falsely stated was sung by the King of Pop, the Eddie Cascio and James Porte produced ‘Breaking News’. Five weeks later, the song and two other fakes were commercially released on an album sold to millions of fans around the world. The album, ‘Michael’, is still available for purchase through physical and digital retailers, bringing continual profits to those who were complicit in the fraud.

The time has come to once again raise our voice as one and remind Sony Music and the Estate that we will not stand for such disrespect and vandalism of Michael Jackson’s artistic legacy. Demand change. Demand they #RemoveCascioTracksNOW. We will continue our call to action through December 14th, the eight year anniversary of the ‘Michael’ album’s release, at which time we will request a formal response from Sony & the Estate. If sending an email, include the following recipients.

Sony Music CEO
Rob Stringer (rob.stringer@sonymusic.com)

Michael Jackson Estate Co-Executors
John Branca (johnb@ziffrenlaw.com)
John McClain (jmcclain2004@aol.com)

Michael Jackson Estate & Sony Music Attorneys
Howard Weitzman (hweitzman@kwikalaw.com)
Zia Modabber (zia.modabber@kattenlaw.com)

For sample email text, please feel free to personalise the below.

Dear Rob, John, John, Howard and Zia,

December 14th will mark the eighth anniversary since the release of Michael Jackson’s first posthumous album, ‘Michael’.

My name is [insert name here]. Unfortunately, I’m not writing to you today to express joy around your representation of the greatest entertainer who ever lived, like I’d one day hope to be able to, but to express my disappointment that there are still fake Michael Jackson songs for sale at retail outlets (online and physical) around the world even after eight years of protest from Michael’s family and fans.
The songs I am referring to are known as the Cascio tracks, a set of songs written, produced and arranged by Eddie Cascio and James Porte, sung on by vocal impersonator Jason Cupeta AKA Jason Malachi, and then sold to Sony Music. Three of them; Breaking News, Keep Your Head Up and Monster, were included on Michael’s titular debut posthumous album in 2010. I’m sure you’re aware of the controversy that ensued after ‘Breaking News’ premiered on www.michaeljackson.com eight years ago.
Regardless, any member of Michael’s family that has spoken out about this issue has said the songs are fake (including some of his beneficiaries). Most of Michael’s studio collaborators have confirmed the same thing and thousands upon thousands of his fans, yet the songs remain for sale. It concerns me greatly that Sony and Michael’s estate executors continue to defend the people who are responsible for this fraud, instead of defending Michael’s own beneficiaries and Michael’s artistic legacy itself.
This is an affront to what Michael stood for as an artist. He publicly stated he wanted to immortalise himself through his work. Michael deserves much better than this. So here’s what I am asking for…
1) All three Cascio tracks are permanently removed from sale in all retail stores around the world (digital and physical).
2) The Estate of Michael Jackson & Sony Music release public statements apologising to fans for selling fake Michael Jackson songs.
3) Fans who wish to receive a refund for the 2010 ‘Michael’ album are offered one.
I appreciate the position you found yourself in, in 2010. In fact, many fans agree that the Estate and Sony are victims of the Porte/Cascio fraud too. Im sure there were contracts signed, but I see no excuse for ignoring the advice of Michael’s own mother, a beneficiary to his Estate. The right choice would have been to not include the songs on the Michael album and to challenge Eddie Cascio and James Porte in court, but alas, it’s not too late to do the right thing, even though eight years have passed.
I hope that I don’t need to send a similar email to this one in the future, but I will continue to contact you until this matter is resolved. I would really appreciate a reply from someone this time. Let’s open the lines of communication around this.


Sincerely,

[Insert name here]

“Cause there’s a time when you’re right and you know you must fight.” – Michael Jackson.

Jamon Bull

Episode 090 – Thriller 3D Roundtable

Happy Thriller Night 2018! While Jamon is busy setting up Studio Brisbane and Q is on holiday, Elise takes over for this special roundtable discussion focused on the world’s favorite dancing zombie, Michael Jackson. She welcomes two long-time Friends of the Show and regular guests, James Alay and Andy Healy, to join her for an in-depth chat about the recent IMAX theater release of ‘Thriller 3D’.

The Halloween trio discuss their first memories of the original ‘Thriller’ short film, experiences seeing ‘Thriller 3D’, thoughts on promotion and screenings (the decision to not screen the film in Australia is another reason that Jamon and Q are not part of this episode), the quality of the remastering, impact of this iconic film which changed the landscape of pop culture, their feelings around supporting the Estate when it comes to respectful and quality products, and the possible future of ‘Thriller’ in the years and decades to come.

The MJCast wishes all of our listeners a great Thriller Night!

Participants

 Topics

  • First time seeing ‘Thriller’.
  • Thriller 3D experiences.
  • The Remastering: audio and video quality.
  • The impact and legacy of the ‘Thriller’ short film.
  • The Estate: If/when/how we should cautiously give support?
  • What’s next for ‘Thriller’ and other potential Estate products?

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Episode 089 – John Barnes Special

The MJCast’s Elise Capron and Jamon Bull are honoured to interview renowned musician, arranger, songwriter and mixer John Barnes, who has worked with an incredibly wide range of the world’s top musicians and entertainers, including, of course, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

John has been recording music since the early ’70s, and has collaborated with artists such as Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, and many more. He first teamed up with the Jackson family in the early ’80s, playing synthesizer and handling arrangements on The Jacksons’ Victory album. He also worked independently with Janet and Jermaine during this time.

Captain EO and the Bad album marked the beginning of John’s deep involvement in Michael Jackson’s solo career. While Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien were working at Westlake, John, Matt Forger, and Bill Bottrell spent their days at Michael’s private home studio at Hayvenhurst, bringing to fruition Michael’s own musical creations. John took on many different roles in the creative process. He was a musician, programmer, and developed ideas from the group up alongside Michael, including co-writing ‘We Are Here to Change the World’.

John worked with Michael in his later years as well, and spent time with him in Bahrain following the 2005 criminal trial in which he was found not guilty. Not only was John a crucial member of MJ’s creative team, but he has also had a major impact on the popular music landscape as we know it, both as a traditional musician and with his revolutionary work with synth sound programming. Today, John continues his work in the music industry as the CEO of Innersound Studios.

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Episode 088 – Janet Got Busy

After a whirlwind summer of Jackson events, anniversaries, and special guests, Jamon and Q catch up on lots of news and developments in the world of Michael Jackson! On this episode, the guys welcome first-time guests Courtney and Kam, who co-host the Janet Jackson podcast, Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever. The podcasting foursome chat about the story behind the new podcast, as well as updates in the world of Janet, including the buzz around her fantastic new single, ‘Made For Now’.

On the Jackson news front, the team discusses the recent media explosion around the Cascio Case, and the upcoming, limited-series podcast by Damien Shields, titled Faking Michael, which will document the history of the fraudulent tracks. They also chat about new books by Anthony King, Richard Lecocq & Francois Allard, and Vincent Paterson; the upcoming Quincy Jones documentary showing on Netflix; and the one-week run of “Thriller 3D” in IMAX theaters. Plus, they recap events at the Diamond Celebration in Las Vegas, and get updates from The MJCast correspondents.

News

  • Official Michael Jackson merchandise was been released by Culture Kings in Australia. Oh, and Cotton On.
  • Anthony King has released his first book on Michael Jackson, called Michael Jackson & Classical Music.
  • Richard Lecocq & Francois Allard’s book Michael Jackson – All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track is due for release on October 23rd
  • Netflix lands a Quincy Jones documentary for September 21 release.
  • Vincent Paterson’s autobiography, Icônes et Instincts is now available in French. The English version is coming soon!
  • Jacksonville students to benefit from 1984 donation from Michael Jackson for scholarships.
  • The article, ’60 Years of Michael Jackson, The Fashion Icon’, appears in Britain’s VOGUE magazine.
  • Damien Shields launches his Faking Michael podcast
  • Frank Cascio’s book to be turned into mini-series
  • Cascio Case media explosion and updates
  • ‘Thriller 3D’ to play in IMAX theatres for a one-week run
  • Diamond Celebration discussion
  • Audio from the ‘Diamond Celebration’ Q&A with John Branca in Las Vegas
  • Janet’s throwback video to MJ’s Remember the Time

Main Discussion Topic

  • Janet! Janet Jackson releases a new single and two new music videos for ‘Made For Now (feat. Daddy Yankee)’
  • Janet’s recent performance on Jimmy Fallon

Finds of the Week

  • Jamon – Mark Ryden shares a YouTube video in which he discusses making a frame for his original Dangerous album art piece. His original design sketches of the frame are also available here.
  • Q – A video that listener (and legendary Aussie MJ tribute artist) Paul Rizzo posted, comparing the original release and the Number Ones DVD release of the film clips for Blood On The Dance Floor, and the differences between them!

Additional Links

  • iTunes and Twitter for the Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever podcast.
  • Janet discusses motherhood and learning to love her body on Eonline!e!
  • CBS Executive Les Moonves was obsessed with ruining Janet Jackson’s career article from Huffington Post.

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Episode 087 – Happy 60th Birthday MJ!

On this episode celebrating Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, Q, Elise and Jamon go on a trip down memory lane with special guest Sean Fitzgerald, who was part of the team who ran The Magic World of Michael Jackson Fan Club in the U.S. from 1989-1995. Sean recreates the incredible moments he experienced during this golden era for MJ fans, such as attending Michael’s fabled Bad World Tour shows at Madison Square Garden and having front-row access to the filming of MTV’s 10th Anniversary Special, where Michael performed Black or White and Will You Be There for the first time. He also talks about the infamous 1995 HBO Beacon Theatre show that was cancelled when Michael fell ill and organising ‘MichaelFest’ fan gatherings.

Plus, Sean goes into detail about his fan club’s very positive relationship with MJJ Productions, who invited Sean and other fan club organizers to their LA office on multiple occasions. Sean also gives interesting insight into how the fan community was organised pre-internet, and how that time contrasts to the online community today.

Sean Fitzgerald is based in New York, and now works in marketing. He’s been married to his high-school sweetheart (who is also an MJ fan!) for 27 years, and they have five children together. Sean is also very active in Church ministries (prison ministry, youth ministry and bible study) and has multiple degrees in Theology. He still has many very personal items from his collection of MJ memorabilia, including a range of items signed personally from Michael Jackson.

The MJCast can’t imagine a better way to celebrate sixty years of Michael than with these fantastic memories.

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Episode 086 – Dick Zimmerman Special

Q and Jamon are excited to welcome to the show renowned photographer and artist Dick Zimmerman, best known in the Michael Jackson fan community for his iconic portrait of Michael used for the Thriller album cover, which is said to be the most distributed portrait in history.

Zimmerman, known as ‘The Image Maker’, has, in over 45 years as an artist, captured the images of a wide range of celebrated entertainers, dignitaries and politicians, including everyone from Jane Fonda, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Mick Jagger, Robin Williams and of course, La Toya, Janet and Michael Jackson.

Originally from New York, Zimmerman studied painting at the School of Visual Arts, the Parsons School of Design, New York University, the Brooklyn Museum, and throughout Europe, including the Musee D’orsay. His work has been featured in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, CNN, NBC’s ‘The Today Show’, ABC’s ‘Access Hollywood’, ‘Dr. Drew’ and more.

The guys chat with Zimmerman about his background as an artist, the concept development behind the Thriller cover, working with Michael, and his new DVD package, ‘Memories of Michael, the Thriller Cover Session Interview’.

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