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 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.

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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!

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 063 – Q Q&A

Just when you thought things were getting back to normal, Jamon has deserted ship again, leaving Q to man the deck single-handed. Luckily, Q is more than capable of entertaining himself while Jamon isn’t looking.

In this solo episode, Q answers questions submitted by you, our loyal listeners. Episode 062 was the fastest-downloaded regular news episode in the show’s history, so Q felt Episode 063 would be the perfect opportunity to engage in a little back and forth with our ever-growing audience.

Topics ranged from MJ in the movies to what Q would do if if was manning the fort over at the MJ Estate, instead of here at The MJCast.

From Lina Yakoub:

  • Who are three actors you think would be able to channel Michael the best in a movie (could be singers as well)?
  • What already existing movie roles do you think Michael possibly could have played?
  • Do you have any exciting guests on upcoming episodes and, if so, could you give us a few hints on who they may be?

From live-tweeting queen Carley (@MJIsMyGoldenBoy):

  • Which MJ songs have you not listened to ever since MJ’s passing?
  • What were the highlights of seeing MJOne?

From Lyne Tyler (@FmrMTLr):

  • A common complaint with fellow fans is the lack of available materials from the Jacksons’ touring years. As we gripe about not having the Destiny, Triumph or Victory tours on any media, we never ask who owns the rights to those tours. Is it the band (ie. The Jacksons) or another entity? The MJ Estate may not have full ownership and may therefore not be to blame for not releasing them. I personally have no clue and thought you may have insight.
  • My second question relates to your outstanding work in putting this podcast together. Without revealing your secret sauce, as you all seem to make it so easy, how do you manage to produce such a high quality show with consistent topics and without speaking over each other? How much prep time is involved and how do your respective significant others feel about the time we steal away from them? I love them all for sharing you with us so generously.
  • One last question. Can we get Mr Thomson to live tweet more? He is priceless.

From Kory Wise:

  • If you could go back to witness one moment from Michael’s life or career, what would it be and why?

From Reny SanLuis:

  • If you could own any piece of MJ memorabilia, what would it be and why?
  • If you were in charge of the MJ Estate, what would be the first MJ item/thing that you would put out or do for the public?
  • If you could go back in time and watch Michael create a signature moment during his stellar career, what would it be and why?
  • The famous Oprah Winfrey question: What do you know for sure?

From Ashley White (@1958TO4EVER):

  • Do you know what happened to the tsunami relief song Michael was working on around 2005, that he was shown working on in the Geraldo Riviera interview?
  • Do you think we will get a remastered Thriller on Blu-Ray as a result of Thriller 3D coming to cinemas?

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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 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