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 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 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 061 – Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffett Special

Drummer Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffett first worked with Michael Jackson when he joined the Jacksons on their Destiny Tour in 1979. He remained with the brothers for the Triumph Tour – where his work was immortalised on the Jacksons’ only live album – and then joined them on their legendary Victory Tour. He later played on the Jacksons’ album 2300 Jackson Street and on Michael’s 1988 Grammy Awards performance.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he worked with other music legends including Madonna, Elton John and George Michael. In 1996 he re-teamed with Michael Jackson for the HIStory World Tour, which lasted into 1997, and then joined him again in 2001 for his two 30th Anniversary Celebration concerts at Madison Square Gardens in New York.

In 2009 he was selected for the This Is It band and worked with Michael in his final weeks, days and hours of rehearsals. He performed at Michael’s Staples Centre memorial and has since worked for his Estate on its Cirque Du Soleil Immortal World Tour.

In this special episode, Jonathan joins Jamon and Q to discuss his long career and relationship with Michael Jackson.

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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 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 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 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 034 – June 25th Special feat. Kevin Stea

Episode 034 - June 25th Special feat. Kevin Stea Show Art

Seven years ago today on June 25th, 2009 the King of Pop, Michael Jackson tragically and unexpectedly passed away amidst preparations and rehearsals for his final live concert tour, This Is It. For fans around the world, the pain still lingers on… It’s times like today the fan community comes together 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.

Joking on the set

World renowned dancer, singer, actor, model, director and choreographer Kevin Stea joins us on this special episode to celebrate Michael’s life and to reflect on his time working with the King of Pop. Kevin collaborated with Michael on the Black or White and Blood on the Dance Floor short films and also the MTV 10th Anniversary Special. Not only has Kevin worked with Michael Jackson but he’s also worked extensively with other industry luminaries such as Prince, Madonna, Rihanna, George Michael, David Bowie, Lady Gaga and many, many more.

Following a conversation with Kevin, Q, Jamon and guest host Paul Black explore Paul’s experiences in Los Angeles prior to Michael’s death in 2009 and during the week leading up his Memorial before handing over to some of our listeners to discuss how Michael should be remembered. Thank-you to all contributors who submitted audio. We are also honoured to have been able to use this episode as a way to debut a beautiful spoken word poem by Angela Kande Forever and the brand new Remixed by Nick* Michael Jackson track Jam (Nick* Redux).

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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A 2016 piece by artist and Michael Jackson collaborator Nate Giorgio.

Episode 030 – Rob Hoffman Special

Episode 030 - Rob Hoffman Special YouTube Art 2

Michael Jackson collaborator and studio engineer Rob Hoffman joins us for a conversation on this special episode of The MJCast. Rob is a producer, songwriter, musician and recording engineer who has collaborated with some of the most iconic individuals in popular music. From ground-breaking artists such as Michael and Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds and P Diddy, Rob has worked with the best. And not just the best artists and musicians either, Rob has had the honour of collaborating with fellow engineers and producers such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien.

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But it was through his work at New York City’s The Hit Factory studios where he first met recording legend Bruce Swedien, who would go on to become Rob’s long-time mentor. This relationship made possible a four-year period as one of Michael Jackson’s core team members; working on the HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I and Blood on the Dancefloor: HIStory in the Mix studio albums, the HIStory World Tour, the ill fated HBO special Michael Jackson: One Night Only and Michael’s seminal film, Ghosts.

Rob had an incredibly important relationship with Michael, allowing him to express himself artistically and creatively with a level of freedom that resulted in some of Michael’s most innovative, creative and complex music.

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