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 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 074 – J Q&A


As Q’s off gallivanting around Europe with The Hubs, Jamon takes the reigns for his first ever solo Q&A episode. With a record-breaking 47 questions to get through, topics range from the state of the Estate, to unreleased Michael Jackson material, to Quincy Jones recent defamatory comments on Michael Jackson. Thank-you to all those listeners who submitted questions. It won’t be long until The MJCast kicks off Season Four, but until then, we hope this episode tides you over!

Lachlan Bradbury (email)
1) What inspired you to pursue a career in education as a history teacher?
2) What were your impressions and/or memories of Moonwalker when you first saw it?
3) What do you think is the best part about being a Michael Jackson fan?
4) How optimistic are you about the future of Michael Jackson product releases? That is to say, on the recent developments on Thriller 3D, the prospect of Ghosts and other Jackson films receiving restorations and high-definition releases etc.
5) How did you ‘break into’ the Michael Jackson fan community, and what advice would you give new fans who wish to engage with local fan communities?

Louis La Roche (email)
6) If Michael was still alive today, what would he make of the scandals surrounding two of his former ‘friends’ Donald Trump and R Kelly?

Carley Swan (email)
7) If The MJCast had started while MJ was still here, which year would you have started it and why?
8) How long does it take you to edit a show?
9) What are you most proud of about The MJCast?

Michael Wilson (email)
10) Any chance you guys will get Rodney Jerkins on the show? Invincible is the only album we barely know anything about. Would love his insight into those sessions.

Ashley White (email)
11) What is your favourite MJ interview(s)?
12) What is your favourite 3T song(s)?

Chris Lacy (email)
13) Name an artist/band/producer you wish Michael Jackson collaborated with in his lifetime. What would that song or album sound and feel like?
14) If the Estate were to construct a proper 30th anniversary tribute to Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album, what features should they include?
15) What, if anything, can the fans do to build a healthier relationship with the Estate to ensure we collectively present Michael’s artistry in the best way possible?

Rachael Tyler (email)
16) Justin Timberlake has been announced as the performer for the halftime show of Super Bowl LII. How do you think this will play out? Do you think Janet will be a surprise guest? If she is, what will that be like? I’m torn because I want her to return triumphant in front of the Super Bowl audience (AKA most of America), but honestly, that’s what the State of the World Tour was; her triumphant return. Performing with JT at the Super Bowl again, in my opinion, may just cement that 2004 event as the entirety of her legacy, especially for a new generation of young people. I would respect it if her decision is to not give JT or the NFL her time/attention. Maybe his set will just begin with a public apology from him to Janet. What are your opinions/predictions on this matter?

Magiel Jenen (email)
17) I have read that Michael was in the process of composing a classical piece of music at the final stage of his life. I understand he even had discussions with a composer on how t o improve, or compose the piece. Is anything known about this work? Like, how did he compose this, considering Michael did not write musical notes. Was anything ever recorded? Were other people involved? I’m really curious about this side of MJ we don’t know much about. I hope you have, or can find, a bit more info on this.

Madison Mariah Jones
18) Have you tried or are you planning on getting Teddy Riley as a guest? I’d really love to hear about he making of the Dangerous album. Thank-you in advance.

Felipe Hilario (Facebook)
19) I wanna know if you have any idea who owns the rights to the Triumph and Victory Tour footage and if there’s a chance that it’s actually released one day. The restoration they did of the Triumph Tour footage for the Journey from Motown to Off The Wall documentary looks stunning!

Adrien Prosen (Facebook)
20) With Michael’s 10th death anniversary approaching in the next 18 months, how, if at all, do you think the Estate should commemorate it? E.g. A re-release/repackage of currently released material? Unreleased stuff?

Sylvie Lefevre (Facebook)
21) When people ask you “what’s your favourite MJ song and why?”, can you actually answer that question?
22) If you had had the unbelievable opportunity to interview MJ and ask him just one question what would you have asked him?

J.D. (@MixingHistory on Twitter)
23) What do you think is Michael’s biggest missed opportunity?

Sharon Kistner (@Seylahvee on Twitter)
24) Do you think that in 20 or more years the world will look at Michael the way we fans do now as the genius that he was?

Liam (@wceliam on Twitter)
25) If you could, would you rather watch Michael sing Billie Jean with live vocals, with no dancing at all, or Billie Jean lip synced with his peak dancing?
26) Favourite and least favourite song off each solo album by Michael?
27) You’re walking down a street in LA and bump into John Branca. What do you say?

Bruce Aguilar (@yensid98 on Twitter)
28) Do you have a favourite piece of MJ memorabilia? Either something you own or not.

Travois! (@Travois_yt on Twitter)
29) How did you first hear about MJ, if you can remember.

Aust Ernst (@CreativeArtAPE on Twitter)
30) Predictions on the Estate moving forward? Will we see unreleased music like Get Your Weight Off Me & unreleased concerts finally released? This year? If not, when?

June Astford (@Jastford on Twitter)
31) Would like your opinion on Stranger in Moscow and Whatever Happens; two of my favourites that never seem to get much attention. I feel they’re constructed so beautifully.

Michael Clarke (@LoveSoul81 on Twitter)
32) Which producer would you like to have seen MJ work with and why?

Merita Simmons (@meritaapplehead on Instagram)
33) If Michael was still here, do you think Michael would use social media like Prince & Madonna or just let a team run official accounts? If so, which do you think would be his favourite social media platform?

Alexa (@sweetalexalove on Instagram)
35) If you had the chance to stay at Neverland for 24 hours, what would you do?
36) If Michael was alive, what would you say to him?

Slave to the Rhythm (@mjjhsavha on Instagram)
37) How do you think Michael would react to how fandom has adapted to recent developments in terms of establishing many layers of fan support through social media and different platforms? Do you think he would feel transparent through access that fans have to many aspects of his life or would he embrace the overwhelming support and dedication?

Hasa (@hasa81 on Instagram)
38) As Michael wanted to act more, what role do you think would have suited him?
39) What’s your earliest memory on MJ when he blew you away with his magic?
40) Other than singing live more, what would you have liked to see MJ do more in concert?
41) What singles would you replace with a non released album track/b-side?

Nathan. (@yougotnathan on Instagram)
42) What are songs released by other artists that you wish were MJ’s? For example, a lot of the Pharrell tracks that went to Justin Timberlake and Usher, etc. Also, do you think Invincible would have been more well received if MJ had taken those songs?
43) Will The MJCast ever do an Invincible album/era roundtable? Or although a stretch maybe reach our to Rodney, Dr. Freeze and others how worked on it? Loved the Michael Prince episode for that reason.

nat (@emxncipation on Instagram)
44) Your thoughts on Prince and Michael’s relationship?

Sammy (@sami.n.b.y on Instagram)
45) What happened with the rumours of an interview with Mr. Cupeta?

Joe Keegans (@joekeegans on Instagram)
46) If you were commissioned Chairman of the MJ Estate what would be the first thing/things you would change?

Jason Garcia of MJRadio
47) Hey Jamon, I think you should do at least a stream of Q’s declarations. It’s a hot topic now.

Additional Links
The MJCast – Episode 063: Q Q&A
The MJCast – Episode 069: C Q&A
The MJCast – Episode 072: Season Three Christmas Special
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker
Donald Trump and Michael Jackson: The full story behind a mysterious friendship
Damien Shields’ Xscape Origins book
Michael Jackson’s 2005 interview with Geraldo Rivera
Michael Jackson’s 2007 interview with Ebony Magazine
3T – Anything
3T – I Appreciate
3T – Heaven
The Soulquarians Wikipedia page
Michael Jackson – Butterflies
A Truth Untold’s Twitter page
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker – Sega Genesis (Angry Video Game Nerd Episode 63)
Michael Jackson – Stranger in Moscow
Michael Jackson – Whatever Happens
Michael Jackson in Men in Black 2
The Way You Make Me Feel live at Madison Square Garden in 2001
John Cameron’s #JCsMusicology – Michael Jackson (1988 – 1993)
John Cameron’s Janet, Jam and Lewis: Deconstructing 30 Years of Music [Broadcast Version]
The MJCast – Episode 041: Michael Jackson & Prince Roundtable (Part 1)
The MJCast – Episode 042: Michael Jackson & Prince Roundtable (Part 2)
Michael Jackson’s Dream Lives On podcast
MJRadio podcast
Donna Summer – State of Independence
Heal The World’s melody in the Jaws credits

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Episode 071 – MJ101 Special: Bad 30


Creator of the free MJ101 eBook series Andy Healy has released his new book, Bad 30, and what a great opportunity for us to explore both the book and the album for our second last episode of Season Three of The MJCast.

Joining returning guest Andy is a new voice for listeners, Chris Lacy. Chris is a lifelong Michael Jackson supporter in more ways than one. His fiery passion for music and dance came from studying Jackson’s artistry while he was growing up on Navy bases. Chris eventually became a dance instructor while learning from Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker of So You Think You Can Dance? fame. His appreciation for Michael Jackson expanded beyond the music when he started battling vitiligo at the age of twelve, a skin condition Jackson also endured. Fortunately, his strong Christian faith has not only helped him with his own struggles but has also inspired him to mentor youth who wrestle with various self-esteem issues. Chris is also a Contributing Writer for Albumism with heartfelt tributes for Bad (1987) and Dangerous (1991) under his belt, among others.

Andy, Chris, Jamon and Q explore and discuss the tracks on Michael’s critically and commercially acclaimed late 80’s masterpiece Bad. As Andy was lucky enough to see Michael live through witnessing The Bad World Tour in person, we also get to hear his account of this incredible concert, making us all slightly envious!

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Episode 070 – Nobody Gonna be Payin’ Us

Q and Jamon are back in the saddle and ready to discuss all things Michael Jackson and the Jackson family! The fellas kick things off with some discussion around a previously unseen version of the Victory album cover, Michael’s influence across the hip-hop genre, Tito Jackson’s interview around unreleased Michael music and a recent Dee Dee Jackson Foundation and Heal Los Angeles Fundraiser. Q and Jamon then delve into the new Blood on the Dancefloor X Dangerous (The White Panda Mash-up) remix, Paris Jackson’s Melbourne Cup visit, Janet’s State of the World Tour and Out100 Gala appearance and Austin Brown’s new EP Canyon Sessions. To round out the news, the boys update listeners on Katherine Jackson’s position as guardian of Bigi ‘Blanket’ Jackson, Mike Smallcombe and Andy Healy’s book announcements and the Dangerous World Tour (Live in Oslo) leak. The main discussion topic for this episode is all around Q and Jamon’s thoughts on the CBS TV special Michael Jackson’s Halloween.

P.s. We apologise for the audio issues on Jamon’s vocal throughout this episode. He needs a new mic chord!

News

  • Michael Whelan, illustrator of the Victory album cover, has revealed two early concepts for the design
  • MJ’s influence across hip-hop video
  • Tito Jackson gives an interview around unreleased Michael Jackson music
  • Dee Dee Jackson/Heal Los Angeles fundraiser event takes place at Hayvenhurst for Halloween
  • Sony have released a new mash-up video for Blood on the Dance Floor X Dangerous (The White Panda Mash-up)
  • Paris Jackson visits Australia for the Melbourne Cup and suffers terrible treatment by Australian media, and also some great media here, here and here.
  • Janet Jackson attends official LA #SOTW Tour after-party and performs at Hollywood Bowl with Jackson’s in attendance. Reunites with previous dancers for If, Scream & Rhythm Nation medley.
  • Janet Jackson honoured with the 2017 music icon award at the Out100 Gala
  • Austin Brown releases a new EP titled Canyon Sessions
  • Katherine Jackson resigns as guardian of Bigi Jackson
  • Mike Smallcombe is set to release a revised version of Making Michael
  • Andy Healy’s Bad 30 101 is available for download
  • Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour (Live in Oslo, 1992) has leaked
  • LaVelle Smith Jr shares footage of Michael’s 2002 “A Night at the Apollo” lip-synced performance of Heal the World
  • Stance launches official Thriller socks range
  • Director John Singleton shares memories of working with Michael
  • Jermaine Jackson performs on Dutch TV show Tijd voor MAX as well as engaging in some interviews while in the Netherlands.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Michael Jackson’s Halloween

Finds of the Week

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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 062 – They Didn’t Need an Expert to Say That

Jamon is back from his paternity leave, rejoining Q to co-host Episode 062 after a few months off. They are joined by recurring guest host and legal correspondent Charles Thomson, plus lifelong MJ fan Angela Kande. Charles and Angela discuss their recent visits to Santa Maria, Forest Lawn and the Jacksons’ 50th Anniversary Tour, before helping Jamon and Q dissect all of the latest MJ and Jackson family news.

After the news, Jamon and Q first delve into Angela’s fan story, where she shares some of her most vivid memories from the ‘frontline’ of MJ fandom in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition to attending the HIStory Tour in 1997 and the World Music Awards in 2006, Angela spent time at Michael’s hotels and other places he visited during his trips to the UK. She recalls the lows (like witnessing a photographer assault Michael outside a recording studio) and the highs (like bagging a seat right behind Michael at a London theatre) of her time spent in Michael’s orbit. She also discusses the origins of her spoken word poem ‘Legacy’, about the impact of Michael’s death on his fan community.

The hosts then turn their attention to Charles. Despite first appearing on the MJCast in Episode 002 and having been a frequent contributor ever since, Jamon and Q recently realised they had never asked Charles some of the key questions they usually ask guests during their first appearances on the show. What begins as a simple interview about Charles’ favourite songs, albums, videos and concerts turns into an emotional discussion about what Michael means to his fans – and the wider world – and how the fan community must fight for his legacy as his Estate allows it to crumble.

This episode marks Angela’s first ‘live’ appearance on the MJCast, although she did appear as one of Charles’ interviewees in his World Music Awards 10th Anniversary Special last year.

News

  • Michael’s Estate announces a one-off cartoon, ‘Michael Jackson’s Halloween’, featuring ‘reimagined’ versions of his music.
  • A 3D version of Thriller, plus the Making of Thriller documentary, are to be shown at the Venice Film Festival.
  • Producer Teddy Riley, a major contributor to Michael’s Dangerous album, discusses his time in the studio with Michael in a new two-and-a-half interview.
  • Remixed by Nick* has made a large number of his Michael Jackson remixes available for download.
  • Jimmy Safechuck’s posthumous demands for money over alleged abuse by Michael have been thrown out of court by a judge, and Wade Robson’s case looks set to follow.
  • Quincy Jones has been awarded more than $9million by a jury after he sued the Michael Jackson Estate for underpaying him.
  • An attempt by Frank Cascio to auction a CD of fake Michael Jackson songs for upwards of $50,000 has been called off – but the disc remains available for private sale.
  • Jermaine Jackson performs at the grand finale of BBC talent contest Pitch Battle.
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller has been used as the soundtrack to the new trailer for Stranger Things – Season Two, after producers were eventually able to secure the rights
  • Michael Jackson’s Estate has granted Sony, a company Michael despised, continued permission to control the licensing of his music.
  • New transcripts from the class action lawsuit over the release of fake Michael Jackson songs reveal a judge has accused lawyers for Sony, MJJ Productions and the MJ Estate of throwing their co-defendants under a bus by conceding they may have been duped into selling bogus material.
  • Michael’s son Prince has produced a music video for Swedish singer Nano.
  • FIlmmaker Spike Lee has announced his latest Brooklyn Loves MJ street party.
  • The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has added new Michael Jackson exhibits to its collection.

Main Discussion Topic

  • Angela and Charles’ fan stories

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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

Finds of the Week

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Episode 042 – Michael Jackson & Prince Roundtable (Part 2)

episode-042-michael-jackson-prince-roundtable-part-2-show-art

Welcome to part two of our Michael Jackson & Prince roundtable discussion, a new format for The MJCast which a panel of expert participants discuss a particular topic in depth. For this second and concluding episode, returning guest Paul Black continues moderating our discussion around the two legendary entertainers, Prince and Michael Jackson. Participants again include Samar of The Michael Jackson Academia Project, Casey Rain and Kim Camilia of The Violet Reality, Charles Thomson, Jamon Bull of The MJCast and of course, Paul Black. Beginning with an exploration into the participants personal experiences with Michael Jackson and Prince, Paul then leads us in a comparative discussion around the unfortunate deaths of both artists, their commitment to challenging expectations in a corrupt entertainment industry and finally their impacts on culture, style and fashion.

Participants

Topics

  • Our personal experiences with Michael Jackson and Prince
  • The deaths of Prince and Michael Jackson
  • Artistic independence (challenging the industry)
  • Cultural impact
  • Michael and Prince as style/fashion icons

Links

The Violet Reality on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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Episode 041 – Michael Jackson & Prince Roundtable (Part 1)

episode-041-michael-jackson-prince-roundtable-part-1-show-art

Welcome to the first roundtable episode of The MJCast, a format in which a panel of expert participants discuss a particular topic in depth. For this debut roundtable, returning guest Paul Black moderates a discussion around two legendary entertainers, Prince and Michael Jackson. Participants include Samar of The Michael Jackson Academia Project, Casey Rain and Kim Camilia of The Violet Reality, Charles Thomson, Jamon Bull of The MJCast and as mentioned, Paul Black. Beginning with an exploration into the participants own experiences and views on both artists, Paul then takes the conversation in the direction of Prince and Michael’s individual strengths as recording artists and live performers, all while exploring their similarities, differences and awareness of each other.

Participants

Topics

  • Our own views and experiences around Michael Jackson and Prince
  • Sexuality
  • Studio musicianship
  • Live performance

Links

The Violet Reality on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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