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 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 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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Episode 081 – Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones

The MJCast present their fourth annual special episode recognising Michael Jackson’s acquittal from false child molestation allegations on June 13th, 2005. On each of these annual episodes, The MJCast’s Legal Correspondent Charles Thomson along with hosts Jamon Bull and Q, bring a very special guest onto the show to discuss their experience with the trial that so deeply affected Jackson’s life.

A photograph originally used as evidence in Michael Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial.

In this year’s show, the guys welcome author of the newly released special edition of Michael Jackson Conspiracy, Aphrodite Jones. Aphrodite is a journalist and the author of several bestselling true crime books, one of which was turned into the Oscar-winning movie, Boys Don’t Cry. During Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial, Aphrodite initially found herself on the side of the prosecution. However, after the trial was over, she reassessed her stance, and admitted that she got it wrong. She went on to write one of the most comprehensive books about the trial, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, which includes a Foreword by Tom Mesereau. Self-published in 2007, the book went on to become a cult hit, and is being re-released in a new edition this week. Michael Jackson Conspiracy is the last book Aphrodite published, though she has gone on to be a successful true crime documentary host as well as host of her own podcast, called Sex, Love & Murder.

The new edition of the book features colour photos, exclusive links to footage of accuser Gavin Arvizo being led in a police interview, Michael Jackson discussing a children’s holiday with Martin Bashir and Neverland Valley Ranch during the trial era.

Jamon, Q, and Charles talk with Aphrodite about her early life, her experience being one of the few reporters given permanent seats in the courtroom throughout Jackson’s trial, how she fell under the pro-persecution spell and how she changed her mind. Topics also discussed include her interpretation of how the media handled the trial and how it impacted Michael in his final years.

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Aphrodite’s 2005 photograph of fan made posters from Michael Jackson’s criminal trial.

 

Episode 079 – Bryan Loren Special

As regular listeners of The MJCast know, Jamon and Q are sensitive to the delicate nature of leaks. While often thrilling for fans, they can profoundly affect the trajectory of a song, an album, and a career. In the case of renowned record producer, singer-songwriter, and instrumentalist Bryan Loren, much of his work with Michael Jackson, to which he dedicated years of hard work, leaked out to the public. Because of these unfortunate events, as well as other factors, Loren never got credit or compensation for much of the material he created. Loren is now inviting Michael Jackson fans to consider respectfully offering him a token of thanks, a voluntary sum of money through his website, along with a note on how we’ve enjoyed his music over the years.

In this week’s exclusive interview, Jamon, who is hosting solo, welcomes Season 4’s first musical collaborator special guest, Bryan Loren. Loren has worked as a producer with a number of notable artists, including Whitney Houston, Barry White, Sly Stone, Sting, and, of course, Michael Jackson. A talented musician at a young age, Loren was a professional session artist by age 15 and had signed his first contract at only 17. He had two Billboard-charting R&B songs in 1984 as a solo artist, including ‘Lollipop Luv’ and ‘Do You Really Love Me’. Loren started working with Michael Jackson in the years leading up to the release of the Dangerous album in 1991. They collaborated on several songs together, including, to name just a few, ‘Work That Body’, ‘Serious Effect’, ‘She Got It’, ‘Man In Black’, ‘Superfly Sister’, ‘Mind Is The Magic’ and ‘Do the Bartman’. Their collaborative relationship and friendship would last for many years beyond those early sessions. Loren continues to make his own music as a solo artist, and plans to release his new album in the Summer of 2018.

This week’s episode is a a tough but important discussion about the deep and complex impact that leaks and other events have had on Loren’s life and career. Ultimately, The MJCast hopes that this interview will inspire listeners to think about the rights of artists, and about where lines must be drawn.

Links

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  • Michael Jackson – Work That Body
  • Michael Jackson – Serious Effect
  • Do The Bartman
  • Michael Jackson – She Got It

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Episode 077 – Let’s Make HIStory Special with Brice Najar

Q flies solo today, welcoming returning guest Brice Najar back on the show, along with his wonderful wife, Laetitia Latouche. Brice is well-known in the Michael Jackson community for his books on The Jacksons and the King of Pop, but this discussion is focused on his most recent book, Let’s Make HIStory. Najar’s book goes into detail about the recording of Michael’s brilliant HIStory album. Based around interviews with key collaborators, the book is a comprehensive and fascinating look into the creation of a masterpiece.

Q, Brice, and Laetitia discuss what makes Let’s Make HIStory an important contribution to Michael Jackson literature, why the HIStory era is of particular significance, what it was like to interview collaborators, the process of getting this book published, and surprises that Brice discovered along the way. Brice and Laetitia also talk about MJ Music Day in France, and how that event came together.

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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. Keep Michaeling!