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 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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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 050 – Tito Jackson Special

Welcome to Season Three of The MJCast. On this episode, hosts Jamon, Q and guest hosts Charles Thomson and Laura Nicholson are joined by none other than Tito Jackson of The Jackson 5, The Jacksons and now a proud solo artist. We kick things off by discussing Tito’s recently released solo album, Tito Time before delving back into the history of The Jackson 5, The Jacksons, his own immediate family and his three boy’s band, 3T. We wrap the show up with a discussion around Tito’s memories around his brother, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson and what’s on the horizon for both him and his brothers.

As mentioned on Jackson Source… “Born the third eldest and second eldest brother, many have credited him for the start of the Jackson musical dynasty after his father caught him playing his guitar as a child. A gifted child at a young age, Tito heralded his talent from his father, Joseph, who was the leader of a blues band, called the Falcons. Tito and his brothers Jackie and Jermaine played with Joseph’s guitar with Katherine’s blessing until Joseph returned home from work. The boys were careful until one time when Tito got used to the guitar that he broke a string. When Joseph went to investigate and found out that his eight-year-old son had been playing with it, he threatened to ‘whup’ him, then changed his mind and got Tito to play for him. Joseph was impressed by Tito’s talents and equally impressed with Jackie and Jermaine’s vocal talents. It was at this point that Joseph began to envision a singing group for his sons.
By 1967, the lineup had included younger brothers Marlon and Michael and they were now known as The Jacson Five. By the time Tito was fifteen, he had moved up from rhythm guitar to lead guitar while Jermaine played bass and sung co-lead with Michael. Tito and his brothers found success after signing with Motown in 1969 and went on to score huge hits from that time on.”

“Around the same time, Tito had fallen for his highschool sweetheart named Delores ‘Dee-Dee’ Martes and the two married in 1972. The couple went on to have three sons: Taj (1973), Taryll (1975) and TJ (1978). Tito was often known as ‘the quiet member’ of the Jackson family and also ‘the most serious’ of the group.”

“Tito remained with the group when they signed with Epic in 1976 and left the Jackson 5 moniker to be simply known as The Jacksons. By the end of their careers together in 1990, Tito settled into his private life but not without divorcing Dee Dee that year after eighteen years of marriage. In 1997, Tito and his brothers were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Around the same time, Tito was managing his three sons’ own music career as they had formed as 3T.”

“For over 50 years, the Jacksons, the first family of pop music, has been charting hits and in 2016 Tito joined his brothers and sisters and scored his first solo hit on the Billboard charts with the single Get It Baby from [his new] album Tito Time, becoming the ninth and final Jackson family sibling to place a solo single on the charts.” We hope you enjoy this interview with the man himself, Tito Jackson.

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Episode 048 – Season Two Christmas Special

Merry Christmas, listeners. Here’s our Season Two Christmas Special. What a year it’s been for all of us here at The MJCast! We can barely believe that we’re at the end of our second season. After two years of podcasting, it’s still shocking to us that our little news and discussion show on Michael Jackson and the Jacksons has been received so well. Thank-you so much to everyone who has made what we do possible. We recently put together this Season Two Christmas Special for MJ fans to enjoy over their holidays. Q and Jamon kick the show off with a year in review discussion around all things 2016 and Q shares his recent experiences at the Dangerous 25 celebrations in Melbourne, Australia. Following this, the boys discuss the major MJ headlines including MJ Beats’ leak of the HIStory World Tour concert in Basel, a new MJ101 book, Janet Jackson’s baby and finally new photos from the You Are Not Alone shoot.

After the news, Jamon and Q then reminisce on the special episodes of Season Two, making sure to play some of their favourite highlight clips. To round the show off, a special audio montage is played which features special guest’s answers to the question how should Michael Jackson be remembered? Next up, our Season Two blooper reel! Finally, Jamon and Q discuss their hopes and dreams for Season Three of The MJCast and give a few special shout outs and thank-yous.

Listeners, have a happy holidays with family and friends. Share love on Christmas Day and be safe. Following this final show for 2016 and Season Two of The MJCast, we look forward to returning in February 2017 with Season Three. Until then, have yourself a merry little Christmas…

Follow Up

  • Year in review
  • Q’s Dangerous 25 experiences in Melbourne

News

  • MJ Beats has shared never-before-seen HIStory World Tour footage from Basel, Switzerland.
  • Andy Healy’s new book in the MJ101 series; Dangerous 101 is out soon.
  • Has Janet Jackson had her baby yet?
  • New photos of Michael Jackson from the You Are Not Alone shoot have leaked.

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Episode 047 – The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson Special with Elizabeth Amisu and Karin Merx

On this special episode of The MJCast, Jamon and Q interview academics Elizabeth Amisu and Karin Merx on Elizabeth’s new book The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson: His Music, His Persona and His Artistic Afterlife. Topics include their own histories, their roles in The Journal of Michael Jackson Academic Studies and Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On podcast, Elizabeth’s writing and publication process, Karin’s artistic process in creating the book’s cover (The Michael Jackson Respect Portrait) and of course many topics on Michael Jackson himself.

As explained on Elizabeth’s website, The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson is “the essential companion to Michael Jackson’s music, films and books, this work offers 21 original, academic essays on all things Jackson – from film, music and dance to fashion, culture and literature. It is the ultimate collector’s item for every Michael Jackson fan, student, researcher and academic.”

Overall, Dangerous Philosophies is a phenomenal work on the depth of Michael’s art and person, and a brilliant achievement by Amisu. Whether you’re an academic yourself wishing to enrich your knowledge of Michael Jackson, or perhaps a casual MJ fan wanting to open your mind to the depth of Michael’s work, you can’t go past Dangerous Philosophies. Pick up a copy today!

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Episode 046 – Dangerous 25 Roundtable (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second and final instalment of our Dangerous 25 Roundtable shows. Sonically groundbreaking, spiritually profound, sexually provocative and socially conscious, Dangerous exploded onto the music market on November 26th, 1991, taking Michael to new global audiences and cementing his position not only as the King of Pop, but an artist willing to illuminate and challenge some of the world’s most important issues. In many ways, the album is relevant now more than ever. To celebrate twenty-five years of this masterpiece, The MJCast has brought together a roundtable panel of authors, academics and researchers – all mega fans.

Q, Elizabeth, Mike, James, Andy & Samar begin the show by discussing Michael’s appearances and performances during the Dangerous era followed by an analysis of Sony’s Dangerous 25 campaign. The panel members also discusses Michael’s style during the period and their favourite Dangerous era memories before closing the show out with a discussion around how the Dangerous album holds up in Michael’s discography today.

Participants

Topics

  • Dangerous appearances and performances
  • Dangerous style
  • Memories from the era
  • How does Dangerous hold up today?

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Episode 045 – Dangerous 25 Roundtable (Part 1)

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Twenty-five years ago today Michael Jackson released perhaps his most important album… Dangerous. Sonically groundbreaking, spiritually profound, sexually provocative and socially conscious, Dangerous exploded onto the music market on November 26th, 1991, taking Michael to new global audiences and cementing his position not only as the King of Pop, but an artist willing to illuminate and challenge some of the world’s most important issues. In many ways, the album is relevant now more than ever. To celebrate twenty-five years of this masterpiece, The MJCast has brought together a roundtable panel of authors, academics and researchers – all mega fans.

Q, Elizabeth, Mike, James, Andy & Samar begin the show by giving brief introductions as to who they are and their early experiences with the Dangerous album, followed by an exploration into the album’s groundbreaking sound. Next, the panel delves into the album’s masterpiece cover art by Mark Ryden, an analysis of the song and video Black Or White and the lyrical messages within Dangerous. The show finishes up with a discussion around the short films for the album. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Roundtable as we continue our celebrations of Dangerous 25!

Participants

Topics

  • The sound of Dangerous
  • The Dangerous album cover
  • Black Or White
  • The lyrical messages of Dangerous
  • Dangerous’ short films

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Episode 044 – World Music Awards 2006 10th Anniversary Special

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When I realised that the 10th anniversary of Michael’s appearance at the 2006 World Music Awards was fast approaching, I contacted Jamon and Q to suggest they include a segment about it in an upcoming episode. They replied suggesting I should make my own stand-alone episode, over which I would have complete creative control. It was a scary prospect – I am far from being the techno-whizz Jamon is, and it’s fair to say my attempts to record and edit his episode have been haphazard. Two interviews had to be completely re-recorded due to technical failures, the causes of which I have yet to discern and doubt I ever shall.

But despite the technological trauma, this has been an exciting project. The awards ceremony – and its aftermath – have troubled me ever since they occurred. A few years ago I told my own story in a blog entry, so with this show I knew immediately what I wanted to do; interview others who attended the ceremony and let them tell their own stories.

For too long, the dominant story about the World Music Awards has been one which was simply not true. The lie that Michael was booed off stage has been immortalised in at least one substantial biography. My hope is that this show might become a reference point for those wishing to write about or investigate the event in the future.

This show retraces my blog entry to some extent, but includes brand new research, as well as excerpts from four exclusive interviews I have conducted in the last month. My interviewees for this show were Michael’s former manager Raymone Bain, his long-time photographer Harrison Funk, and two long-time UK fans, Angela Kande and Greg Spinks.

Each was incredibly candid and generous with their time, for which I am extremely grateful. Some of their revelations and observations are really very poignant – particularly Raymone’s story about trying to find somebody who would present Michael with his award, which paints a truly sad picture of Michael’s post-acquittal existence. A lot of these stories are ones I have never heard told anywhere else. The interviewees do not all share the same recollections on certain matters, but where they contradict one another I have ensured both points of view are reflected.

All four contributors were incredibly engaging and any one of their interviews could have been released in full on its own merit (but for the extensive damage inflicted on the audio by my ham-fisted recording efforts). Some brilliant stories and observations were sadly left on the proverbial cutting room floor, purely because they diverted from the trajectory of the episode (or because I didn’t record them properly).

Perhaps on the 20th anniversary of the ceremony I will release a director’s cut. Or perhaps, as a homage to Sony, I’ll wait and release the 20th anniversary re-release on the 23rd anniversary, with no new content at all, and in inferior audio quality, with all the best bits of Raymone’s interview remixed by Pitbull so they don’t make sense anymore.

I hope you all enjoy the episode. Let’s spread some truth.

Huge thanks to Jamon and Q for this amazing and exhausting opportunity.

Charles Thomson.

Links

Harrison Funk is releasing a 10th anniversary World Music Awards photo box set, containing several exclusive images he took at the ceremony. Anybody wishing to contact him about purchasing one can do so via the email form at www.harrisonfunk.com.

Angela Kande is the author of ‘Legacy’, a spoken word poem about the Michael Jackson fan community, which can be found here.

Charles Thomson’s original blog about the World Music Awards can be read here.

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Episode 043 – Thriller Night Special feat. CJ DeVillar

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Happy Thriller Night! To celebrate Halloween 2016, Q and Jamon are joined by host of fellow Michael Jackson podcast Moonwalk Talks, Jankins along with bassist, studio engineer and MJ collaborator CJ DeVillar. CJ collaborated with Michael on a range of songs including the unreleased and authentic version of Monster (which we discuss in detail on this episode), Blue Gangsta, A Place With No Name, Break of Dawn and multiple tracks on the HIStory album.

To kick things off, Jamon and Q spring an impromptu interview on Jankins, followed by a discussion around all the latest news in the MJ world. Topics include the recent and unfortunate passing of Thriller songwriter Rod Temperton, a new Michael Jackson project as revealed by John Landis and Nick Amideo’s Monster Movie Mash video. The team then discuss Travis DeRose’ marathon moonwalk across Europe, a competition around Smooth Criminals – The Songs of Michael Jackson and a new dance video set to Black or White. The news is capped off through an update on the Sony/ATV acquisition and a brand new book coming from The Jacksons called The Jacksons: Legacy. The main discussion topic for this episode is a chronological exploration into Michael’s horror themed work.

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Main Discussion Topic

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