Episode 081 – Vindication Day Special with Aphrodite Jones

The MJCast present their fourth annual special episode recognising Michael Jackson’s acquittal from false child molestation allegations on June 13th, 2005. On each of these annual episodes, The MJCast’s Legal Correspondent Charles Thomson along with hosts Jamon Bull and Q, bring a very special guest onto the show to discuss their experience with the trial that so deeply affected Jackson’s life.

A photograph originally used as evidence in Michael Jackson’s 2005 criminal trial.

In this year’s show, the guys welcome author of the newly released special edition of Michael Jackson Conspiracy, Aphrodite Jones. Aphrodite is a journalist and the author of several bestselling true crime books, one of which was turned into the Oscar-winning movie, Boys Don’t Cry. During Michael Jackson’s 2005 trial, Aphrodite initially found herself on the side of the prosecution. However, after the trial was over, she reassessed her stance, and admitted that she got it wrong. She went on to write one of the most comprehensive books about the trial, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, which includes a Foreword by Tom Mesereau. Self-published in 2007, the book went on to become a cult hit, and is being re-released in a new edition this week. Michael Jackson Conspiracy is the last book Aphrodite published, though she has gone on to be a successful true crime documentary host as well as host of her own podcast, called Sex, Love & Murder.

The new edition of the book features colour photos, exclusive links to footage of accuser Gavin Arvizo being led in a police interview, Michael Jackson discussing a children’s holiday with Martin Bashir and Neverland Valley Ranch during the trial era.

Jamon, Q, and Charles talk with Aphrodite about her early life, her experience being one of the few reporters given permanent seats in the courtroom throughout Jackson’s trial, how she fell under the pro-persecution spell and how she changed her mind. Topics also discussed include her interpretation of how the media handled the trial and how it impacted Michael in his final years.

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Aphrodite’s 2005 photograph of fan made posters from Michael Jackson’s criminal trial.

 

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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Episode 076 – MJ101 Special: Thriller 35

In celebration of the recent 35th anniversary of Thriller and the accompanying MJ101 eBook, Jamon and Q have returning guests Andy Healy and Chris Lacy back on the show for an in-depth, track-by-track discussion of the album for the first special episode of Season Four.

Andy, creator of the free MJ101 eBook series, and Chris, a long-time fan, dancer and Albumism contributor, share their insights and stories alongside Jamon and Q as they take a deep dive into the world of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Thriller remains the world’s best-selling album and has inspired more than three decades worth of iconic dance moves and fashion. Through this discussion of each track, the guys get to the heart of how Thriller changed pop culture, and the world.

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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 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 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 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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