143: Sonic Fantasy Special with Marcos Cabotá

Marcos Cabotá, film director and massive MJ fan, joins Jamon Bull, Elise Capron, Charlie Carter, and John Cameron to discuss his new documentary film, Sonic Fantasy. Currently debuting at film festivals around the world, Sonic Fantasy tells the story of iconic sound engineer and long-time Michael Jackson studio collaborator, Bruce Swedien, and the making of the Thriller album. The team discusses how Marcos rose up in the world of film, challenges and triumphs around making his documentary, what it was like working with Swedien and other people featured in the film, and his amazing stories as a long-time Michael Jackson fan, who got to meet the King of Pop many times.

This episode was edited by Charlie Carter and Jamon Bull.

Additional Links
• Sonic Fantasy documentary website. (As of our recording, the film is currently screening at film festivals and will be available on streaming services later this year.)
• John Cameron’s Musicology podcast.

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If you have feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, 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!

142: Reflections on John Barnes Roundtable

Brad Buxer, Matt Forger, and Brad Sundberg join host Jamon Bull for a very special episode in remembrance of the late John Barnes. From Barnes’s early work with Jackson at Hayvenhurst, to deep-dive discussions around technical recording aspects and some of their collaborative works like the brilliant song “Another Part of Me”, Matt and the two Brads take you inside the studio. Not only did Barnes and Jackson share a deep friendship, but also a unique artistic partnership that resulted in musical masterpieces that will be enjoyed by fans forever.

John Barnes was a force in the music industry for over 50 years, having worked with an extensive list of music icons, from The Miracles, to Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, and, of course, the King of Pop. His work with the Jackson family started in 1976, and he connected with Michael Jackson in 1982. Barnes and Jackson’s meeting would launch a long and productive professional, creative, and personal relationship that would last decades. The two owned a company together, called Experiments in Sound, and John became a central part of Michael’s creative team. Early on, Barnes worked on the Jacksons’ “Victory” album, and worked extensively on “Captain EO”, including creating sounds for the film and co-writing the song, “We Are Here to Change the World”. His work with the synclavier was considered revolutionary, and was a massively important part of his recording work with Michael Jackson.

During the “BAD” album recording, Barnes worked daily at Hayvenhurst, alongside Bill Bottrell and Matt Forger. While often unfairly dubbed “The B Team”, and noted for creating demos, while Quincy Jones and Bruce Sweden did the main work on this album, the reality was that the Hayvenhust team was central to the creation of the album, producing nearly final versions of many of the songs, such as “Smooth Criminal” and “The Way You Make Me Feel”.

Barnes would also go on to have roles on Jackson’s later albums, as well, including “Dangerous”, “HIStory”, and “Blood on the Dance Floor”. He continued his work with Jackson through the very end of his career, even going to Bahrain in 2006 to work on the still-unreleased charity single, “I Have this Dream”.

Barnes, who passed away after a long illness on March 19, 2022, was not only an amazing musician and visionary, but he was passionate about humanitarian issues. This was a driving force in his close relationship with the King of Pop, and included important creative work, such as co-writing the song, “We Are The World”, which raised $50 million internationally to end hunger in Africa. He was full of genuine passion for his art, sometimes at the cost of not getting the credit he deserved. In this incredible discussion, Barnes’s colleagues and friends share memories and unique stories about him and the moments which made him a true icon.

The MJCast is deeply appreciative to our special guests on this episode, and sends our condolences to John’s family and friends. The world will not be the same without him.

This episode was edited by Charlie Carter.

Guests
• Brad Buxer, who worked with Michael Jackson for 20 years, from the “Dangerous” album onwards through “Invincible”, and who became one of Michael’s closest production, music, and songwriting collaborators. He was also Musical Director for both the Dangerous and HIStory World tours. He has a close personal relationship with Michael into the final years of Michael’s life.
• Matt Forger, who worked with Michael Jackson starting with the “Thriller” album, where he was credited as a technical engineer, and continued to work on just about every project Michael did through the rest of his life. He also played a central roll in “Captain EO”. In addition, Matt is well-known for his many years of studio work with the Japanese superstar Yuming.
• Brad Sundberg, who was Michael Jackson’s Technical Director and studio engineer for 18 years, starting as an assistant on “Captain EO”, and also designed and built the extensive sound and lighting installations at Neverland. These days, Brad runs the seminar series, In the Studio with MJ, with events held around the world.

Additional Links
• John Barnes’ official website.
• Articles on the passing of John Barnes by Music Radar, MJWorld and MJVibe.

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If you have feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, 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!

113: Season Five Christmas Special

It’s that time of year when Jamon, Q and Elise come together to celebrate the holidays and reflect on the year that was…it’s The MJCast’s annual Christmas Special!

The team wraps up Season Five (a season filled-to-the-brim with major highs and lows) with discussion of developments in the world of Michael Jackson, including updates on the MJ biopic, the Estate’s 2020 MJ Broadway musical, as well as a bizarre and potentially very negative MJ-inspired musical told from the perspective of his glove, and much more. The MJCast Correspondents also chime in with news on charity efforts, Janet Jackson, the Jackson family, and more.

It’s been a whirlwind year, and a tough one for many in the worldwide Jackson fan community. And yet, as the trio revisits clips from Season Five Specials and reflects on the past year, it is clear that this has also been The MJCast’s best season ever, with incredible guests, and a real sense of love and community.

This is Q’s final episode as a regular host of The MJCast. Q has been integral to the identity of the show since its inception, and he will be missed. Jamon and Elise send their love and thanks for all of Q’s contributions as well as his friendship. And not to worry, listeners: Q will appear on The MJCast in the future, just less regularly. There will be Q-rants to come in 2020 and beyond!

We want to thank our listeners for all your support throughout the year and hope that you enjoy our episodes coming up in Season 6! Happy holidays, #MJFam!

News
• A Michael Jackson biopic is reportedly in the works, from Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King.
• A very strange stage musical, For the Love of the Glove, supposedly based on Jackson’s life, is opening in Los Angeles in January.
• Ephraim Sykes has been cast in the MJ role for the upcoming Broadway show, “MJ: The Musical.” (Skykes’ recent interview in Rolling Stone.)
• The French MJ fan lawsuit against ‘Leaving Neverland’ has been postponed due to strikes.
• The Game recalls the time when Michael Jackson called him to work on a collaboration with 50 Cent.
• The MJ Estate settles with Disney over ‘The Last Days of Michael Jackson’.

Season Five Highlights
• Episode 097 – Bill Whitfield Special
• Episode 100 – Brad Buxer Special
Episode 101 – Taryll Jackson Special
Episode 103 – Vindication Day Special with Larry Nimmer
Episode 104 – June 25th Special with Jenny Winings
Episode 107 – Allan ‘Big Al’ Scanlan Special
Episode 109 – Michael Trapson Special
Episode 110 – Thriller Night Special with Paul Black and Adam Green

Main Discussion Topic
• A year in review.
• The MJCast’s official interview with Q, as he reflects on five seasons as co-host.
• What’s to come in Season 6.

Finds of the Week
• Jamon – New rehearsal footage from MJ’s 30th Anniversary concert.
• Q – ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ gets a brand new official video.
• Elise – MJ-inspired art by Miguel Wilson, including a very cool Thriller shirt available for sale.

Correspondent Appearances
Steven Hodges of MJFFC (Charity Correspondent)
Janneke van der Linden of Jackson Source (Jackson family Correspondent)
Courtney and Kam of Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever podcast (Janet Jackson Correspondent)
Charles Thomson (Legal Correspondent)

Ads & Music Breaks
Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (Nick Party People Remix)
Michael Jackson – Another Part of Me (Regrooved Fire Remix)
Michael Jackson – BEATiCURE (The King of artPOP by Robin Skouteris)

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, 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!

105: Don’t Forget Your Lanyard

Q and Elise are running the show today, with Jamon taking a much-needed break after featuring on twelve back-to-back episodes in a row. It’s been such a busy first half of the year that this is Elise’s first show appearance on Season 5! She’s thrilled to be back for lots of news updates and discussion with Q.

In this regular episode, the team covers Joe Vogel’s new edition of Man In the Music, Jafaar Jackson’s debut single and music video, Paris Jackson’s latest TV role, John Branca’s version of the highs and lows as co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate for the past decade, and updates on the lawsuit being filed by French MJ fans against Robson and Safechuck. Elise will also talk about some of the recent #MJWeek events she was able to attend in California. And, as their main discussion topic, Q and Elise chat about two amazing new documentary films, which they encourage all fans to watch and share: LaVelle Smith Jr.’s “The Man Behind the Dance”, as well as Paul Dwyer’s “Humanitarian – The Real Michael Jackson”.

This episode also includes updates from The MJCast correspondents Steven (MJFFC), Janneke (Jackson Source), and Courtney & Kam (Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever).

News
• Joe Vogel confirms the release of a new version of Man in the Music in August.
• John Branca participates in an interview with ABC on the last ten years as the Michael Jackson Estate’s co-executor.
• Weird Al Yankovic drops Michael Jackson parodies from his show set lists.
• Jafaar Jackson releases his debut single and video, “Got Me Singing”.
• Paris Jackson steals the show in a new “Scream” reboot.
• French fans are suing Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
• Gallery Different in London to host “Michael: HIS_story” exhibition in August.

Main Discussion Topic
• LaVelle Smith Jr.’s The Man Behind the Dance documentary review.
• Australian fan Paul Dwyer’s Humanitarian – The Real Michael Jackson documentary review.

Finds of the Week
• Q – Recent fan catch-up in Perth, and upcoming MJ birthday lunch on Saturday, August 31, at noon, at Dome Cafe Belmont.
• Elise – Her #MJFieldTrip to see an MJ mural in San Diego, California (made out of Post-It notes!) based on the Jeff Koons sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

Additional Links
• More dates coming up for In The Studio with MJ.
• The MJCast – Episode 015: Brad Sundberg Special
• The MJCast – Episode 052: Michael Prince Special
• The MJCast – Episode 064: Vincent Paterson Special
• The MJCast – Episode 100: Brad Buxer Special

Ad & Music Breaks
• The Jacksons – Walk Right Now (Nick* Redux)
• Michael Jackson – It’s the Falling In Love (The Reflex Revision)
• Michael Jackson (feat. Akon vs. Halsey) – Hold My Colors [Deelirious Mashup]

Correspondent Appearances
• Steven Hodges of MJFFC (Charity Correspondent)
• Janneke van der Linden of Jackson Source (Jackson family Correspondent)
• Courtney and Cam of Janet Today, Janet Tomorrow, Janet Forever podcast (Janet Jackson Correspondent)

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TheMJCast.com
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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, 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.comStay BAD!

100: Brad Buxer Special

To celebrate The MJCast’s 100th episode, Jamon and Q put the focus back on music and welcome a particularly special guest, Brad Buxer. Buxer was one of Michael Jackson’s key artistic collaborators, who worked with Jackson for 20 years, from the Dangerous album onwards, and who would become one of his closest producers, musicians, and songwriters. Along with Michael Prince, there was no one else who Michael Jackson trusted more to capture his most personal creative visions.

The guys dive into an incredible, in-depth discussion with Buxer about his early life and music career working with icons such as Stevie Wonder, how he first came to work with Jackson, what it was like creating the Dangerous, HIStory, Blood on the Dance Floor, and Invincible albums, his role as Musical Director for both the Dangerous and HIStory World Tours, the experience of playing music and writing songs with Jackson, insights into Jackson’s life as a father, details about working together in the final years of Jackson’s life, his thoughts on unreleased tracks, and much more.

In addition, The MJCast is honored to have received many congratulations from previous guests on the show, whose audio snippets are included in this episode.

It’s been an amazing run so far, and incredible to watch the show evolve and grow. The MJCast team couldn’t be prouder to be well into Season 5. Jamon, Q, and Elise want to thank each and every listener, supporter, guest, and friend who has been part of this experience. We look forward to our next 100 episodes!

Additional Links
• “Brad, what are you gonna do?” clip.
• Michael Jackson beatboxing clip collection.
• Michael Jackson HIStory World Tour Munich 1997 concert footage.
• Michael Jackson and Friends charity concert, Germany.
• “A Night at the Apollo” Democratic National Convention performance.
• “Blood on the Dance Floor” official video.
• Michael Jackson interview with Geraldo Rivera.
• “In the Back”, from The Ultimate Collection.

Music Breaks
• Michael Jackson – Heal the World (7″ Edit)
• Michael Jackson – Dangerous (Live From A Night at the Apollo, 2002)
• Michael Jackson – Days In Gloucestershire (Demo)

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on this Michael Jackson podcast episode, 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.comKeep Michaeling!

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.

Links
• Brice Najar’s website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
• Brice Najar’s books: Let’s Make HIStoryMichael Jackson: itinéraire d’un passionné and The Jacksons: Musicographie 1976 – 1989.
• Michael Jackson’s 1995 Wetten Dass performance
• Michael Jackson’s 1996 Brit Awards performance
• Brice Najar’s interview with photographer Steven Paul Whitsitt
• Brice’s favorite MJ books: Moonwalk, Mike Smallcombe’s Making Michael, • Isabelle Petitjean’s Dangerous – from Mark Ryden to Michael Jackson and Xscape Origins by Damien Shields.
• MJ Music Day and Association On The Line’s website

Music Breaks & Ads
• Michael Jackson – Scream (feat. Janet Jackson) [Dave ‘Jam’ Hall Extended Urban Remix]
• Michael Jackson – Stranger in Moscow (Classic Mix)
• Michael Jackson – They Don’t Care About Us (Uncensored Olodum Cut)

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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!