Episode 069 – C Q&A

Jamon and Q have gone AWOL and left yours truly alone at mission control. Yep, that’s right, I’ve been let loose, unsupervised, for only the second time in the show’s history. So firstly, and most importantly, discerning listeners can rest assured that this week’s show is a remix-free zone. Collect your P45s and go peddle your blib-blobs and doof-doof-doofs elsewhere, cretinous vandals of the MJ sphere; Charles is in charge and believe me, your services have never been less required than they are today.

The remixes are out on their ear and so is any pretence at balance. There’ll be no benefits of the doubt for Sony and the Estate this week; no polite swerving of awkward topics and no filter. Strap yourselves in for two hours of unfiltered truth as I answer listeners’ questions about everything from the AEG wrongful death trial to the darkest days of Michael’s career to the politics of the MJ fan community.

We received more than 40 questions. I answered as many as I could but by the end of the recording, as you’ll hear, my voice was getting raggedy and it was time for bed. If your question didn’t get answered, perhaps I’ll answer it in my next Q&A – assuming Jamon and Q ever allow me near the mic again without a chaperone.

NB. I did answer two questions from @whogrl on Instagram, but a recording error meant they had to be cut from the show. Sorry @whogrl. That’s What You Get For Being mad enough to let me record solo, Jamon & Q.

The questions answered were as follows:

From Lachlan Bradbury on Facebook:

  • You’ve mentioned in the past your dissatisfaction with Invincible. Why do you think it’s one of Jackson’s weaker works, and what do you believe would have made it a stronger album?
  • Do you believe that the affiliation between Michael Jackson, his catalogue, his ‘vault’, etc, and Sony will ever come to an end, given the current state of Jackson’s Estate? What do you think would lead to Sony and the Estate parting ways?

From Debbii Longshaw on Facebook:

  • Do you believe that the media’s attitude to Michael is really softening over the years?
  • What is your honest belief in regards to Michael’s death?
  • What are your thoughts in regards to John Branca and that will, along with the undervaluing of Michael’s Estate and the whole IRS thing?

From Carley Swan on Facebook:

  • If MJ was still here with us and you had a chance to ask him a question, what would it be?

From Andrew Sly on Facebook:

  • What is your favourite MJ book, author and why?
  • What are your top five Michael tunes and why did you choose them?

From Q (The MJCast co-host):

  • What is a perfect day for Charles Thomson?

From  G-o Meter on Facebook:

  • What impression did you get when you first saw MJ appear at the conference to announce This Is It? When I first saw it I thought this is not MJ, this is an impersonator. And in my view, this was the first time his ‘I love you’ sounded dishonest.
  • Why do you think Conrad Murray still walks this earth unharmed?

From Ryan Michaels on Facebook:

  • On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being horrible and 10 being magnificent, would you give the performance of Blood on the Dance Floor, where Michael lays down on the stage, a 9 or a 10?

From @michaeljosephmusic on Instagram:

  • Charles, don’t you think it’s better to look at everything Michael did (at least as an artist) positively?

From L Josefin (@LiJosefin on Twitter):

  • What do you think are some of the most cringe-worthy decisions Michael made in his later years?

From Elaine Holloway (@lovemj829 on Twitter):

  • Do you think MJ’s mother had a case against AEG? If so, why didn’t she win against them?
  • Do you think he was murdered by Sony? If not, who?

From Bruce Aguilar (@yensid98 on Twitter):

  • What’s your least favourite MJ song from each of his solo albums?

From Jamon (The MJCast co-host):

  • Talk to us about what you do for a living. What have you been most proud of in your line of work as an investigative journalist?

From Bongani (@Bongani_md on Twitter):

  • What would you say to folks who are of the view that you come across too harsh on Mike at times?

From J.D. (@MixingHistory on Twitter):

  • How did you get involved with Q and Jamon?

From Azmat Mahmood (@azmatmahmood98 on Twitter):

  • Would MJ have ascended to the top if he had never worked with Quincy Jones?
  • Which songs would you have wanted MJ to perform live on his tours that he never did?

From Liam (@wceliam on Twitter):

  • If MJ survived, how would This Is It have played out and the years after for MJ, in your opinion?
  • At what point did you realise that the Estate are fucking trash?

From Bella (@bellapopov on Twitter):

  • How did you react when MJ passed away? I don’t think you’ve shared your June 25, 2009, story.
  • Why do you think there is so much wilful delusion and denial in the MJ fan community? How can we combat this?

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on the show, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.com. Michael on!

Episode 068 – Thriller Night Special with Ola Ray

Thirty-five years after Thriller album’s release, Michael Jackson’s titular short film remains a Halloween staple. To mark the anniversary, Q and Jamon are joined on this special episode by none other than Michael’s Thriller co-star, Ola Ray.

In 1983, it seemed like every young woman wanted to be Ola Ray, strutting hand-in-hand with the King of Pop at the zenith of his career. But in this exclusive chat with The MJCast, Ola talks about the dark side of Hollywood. Among her revelations is that she was high the first time she joined Michael on the set of the video.

After discussing her brief friendship with Michael – including the last time she ever saw him – Ola speaks of her annoyance and not being invited to Sony/Estate events organised to mark Thriller’s 35th anniversary, and also gives an insight into her ongoing legal action against the Estate over its alleged failure to pay her the royalties demanded by her contract.

Additionally, Ola gives listeners a preview of her upcoming book, The Thrill Of It All, in which she says she will spill the beans about her time as one of Hugh Hefner’s playmates and – in the wake of the recent litany of allegations against various powerful men in Hollywood – claims she will expose how she was taken advantage of as a young, aspiring actress.

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Episode 067 – Joseph Vogel Special

After an extended break from the Michael Jackson fan community, author and Merrimack College professor Dr. Joseph Vogel is back. He appears on this week’s special edition of The MJCast to mark the release of his fully revised book, ‘Earth Song: Michael Jackson and the Art of Compassion‘.  Interviewed by Jamon Bull and Charles Thomson, Vogel gives the most candid interview of his career.

After attracting criticism for his endorsement of fake tracks released on the MJ Estate’s first posthumous album, Vogel left social media several years ago. In this exclusive interview, Vogel tells The MJCast he no longer stands by his old comments and now believes the songs are fake. The Estate assured him it had evidence they were real but, over the years, he came to realise that simply wasn’t true.

Fans who boycott the Estate over the release of those songs are being perfectly reasonable, says Vogel. He hasn’t spoken to the Estate for around two years and hasn’t been approached to appear in Spike Lee’s rumoured Thriller documentary. He is now actively seeking a publisher to reprint his first MJ book – ‘Man in the Music‘ – in part so he can remove his words on the fake tracks and cease to acknowledge them as MJ songs.

Also in this bombshell interview, Vogel discusses how and why he revised his Earth Song book, why he left social media, whether the fans who turned on him were justified and what his next projects will be.

Joe’s revised edition of ‘Earth Song: Michael Jackson and the Art of Compassion’ includes fresh insights based on new evidence and interviews with key MJ collaborators, like Earth Song short film director Nick Brandt.

In addition to writing several books on Michael Jackson, Joe has appeared in the Estate’s documentaries on the Bad and Off The Wall albums and wrote the liner notes for the Estate’s Bad 25 box set.

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Episode 066 – Long Hair Don’t Care

This episode of The MJCast is dedicated to the victims of the September 19th Central Mexico Earthquake, which has killed more than 300 people to date and those who are suffering in hurricane ravaged Puerta Rico. You can pitch in here and here respectively. A massive recovery effort is underway in Mexico City and Puerta Rico. The MJCast wishes host of The MJCast en Español Ale Huerta and her friends and family all the best…

It’s nearly Halloween and, aptly, John Branca has coughed and spluttered back into action to gift us with a trio of new projects. The first is a compilation CD of songs that are Halloween-themed and also of songs which aren’t Halloween-themed. The tracklist includes Ghosts, Thriller, Torture… and Dirty Diana and Scream.

The second new project, given a preview at Comic Con in New York, is a cartoon about a jeri curl-sporting dog set to ‘reimagined’ Michael Jackson songs. The third is a 3D conversion of Thriller which featured the wrong music at its London premiere.

Two of these peak Michael Jackson Estate offerings – the CD and the new version of Thriller – were launched in recent weeks with a series of invite-only fan parties. After screening the music videos for several of the songs on the CD, John Branca and John Landis teamed up for some Q&As. So fans were treated to the sight of an unconvincing plastic dummy serving as a proxy Michael Jackson. They also saw the Torture video.

Co-host Charles Thomson and friend of the show Paul Black appear on this episode to discuss these latest Estate releases after Jamon and Q’s round-up of all the hottest news.

News

  • Michael’s Aviator sunglasses have been reimagined after 35 years.
  • 3T have performed at the We Love 90s Festival in the Netherlands.
  • A series of projects have taken place to mark 30 years of the Bad album, including The MJCast en Espanol’s first roundtable episode, a new article by Albumism and a new MJ101 eBook by Andy Healy.
  • Some new footage has leaked from the Dangerous Tour in Copenhagen.
  • A new HIStory Tour concert, from Johannesburg, has leaked.
  • A new audio documentary has been released about Janet Jackson’s work with Jam & Lewis.
  • Janet Jackson has kicked off her State of the World Tour in Houston and visited homeless shelters for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
  • Paris Jackson has been announced as an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.
  • ABC 20/20 has aired a documentary about the murder of Tito Jackson’s ex-wife Dee Dee, about which her sons – 3T – are unhappy.
  • London’s National Portrait Gallery has announced an exhibition of artwork inspired by Michael Jackson, to be held in summer 2018.
  • Behind the scenes footage of Nahko Bear’s new music video, featuring Paris Jackson, has been released.
  • Taryll Jackson has released Start It All Over Again.
  • Chart Masters has published an article detailing how many units the Thriller album has actually sold.
  • A collector claims he has a rare copy of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker Sega game, featuring Thriller.
  • Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, CEO of the Alibaba Group, has performed some Michael Jackson dance moves.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Sony and the Michael Jackson Estate have marked the release of a new Michael Jackson compilation CD with a series of fan parties, featuring screenings of Thriller 3D.

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Episode 065 – Hector Barjot Special

Hector Barjot has been a Michael Jackson fan for more than thirty years and started his MJ memorabilia collection in 1988. He now has one of the biggest collections in the world. From dolls to cuddly toys to rare vinyl pressings – you name it, he has it.

Based in France, Hector is the co-author of the Ultimate Collector book series and also runs a successful YouTube channel about his MJ rarities. His videos have amassed more than 150,000 views to date.

Today he joins Q and Jamon to tell them how he became a fan, what sparked his obsessive collecting and whether he regrets any of his purchases.

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Episode 064 – Vincent Paterson Special

Choreographer Vincent Patterson was at Michael Jackson’s side for many of the key moments which helped cement his status as an entertainment legend, first working with Michael as an assistant choreographer and lead dancer on the pioneering Beat It and Thriller music video shoots. When it came time to devise the videos for Michael’s next album, Bad, Vincent was brought back into the fold, working on the short films for The Way You Make Me Feel, Speed Demon, Dirty Diana and Smooth Criminal.

But it wasn’t just short films he collaborated on with Michael. He also helped shape some of the most historic live performances of Michael’s career, from directing the Bad World Tour to helping to choreograph Michael’s 1988 Grammy Awards performance.

Vincent’s association with Michael continued throughout the 1990s. He choreographed for the Black or White music video and Michael’s MTV 10th anniversary performance, helped devise Michael’s groundbreaking Superbowl half-time show and directed the Blood on the Dance Floor music video.

Today he joins Jamon and Q to discuss Michael Jackson as both an artist and a man, explaining their collaborative working process and telling the stories behind some of pop culture’s most historic moments. He also discusses his involvement in the documentary, The Man Behind the Throne, which is the focus of his work with Michael Jackson, Madonna and other celebrities.

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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.

Episode 063 – Q Q&A

Just when you thought things were getting back to normal, Jamon has deserted ship again, leaving Q to man the deck single-handed. Luckily, Q is more than capable of entertaining himself while Jamon isn’t looking.

In this solo episode, Q answers questions submitted by you, our loyal listeners. Episode 062 was the fastest-downloaded regular news episode in the show’s history, so Q felt Episode 063 would be the perfect opportunity to engage in a little back and forth with our ever-growing audience.

Topics ranged from MJ in the movies to what Q would do if if was manning the fort over at the MJ Estate, instead of here at The MJCast.

From Lina Yakoub:

  • Who are three actors you think would be able to channel Michael the best in a movie (could be singers as well)?
  • What already existing movie roles do you think Michael possibly could have played?
  • Do you have any exciting guests on upcoming episodes and, if so, could you give us a few hints on who they may be?

From live-tweeting queen Carley (@MJIsMyGoldenBoy):

  • Which MJ songs have you not listened to ever since MJ’s passing?
  • What were the highlights of seeing MJOne?

From Lyne Tyler (@FmrMTLr):

  • A common complaint with fellow fans is the lack of available materials from the Jacksons’ touring years. As we gripe about not having the Destiny, Triumph or Victory tours on any media, we never ask who owns the rights to those tours. Is it the band (ie. The Jacksons) or another entity? The MJ Estate may not have full ownership and may therefore not be to blame for not releasing them. I personally have no clue and thought you may have insight.
  • My second question relates to your outstanding work in putting this podcast together. Without revealing your secret sauce, as you all seem to make it so easy, how do you manage to produce such a high quality show with consistent topics and without speaking over each other? How much prep time is involved and how do your respective significant others feel about the time we steal away from them? I love them all for sharing you with us so generously.
  • One last question. Can we get Mr Thomson to live tweet more? He is priceless.

From Kory Wise:

  • If you could go back to witness one moment from Michael’s life or career, what would it be and why?

From Reny SanLuis:

  • If you could own any piece of MJ memorabilia, what would it be and why?
  • If you were in charge of the MJ Estate, what would be the first MJ item/thing that you would put out or do for the public?
  • If you could go back in time and watch Michael create a signature moment during his stellar career, what would it be and why?
  • The famous Oprah Winfrey question: What do you know for sure?

From Ashley White (@1958TO4EVER):

  • Do you know what happened to the tsunami relief song Michael was working on around 2005, that he was shown working on in the Geraldo Riviera interview?
  • Do you think we will get a remastered Thriller on Blu-Ray as a result of Thriller 3D coming to cinemas?

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Episode 062 – They Didn’t Need an Expert to Say That

Jamon is back from his paternity leave, rejoining Q to co-host Episode 062 after a few months off. They are joined by recurring guest host and legal correspondent Charles Thomson, plus lifelong MJ fan Angela Kande. Charles and Angela discuss their recent visits to Santa Maria, Forest Lawn and the Jacksons’ 50th Anniversary Tour, before helping Jamon and Q dissect all of the latest MJ and Jackson family news.

After the news, Jamon and Q first delve into Angela’s fan story, where she shares some of her most vivid memories from the ‘frontline’ of MJ fandom in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to attending the HIStory Tour in 1997 and the World Music Awards in 2006, Angela spent time at Michael’s hotels and other places he visited during his trips to the UK. She recalls the lows (like witnessing a photographer assault Michael outside a recording studio) and the highs (like bagging a seat right behind Michael at a London theatre) of her time spent in Michael’s orbit. She also discusses the origins of her spoken word poem ‘Legacy’, about the impact of Michael’s death on his fan community.

The hosts then turn their attention to Charles. Despite first appearing on the MJCast in Episode 002 and having been a frequent contributor ever since, Jamon and Q recently realised they had never asked Charles some of the key questions they usually ask guests during their first appearances on the show. What begins as a simple interview about Charles’ favourite songs, albums, videos and concerts turns into an emotional discussion about what Michael means to his fans – and the wider world – and how the fan community must fight for his legacy as his Estate allows it to crumble.

This episode marks Angela’s first ‘live’ appearance on the MJCast, although she did appear as one of Charles’ interviewees in his World Music Awards 10th Anniversary Special last year.

News

  • Michael’s Estate announces a one-off cartoon, ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’, featuring ‘reimagined’ versions of his music.
  • A 3D version of Thriller, plus the Making of Thriller documentary, are to be shown at the Venice Film Festival.
  • Producer Teddy Riley, a major contributor to Michael’s Dangerous album, discusses his time in the studio with Michael in a new two-and-a-half interview.
  • Remixed by Nick* has made a large number of his Michael Jackson remixes available for download.
  • Jimmy Safechuck’s posthumous demands for money over alleged abuse by Michael have been thrown out of court by a judge, and Wade Robson’s case looks set to follow.
  • Quincy Jones has been awarded more than $9million by a jury after he sued the Michael Jackson Estate for underpaying him.
  • An attempt by Frank Cascio to auction a CD of fake Michael Jackson songs for upwards of $50,000 has been called off – but the disc remains available for private sale.
  • Jermaine Jackson performs at the grand finale of BBC talent contest Pitch Battle.
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller has been used as the soundtrack to the new trailer for Stranger Things – Season Two, after producers were eventually able to secure the rights
  • Michael Jackson’s Estate has granted Sony, a company Michael despised, continued permission to control the licensing of his music.
  • New transcripts from the class action lawsuit over the release of fake Michael Jackson songs reveal a judge has accused lawyers for Sony, MJJ Productions and the MJ Estate of throwing their co-defendants under a bus by conceding they may have been duped into selling bogus material.
  • Michael’s son Prince has produced a music video for Swedish singer Nano.
  • FIlmmaker Spike Lee has announced his latest Brooklyn Loves MJ street party.
  • The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has added new Michael Jackson exhibits to its collection.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Angela and Charles’ fan stories

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Episode 061 – Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffett Special

Drummer Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffett first worked with Michael Jackson when he joined the Jacksons on their Destiny Tour in 1979. He remained with the brothers for the Triumph Tour – where his work was immortalised on the Jacksons’ only live album – and then joined them on their legendary Victory Tour. He later played on the Jacksons’ album 2300 Jackson Street and on Michael’s 1988 Grammy Awards performance.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he worked with other music legends including Madonna, Elton John and George Michael. In 1996 he re-teamed with Michael Jackson for the HIStory World Tour, which lasted into 1997, and then joined him again in 2001 for his two 30th Anniversary Celebration concerts at Madison Square Gardens in New York.

In 2009 he was selected for the This Is It band and worked with Michael in his final weeks, days and hours of rehearsals. He performed at Michael’s Staples Centre memorial and has since worked for his Estate on its Cirque Du Soleil Immortal World Tour.

In this special episode, Jonathan joins Jamon and Q to discuss his long career and relationship with Michael Jackson.

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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.

Episode 060 – The Laura Comedy Hour

Laura Nicholson returns to guest host with Jason and Q, and this time she has the chance to share her fan story! This is followed by a range of news stories, reactions to and our reviews of the Lifetime TV film starring Navi, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland, details around what you’ll need to send in for an upcoming Q&A episode, finds of the week and some sweet, sweet tunes.

News

  • Association On The Line is hosting the MJ Music Day event in Paris, France.
  • New Who Is It concept art has apparently leaked.
  • Michael Jackson themed Egyptian movie Sheik Jackson is on the way.
  • Prince Jackson attends the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and presents Drake with the Top Artist Award.
  • Shana Mangatal has released never before seen footage from the original Ghosts shoot, with an interesting back story around it.
  • Janet Jackson reportedly set to document divorce, motherhood and more on Netflix special.
  • MJ’s nephew, Austin Brown, collaborates with fraudster Eddie Cascio.
  • Iconic Michael Jackson film from photo sessions needs $500 000 to be developed.
  • Michael Jackson fan loses home in London’s Grenfell Tower Fire tragedy.
  • Thriller 3D to be released in the US this summer.
  • Review of The Jacksons Glastonbury performance from their 50th Anniversary tour
  • TJ and Frances Jackson launch The Family Rules, a platform with blogs, posts, Q&A videos on marriage, children and family.
  • Paris Jackson appears in The xx’s new short film, I Dare You.

Main Discussion Topic

Finds of the Week

Sean Kenneth O’Hara

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