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 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.

Special Highlights

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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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