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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Thoughts On Leaks…

 

By late 2002 I’d been a Michael Jackson fan for just one year. His last album of new material, Invincible, was released a year prior. Sadly, this ended up being the first and only time I had the privilege of experiencing the release of a studio album that Jackson himself had given his blessing. The recording sessions for Invincible are rumoured to have been some of the most fruitful of his career, producing dozens of musical pieces, many of which the public are still yet to hear. Due to nefarious actions that are yet to be fully uncovered, one such piece of music, a full and complete song that was not released on the album, leaked to the public. The song was titled Escape. In response, Michael Jackson issued a statement outlining his disappointment with the leak. As much as I loved hearing this masterpiece of a song, its premature release clearly hurt him.

Jump forward five years, and it’s 2008. Michael is beginning the process of working with a range of contemporary producers to potentially flesh out a new sound for his upcoming studio album. Among these producers is the R&B hit-maker Akon. Michael spent weeks in the studio with Akon crafting the sublime ballad Hold My Hand, which would end having its own sad history despite its uplifting nature. Not only would the song suffer the same fate as Escape and prematurely leak to the public, but it would eventually go on to serve as the lead single from his first posthumous album of new material, Michael. Jackson family members and many fans would agree that Hold My Hand was a song Michael cared deeply about. Since then, there have been many more song leaks, some when Michael was alive, but most after his death. And these leaks continue to be the source of debate amongst the Michael Jackson fan community.

Today another Michael Jackson song leaked, but this time a piece that was worked on during the Dangerous sessions called Ghost of Another Lover. The leak occurred due to an attendee of a Michael Jackson convention recording the song whilst it was played for the audience by one of Michael’s studio engineers. They did this against the wishes of the convention organisers and the engineer. I won’t name the person who recorded it, the engineer who decided to play it or the event at which it was played, as I don’t think these are crucial elements of the scenario. Like times previous, rich debate is currently taking place within the Michael Jackson fan community around how leaks should be handled, and for good reason.

Seldom does widespread public debate over the ethical nature of something occur when there’s some simple, logical answer regarding the correct way that thing should be. I feel this conflict over leaks acutely as not only am I a Michael Jackson fan who desires to honour and respect Michael’s artistic privacy, but I am also a historian, who recognises the immense cultural value Jackson’s art has, at any stage of completion.

Ultimately, I do feel that if previously unreleased Michael Jackson material is to be played for a paying audience, it should first have the approval of his Estate beneficiaries with the full knowledge and understanding of the risks involved regarding potential leaks. That’s fairly black and white for me. No conflict there. But it’s after leaks happen where things get murky. Michael Jackson’s music grows legs of its own. And with good reason, because it’s usually excellent music. In the age of digital file sharing and social media, there’s no stopping how far and wide this material can reach. In an instance such as today, when a previously unheard Michael Jackson song leaks, I believe that it’s a matter of historical importance that knowledgeable fans, scholars of Michael Jackson, deconstruct and analyse the material so that a historically accurate narrative can be built. As an example, Ghost of Another Lover today leaked with completely the wrong title! A fan uploaded it as Ghost of Another Girl. Knowledgable Michael Jackson fans picked this up swiftly. Not only this, but there’s a certain inevitability to leaked material being discussed. It’s pointless to think it won’t be. Sharing and discussing leaks are inevitable, and are very, very different behaviours to facilitating or instigating a leak.

Yet at a deeper level, it’s the ethics around actually releasing Michael’s previously unheard work at all that interests me. Earlier I opined that Michael’s estate beneficiaries should have the final say. And this is true for now, especially in our lifetimes where there are many people still alive directly connected to him. Artistic collaborators, close friends, business partners, fans and most importantly…family. Yet Michael is now gone, and it can’t be argued that his art doesn’t have immense historical value, even his unreleased material including demos which serve the purpose of teaching us how he created, flaws and all.

Ethically, at what point does it become acceptable for his unfinished work to actually come out without debate? Would anybody disagree now with an unfinished Michaelangelo piece being displayed in an art gallery for scholarly debate? I don’t think so. A lot of this debate comes from the fact that Michael has so recently passed away and many people in some way feel emotionally connected to him and naturally want to defend or protect his wishes. The MJ fan side of me certainly feels that, but as previously mentioned, the historian in me feels the importance of learning as much about his genius as possible, especially while his artistic collaborators are here to engage in dialogue around his work. Like I said, conflict. There is no easy answer.

There will be more Xscape, Hold My Hand and Ghost of Another Lover moments in the future and opinions will vary around these leaks depending on who you talk to. But suffice it to say, while people are around who are still emotionally connected to Michael Jackson as a person, the best people to judge whether his unreleased art should be seen by the public are those who were closest to him, those whom he left his Estate to, his beneficiaries.

Jamon Bull

Episode 053 – You Don’t Feel it Coming?

Episode 053 of The MJCast sees Jamon teaming up with co-host Charles Thomson and debut guest host Greg Spinks in Q’s absence. The boys begin the show by discussing follow-up around Paris Jackson’s debut as a television actress on Star and a brief update on the Cascio case. Headline news items include 3T’s retraction of their lawsuit against Radar Online, Jason Malachi’s return to the music scene, Tito Jackson’s new single, Kingvention 2017 and The Jacksons Glastonbury announcement. Jamon, Charles and Greg then discuss Michael’s alleged interest in playing Professor X in the X-Men movies, Paris Jackson presenting at the GLAAD Awards, Charles’ new favourite song by The Weeknd, new footage of Michael Jackson and finally HLN’s Michael Jackson episode of How It Really Happened. The main discussion topic of this episode is Greg Spinks’ history as an MJ fan and the previously untold story of his creation, the greatest Michael Jackson forum that ever was (in Jamon’s estimation), Maximum Jackson. We hope you enjoy this episode of the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

Follow Up

  • Episode 053 of The MJCast is dedicated to the mother of Taj, Taryll and TJ Jackson, Dee Dee Jackson. Please consider making a donation to the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation in her honour.
  • Paris Jackson makes her TV acting debut on Star. See a brief interview with her here.
  • Vera Serova challenges Eddie Cascio, James Porte & Angelikson’s request for reimbursement of their legal fees. Relevant court documents are the March, 2017 docs here.

News

Main Discussion Topic

  • Greg Spinks’ history as a fan and the untold story behind Maximum Jackson

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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 051 – He’s a Lover, Not a Fighter

On Episode 051 of The MJCast, Q and Jamon are flying solo. The fellas begin the show by discussing follow-up around Sky Arts’ decision to pull the broadcast of their Urban Myths ‘MJ’ episode. After this, news galore! Jamon and Q then talk about Janet Jackson’s baby boy, The Jackson’s 50th Anniversary world tour, a wrap up of Brad Sundberg’s 2017 Aussie In The Studio With MJ tour, Ne-Yo’s tribute to Michael Jackson and some new Nick* remixes. This is followed by discussion around Taika Watiti’s new animated film about Bubbles, Navi as Michael Jackson in Lifetime’s new biopic and all kinds of news around Paris, Prince, Marlon, 3T and Tito. With a brief segue into a legal update from Charles Thomson, the boys then wrap the show with discussion around Neverland’s prospective sale, Thriller and Bad’s recertification and the possibility of a new Jacksons TV show. We hope you enjoy this episode of the internet’s premiere podcast on all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.

Follow Up

News

  • Janet Jackson gives birth to son Eissa Al Mana
  • The Jacksons are embarking on a 50th anniversary world tour in 2017 including a Blenheim Palace UK performance with Kool and the Gang
  • In the Studio with MJ Australia tour roundup
  • Taking the Stage; Ne-Yo’s MJ tribute
  • Nick* has dropped a number of new MJ remixes including Billie Jean (Nick* Redux), They Don’t Care About Us (Nick* Crook County Remix) and Man In The Mirror (Stripped Mix)
  • Taika Waititi to co-direct a biopic on Michael Jackson’s chimp Bubbles
  • MJ impersonator Navi is set to play Michael in a new Lifetime biopic
  • Paris Jackson’s new interview with Rolling Stone and an accompanying podcast around the interview experience
  • Paris Jackson’s interview in CR Fashion Book 10
  • Paris Jackson signs with IMG Models
  • Paris Jackson presents at the 2017 Grammy Awards and Prince Jackson releases a video in support of her
  • Prince Jackson continues his charity work with Heal Los Angeles
  • Taryll Jackson launches a new trailer for his new musical project
  • Marlon Jackson takes part in an interview around fears of Trump presidency negative impacts
  • Jackson Source has launched the 2016 edition of Jackson Magazine, featuring an interview with Tito Jackson and a range of other Jackson family related stories
  • Tito Jackson drops new music video for his hit single We Made It
  • 3T are to perform at We Love the 90’s festival on August 26th in The Netherlands
  • Neverland sale price slashed by $33 000 000
  • Thriller and Bad re-certified with record breaking sales figures
  • Members of the Jackson family partner with Scout Productions

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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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Episodio 009 – Especial Magia en Movimiento: Michael Jackson a través del cine y los videojuegos con Toni Arias

¡Bienvenidos a la Temporada 2 de The MJCast en Español! En este episodio tenemos de invitado especial a Toni Arias, quien nos cuenta sobre su nuevo libro “Magia En Movimiento: Michael Jackson a través del cine y los videojuegos”. Toni nos comparte su increible historia como fan, desde sus viajes alrededor del mundo para ver a Michael, la creacion del foro MJHideout, y hasta el fabuloso trabajo junto con su esposa Laura en la organización “Heal The World For Children Spain”.

Magia en Movimiento Michael Jackson a través del cine y los videojuegos. Toni Arias, 2017.

Aunque su historia es digna de ser escrita, Toni ha optado por un tema muy original que atrae no solo a los seguidores de Michael Jackson, sino también a los amantes del mundo del cine y los videojuegos. ¿Cómo se relacionó Michael con estos universos paralelos a la música? Y si Michael estaba tan deseoso de hacer la transición al cine, ¿por qué nunca se concretaron los diversos proyectos en los que se involucró? En este libro publicado por Applehead Team (si, el nombre es por MJ), conoceremos todo acerca de una de las más grandes pasiones que quedaron inconclusas en la carrera del prolífico artista.

“Magia en Movimiento” no es la primera vez que Toni emprende una aventura como escritor versado en Michael Jackson. En los 90 creo el fanzine “Divinity in motion” y, a fines de esa década, el foro MJHideout, la comunidad más grande en español de fans de MJ en internet que continúa funcionando hasta la fecha.

Ese espiritu que se apoderara de él en la Nochevieja de 1983, ha sido la inspiración para incursionar en nuevas aventuras más allá del papel y el ciberespacio. Actualmente, Toni y su esposa Laura dirigen “Heal The World For Children Spain” de manera exitosa e ininterrumpida desde 2010. Esta organización benéfica está dedicada a continuar la labor y legado humanitario de Michael Jackson.

Magia en movimiento: Michael Jackson a través del cine y los videojuegos, nos sumerge en la historia del pop en imágenes, en decenas de proyectos inalcanzados, en la quimera del guión perfecto, y en las incursiones en el mundo de los pixels de uno de los artistas más brillantes del siglo XX.

Toni junto a Michael Jackson en Londres (2002).

¿Quieres que te lo firme? Toni y Laura con los autógrafos que Michael les hizo en Londres (2002).

Toni y Laura con la carta que Michael les entregó en Las Vegas (29 de Agosto, 2008).
“Solo sepan que verdaderamente los quiero y aprecio a todos ustedes desde el fondo de mi corazón. Hare lo mejor para ustedes musical, creativa y visualmente. Los quiero. Michael Jackson.”

Heal The World For Children Spain.

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Episode 049 – Season Two Mixtape

We’re interrupting our end of year break to give you Episode 049. This curated mixtape is made up of Jamon and Q’s favourite songs from Season Two of The MJCast. We’d like to give special mention to Michael Jackson’s premiere remix artist, Nick*, who has a monumental nine tracks out of thirty-one on this mixtape. You can follow Nick* on his websiteFacebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Instagram, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Tracklist
1. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (Nick* Disco Redux)
2. The Jacksons – State of Shock (Nick* ElectroFunk Radio Edit)
3. Janet Jackson – Escapade (North Shore Remix)
4. Michael Jackson – She’s Out Of My Life (Nick* Drama Redux)
5. Michael Jackson – You Are Not Alone (Nick* Remix)
6. Michael Jackson – Scream (Le P Remix)
7. Africa Tribute to the King of Pop (Original African Ugandan Version)
8. Ahmed Alshaiba – The Don’t Care About Us (Oud Cover)
9. Michael Jackson – Jam (Nick* Redux)
10. Paulina Citzman – Still
11. Sway – The King Full Stop
12. Leslie Wai – Michael Jackson Mashup
13. Michael Jackson – Butterflies (Track Masters Remix feat. Eve)
14. Michael Jackson – Human Nature (Nick* Tropical Remix)
15. Michael Jackson – Hold My Hand (Bergs Tropical Remix) [feat. Akon]
16. Michael Jackson – You Rock My World (Neobeats Remix)
17. Nigel George – M.J. You Are Loved
18. Jeremy Green – Man In The Mirror (Viola Cover)
19. The Jacksons – Different Kind of Lady (Jam Master Re-edit)
20. Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana (Nick* Remix)
21. Michael Jackson – Rock With You (Groovefunkel Take It Slow Remix)
22. Janet Jackson – The Pleasure Principal (Rank¹ ”Airwave” 2K15 Classic Radio Edit)
23. Duwende – Smooth Criminal
24. Michael Jackson – Do You Know Where Your Children Are (2010 Version)
25. Michael Jackson – Threatened (Nick* Remix)
26. Michael Jackson – Thriller (James Egbert Remix)
27. Michael Jackson – Give In To Me (Demo)
28. Maati Baani – Heal The World (Child Prodigy Cover)
29. Boyce Avenue – Will You Be There
30. Accent – Keep The Faith
31. Michael Jackson – Remember The Time (Funk LeBlanc Remix)

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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.

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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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