Episode 059 – June 25th Special with Isabelle Petitjean and Brice Najar

Eight years ago today on June 25th, 2009 the King of Pop, Michael Jackson tragically passed away amidst preparations for what was to be his final concert tour, This Is It. For fans the world over, the pain still lingers… Each year we come together on this day to remember, honour and reflect on the magical life that was Michael Jackson’s and the love and timeless art he gave to the world. This year, hosts Q and Jason Garcia are lucky enough to be joined by two special guests for The MJCast’s 2017 June 25th episode. Being renowned authors, passionate Michael Jackson scholars, event organisers and…how could we forget…French, our two guests have so much in common that this episode can’t help but be a positive and heart warming reflection on Michael’s life.

Isabelle Petitjean, a classically-trained musician and a teacher of music, is a university academic specializing in Afro-American popular music and particularly in the work of Michael Jackson. She holds a master’s degree and a research mastership in musicology, and is currently preparing a doctorate on Michael Jackson at the University of Paris IV – Paris Sorbonne. She has written multiple books on Michael Jackson including Dangerous: From Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson – Pop Culture in the Pantheon of Fine Arts and Michael Jackson: il état une voix.

Brice Najar is the author of three books about Michael Jackson’s music. The first tackles the subject of his solo discography, through his singles released between 1979 and 2008. The second discusses the albums he recorded with The Jacksons from 1976 to 1989. Both books can be read independently but also compliment one another. In his latest work, Let’s Make HIStory, Brice offers a collection of interviews with some of Michael’s key collaborators  for his 1995 epic double album of the same name.

In addition to being authors in their own right, Brice and Isabelle have joined forces to put together Association On The Line. A group that’s organising unique and unmissable Michael Jackson related events. For its very first occasion, MJ Music Day, Brice and Isabelle are presenting an opportunity to meet musical director Brad Buxer and sound engineer Michael Prince who were both close collaborative partners and friends with the King of Pop. This exceptional and first-of-its-kind visit in France will lead attendees through Michael Jackson’s music at its most intimate and will offer plenty of unique anecdotes about his songs, personality and life. Guests will also experience the HIStory World Tour from behind-the-scenes and discover the secrets of the Jackson sound with the exclusive preview of King of Sound, a documentary by Gareth Maynard about Bruce Swedien. More than a master-class or a conference, this will be a genuine opportunity to share a friendly moment and talk to those men who were very special to Michael Jackson. Brice Najar, Isabelle Petitjean and fellow prominent French MJ fan Hector Barjot will also be there along with other Jackson exhibitors.

Later in the episode, listener submissions are played around how Michael should be remembered. Thank-you to all contributors who submitted audio. For fans who are struggling during this time of year, we hope this episode acts as a way for you to connect with other MJ fans around the world. In this episode there are moments of joy and moments of sadness, but through it all, remember that we are all fans of Michael. We will carry on his message of love and positivity as a way of honouring his memory and everything that he gave to the world. Together we will Michael on!

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Episode 058 – Vindication Day Special (Pirates in Neverland: The Michael Jackson Allegations)

As far back as he can remember, Ryan Michaels was a Michael Jackson fan. He was just five years old when the Dangerous album came out but vividly remembers watching the Black or White music video upon its release in America. In his teenage years he became an active member of the Michael Jackson internet fan community where, in his 20s, he got to know Charles Thomson.

After Michael’s death, Ryan withdrew somewhat from the fan community. Today he lives in Tokyo, where he works for several companies and, in his spare time, hosts the podcast Reason Bound. The show is all about logic and critical thought; what people believe, why they believe it and the importance of being able to recognise good and bad arguments. Each week he and a guest discuss these points in relation to a particular hot topic.

Charles’ life also now revolves around logic and critical thought. Since Michael’s death he has become an award-winning newspaper journalist, investigating issues and weighing evidence on a daily basis, in addition to regularly reporting on criminal trials.

A few months back, Ryan invited his old friend Charles onto Reason Bound. He appeared in episode seven, where they discussed the justice system and the importance of preserving the presumption of innocence. Given their history, the two of them naturally referred to the Michael Jackson trial several times during the show.

August 16, 2004 – MJ attends the pretrial hearings, escorted by LaToya and Janet.

After the recording was finished, Ryan felt there was a lot more to be said about the Michael Jackson case. He invited Charles back onto the show to do something neither of them had ever seen done before – to record a podcast where the two of them would discuss the child abuse allegations leveled at Michael Jackson during the latter half of his career – from their inception in 1993 through to his 2005 trial – within the context of Reason Bound’s usual parameters; looking at what people believe, why they believe it, and the importance of being able to recognise good and bad arguments. They would discuss the evidence in an unemotional way, testing the theories and arguments of bother Michael Jackson’s fans and his detractors.

June 13, 2005 – The Jackson Family leaves the court after the veredict.

Given Charles’ continuing work with The MJCast, Jamon and Q were given a sneak preview loved the show so much they decided they wanted to air it too. So for the second time in The MJCast’s history we are simulcasting with another show. We are proud to present, for our third annual Vindication Day Special, episode 10 of Reason Bound, titled ‘Pirates in Neverland: The Michael Jackson Allegations’.

The show goes live today on both The MJCast’s channel and Reason Bound’s. We thank Ryan for working with us on this episode and we encourage you to head over to iTunes and check out some more of his thought-provoking episodes.

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Episode 057 – We Are Not as Young as We Look

With Jamon having selfishly abandoned the show to assist his pregnant wife during childbirth (bastard), Q and Jason are manning the station for Episode 057.

This episode’s news round-up commences with the announcement that Jermaine Jackson has teamed up with MemOrigin to flog a chain of watches. In other news, Janet Jackson is planning her latest tour, the State of the World Tour.

Elsewhere, there are more Paris Jackson updates, a recent performance by Marlon and Tito Jackson and Charles Thomson’s latest update on the lawsuit over the inclusion of the allegedly fake ‘Cascio tracks’ on the first posthumous Michael Jackson album.

Then the boys discuss the trailer for the new Lifetime ‘biopic’ Searching for Neverland and a new MJ tribute video in the vein of Disney’s Maleficent.

Q and Jason announce the winners of our In The Studio with MJ competition and then delve into the show’s main discussion topic; their top ten favourite Michael Jackson songs. Brace yourself – someone has included tracks from Invincible. Yes, really.

Follow Up

  • The Taryll Jackson and Breana Cabral episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life has aired
  • Pepsi incident timeline – confirmed
  • Audio submissions for June 25

News

  • MemOrigin has debuted its Jackson Series of watches with Jermaine Jackson’s Jelephant
  • Janet Jackson announces recommencement of her tour, now retitled the State of the World Tour. Australian waitlist at Ticketek.
  • Paris Jackson to star in a scene in an Amazon Studios feature film
  • Paris Jackson reportedly signs major deal with Calvin Klein
  • Marlon and Tito share the stage in the La Voix Grand Finale episode in Canada
  • The Cascio Case judge has ruled that Vera Serova will not have to pay Angelikson’s legal fees
  • The trailer for the Memorial Weekend Lifetime’s new MJ biopic, In Search of Neverland drops
  • Maleficent video, remade with Michael Jackson songs
  • Competition draw and winner announcement

Main Discussion Topic

  • Andy’s MJ101 challenge – finally. Our Top 10 Michael Jackson songs.

Finds of the Week

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Episode 056 – Remixed by Nick* Special (Urban Jungle Mix)

Who is Nick*? For years, the Chicago-based mystery man has tantalised fans with his reworkings of Michael Jackson’s greatest tracks, often including elements never included in the final versions of the songs. The MJCast has regularly included Nick*’s work in its episodes but in this special show, the elusive remixer actually joins hosts Jamon and Q to to discuss his methods and his Michael Jackson fandom. Alas, he’s keeping mum on how exactly he keeps getting his hands on Michael’s priceless multi-tracks. In addition to featuring the David Attenborough-esque wildlife soundscape of Nick*’s neighbourhood, this episode also features a brand new Nick* reworking of The Jackson 5’s hit single The Love You Save.

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Episode 055 – You’re Muted for Two Weeks

Having grown sick of having to keep interviewing Michael Jackson’s friends and collaborators, Jamon and Q appear on their own this week with a good, old-fashioned news round-up.

The show kicks off with the news that Janet Jackson might be touring again soon, followed by the depressing news that Michael’s former manager Sandy Gallin recently passed away, then the even more depressing news that somebody has decided to perform a cover version Man In The Mirror.

The despair continues with the announcements that convicted killer Conrad Murray has recorded an interview with celebrity quack Dr Oz, Taryll Jackson is to undergo televised counselling on a dubious reality TV show and Britain’s Channel 5 – which previously brought us such marvels as ‘Michael Jackson’s Face’ and ‘When Pilots Eject’ – has produced a new Michael Jackson ‘biopic’. Oh, and a Michael Jackson impersonator has started charging fans to go on holiday with him.

But there are some glimmers of hope. World-renowned biographer J Randy Taraborrelli has broken his vow of silence on Michael Jackson and agreed to update his biography for 2019. Jackie Jackson has given an in-depth interview to the UK’s Times newspaper ahead of the Jacksons’ impending 50th anniversary tour. And Brad Sundberg has announced he will host one of his amazing In The Studio With MJ seminars in Los Angeles in June.

After the news, Jamon and Q argue the pros (tracks 1-5) and the cons (the rest) of the Blood on the Dance Floor album, which, frighteningly, turns 20 this year.

News

  • Reports suggest Janet Jackson may reschedule her postponed Unbreakable World  Tour
  • Sandy Gallin, Michael Jackson’s manager during the Dangerous era, has passed away
  • Camila Cabello has covered Man in the Mirror
  • Universal Orlando’s new thrill ride Race Through New York has a hidden Michael Jackson Easter Egg
  • Taryll Jackson and his wife Breana Cabral are to feature in reality TV show Iyanla: Fix My Life
  • Conrad Murray is to appear in a May episode of the Dr Oz show
  • A bootleg recording of Michael Jackson’s Ghost of Another Lover has leaked
  • Brett Ratner has spoken about his appearance in Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movie TV show
  • Biographer J Randy Taraborrelli is ending his vow of silence on Michael Jackson and will update his book for 2019, he has announced on Facebook
  • A new documentary, titled Michael Jackson: Man in the Mirror, has aired
  • Jackie Jackson has given an in-depth interview to UK newspaper The Times
  • LaVelle Smith Jr has released a video of dancers rehearsing new routines for Michael Jackson’s aborted HBO One Night Only concert
  • A Michael Jackson impersonator is charging fans to go on holiday with him
  • Brad Sundberg has announced 3 Days of MJ from June 26th – June 28th in Los Angeles

Main Discussion Topic

  • Michael Jackson’s Blood on the Dance Floor album

Finds of the Week

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Episode 054 – CJ DeVillar Special

CJ DeVillar is a bassist and mix engineer who’s had the honour of working with artists like Quincy Jones, Boyz II Men, Van Halen and Yolanda Adams – but he joins us today, of course, to discuss his work with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He tells us how he came to meet and work with Michael and shares some intimate memories from the studio, where he and Michael worked on songs including Break of Dawn, Blue Gangsta and A Place With No Name. Jankins, host of the Moonwalk Talks podcast, joins us for this special interview with one of Michael’s collaborators during some of the last studio sessions of his life.

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Thoughts On Leaks…

 

By late 2002 I’d been a Michael Jackson fan for just one year. His last album of new material, Invincible, was released a year prior. Sadly, this ended up being the first and only time I had the privilege of experiencing the release of a studio album that Jackson himself had given his blessing. The recording sessions for Invincible are rumoured to have been some of the most fruitful of his career, producing dozens of musical pieces, many of which the public are still yet to hear. Due to nefarious actions that are yet to be fully uncovered, one such piece of music, a full and complete song that was not released on the album, leaked to the public. The song was titled Escape. In response, Michael Jackson issued a statement outlining his disappointment with the leak. As much as I loved hearing this masterpiece of a song, its premature release clearly hurt him.

Jump forward five years, and it’s 2008. Michael is beginning the process of working with a range of contemporary producers to potentially flesh out a new sound for his upcoming studio album. Among these producers is the R&B hit-maker Akon. Michael spent weeks in the studio with Akon crafting the sublime ballad Hold My Hand, which would end having its own sad history despite its uplifting nature. Not only would the song suffer the same fate as Escape and prematurely leak to the public, but it would eventually go on to serve as the lead single from his first posthumous album of new material, Michael. Jackson family members and many fans would agree that Hold My Hand was a song Michael cared deeply about. Since then, there have been many more song leaks, some when Michael was alive, but most after his death. And these leaks continue to be the source of debate amongst the Michael Jackson fan community.

Today another Michael Jackson song leaked, but this time a piece that was worked on during the Dangerous sessions called Ghost of Another Lover. The leak occurred due to an attendee of a Michael Jackson convention recording the song whilst it was played for the audience by one of Michael’s studio engineers. They did this against the wishes of the convention organisers and the engineer. I won’t name the person who recorded it, the engineer who decided to play it or the event at which it was played, as I don’t think these are crucial elements of the scenario. Like times previous, rich debate is currently taking place within the Michael Jackson fan community around how leaks should be handled, and for good reason.

Seldom does widespread public debate over the ethical nature of something occur when there’s some simple, logical answer regarding the correct way that thing should be. I feel this conflict over leaks acutely as not only am I a Michael Jackson fan who desires to honour and respect Michael’s artistic privacy, but I am also a historian, who recognises the immense cultural value Jackson’s art has, at any stage of completion.

Ultimately, I do feel that if previously unreleased Michael Jackson material is to be played for a paying audience, it should first have the approval of his Estate beneficiaries with the full knowledge and understanding of the risks involved regarding potential leaks. That’s fairly black and white for me. No conflict there. But it’s after leaks happen where things get murky. Michael Jackson’s music grows legs of its own. And with good reason, because it’s usually excellent music. In the age of digital file sharing and social media, there’s no stopping how far and wide this material can reach. In an instance such as today, when a previously unheard Michael Jackson song leaks, I believe that it’s a matter of historical importance that knowledgeable fans, scholars of Michael Jackson, deconstruct and analyse the material so that a historically accurate narrative can be built. As an example, Ghost of Another Lover today leaked with completely the wrong title! A fan uploaded it as Ghost of Another Girl. Knowledgable Michael Jackson fans picked this up swiftly. Not only this, but there’s a certain inevitability to leaked material being discussed. It’s pointless to think it won’t be. Sharing and discussing leaks are inevitable, and are very, very different behaviours to facilitating or instigating a leak.

Yet at a deeper level, it’s the ethics around actually releasing Michael’s previously unheard work at all that interests me. Earlier I opined that Michael’s estate beneficiaries should have the final say. And this is true for now, especially in our lifetimes where there are many people still alive directly connected to him. Artistic collaborators, close friends, business partners, fans and most importantly…family. Yet Michael is now gone, and it can’t be argued that his art doesn’t have immense historical value, even his unreleased material including demos which serve the purpose of teaching us how he created, flaws and all.

Ethically, at what point does it become acceptable for his unfinished work to actually come out without debate? Would anybody disagree now with an unfinished Michaelangelo piece being displayed in an art gallery for scholarly debate? I don’t think so. A lot of this debate comes from the fact that Michael has so recently passed away and many people in some way feel emotionally connected to him and naturally want to defend or protect his wishes. The MJ fan side of me certainly feels that, but as previously mentioned, the historian in me feels the importance of learning as much about his genius as possible, especially while his artistic collaborators are here to engage in dialogue around his work. Like I said, conflict. There is no easy answer.

There will be more Xscape, Hold My Hand and Ghost of Another Lover moments in the future and opinions will vary around these leaks depending on who you talk to. But suffice it to say, while people are around who are still emotionally connected to Michael Jackson as a person, the best people to judge whether his unreleased art should be seen by the public are those who were closest to him, those whom he left his Estate to, his beneficiaries.

Jamon Bull

Episode 053 – You Don’t Feel it Coming?

Episode 053 of The MJCast sees Jamon teaming up with co-host Charles Thomson and debut guest host Greg Spinks in Q’s absence. The boys begin the show by discussing follow-up around Paris Jackson’s debut as a television actress on Star and a brief update on the Cascio case. Headline news items include 3T’s retraction of their lawsuit against Radar Online, Jason Malachi’s return to the music scene, Tito Jackson’s new single, Kingvention 2017 and The Jacksons Glastonbury announcement. Jamon, Charles and Greg then discuss Michael’s alleged interest in playing Professor X in the X-Men movies, Paris Jackson presenting at the GLAAD Awards, Charles’ new favourite song by The Weeknd, new footage of Michael Jackson and finally HLN’s Michael Jackson episode of How It Really Happened. The main discussion topic of this episode is Greg Spinks’ history as an MJ fan and the previously untold story of his creation, the greatest Michael Jackson forum that ever was (in Jamon’s estimation), Maximum Jackson. We hope you enjoy this episode of the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

Follow Up

  • Episode 053 of The MJCast is dedicated to the mother of Taj, Taryll and TJ Jackson, Dee Dee Jackson. Please consider making a donation to the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation in her honour.
  • Paris Jackson makes her TV acting debut on Star. See a brief interview with her here.
  • Vera Serova challenges Eddie Cascio, James Porte & Angelikson’s request for reimbursement of their legal fees. Relevant court documents are the March, 2017 docs here.

News

Main Discussion Topic

  • Greg Spinks’ history as a fan and the untold story behind Maximum Jackson

Finds of the Week

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Episode 052 – Michael Prince Special

Michael Prince worked with Michael Jackson from the mid 90’s onwards, eventually becoming Jackson’s closest studio engineer, a man whom was trusted to capture the King of Pop’s most personal creative visions. From the HIStory World Tour, to the Invincible album, to the beautiful charity single What More Can I Give and right up until This Is It and the final studio songs Michael Jackson was working on, Michael Prince was involved.

Michael Prince backstage at Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration in New York

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Thanks to listener Cody Covington, we now have a full transcript available for this episode. Our deepest thanks and gratitude, Cody.

Michael Prince, Michael Jackson and their team of audio technicians on the HIStory World Tour

Episode 051 – He’s a Lover, Not a Fighter

On Episode 051 of The MJCast, Q and Jamon are flying solo. The fellas begin the show by discussing follow-up around Sky Arts’ decision to pull the broadcast of their Urban Myths ‘MJ’ episode. After this, news galore! Jamon and Q then talk about Janet Jackson’s baby boy, The Jackson’s 50th Anniversary world tour, a wrap up of Brad Sundberg’s 2017 Aussie In The Studio With MJ tour, Ne-Yo’s tribute to Michael Jackson and some new Nick* remixes. This is followed by discussion around Taika Watiti’s new animated film about Bubbles, Navi as Michael Jackson in Lifetime’s new biopic and all kinds of news around Paris, Prince, Marlon, 3T and Tito. With a brief segue into a legal update from Charles Thomson, the boys then wrap the show with discussion around Neverland’s prospective sale, Thriller and Bad’s recertification and the possibility of a new Jacksons TV show. We hope you enjoy this episode of the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

Follow Up

News

  • Janet Jackson gives birth to son Eissa Al Mana
  • The Jacksons are embarking on a 50th anniversary world tour in 2017 including a Blenheim Palace UK performance with Kool and the Gang
  • In the Studio with MJ Australia tour roundup
  • Taking the Stage; Ne-Yo’s MJ tribute
  • Nick* has dropped a number of new MJ remixes including Billie Jean (Nick* Redux), They Don’t Care About Us (Nick* Crook County Remix) and Man In The Mirror (Stripped Mix)
  • Taika Waititi to co-direct a biopic on Michael Jackson’s chimp Bubbles
  • MJ impersonator Navi is set to play Michael in a new Lifetime biopic
  • Paris Jackson’s new interview with Rolling Stone and an accompanying podcast around the interview experience
  • Paris Jackson’s interview in CR Fashion Book 10
  • Paris Jackson signs with IMG Models
  • Paris Jackson presents at the 2017 Grammy Awards and Prince Jackson releases a video in support of her
  • Prince Jackson continues his charity work with Heal Los Angeles
  • Taryll Jackson launches a new trailer for his new musical project
  • Marlon Jackson takes part in an interview around fears of Trump presidency negative impacts
  • Jackson Source has launched the 2016 edition of Jackson Magazine, featuring an interview with Tito Jackson and a range of other Jackson family related stories
  • Tito Jackson drops new music video for his hit single We Made It
  • 3T are to perform at We Love the 90’s festival on August 26th in The Netherlands
  • Neverland sale price slashed by $33 000 000
  • Thriller and Bad re-certified with record breaking sales figures
  • Members of the Jackson family partner with Scout Productions

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