Source: In Studio With MJ – Brad Sundberg | All Things Michael
I have always loved New York since my first visit in 1988. Michael was slated to perform at the Grammys, then we were kicking the US leg of the Bad tour off at Madison Square Garden. Being a Cali boy, I will never forget walking around Times Square with Bruce Swedien as my guide, headed for the old Hit Factory on W 54th. I tried not to be a typical “tourist” looking straight up and walking into a telephone pole (that didn’t happen), but that city will grab you from the moment you emerge from a subway staircase. The first impression will stay with me forever.
We worked with Michael in the studio prepping the edits for the Grammys, and at the same time the band was getting set for MSG. It is hard to describe how huge Michael was at the moment, and how psych’ed New York was for him. There were giant billboards and banners of the Bad album and Bad tour all over Times Square. People were wearing the MJ shoes (remember those!) and jackets with dozens of buckles. It was almost surreal in how big everything was – how big Michael was. Here I was in the studio with him – same guy as ever – joking about everything, heating Evian for him, setting up his heaters, etc., and just outside the marketing team from CBS Records was going crazy with promotion. Odd as it may sound, that was when it really started to hit me just how enormous his popularity – his persona – was. And it happened in New York.
I was there with my wife Debbie at Radio City, watching Michael practice for the Grammys. Even that was crazy because they emptied the entire theater for his rehearsal. Every door was closed and guarded, and Deb and I sat maybe 15 rows from the stage and watched. We got our own private concert, just the two of us, plus the security guys at the doors and camera and production teams. There was one other person that walked down the center isle and sat a couple seats from me – someone that I deeply admired, someone that absolutely caught me by surprise, and someone that you likely have never heard of. His name was Garrison Keiller, but I’ll save that story for another time.
During the rehearsal Michael called me to the stage at least once to ask about an edit or something on the track. I’m not going to lie – to be in the middle of Radio City Music Hall, with all the lights, the crew, the security, etc., and have Michael call me up for a chat was pretty cool. I was just a kid and, at the risk of repeating myself, it was surreal.
Fast forward six years and we were back in New York to record the HIStory album in 1994. To my friends in the northeast – you might remember the winter of 93/94. I seem to remember New York got hit with around 16 heavy snowstorms. We had left CA to escape the earthquakes, and entered into a constant winter-wonderland for the first many weeks of the project. New York in deep snow is one of the most beautiful places ever. I remember tromping to the studio down the middle of the streets because there were no cars moving – it was just snow everywhere and I loved it. Michael was always cold, so he wasn’t quite as excited about the endless snow, but I enjoyed it.
New York – I am so excited to be bringing my seminar back to you – back to where so many incredible things happened with Michael. I have Smash Studios all booked, and I am told the heaters are working. We are working on some surprises for you, as everything has to be a little bigger in New York! While you are holed up watching the storm from your apartments, please send some Tweets and notes about the seminar, and help promote this event in one of my favorite cities anywhere. If you know of a music store or school, please let them know about “In The Studio With MJ.”
Thanks for your support – stay warm, stay safe, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!
Keep The Faith,