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

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