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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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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Episode 045 – Dangerous 25 Roundtable (Part 1)

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Twenty-five years ago today Michael Jackson released perhaps his most important album… Dangerous. Sonically groundbreaking, spiritually profound, sexually provocative and socially conscious, Dangerous exploded onto the music market on November 26th, 1991, taking Michael to new global audiences and cementing his position not only as the King of Pop, but an artist willing to illuminate and challenge some of the world’s most important issues. In many ways, the album is relevant now more than ever. To celebrate twenty-five years of this masterpiece, The MJCast has brought together a roundtable panel of authors, academics and researchers – all mega fans.

Q, Elizabeth, Mike, James, Andy & Samar begin the show by giving brief introductions as to who they are and their early experiences with the Dangerous album, followed by an exploration into the album’s groundbreaking sound. Next, the panel delves into the album’s masterpiece cover art by Mark Ryden, an analysis of the song and video Black Or White and the lyrical messages within Dangerous. The show finishes up with a discussion around the short films for the album. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this Roundtable as we continue our celebrations of Dangerous 25!

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  • The sound of Dangerous
  • The Dangerous album cover
  • Black Or White
  • The lyrical messages of Dangerous
  • Dangerous’ short films

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Episode 043 – Thriller Night Special feat. CJ DeVillar

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Happy Thriller Night! To celebrate Halloween 2016, Q and Jamon are joined by host of fellow Michael Jackson podcast Moonwalk Talks, Jankins along with bassist, studio engineer and MJ collaborator CJ DeVillar. CJ collaborated with Michael on a range of songs including the unreleased and authentic version of Monster (which we discuss in detail on this episode), Blue Gangsta, A Place With No Name, Break of Dawn and multiple tracks on the HIStory album.

To kick things off, Jamon and Q spring an impromptu interview on Jankins, followed by a discussion around all the latest news in the MJ world. Topics include the recent and unfortunate passing of Thriller songwriter Rod Temperton, a new Michael Jackson project as revealed by John Landis and Nick Amideo’s Monster Movie Mash video. The team then discuss Travis DeRose’ marathon moonwalk across Europe, a competition around Smooth Criminals – The Songs of Michael Jackson and a new dance video set to Black or White. The news is capped off through an update on the Sony/ATV acquisition and a brand new book coming from The Jacksons called The Jacksons: Legacy. The main discussion topic for this episode is a chronological exploration into Michael’s horror themed work.

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Episode 035 – MJ101 Special: The Performances

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On Episode 035 of The MJCast, Jamon and Q are joined by prominent Michael Jackson author Andy Healy. Andy has been writing on Michael for a number of years with his MJ101 series. Starting back with his debut MJ101 book in 2013 called Greatest Songs (which counts down his picks for the 101 best Michael Jackson songs) he then branched off and released other supplementary books in the 101 lineup, including The Short Films, The Remixes, Off The Wall and HIS2ORY.

ipadpro101Andy’s books are not only known for providing great factual detail and deep opinions around Michael’s art, but getting conversations going between fans around what Michael’s best work actually is.

Today, as an exclusive for The MJCast, we are proud to announce the launch of Andy’s brand new entry in the MJ101 series, The Performances. Listen to this latest episode of The MJCast which features a fascinating interview with Andy Healy to learn about his early years as a fan, his writing process, his own thoughts and opinions on Michael’s catalogue and of course lots of great detail around his new book…

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  • Jackson Source
  • Michael Jackson – Scream (SWA Mix)
  • Michael Jackson – Rock With You (SWA Mix)
  • The Jacksons – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) [SWA Mix]

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