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.

The guys discuss Paulie’s book and the creation of Steven’s MJFFC project, and, of course, get into the charity work Michael Jackson engaged with during his life. From acting as a US Cultural Ambassador to his Presidential Humanitarian Award, to songs such as “Man In The Mirror”, and to his work with hospitals, community centers, hospices and orphanages, Michael Jackson did incredible, world-changing work for many years. He was, ultimately, a human being who represented love and peace. We should remember him, acknowledge him, be inspired by him, and follow in his footsteps in our own lives.

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

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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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Episode 085 – For all the YANA Lovers Out There?

After hosting four (epic!) back-to-back special episodes, Jamon takes a well-deserved break, handing the reins over to Q, Elise, and Damien Shields, who catch up on more than a month’s worth of MJ and Jackson Family news. They revisit The MJCast’s recent interview with Judith Hill, and look ahead to events planned for MJ’s birthday on August 29th, including a screening of Moonwalker at the British Film Institute, as well as developments around the Estate’s ‘Diamond Celebration’, which include partnering with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the release of a vinyl anthology box set.

In other news, Michael has been making appearances on tracks by major recording artists, including Christina Aguilera’s ‘Maria’, and Drake’s ‘Don’t Matter To Me’, which has earned Michael Jackson his 30th Hot 100 Top 10 Billboard hit. Plus, developments are in the works for a Broadway show based around Michael’s music, and Omer Bhatti reveals the long-rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork. In Jackson family news, Janet continues her big year by receiving the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards, and reports are circulating that she is collaborating with Bruno Mars, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on her new album. Lastly, be sure to check out the Michael Jackson Academic Studies courses, which have recently been made available for free online.

Q and Elise also get a chance to ask Damien about the revised and expanded edition of his book, Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault (previously titled Xscape Origins), and about the progress on his “A Truth Untold” project.

News

  • A new German-language book about Michael has been released, Make That Change: Michael Jackson: Botschaft und Schicksal eines spirituellen Revolutionärs (Message and Fate of a Spiritual Revolutionary) by Sophia Pade and Armin Risi.
  • Reports are circulating that Janet Jackson is to collaborate with Bruno Mars, as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for new album.
  • New Christina Aguilera song, “Maria, featuring an MJ sample.
  • The Michael Jackson Estate is set to partner with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for Michael’s “Diamond” birthday celebration.
  • Janet Jackson receives the first ever Impact Award at Radio Disney Music Awards and gives another inspirational acceptance speech.
  • A Michael Jackson Broadway show may be coming in 2020, organised by the Estate and Columbia Live Stage.
  • New Drake song with previously-unreleased MJ vocals, “Don’t Matter to Me“, which has earned Michael his 30th “Hot 100 Top 10” Billboard hit.
  • London’s prestigious British Film Institute has announced a screening of Moonwalker on August 29th for Michael Jackson’s birthday.
  • The National Portrait Gallery has opened its Michael Jackson – On the Wall exhibition, which will be travelling to France later this year.
  • Fashion house Balmain launches its Spring 2019 Menswear collection featuring Michael Jackson-inspired designs from designer Olivier Rousteing.
  • SWG (Single White Glove) has released a new (10 minute long!) You Are Not Alone Extended Mix. Enjoy, YANA-heads!
  • Omar Bhatti reveals the long rumoured original golden Invincible album cover artwork.
  • MJAS have just made all their courses available for free.
  • MJ60 Birthday events: What’s happening? Let us know details! Organise something yourself!
  • Most of MJ’s albums are to be officially re-released as picture discs in a US$175 vinyl anthology box set. (No BOTDF!)
  • Elise shares a few Los Angeles MJ Week stories.

 Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

  • Q – Soundtrack (iTunes) for the film “Love, Simon”, which features the Jackson 5 Christmas classic, “Someday at Christmas”. (Check out the film, it’s great!)
  • Elise – MJ FAQ by Kit O’Toole.
  • Damien – ?

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Episode 084 – Judith Hill Special

Jamon and Charles host this week’s episode, and welcome a very special guest to the show; Grammy Award-winning soul and R&B star Judith Hill. Judith first captured the world’s attention in 2009, when she performed at Michael Jackson’s Staples Centre memorial service. Prior to Michael’s passing, she had been selected as the lead female soloist in Michael’s band for his ‘This Is It’ residency at the O2, and would have been his duet partner in every show. Those rehearsals are featured in the ‘This Is It’ film.

Judith has also toured with Stevie Wonder, Prince, Josh Groban, John Legend, and was a contestant on The Voice. She featured extensively in the Oscar-winning documentary ’20 Feet From Stardom’, and won a Grammy Award for her contributions to its soundtrack. In 2015, she released her fantastic debut solo album, ‘Back In Time’, produced by her friend and mentor, Prince. Judith has recently released her new funk-laden single The Pepper Club, which she’ll undoubtedly be performing her Summer Tour in Europe, which will run through this month. Judith has a new album and stage musical called Golden Child due later this year.

Jamon and Charles are thrilled to have this chance to discuss Judith’s memories about working with legends Michael Jackson and Prince, her experience as a recording artist, and her upcoming projects.

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Episode 083 – Reflections on Joseph Jackson Roundtable

On June 27th, 2018, the patriarch of the Jackson family, Joseph Walter Jackson, passed away. Jamon and Q welcome return guest Taj Jackson to discuss memories of his grandfather, and to set the record straight regarding the way the way the media has handled news of Joe’s passing. For this very special roundtable episode, the guys are also joined by The MJCast’s Jackson Family Correspondent, Janneke van der Linden, and Legal Correspondent, Charles Thomson.

Joe Jackson, also known as ‘The Hawk’, started life with a rough childhood in Arkansas. He married Katherine Scruse, and fathered ten children with her, all while working two jobs, one at a steel mill and another as a welder, imbuing his children with a love of music and performance. Joe quickly started managing his son’s blossoming musical careers, and, though he became known for ruling the group with an iron fist, loved ones say his fire only sprang from wanting the very best for his children. He pushed his sons to achieve greater and greater heights, from local talent shows, to national competitions, to Steeltown Records, Motown, and international stardom.

Joe was a complex and sometimes controversial figure, but he is remembered now, by his family members, for his amazing will and the sacrifices he made to help his sons reach incredible levels of success. He was also there for his son, Michael, through many of the hardest years of his life, particularly during the 2005 trial and in the lead up to Michael’s ill-fated This Is It tour.

The MJCast’s entire team offer their condolences to the Jackson family on their loss, and thank Taj for sharing his memories. May Joe rest in peace.

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Episode 082 – June 25th Special with Damien Shields and TJ

June 25th, 2018 marks the ninth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s tragic passing. Jamon and Q are joined by their long-time MJ mates, Damien Shields and TJ, to celebrate and honour the King of Pop. This episode is one of inevitable sadness, but also a time to share good memories and even a laugh or two. Friends since they were teenagers, the ‘Awesome Foursome’ reflect on their childhood fandoms, the birth of their friendship, and how they came up with the original seed of an idea that would become The MJCast. As this is TJ’s first time on the show, he tells his fan story. This episode also features memories about Michael Jackson from previous guests and correspondents, along with tribute songs.

Damien Shields last appeared on The MJCast way back in Season Two, though, as regular listeners know, his work is referenced often on the show. Damien is the author of the book Xscape Origins, runs A Truth Untoldwhich investigates the truth around the posthumous Michael album, and has published a wide range of articles related to Michael Jackson. He plans to release an updated version of Xscape Origins this year, and has some new projects in the works, as well.

TJ is an Aussie MJ fan best known for his “Aussie English translation” videos on YouTube. His open letter, “To The Bullies”, was featured in the 2011 book, It Gets Better, alongside a myriad of inspirational contributors such as Chaz Bono, Darren Hayes, Ellen Degeneres, and President Barack Obama. His latest video is a half hour documentary, “The Michael Jackson Trial: One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History”, based on the incredible article by Charles Thomson.

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