Episode 092 – Humanitarian: The Real Michael Jackson Special

A crucial aspect of Michael Jackson’s life, which is rarely highlighted (and often blatantly ignored), is that of his amazing humanitarian work. While this comes up on The MJCast frequently as a point of discussion, the team is finally taking the opportunity to dedicate a full episode to this important topic. At last, the time is right for a deep-dive chat. Q welcomes to the show megafan and author Paul Dwyer, whose book, Humanitarian – The Real Michael Jackson, has just been published, as well as Friend of the Show and MJ Charity Correspondent Steven Hodges, of Michael Jackson Fans for Charity.

The guys discuss Paulie’s book and the creation of Steven’s MJFFC project, and, of course, get into the charity work Michael Jackson engaged with during his life. From acting as a US Cultural Ambassador to his Presidential Humanitarian Award, to songs such as “Man In The Mirror”, and to his work with hospitals, community centers, hospices and orphanages, Michael Jackson did incredible, world-changing work for many years. He was, ultimately, a human being who represented love and peace. We should remember him, acknowledge him, be inspired by him, and follow in his footsteps in our own lives.

We encourage all of our #MJFam out there to #MakeThatChange!

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Episode 090 – Thriller 3D Roundtable

Happy Thriller Night 2018! While Jamon is busy setting up Studio Brisbane and Q is on holiday, Elise takes over for this special roundtable discussion focused on the world’s favorite dancing zombie, Michael Jackson. She welcomes two long-time Friends of the Show and regular guests, James Alay and Andy Healy, to join her for an in-depth chat about the recent IMAX theater release of ‘Thriller 3D’.

The Halloween trio discuss their first memories of the original ‘Thriller’ short film, experiences seeing ‘Thriller 3D’, thoughts on promotion and screenings (the decision to not screen the film in Australia is another reason that Jamon and Q are not part of this episode), the quality of the remastering, impact of this iconic film which changed the landscape of pop culture, their feelings around supporting the Estate when it comes to respectful and quality products, and the possible future of ‘Thriller’ in the years and decades to come.

The MJCast wishes all of our listeners a great Thriller Night!

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 Topics

  • First time seeing ‘Thriller’.
  • Thriller 3D experiences.
  • The Remastering: audio and video quality.
  • The impact and legacy of the ‘Thriller’ short film.
  • The Estate: If/when/how we should cautiously give support?
  • What’s next for ‘Thriller’ and other potential Estate products?

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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 087 – Happy 60th Birthday MJ!

On this episode celebrating Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, Q, Elise and Jamon go on a trip down memory lane with special guest Sean Fitzgerald, who was part of the team who ran The Magic World of Michael Jackson Fan Club in the U.S. from 1989-1995. Sean recreates the incredible moments he experienced during this golden era for MJ fans, such as attending Michael’s fabled Bad World Tour shows at Madison Square Garden and having front-row access to the filming of MTV’s 10th Anniversary Special, where Michael performed Black or White and Will You Be There for the first time. He also talks about the infamous 1995 HBO Beacon Theatre show that was cancelled when Michael fell ill and organising ‘MichaelFest’ fan gatherings.

Plus, Sean goes into detail about his fan club’s very positive relationship with MJJ Productions, who invited Sean and other fan club organizers to their LA office on multiple occasions. Sean also gives interesting insight into how the fan community was organised pre-internet, and how that time contrasts to the online community today.

Sean Fitzgerald is based in New York, and now works in marketing. He’s been married to his high-school sweetheart (who is also an MJ fan!) for 27 years, and they have five children together. Sean is also very active in Church ministries (prison ministry, youth ministry and bible study) and has multiple degrees in Theology. He still has many very personal items from his collection of MJ memorabilia, including a range of items signed personally from Michael Jackson.

The MJCast can’t imagine a better way to celebrate sixty years of Michael than with these fantastic memories.

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Episode 082 – June 25th Special with Damien Shields and TJ

June 25th, 2018 marks the ninth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s tragic passing. Jamon and Q are joined by their long-time MJ mates, Damien Shields and TJ, to celebrate and honour the King of Pop. This episode is one of inevitable sadness, but also a time to share good memories and even a laugh or two. Friends since they were teenagers, the ‘Awesome Foursome’ reflect on their childhood fandoms, the birth of their friendship, and how they came up with the original seed of an idea that would become The MJCast. As this is TJ’s first time on the show, he tells his fan story. This episode also features memories about Michael Jackson from previous guests and correspondents, along with tribute songs.

Damien Shields last appeared on The MJCast way back in Season Two, though, as regular listeners know, his work is referenced often on the show. Damien is the author of the book Xscape Origins, runs A Truth Untoldwhich investigates the truth around the posthumous Michael album, and has published a wide range of articles related to Michael Jackson. He plans to release an updated version of Xscape Origins this year, and has some new projects in the works, as well.

TJ is an Aussie MJ fan best known for his “Aussie English translation” videos on YouTube. His open letter, “To The Bullies”, was featured in the 2011 book, It Gets Better, alongside a myriad of inspirational contributors such as Chaz Bono, Darren Hayes, Ellen Degeneres, and President Barack Obama. His latest video is a half hour documentary, “The Michael Jackson Trial: One of the Most Shameful Episodes In Journalistic History”, based on the incredible article by Charles Thomson.

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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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  • Michael Jackson – Work That Body
  • Michael Jackson – Serious Effect
  • Do The Bartman
  • Michael Jackson – She Got It

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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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