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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Episodio 013 – Especial Michael Prince

Michael Prince trabajó con Michael Jackson desde los 90 en adelante, convirtiéndose eventualmente en el ingeniero de estudio mas cercano a MJ, el hombre en quien confiaba para capturar sus visiones creativas mas personales. Desde la gira HIStory al álbum Invincible, pasando por el hermoso sencillo de caridad What More Can I Give hasta This Is It y las canciones finales en las que MJ estaba trabajando en el estudio, Michael Prince estuvo envuelto en todo ello.

Michael Prince tras bastidores en la Celebración del 30 Aniversario de Michael Jackson en New York

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Gracias a Cody Covington, puedes leer la transcripción de este episodio (en inglés). Muchísimas gracias a Cody por la gentileza.

Michael Prince, Michael Jackson y el equipo técnico de audio del HIStory World Tour

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

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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