Michael Jackson Was Generous To The Homeless

Source: Yahoo News/Bang Showbiz

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Michael Jackson used to generously hand out hundreds of dollars to homeless people because he was one of the world’s “best people”.

The late pop legend – who amassed a huge fortune throughout his career – was keen to help those less fortunate then himself and would regularly pull over in his car and hand over whatever money he had in his wallet when he saw beggars on the street.

His mother Katherine Jackson told HELLO! magazine:

“What I love about Michael, he was such a humble person. I am not just saying it because he’s my son, but he was one of the best people. He’d seen somebody standing in the corner beginning and he’d stop the car and just give them all the money in his pocket $300 or $400 and sometimes more.”

Katherine thinks about her son – who died in June 2009 from acute Propofol intoxication at his home in Los Angeles – everyday and wishes he was still here to enjoy time with his family, especially his three children, son Prince, 16, daughter Paris, 15, and youngest son Blanket, 11.

The 82-year-old star – who, along with her grandson TJ, is guardian to Michael’s kids – said:

“Nothing can replace my son. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, when I don’t shed a tear. His life was snatched from his children – and he was all they had. He was a very good father, the best. He was a very good son too.”

http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/entertainment/18691260/michael-jackson-was-generous-to-the-homeless/

Jon Jon Harreld On Michael

Source: The Michael Jackson World Network

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Paula has recently interviewed Jon Jon Harreld who is one of the members from Californian based R&B group TROOP. Here is Paula’s interview.

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to Jon Jon Harreld one of the members of the R&B group TROOP (Total Respect Of Other People) who are from Pasadena, California.

TROOP has had huge success on the Billboard R&B charts with five Number One singles and ten Top Ten singles. They also have five albums of which three were certified gold and one certified platinum.

The group began in the late 1980’s after they had auditioned and won a televised talent contest ‘Puttin’ on the Hits’ that later attracted interest from record labels. They were signed to Atlantic Records and released their debut single ‘Mamacita’ from their self titled album in 1988. Following the release of their debut album came their second album ‘Attitude,’ which included their hit songs ‘Spread My Wings,’ coincidentally featuring Tommy O, Michael’s guitarist from ‘This Is It’ playing guitar on the song and their beautiful Jackson 5 cover of ‘All I Do Is Think Of You.’ Both songs went to Number One on the Billboard R&B charts and remained in the Top Ten on the charts for several weeks.

Three more albums followed, ‘Deepa,’ ‘A Lil’ Sumpin’ Sumpin’’ and ‘Mayday.’ They have also toured with artists such as Boyz II Men, Brian Knight, Keith Sweat, Silk, Mario and Jon B and have appeared on numerous TV shows including; ‘The Late Show with David Letterman,’ ‘Soul Train,’ ‘The Arsenio Hall Show,’ ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ and in the feature film ‘New Jack City’ as well as singing Acapella on the ‘New Jack City’ soundtrack with Queen Latifah and Levert. There has also been solo albums produced by some of the members as well as song writing by Steven Russell for artists such as Chris Brown with ‘Take You Down,’ Jordin Spark’s ‘Air’ and the Grammy award winning ‘Invisible’ for Jennifer Hudson.

What brings Jon Jon to us here today is that in addition to being a member of a hugely successful group, he is also a huge fan of Michael’s and a family friend. And in this interview, he has kindly agreed to share with us a little on his admiration for Michael and of how he has affected his career.

Paula: Hi Jon Jon. What an honour it is for me to be talking to you today. I am a huge TROOP fan you know and I know that TROOP and you are huge Michael Jackson fans and love the man dearly. You even covered one of the Jackson 5 songs ‘All I Do Is Think Of You’ in 1990, where it went to Number One on the US Billboard and R&B charts. A beautiful cover I must say. Not everyone can get away with singing a song that Michael sang, but you guys did it justice and took it right to the top! I don’t think I have heard another group do a cover of a Jackson 5 song so well. Can you tell us how that came about and what made you guys pick that song?

Jon Jon: The song was actually my idea. It’s been one of my favourites and a beautiful, beautiful, ballad that Michael sings amazingly. I knew that Steven Russell who has also been a Michael Jackson life long fan, would do the song justice and it would showcase his voice as the song did for Michael. I said to him “that when you sing it you will sing it like Michael,” well as close to Michael that anyone can. By the way, Steven also did a cover of ‘Rock With You’ as a tribute to Michael on his solo album ‘So Random’ in 2010. He thinks the world of Michael too. I always felt that choosing this song was a good idea, but I never ever dreamed that it would get to where it did!

Paula: Did you ever hear what Michael thought about your cover of ‘All I Do Is Think Of You’?

Jon Jon: Yes, Jackie and Jermaine told us that everyone in the family melted when they heard our cover. They said that after Michael heard the song, he called the whole family asking if they had heard it. Michael loved it! He was thrilled with our cover, as ‘All I Do Is Think Of You’ was one of his favourite songs out of all the songs he had recorded with the Jackson 5.

Paula: Michael has inspired and influenced many artists. I have noticed that you guys can dance! I mean watching your video to your song ‘Attitude’ I can definitely see the Michael influence and a whole lot of attitude for sure! Tell us a little about the dancing in the group.

Jon Jon: Absolutely! I mean Michael and The Jacksons are who really started it for us. We use to watch Michael and his brothers on TV and footage of their concerts on DVD’s for hours on end, studying their moves and every step they took. What they did on stage together and Michael in his solo years was magical. We wanted to capture that magic on stage as well. We wanted to let people know that it was more than just singing. We had to be able to put on a show just like Michael and his brothers did. We studied Michael as a solo artist and when he was with The Jacksons as well and we knew that, that is what we wanted to do as a group ourselves. We had to study hard to do that. That’s what you do as an Entertainer, you study the greats and Michael was and still is the greatest!

Paula: Do you have a favourite Michael Jackson song?

Jon Jon: Michael’s career in music spans a long long time. I have way too many favourite songs to name just one. I love them all!

Paula: I guess that was a hard one. I must admit it’s the same for me. Far too many favourites…What about his music though. Tell us how important Michael’s music has been to you?

Jon Jon: I used to watch and listen to him as a child. His music has always been important to me. His music changes how a person feels inside. You know you may be having a situation where you are maybe angry or upset about something, and the situation is going to be different once you’ve listened to Michael. I can put on one of Michael’s, or when he was with the Jacksons CD’s, and it instantly calms me down. That’s how important Michael’s music is to me! The music is so powerful, that he’s not gone! He will always live! The connection is so strong!

Paula: Can you recall a special memory of meeting Michael?

Jon Jon: Yes, I remember at one meeting, I think it was in 1989, where we were having a conversation and he was telling me how good the group was looking and how he loved what we do, saying; “Love all the dancing you do! You guys are awesome!” Having Michael say that to you as an entertainer yourself, it just doesn’t get any better than that!

Paula: What about Michael in concert? Is there a special one for you?

Jon Jon: I’d have to say going to a concert from the ‘Victory’ tour. As a member of a group myself, seeing Michael and his brothers do what they did on stage was just magic! For anyone that wanted to be in a musical group, you had to go and check out Michael and The Jacksons. That’s what we all strived for. I knew I wanted to do what they did way back then. Michael and his brothers at Dodger Stadium, incredible! Incredible! Not everyone can say that they saw Michael Jackson perform at a ‘Victory’ concert.

Paula: What about any special moments with Michael’s family or a time when they may have referenced Michael to you, that you would like to share?

Jon Jon: I was speaking to Tito’s son Taj one day and I remember his words; “You guys recorded our uncle’s song and made it number one!” He was referring to Michael and ‘All I Do Is Think Of You.’ That meant a lot to me. That was a special moment! He acknowledged Michael and us doing well with our cover of Michael’s song. You never know who’s watching you. Michael and his family watched TROOP. Another time was at the 4th Annual Soul Train Awards in 1990. We were there to present an award. At the after party there was a big long table full of cakes. Papa Joe went to the table and I walked over and introduced myself to him as Jon Jon from TROOP. “Come over and meet the family,” he said. So I walked over with him and met Michael’s family. Meeting Michael’s family was an experience I will never forget.

The only Jackson that I hadn’t met was Marlon, and I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at ‘The Greek.’ I was backstage with Michael’s brothers, when right at that moment they started singing ‘All I Do Is Think Of You’ in Acappella to me. Being in their presence and having The Jacksons sing their song to you, that you made Number One, now that’s just huge! There’s nothing bigger than that for me other than to have had Michael there to sing it to you to. They had noticed TROOP!

Paula: TROOP also has made a few appearances on Soul Train including your performance of ‘Mamacita’ in 1989 and then again in 1990 with ‘Spread My Wings’ and ‘I’m Not Souped.’ Performing on Soul Train, now that’s just huge in my books! So much great talent has gone through that show, including the greatest of them all, Michael. What did that feel like to be performing on the same show that Michael and so many other great names had performed on so many times?

Jon Jon: I remember watching the greats on Soul Train and remember being in the audience at the 1993 Annual Soul Train Awards and witnessing Michael, even when injured and from a chair, blow us away with his performance of ‘Remember The Time.’ But actually having the chance to be able to grace the same stage on Soul Train as Michael and so many other greats had, now that’s a blessing and an honour.

At one performance the Temptations were actually there with us that same night and they ‘handed us the torch,’ so to speak letting us know that they loved what we did and that it was our time now. I don’t think there is one group out there that hasn’t been inspired by the Temptations, including Michael and The Jacksons. I have heard Michael say that many times that they were an inspiration to him to. Performing on Soul Train and places like the Apollo that Michael and the Jacksons had also performed, a truly great feeling!

Paula: June the 25th, 2009, changed the music world forever and a very sad day for all Michael Jackson fans. I know that it would have affected you. Can you recall that day? Where you were and how you reacted?

Jon Jon: I was with a friend, Dillon Gorman, the son of the late Freddie Gorman, whom I have known for a long time. We were sitting outside in the car just talking and listening to music when we kept getting messages on our phones, one after the other, and I kept deleting one after the other as they came through. I just didn’t want to believe it. The messages kept coming when Dillon said “Let’s go inside and find out what’s happening.” We went inside and turned on the TV and it was chaos! On every channel! No one could see it coming and all I could think of was NOT Michael! Out of everyone, not Michael! It’s still rough to talk about.

Paula: Any final words that you would like to share with Michael’s fans?

Jon Jon: I would just like to tell the fans to show support for mum Katherine. Pray for her, a mother that has lost her son, and pray for Michael’s children for they have lost a father. They’ve gone through a rough time and still are. The children and the family need our prayers. Finally, remember Michael and what he stood for, for he wasn’t just the Greatest Entertainer, but a man with one of the most loving and caring hearts.

Paula: Thank you Jon Jon from me and MJWN. It’s been a real pleasure chatting with you and having you share your love for Michael with us. I know that he still means so much to you. I wish you and TROOP all the best and blessings in whatever venture you undertake next. I know that you are working on some solo projects at the moment including a new record that you are just doing the finishing touches on and I know that TROOP are also working on something new. Looking forward to hearing more from you and TROOP and who knows, maybe even another great cover of a Michael or Jackson 5 song.

Jon Jon: Thank you!

Watch TROOPS number one hit and cover of the Jackson 5 song ‘All I Do Is Think Of You’:

Watch an appearance of TROOP on Soul Train with their debut single ‘Mamacita’ on the same show that Michael thrilled us so many times:

Watch TROOP perform ‘Attitude’ where Michael’s influence is evident:

http://www.mjworld.net/news/2013/08/22/jon-jon-harreld-on-michael/

When George Harrison And Michael Jackson Squared Off On Radio

Source: Examiner

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George Harrison and Michael Jackson once appeared together on a British radio show talking about their careers and commenting on recent releases.

The audio on the interview, from the radio show “Roundtable” and estimated to date from February, 1979, is bassy and at times muffled and almost impossible to understand. The two also seem to talk more individually to the host than interact with each other. But it’s fascinating to hear them together.

The show includes reviews of songs by the two guests from a diverse group of performers, including Eddie Money, Nicolette Larson, Van Morrison, Dave Edmunds, Cat Stevens, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Foreigner.

Harrison, who said he just had returned from Brazil, talks about many subjects during the hourlong show, including his yearlong layoff from music in 1977 and how he’d decided to come back and write music again. He also discusses his songwriting during the Beatles. The show mentions the upcoming release of the “George Harrison” album.

He also discusses the Rutles. “I love the Rutles,” he says, calling it “getting a way to get a laugh out of the Fab Four.” He said, “It was a way of liberating me from that whole thing.”

Jackson talks about his current tour in the UK and appearing on “Top of the Pops” the previous night.

As with most things Beatles, the show has circulated among collectors. The show has just resurfaced on YouTube. 

http://www.examiner.com/article/when-george-harrison-and-michael-jackson

Charlie Tuna’s 4th Anniversary Tribute To Michael, Interview Audio Clips From 1973

Source: Charlie Tuna

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14 year old Michael Jackson with Charlie Tuna in 1973, in Charlie’s Woodland Hills, California Studio, for Charlie’s first interview with Michael. Michael came alone that day with no entourage or publicity team, and notice the word “Love” on the front of his T-Shirt. That’s what Michael was all about from the beginning! Listen to a couple of clips of Charlie’s interview that day below:

Charlie with Michael Jackson – Clip 1

Charlie with Michael Jackson – Clip 2

Commodores with their 2010 tribute to Michael on the anniversary of his passing.

http://www.charlietuna.com/2013/06/25/4th-anniversary-june-25th-of-michael-jacksons-passing-audio-memories/

Charlie: “You like track? What are your events?”

Michael: “I don’t have any events. I just know I’m fast!” LOL! :)

The Day I Sang for Michael Jackson

Source:  Jewish Journal – By David Suissa (Published June 25, 2009)

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“Sing me your favorite melody, David”, Michael Jackson said to me.

I was sitting alone with Michael in one of the many living rooms at his Neverland ranch in the summer of 2000, and we were talking about melodies.

I had come up to see him because we were planning to discuss him writing an article for our “Parents” issue of OLAM magazine. I spent a lot of time that summer hanging out with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (going with him to the Sydney Olympics, among other things) who everyone knew was close to Michael.

Shmuley, the great schmoozer that he is, told me that Michael “really loved” OLAM magazine, and that he might be interested in writing an original piece for the “Parents” issue.

So off we went to Neverland, with, of course, my two young daughters, Tova and Shanni.

On the way up, I played some old Michael videos (“Thriller”) to give my daughters a little education on someone who a decade earlier had been the most famous person on the planet. When we got to the ranch, we had to sign special papers at the main gate, and agree to take no pictures.

That’s too bad, because I could have taken some great shots at the moment Michael met my daughters. Shanni’s first question for him—before even how are you? or nice to meet you—was: “Is it true that you have rollercoasters?”

One of Michael’s handlers took my daughters to see the rides and the elephants, while the grown-ups sat down to talk. Shimon Peres’s granddaughter, Mika Walden, who would soon be working at my ad agency, came along for support. We talked about OLAM magazine and the special issue on “Parents”, as well as other projects that Rabbi Shmuley was working on with Michael.

The issue for me was, how candid would Michael be if he wrote an OLAM article about his childhood? The last thing I wanted (OK, not the last thing) was a puff piece with just a famous name attached.

Thanks in large part to Shmuley’s help, Michael came through with an honest piece. He fessed up to the lack of love he felt growing up, especially from his hard-driving father. But in the sweet, enchanted tone that he was known for, he also wrote lovingly of the little moments—his father putting him up on a little pony or getting him his favorite glazed donuts—that marked him growing up.

The day the issue broke, we started getting calls from People magazine and TV news shows who wanted to know how we got Michael to write for OLAM. We had our fifteen minutes of fame, but we didn’t divulge anything that was not in the magazine. That was our deal with Michael.

Beyond the article he wrote, what I will remember most is the moment we spent alone in his living room. By then Shmuley had gone to another part of the house for a meeting with Michael’s manager, and there I was, completely alone with the King of Pop.

I decided that I wouldn’t waste this moment with mindless chatter. So I thought of something he might be interested in that I felt passionate about, and I dove right in.

“I have always been madly in love with melodies”, I told him. “The whole idea of a beautiful melody blows me away. How can a certain arrangement of notes have so much power over me?”

“There are certain melodies that I cannot imagine living without”, I continued.

“They’re like a part of me. I surrender to them.”

By now I was kvelling and I couldn’t control myself—but I meant every word. At that moment, Michael, in his sweet, hummingbird voice, looked at me and said, “Sing me your favorite melody, David.”

And I did. It was an ancient Sephardic melody that Moroccan Jews sing only on Yom Kippur. It is my all-time favorite melody. Growing up, I would often cry when I would hear it. It’s the melody that has done the most to keep my emotional connection to my faith and my people. Today, I “cheat” and sing it before doing the Hamotzeh on Shabbat.

He had caught me off-guard. It was the only thing I could thing of singing. In the song, the lyrics describe Abraham’s apparent sacrifice of his son Isaac. At one point, the son asks innocently where his father is taking him, oblivious to the biblical drama that is about to unfold.

I sang for no more than a minute.

I don’t remember what Michael said after I finished. All I remember is that while I was singing, his eyes were closed and he was smiling.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/bloggish/item/

MICHAEL JACKSON: Memories Of My Childhood – By Michael Jackson

When I look back on my childhood, it is not an idyllic landscape of memories. My relationship with my father was strained, and my childhood was an emotionally difficult time for me. I began performing when I was five years old, and my father – a tough man – pushed my brothers and me hard, from the earliest age, to be the best performers we could be.Although we all worked hard to perform, he never really complimented me. If I did a great show, he would tell me it was a good show. And if I did an OK show, he didn’t say anything at all. He seemed intent, above all else, on making us a commercial success. And at that he was more than adept. My father was a managerial genius, and my brothers and I owe our professional success, in no small measure, to the forceful way he pushed us. He trained me as a showman, and under his guidance I couldn’t miss a step.

Those of you who are familiar with the Jackson Five know that since I began performing at that tender age I haven’t stopped dancing or singing. But while performing and making music undoubtedly remain among my greatest joys, when I was young I wanted more than anything else to be a typical little boy. I wanted to build tree houses, have water balloon fights and play hide-n-seek with my friends. But fate had it otherwise, and all I could do was envy the laughter and playtime that seemed to be going on all around me.

There was no respite from my professional life. But on Sundays I would go “Pioneering”, the term used for the missionary work that Jehovah’s Witnesses do. It was then that I was able to see the magic of other people’s childhood.

Since I was already a celebrity, I had to don a disguise of fat suit, wig, beard and glasses, and we would spend the day in the suburbs of Southern California, going door-to-door or making the rounds of shopping malls, distributing our Watchtower magazine. I loved to set foot in all those regular suburban houses and catch sight of the shag rugs and La-Z-Boy armchairs, kids playing Monopoly and grandmas babysitting and all those wonderful, ordinary and starry scenes of everyday life. Many, I know, would argue that these things are no big deal. But to me they were mesmerizing – because they symbolized, to me, a home life that I seemed to be missing.

My father was not openly affectionate with us, but he would show his love in different ways. I remember once when I was about four years old, we were at a little carnival and he picked me up and put me on a pony. It was a tiny gesture, probably something he forgot five minutes later. But because of that one moment, I have this special place in my heart for him. Because that’s how kids are, the little things mean so much to them and for me, that one moment meant everything. It was a gesture that showed his caring, and his love. I only experienced it that one time, but it made me feel really good, about him and the world.

And I have other memories too, of other gestures, however imperfect, that showed his love for us. When I was a kid, I had a real sweet tooth – we all did. I loved eating glazed doughnuts, and my father knew that. So every few weeks I would come downstairs in the morning and there on the kitchen counter was a bag of glazed doughnuts – no note, no explanation, just the doughnuts. It was like a fairy godmother had visited our kitchen. It was like Santa Claus. Sometimes, I would think about staying up late so I could see him leave them there, but as with Santa Claus, I didn’t want to ruin the magic, for fear that he would never do it again.

I think now that my father had to leave the doughnuts secretly at night so that no one would catch him with his guard down. He was scared of human emotion, he didn’t understand it, or know how to deal with it. But, he did know doughnuts.

And when I allow the floodgates to open up, there are other memories that come rushing back, memories of other tiny gestures, however imperfect, that showed that he did what he could.

With hindsight and maturity, I have come to see that even my father’s harshness was a kind of love. An imperfect love, sure, but love nonetheless. He pushed me because he loved me. He pushed me because he wanted me to have more than he EVER had, and he wanted my life to be better than his EVER was.

It has taken me a long time to realize this, but now I feel the resentments of my childhood are finally being put to rest. My bitterness has been replaced by blessing, and in place of my anger, I have found absolution. And with this knowledge, that my father loved his children, I have found peace.

 

http://www.jewishjournal.com/hollywood_jew/article/michael

 

 

MJJC Exclusive Q&A with Brad Sundberg – Read His Answers

Source: MJJC Community – By IVY

Brad Sundberg was technical director to Michael Jackson for nearly two decades. He recently announced a series of seminars to take place this June in New York called “In The Studio with Michael Jackson” ( thread here: http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/th…ichael-Jackson)

We reached out to Brad Sundberg to talk about Michael’s music as well as talk about his “”In The Studio With Michael Jackson” seminars. You can read his answers below. Also check the end of Q&A for information about seminars and how to get tickets to them.

MJJC: What exactly is the job of a technical director and what did this position entail, as you worked in this role on some of the MJ albums?

Brad Sundberg: There is the short answer and the long answer. The short answer is “be ready for anything.” The long answer would go something like this: My responsibility was to have whatever recording studio we worked in, anywhere in the world, be up to Michael Jackson quality. I worked very closely with Bruce Swedien (not just on MJ albums, but also Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, among others), and his attention to detail is second-to-none. Every microphone, every patch-point, every machine and device in the studio had to tested and (if possible) calibrated to perfection. It was not uncommon for this process alone to take 1-2 weeks before the projecting would even start. The funny thing is that so few production teams do this, yet it is a vital part of the reason our projects sounded so good.

Additionally, I would be involved in day-to-day recording, setting up microphones, headphones, booking studios, keeping tapes organized, getting Michael’s hot water ready for his vocals, transcribing Michael’s lyrics for the liner notes, even making coffee! With various production teams working on the same project, it made for long yet very rewarding days. The hard work and dedication was also very rewarding in that I was privileged to see and be a part of so much musical history being created.

MJJC: Were you a fan of Michael’s before you started working on his team back in the Captain EO days?

Brad Sundberg: As I kid growing up in Santa Cruz, CA in the 70s, I listened to a lot of music: Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, etc., but I also loved dance music like Abba, The BeeGees, Gloria Gaynor, Blondie, Donna Summer and of course Michael Jackson. I found myself sort of “dissecting” songs as I listened to them, because I wanted to understand every sound, every reverb and effect. I played the “Thriller” album until it was scratched and worn out, so I bought another copy. The depth of sound blew me away, even before I understood recording. Yes, I was a fan.

MJJC: What are your top 3 favorite songs from Michael and why?

Brad Sundberg: That’s a tough one, but here goes:

1) Human Nature. I have always loved that song, and my friend Steve Porcaro knows it. We recorded a follow-up to it called “Someone Put Your Hand Out,” but it didn’t quite make the “Dangerous” album.

2) Smooth Criminal. The bass line, the groove, David Williams insane rhythm guitar, Jerry Hey’s horn section, Quincy directing this who’s-who of musicians and Michael front and center… it’s an amazing piece of work! I wish you could have been there.

3) Lady In My Life. It was never a single, but what a record. Speaking from a technical standpoint, it is like a 5-minute recording class. Every sound is pure and simple. From a musical standpoint, I am a huge fan of Rod Temperton. I have worked with Rod for years, and he is pure genius. Beautiful song.

4) I know, you only asked for 3, but I’m feeling generous. Streetwalker. This is the little engine that could. That song blew me away every time I heard it, but Quincy didn’t like it. I remember driving home from the studio one night after Michael recorded the lead vocal, and I was listening to it in my car, with the sunroof open at like 3 in the morning. I nearly blew the speakers out, singing along at the top of my lungs. It may not be the most well-crafted songwriting, but that groove grabs you and will not let you go.

It isn’t fair to have a list than doesn’t include Will You Be There, Who Is It, Earth Song, Stranger In Moscow, Billie Jean, Startin’ Something, She’s Out Of My Life, Jam, etc. I never was good at following the rules.

MJJC: You said Michael commissioned you to bring music to virtually every corner of Neverland. What kind of music was played on the grounds of Neverland? What types of music was on the playlists that Michael created for those particular areas of the ranch?

Brad Sundberg: I don’t want to give too much away, but there was one unbreakable rule at Neverland: Michael would not allow his music to be played, despite my protests. But he was the boss, so his vote was stronger than mine.

The grounds (around the lake, main house, guest houses, etc.) played a custom playlist of classical and Disney favorites. In the amusement park he selected songs by Janet, Yes and Joe Satriani. Seriously. Even some Van Halen and Led Zeppelin was selected on certain rides. In the horse area and petting zoo behind the amusement park we went with more traditional cowboy music. The trains also played primarily classical music.

MJJC: Of all the songs that you worked on with MJ in the studio, what was your favorite? Or what song had a creative process, from the demos to the finished song, that was impressive and just blew you away?

Brad Sundberg: Another tough one, because there are so many. I think I will go with Man In The Mirror. I was still learning my way around the studio, and it was an honor to be asked to sit in and watch, learn and help on the Bad album.

Man in the Mirror was such a big song, such a huge production we all knew it was unstoppable. I was able to see the initial track being recorded, the various musicians bringing their talents, the layers of vocal harmonies, the Andre Crouch choir, and finally the commanding lead vocals with Siedah and Michael. There was so much talent in Westlake Studio D during that time that it was mind-blowing. Bruce and Michael would play that song at full, and I mean full volume (118 db) to any guest that stopped by. People would be speechless, sometimes teary, when the final note rung out.
MJJC: Can you tell us in detail exactly how the demo process was? What would MJ say to you after playing his ideas and how involved were the rest of you besides MJ; did you just do everything he said or was it collaboration with him listening to your input ideas with the arrangements?

Brad Sundberg: There was no regular or exact way the demos came to be, but it was not uncommon for Michael to ask one of us to work with him after a session on a new song.

We would bring in a keyboard player/programmer (John Barnes, Michael Boddicker, Larry Williams, Rhett Lawrence, Brad Buxer) and Michael would sing the groove and rhythm tracks to us. The programmer would translate Michael’s request into the drum machine. The bass and melody line would be added. Usually we would record a scratch vocal, and some harmony vocals, just for reference. The whole process might take 3 or 4 hours, and the song was born. It was very collaborative, and many ideas were accepted and recorded. Not every idea was kept and used, but it was very much a group effort of kicking around ideas and trying them out.

MJJC: If you could describe the most difficult aspect on working as part of the production team on a Michael Jackson album – what would it be?

Brad Sundberg: SLEEP!!! The hours were rough, as I would typically be at the studio 2 hours before anyone else, and quite often 2-3 hours after everyone left. My day usually started around 9-10 am, and often lasted until 2 am, and I lived about 40 minutes from the studio. That’s not bad for a few days, but try it for 10 -14 months. Still, I honestly loved going to work. Once in the studio, the teams were great to work with. Good food, beautiful studios, great music, incredible talent – I didn’t have a lot to complain about.

MJJC: Which project during your time working with Michael, would you say has impacted your career the most?

Brad Sundberg: Dangerous. It was a transitional time for me. I was running my installation business BSUN Media Systems (which I really enjoy), and working in the studio at the same time. Quincy was not part of the project, which felt odd. The music industry and what the public was listening to was changing, so Michael used three production teams on the project, which was brilliant.

On a technical level, we were making and breaking all of the rules with more tracks, more studios, bigger mixes, etc. I think the song Jam was something like 160 tracks on 4-tape machines, which had to mixed on 2 consoles in 2 studios at the same time. It was nuts, but we made it happen. I suppose I would say it impacted my career (both in and out of the studio) in terms of not being afraid to try anything, and push for perfection all the time.

MJJC: Over the years, working on the albums from Bad to Blood on the Dance Floor, how did MJ mature or change? How did he improve?

Brad Sundberg: During Captain EO he was still almost a kid, just 5 years older than me. I can honestly say that his humor, his level of trust, his commitment to excellence, and his love of performing and creating didn’t change or diminish, if anything it blossomed with age. I think in the later albums he started experimenting with songs and sounds like Morphine and Ghosts. Darker themes, but great grooves.

MJJC: How did MJ work in the album selection stages, how did he choose the songs for his albums? Do you have some inside info about what and why the songs we know got chosen and not the ones that weren’t? And are there any good examples of songs that almost made the cut on any album that we haven`t heard that you thought could have been a super hit today?

Brad Sundberg: The infamous cork board!! On every album I recall, he would have a cork-board on an easel in his lounge/office. Every song title was written on a 3 x 5 index card, and they would be tacked to the board, in order of strongest to weakest. These would move around on the board as new parts were added, new songs recorded, etc. Generally, depending on the project, this was Quincy/Michael/Bruce driven. Once the 15 or songs would be chosen, the board was used more for song-order on the album.

As for songs that almost made it: My personal favorites were Streetwalker, Someone Put Your Hand Out, and Monkey Business.

MJJC: Do you remember any of Michael’s songs that remain unreleased to this day and if yes, which ones are your favorites? Can you tell us a little about these unreleased songs?

Brad Sundberg: Sorry – I know many songs, but I am going to pass on that one.

MJJC: How good was Michael at operating the buttons and stuff in the studio, would he get more into that after you worked with him for some years?

Brad Sundberg: Michael was not technical at all. Zero! He might nudge a fader now and then, but he was not adjusting EQs or reverb settings. That said, I do think the studio was so comfortable for him, almost like going home. It was very safe and a place he could just work, laugh and be himself.

MJJC: How many instruments could MJ really play? Which instruments were those and how good was he? (Honestly)

Brad Sundberg: He could play melodies on a keyboard, but I wouldn’t call him a great player. Keep in mind when you have Greg Phillinganes and Randy Kerber on speed-dial, you don’t really need much more. Before my time he played the bottle-sound percussion on “Don’t Stop.” Michael’s instrument was his voice – we had plenty of talent to handle everything else.

MJJC: What did your tour prep for MJ’s tours consist of?

Brad Sundberg: Tour prep was the time after the album was released (or in pressing), and the band was in rehearsals. Essentially we had to re-work the songs to make them easier for Michael to sing and perform them show after show. This is something I go into considerable detail discussing in my seminars.

MJJC: Please tell us more about “Keep the Faith” and how you had to scrap the original version and re-record a new version in an all-night session?

Brad Sundberg: Sorry I need to pass on that one for now, as it is one that I dig into in the seminar. I can’t give too much away! : )
MJJC: We would love to hear a story based on personal experience working with MJ. What is one of your most memorable?

Brad Sundberg: He was remarkably curious, and loved my daughters. When my daughter Amanda was just a toddler, my wife Debbie would bring her into the studio (during Dangerous) so we could see each other once in a while. Michael would be on the floor with Amanda, on her blanket, playing with toys and characters. He would say, “She’s in her own little world isn’t she?”

Another time we delivered one of the trains to the ranch. I had been installing a huge music system on the train, so it would be ready when Michael first saw it. He was beyond excited, laughing and smiling as we got it fired up. Deb and Amanda were at the ranch that day, and he held Amanda’s hand as the train made its inaugural circle around the ranch. He could not stop smiling.

MJJC: What is the fondest memory that you have of Michael (as a human being, not as an artist?)

Brad Sundberg: Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Neverland was ready for guests, we would start seeing guests from all over the world, who wanted to spend time with Michael. Many of these young guests were part of the Make-A-Wish program, and they were gravely ill. For Michael to take them on a tour a ranch, let them touch a giraffe or ride on the Ferris Wheel goes way beyond what many people are willing to do. This was their final wish, and he was making it happen. I remember their faces, their grateful parents, and knowing that there would be immeasurable grief in their future. Michael was giving of his time, which was a huge gift.

MJJC: Did Michael play some pranks on you? Any funny story that you can tell us?

Brad Sundberg: It isn’t really a prank, but there is a funny memory I sometimes share. I have zero dance skills, yet I love dance music. It was very common for us to be working on a song like The Way You Make Me Feel, Jam, Bad, Streetwalker, etc., and I would be doing a head-bob to the beat. Michael would burst out laughing, saying “Brad is groovin’!,” I couldn’t’ help it… the music was so strong! This was part of the reason he started calling me “Really Really Brad.” I loved his teasing, because he was so good-natured and light-hearted.

MJJC: In your memoir you say, “I could write page after page of simple acts of kindness I have seen firsthand.” Can you remember a few? It’s always warms fans’ hearts to hear such stories.

Brad Sundberg: I already mentioned the Make-A-Wish visits on the ranch, but we also had visits in the studio from his friends and fans. We had some fans outside of the studio in New York during HIStory, and he brought them in a for a tour and some autographs. During the recording of a kid’s choir in New York, he had me dress as Santa and we gave them all Christmas gifts. When one of our assistant engineers was going in major surgery, we had a huge family dinner in the studio in his honor, and Michael showered him with gifts and movies. But again, he did these things in person, which made it all the more meaningful.

MJJC: How did Michael change over the years, according to your impression? (I don’t mean physically, or his alleged “eccentricities”. I mean in your personal communication with him what kind of changes in his character did you feel?)

Brad Sundberg: I was not his best friend, but I like to think I was a trusted friend. During those years I did not see any change in his character, in his child-like love of music, movies, fantasy, architecture, paintings, games, laughter, nature, etc. I don’t remember a single time of him walking into the studio or seeing him at the ranch or on stage at Radio City Music Hall where he didn’t greet me with a hug. The Michael I knew didn’t change, even as the world did.

MJJC: What has inspired you to come forward and share your experiences working with Michael, with his fans?

Brad Sundberg: After Michael died, I read an article in a magazine about how crazy it was working with Michael: Chimps and Elephant-Man bones and snakes and so on. I didn’t know the author, nor had he ever been to the studio or the ranch. It was always un-named sources and tabloid vomit. I got tired of the press and people who wanted to make a quick buck saying and writing whatever they wanted, with no shred of truth behind their words. I wrote a few articles about my years with Michael, and they were well-received.

A group of fans in Paris approached me and asked me to put together a seminar and really explore our years in the studio and at the ranch. I began writing a book (currently in the works), which tries to recap a story that took 18 years to live. Being totally honest, I want to try to document what it was like to work with one of the most unique entertainers in modern history. No speculation, no deep theories, just an introduction to someone I had great respect for and considered a friend. Yes, it might be for the fans, but it is also for my kids, and maybe Michael’s kids. I want them to know what it was like to be there, and to be part of such an amazing journey.

MJJC: What can fans hope to walk away with from your “In the Studio with Michael Jackson” seminars? What will be the highlights of the seminars in NYC and in Paris?

Brad Sundberg: I am hoping the above answers give you a clue. I was part of something very special. I wasn’t special, I was just part of an amazing team, at an amazing time. No two seminars are exactly alike. New memories surface, new stories are told. I hope when someone leaves the room after the seminar, they feel as though I have introduced them to a friend.

MJJC: Michael has fans in everywhere and unfortunately despite the desire to attend, many fans will not be able going to seminar because of the distance, are there plans to share the content in a book or do other seminars at different locations around the world?

Brad Sundberg: Yes, and yes! The book is in the works, but the crazy thing is that the seminars actually help bring those memories back into focus, so I want to do a few more before the book is finished. We are offering seminars in New York and Paris this year, with groups in Germany, Norway and the UK also expressing great interest. I hope to have a really cool one in LA in January, at Westlake, where it all started.

MJJC: Do you have anything you want to say to the members of MJJCommunity or Michael Jackson fans in general?

Brad Sundberg: Michael truly loved his fans. There is no tribute show or seminar or movie that can replace the talent that he was born with. I was blessed to have known him, and I cherish the memories of watching him practice a circular moonwalk in the studio, or singing scales with Seth, or watching him from the wings on stage in front of 100,000 screaming fans. I can hear his laughter as if he were sitting across the room from me. He was a professional, a perfectionist, an entertainer, a singer, a dancer, a dad and a friend. I miss him, and I know you do also. Thanks for letting me share a few memories with you.

http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/threads/129219-MJJC-Exclusive-Q-amp-A-with-Brad-Sundberg-Read-his-Answers

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In The Studio With Michael Jackson Overview and Ticket Information

New York – June 29th, 2013 – Smash Studios – Tickets: https://inthestudiowithmichaeljackso…ichael-jackson

Paris – October 12 2013 – The American Center of Arts – Tickets : http://www.musicfirst.fr/

Tickets for Paris Seminars

My name is Brad Sundberg, and I first met Michael Jackson during the recording of Captain Eo, in 1985, at Westlake Studios in Los Angeles. I was asked to join Michael’s team as an engineer the following year for the production of the “BAD” album in 1986. Then came the tour (I worked with Michael and the band to restructure the new songs for live performance), the dance mixes, the short films, and so on. Next came “Dangerous”, Michael’s first project without Quincy Jones. Another year in the studio, another tour, more remixes and short films. Then came “HIStory,” which we recorded in New York. We were at the worldfamous Hit Factory for nearly a year, followed by tour prep for the “HIStory” tour. Along the way many of the songs for “Blood On The Dancefloor” were recorded and mixed.

When Michael sang “Man In The Mirror,” I was there. When Michael sang vocal warm-ups before a session, I was there. From setting up the vocal microphone and headphones to making sure the water was hot enough for Michael’s favorite drink, much of was handled by me. I didn’t hear stories or rumors or interview people about working with Michael, I was simply there, doing my job. (Michael even gave me the nick-name, “Really, really Brad” in the credits of the “BAD”album.) It was an honor and a priceless education to be part of his studio team.

When Michael bought Neverland Valley Ranch and wanted to turn it into his amazing home, he brought me up to start designing music and video systems to make it magical. He would call me on the phone at all hours and describe a new ride or idea that he had: The petting zoo, the trains, the outdoor theater, music around the lake, music on the stagecoach, on and on. He loved that ranch, and it always made me happy when he would get excited about my work. I wasn’t his best friend or confidant; I just had an enormous respect for Michael, his music and his love of people. I can honestly say I have never known anyone like him.

In The Studio With Michael Jackson is a seminar I put together to give you a chance to hear what it was like in the studio, how we created many of the songs, and be free to ask questions. There will be music… a lot of music. You will hear how some songs went from a demo to a finished product. You will hear Michael talking to his producers, and see video and photos from our studio days.

If you are fan of Michael Jackson and are curious about what it was like to work with him in the recording studio with the best professionals in the business, you will enjoy this seminar. If you appreciate the amazing sounds and layers that you hear in his albums, you will enjoy this seminar. If you are curious about what it was like to work with one of the most creative forces in the entertainment industry, yet also one of the kindest men I have ever known, you will enjoy this seminar.

I invite you to spend a day with me and hear the music and the stories of what it was like to work with a friend of mine. His name is Michael Jackson, and I hope you will join us.

Brad Sundberg

For booking information please contact me via the Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/inthestudiowithmichaeljackson

Cirque du Soleil’s new ‘Michael Jackson One’ at Mandalay Bay: Q+A With Director Jamie King

Source: Las Vegas Sun – Robin Leach

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March Anthoney/Jaime King

It’s about three months until the first preview of “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay, and Cirque du Soleil has already sold $500,000 in tickets the first few hours of the spectacle going on sale over the weekend exclusively to insider Michael Jackson and MGM Resorts club members. General tickets go on sale March 7.

“It’s going to be a blockbuster. That’s a staggering first-day sale,” I was told. In fact, it will be another 37 days — June 29 — until the monstrous production has its world premiere in the converted Mandalay Bay theater formerly home to Disney’s “The Lion King.”

Meantime, the touring “Immortal” show that also debuted at Mandalay Bay continues its global journey breaking records and winning awards, with box office sellouts in Europe as it heads to South America and Asia and plans for repeat cities in the U.S., keeping it on the road until at least the end of 2014.

The Jackson juggernaut continues — and now the second show. The “One” cast moved into their new Mandalay Bay theater last Monday and showcased a hint of the ambitious project when the name “One” was revealed last week.

Director Jamie King says that it’s one of the longest pre-production schedules in Cirque’s history, if not the longest. The casting and Montreal training — particularly of acrobatics never seen before in any production — began in October.

“We are literally just in technical rehearsals now. I just spent the last four months living in Montreal in production rehearsals. Now we are in tech rehearsals here for the next few weeks, and then we go into all production rehearsals here. It’s a long run before the premiere,” Jamie told me. “Starting in March, I am here every day. It needs to be a long set of work. It’s ambitious, but for a great show, you need to have that much work put into it.”

Additionally, I’ve learned that Cirque founder Guy Laliberte will be here in March and April adding his masterful input. Officially, we’re told: “ ‘One’ will be a state-of-the-art visual and audio experience creating a theatrical evocation of Michael’s creative genius. Guided and inspired by his music, four misfits set out on a transformative adventure. By journey’s end, they will personify Michael’s agility, courage, playfulness and love.

“Michael believed that all people are unique and equal regardless of race or culture. His message was one of unity, harmony and hope for a better world. At once evocative and enigmatic, the name ‘Michael Jackson One’ also presents a paradox: Michael was a multifaceted artist who strove to fuse together various musical styles and art forms. It is a fitting title for a unifying journey into the world of The King of Pop, the genius, the visionary, the One.”

Here is my conversation with Jamie:

Robin Leach: When you say interactive, do you mean the experience is around you, in front of you and above you?

Jamie King: Yes. I am not going to say it is unlike any theater we have seen before, but certainly what we are doing, our intention is to immerse the audience in the energy of our show, which is Michael’s energy and spirit. We want to make sure that they see and feel our costumes, see and feel the energy of our performers and acrobats just as you saw here today.

R.L.: So the cast will leave the stage?

J.K.: Absolutely. They will leave the stage and integrate into the audience above you and around you, on the sides of you.

R.L.: You also were the director of “Michael Jackson Immortal,” so how tough was it to do a show different from a show you have already done? It has got to be the toughest.

J.K.: I think at first the idea of it made me a bit nervous; I felt the challenge of it. I was so excited about another opportunity and knowing that it would be different because I know how to do a rock show. That was really what ‘Immortal’ was meant to be — a rock/Cirque interpretation, arenas I get that — but a theater show, to be able to do that, is really a dream for me. It already is a different show because it is in a theater, and once I got my head around that, a smaller, more intimate venue, it can be much more immersive.

The bigger challenge was the music. If I have to use the same songs because you know it is Michael’s hits, we want to make sure the fans in the audience feel Michael’s hits. I had those in ‘Immortal,’ so it was about making them different. How do I show them in a different way?

R.L.: Which is my next question. “One” presumably is based on the No. 1 hits that he had. Did he have enough hits to fill the show?

J.K.: It is Michael Jackson, of course, come on! I didn’t start by counting Michael’s No. 1’s. I took his No. 1’s and then I inserted them in the show, but then I needed the story because we are doing a theatrical show this time around. There is much more story, it is much more story driven and fairytale-like, so because of that, I needed certain songs that weren’t No. 1’s at times for segues and interstitial moments to tell the story.

R.L.: Where does the storyline start? How old is he, and where does it finish?

J.K.: It is in no way a chronological biopic story of Michael Jackson. It is a complete new fairytale in a Cirque way. We have created a new story, something that people may or may not get all the way, but we certainly do. And we think it is a great fairytale and journey to go on using Michael’s music.

R.L.: The theater was built to your specs because of what you are doing on an interactive basis? Unlike anything we’ve seen before?

J.K.: Yes, for sure. It is immersive, and you will see with the visuals alone. They really wrap around in a way that is unlike any theater that I have ever seen. Call it the visuals wraparound theater.

R.L.: Did you get to spend all the money you wanted, or did you go over budget?

J.K.: Do we ever get to spend all the money we want? Come on now! (Laughs) Do I ever go over budget? I feel like these are all questions that you could answer. You know my history. I tend to go over budget; ask Madonna!

R.L.: Is this the best show to date that you have done?

J.K.: It is the most inspiring to me at the moment. It is something that is not completely finished yet, so I can’t say, to date, because it is not done.

However, as you’ll read in our interviews this week, Daniel Lamarre, Cirque’s president, and John Branca, Michael Jackson’s estate lawyer and executor, certainly believe that “One” is already the best show to date.

Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/feb/25/michael-jackson-one-mandalay-bay-director-jamie-ki/#ixzz2LxOXH2WY