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The Daily Mirror (1999)

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Michael Jackson granted Britian's "The Daily Mirror" his first newspaper interview in 20 years. In Harrods, with his friend Mohammed Al Fayed at his side, Michael speaks about the allegations that threatened his career, his love for children, his career, his friendship with the late Princess Diana, and of his own family.

Speaking of the allegations of child abuse that have surrounded him since 1993, Michael, with tears streaming down his face spoke of the "evil people who think I could do this thing to children"; "I'd slit my wrists rather than hurt a child. I could never do that. No-one will ever know how much these wicked rumours have hurt me. If it wasn't for the children...I'd throw in the towel and I'd kill myself. I wouldn't care to live without children and without the inspiration they give me. They inspire me in all I do, every song I write, every dance I perform. People try and use that against me and it's just so unfair. I get very upset by it, it breaks my heart."

Michael went on to speak of his own children, two-year-old Prince and one-year-old Paris, "I love my children so much. They have changed me and my outlook on life. I just wish people would leave me alone to get on with my life. I'm just a person who wants to be honest and do good, make people happy and give them the greatest sense of escapism through the talent God has given me. That's where my heart is, that's all I want to do. Just let me share and give, put a smile on people's faces and make their hearts feel happy.

To see my kids leaping round the room going mad to my sister Janet's music is just fantastic. It fills my heart with so much joy. As soon as Janet's songs with a good beat like 'The Knowledge' or 'Rhythm Nation' come on they both go crazy. You'd think a machine is moving them around. I start singing and there's screaming all over the house. I start dancing and Prince is all in the way trying to dance with me."

Michael went on to explain that he doesn't play his own music for his children, "I'm saving that for a surprise when they are a bit older," he smiles.

Will he like his children to go into the intertainment industry? Michael said he would love that but that he is also aware of the consequences, "It's going to be hard for them. When Lisa-Marie wants to sing, people always compare her to her father, which is so tough. Of course, I'd love them to do something in the arts so I could teach them to sing and dance. But they'd have to want to do that without pressure from me."

Michael explained that currently the children were staying with a long-time friend, "They are staying with a friend of mine who I went to school with. We go back a long way. My children are with hers having fun which is great. I call them all the time and we have great conversations. Hearing them say 'Dad! Dad!' is such a thrill."

Speaking of his wife, and of a few parental pointers that Mohammed Al Fayed has given him, Michael said the following, " I love my wife, and we have a happy marriage. Debbie is a nurse who loves her work, who loves taking care of people. Every day she wants to get up and look after others, to help them and make them better. That's why I love her, and that's what gives her bliss in life, God bless her. "Mohamed is a lovely family man and has been giving me some great tips. He tells me to be loving, to take time with the children, not to leave them with anybody and to be with them as much as I can. To help them grow and let them know you love them by looking them in the eyes, and saying 'I love you.' And play, play, play with them."

Changing the conversation to a more serious issue Michael spoke of the hounding tabloid media in Britian, " The press are hard on me, especially in England which is a shame because I love it here and would like to live here one day. To give you an example, the last time I was here I flew Mickey and Minnie Mouse from Euro Disney to a hospital in London for the sick kids and took them a load of toys and things to cheer them up. The next day's papers said Wacko Jacko Snubs Sick Children. That really hurt me - I tried to help those children but people just wanted to make fun of me. It was cruel and unnecessary."

Speaking of the recent tragic events in Kosovo Michael, with tears returning to his eyes, spoke of the children, "I just want to go to Yugoslavia and hug every one of those children and tell them I love them. The TV footage just breaks my heart. It's just horrifying. I have to turn the set off - it makes me cry every day. It's time we did something. It's not enough to turn your head and pretend it doesn't exist. I've written a song for the refugees called 'What More Can I Give?' and I'm going to give all the profits to the Kosovan Albanians. I want to do what we did with the people in Africa, get all the celebrities together and sing for those poor families. I'd like to do this in Britain and get the biggest British stars to join me. I want those people to know I love them, that we all love them. They are my family, my children. They desperately need our money now to help them. We are all doing too much sitting back, and reading and watching TV saying how awful it is and not actually doing something about it. I'm not into politics and I don't talk about religion. But I think it's totally wrong and ignorant to hurt innocent children over some political or religious issue. It's genocide and ethnic cleansing and it's stupid. It shouldn't be happening."

Michael also took the time to speak of a friendship that few people knew existed, a friendship with Princess Diana. Michael reflected on the night that he was told about her death, "I had a concert on the day the news broke and my doctor woke me up to tell me Diana was dead. I literally collapsed, I fainted. He had to give me smelling salts to revive me and I cancelled my show because I simply could not perform. I just broke down. I wept and wept for weeks afterwards."

Through his friendship with Diana, Michael also came to know Dodi Fayed, "They were a match made in heaven. I thought they were so beautiful together. It was lovely to see them like that. Diana was a wonderful person with such a good heart. She went round the world as a philanthropist just like Mother Theresa. She proved that she really, really cared about people and children especially. The way that I do. She used to confide in me. She'd just call me on the phone and we would talk about everything that was happening in her life. The press were hard on her in the same way they were hard on me and she needed to talk to someone who knew exactly what she was going through. She felt hunted in the way I've felt hunted. Trapped, if you like. You can't talk about that to your neighbour because how would they ever understand? No normal person could possibly understand, could they? I've had that attention since I was a kid, whereas Diana had it suddenly thrust upon her at the age of 19. I've had it all my life so I had the experience to tell her how to handle it. I just said to her, 'Rise above it all'. I'd tell her how I would go on stage sometimes in the worst pain either emotionally, or physically with something like a toothache, and I would put whatever it was out of my mind and perform. I'd say, 'Be strong and be determined and nobody can hurt you. Only you can hurt yourself - so be defiant'. I think she appreciated it and got something from my words. I think I was able to comfort her. I adored Diana. We talked so many times, much more than people realised. When I heard about the paparazzi chasing her, I just thought how lucky I was that it had never happened to me because I've been chased the same way so many times and you always wonder. Diana's death was the saddest I've ever felt - it reminded me of when Kennedy died. It broke my heart so much, I just cried and cried. [Dodi] was wonderful, just wonderful. A really smart, charming guy. It was a terrible tragedy for Mohamed and my heart goes out to him and his family."

Although Michael never met Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, Michael said that Diana had wanted him to meet them, "Diana desperately wanted me to meet her children and we talked about it many times, but I never did get the chance. Mohamed talks very highly of the boys. He says they are wonderful and he had some good times on holiday with them and Diana. It would be nice to meet them sometime."

Once again Michael switched topics, this time discussing plans he and Mohammed have been making regarding creating films in Hollywood. The two men laughed together as they joked about the mischef and mayhem that they could create in Hollywood. With that Michael directed the conversation towards their friendship, "Mohammed has taken a lot of flak in this country, which is so unfair. He is one of the sweetest, kindest men you could ever know. The problem is that people judge people before they even know them. To me he is like a big Santa Claus. He loves giving, he's very wise and creative, talented and kind-hearted. Very giving. He has taught me a lot and I love learning from him."

Speaking of their recent trip to a European Football game Michael spoke of his newly discovered love for the sport, "I knew nothing about soccer and I've never been to any sporting event, so it was a great experience for me. I'm a soccer fan now, definitely. I'm addicted. It was so exciting and passionate - the fans were like the people who come to my concerts. They were screaming and shouting and cheering their players on. I loved it. I wanted to jump up and start dancing because I'm used to performing on stage when I hear all that noise. The fans were great, although they seemed pretty surprised to see me. I have no doubt that Fulham will be promoted, they seemed a really good team with a great spirit. I met all the players and they were so kind to me."

When the interviewer, Piers Morgan, informed Michael about a team that was up for sale, the gears in the head of Michael Jackson - business man, began to turn, "I don't know them, but I'd love to get involved with one of the big teams if it was right to do so. How much are they?" He was told the asking price was 6 hundred million. "Dollars or pounds?" He was told it was pounds, and after a long pause he answered, "That's interesting, very interesting. I'll have a think about that. It sounds intriguing. I'm astounded by how much I enjoyed the soccer, that's for sure."

Changing topics once more Michael discussed the impact of the new Millenium on his music career, "I have an album coming out for the Millennium which I'm half way through. It's going to be the best thing I've ever done. I'm putting my heart and soul into it because I'm not sure if I'm gonna do another one after this...This will be my last album, I think. I may do the odd movie soundtrack, but this will be my last proper album. I want it to be something that touches the heart and emotions of the world. From a child to older people, from the farmers of Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem. I mean I want to reach every demographic I can through the love and joy and simplicity of music. The Millennium is an appropriate time to change direction. I'd like to get more into movies. Mohamed and I are looking to set up a company and do some films together. It's going to be great."

After he finishes his solo album Michael discussed a project that is planned with his brothers, "We are doing an album together, it's legitimate and I'm going to do it. I'll play on three songs and produce the rest. It will be fun."

When asked how he unwinds now-a-days Michael answered that he has stopped secluding himself at home and has began to get out into the public more often, "Well, I've stopped being such a recluse now. My friend Elizabeth Taylor has got me out. Every Thursday we go to the movies together. She is Godmother to my son Prince and we get on so well. I said I could get Warner Brothers to put aside a studio just for us every week to watch films in private, but she forces me out. She's the only person who can get me out in public. We walk in, sit down, watch our film and walk out. And every time we leave the audience all stand up and applaud us. It's funny. The last one we saw was Patch Adams which we loved. It was so touching, it made me cry. It's a true story about a man who takes the time to make children happy. That's what I'd like to be considered as."

 

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TV Guide Interview (1999)

 

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"The Once and Future King"

TV Guide Interview - December 1999

The legend is almost too large to comprehend but never fails to fascinate. How to make sense of Michael Jackson, a man whose immeasurable talent is often overshadowed by tabloid headlines? The former Jackson 5 lead vocalist rocketed to solo fame with his 1982 album, Thriller (the video of the same name has been declared the greatest ever by TV Guide and MTV). Then, in 1993, claims of child molestation brought against him by a 13-year-old boy - charges that were settled out of court for an undisclosed sum which the singer has vehemently denied - heavily tarnished his platinum image. Still, Jackson presses on. Seated in a New York City hotel suite,. The notoriously shy pop star is charismatic and bubbly - a regular guy, even - as he discusses future projects, including an as-yet-untitled CD he describes as "happy, dance music, relationship stuff", and a reunion album with his brothers. And then there is "The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe", in which he will star as the 19th-century writer. Scheduled to shoot next year, Jackson says he's doing the film because Poe's "life is very interesting", adding, without irony, "I love an artist who doesn't play it safe."

TV Guide: "Thriller" changed music videos forever. Where did you get the idea?

Michael: My brother Jackie came to my house and said, "Are you watching this show that's on TV? All they do is play music. It's MTV." I put it on and thought the concept was very interesting. What I didn't like were the videos that were a collage of images; I thought that if I were to do one, I would do something with a little entertainment value. My dream was to make something with a beginning, a middle, and an ending, like a short film.

TV Guide: Did you ever imagine that Thriller and the videos from the album would catapult your career into the stratosphere?

Michael: I didn't really think about how the album would do; I just wanted to create what I would enjoy seeing. And my main goal for [the video] "Thriller" was to do something that would be scary, fun and exciting.

TV Guide: How do you look back on that era now?

Michael: I see it as a happy time and a sad time. Because it made a lot of my dreams come true. The notoriety was wonderful.

TV Guide: You also said it was a sad time.

Michael: Yeah. If I don't get exactly what I'm looking for, I get very depressed.

TV Guide: You mean the album still didn't live up to what you had envisioned?

Michael: Not completely.

TV Guide: Which songs disappointed you?

Michael: "Wanna Be Startin' Something." Songwriting is a very frustrating art form. You have to get on tape exactly what's playing inside your head. When I hear it up here [points to his head], it's wonderful. I have to transcribe that onto tape. "The Girl Is Mine" [his duet with Paul McCartney] wasn't completely what I wanted, but it's very nice. But "Billie Jean" is there. I worked so hard on that. I worked for three weeks on the bass lick alone.

TV Guide: The glove, the white socks, the red leather jacket - who came up with those things?

Michael: The glove was just - I thought one was cooler than two. I love to accent movement. The eye goes to where the white is - you know, the glove. And the feet, if you're dancing, you can put an exclamation point on your movement if it has a bit of light on it. So I wore the white socks. And for the design of the jacket, I would sit with the people who made the clothes and tell them where I wanted a button or a buckle or a design.
But I don't wear that look anymore. It's sad to get caught up in the past. That's why I don't put awards in my house. No gold records, no Grammys. They're in storage. I don't like to be puffed up with pride, 'cause I'd feel like I don't have any more things to reach for. And that's not true.

TV Guide: Do you feel like your most recent creative period is yet to come?

Michael: I think the best work is coming, but I'd like to go into other areas, not keep doing pop album after pop album.

TV Guide: Are there artists that are doing interesting things musically?

Michael: There's some wonderful creative ideas, but I don't think anybody's being innovative. They're mostly grabbing the old and trying to integrate it with the new.

TV Guide: Is there anybody that you'd like to work with?

Michael: There are a lot of artists I admire, but no.

TV Guide: What is your favorite music?

Michael: You'd be shocked. This morning I was singing Rogers and Hammerstein. That's the stuff I sing around the house - "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound Of Music", and "Absent Minded Me", that Streisand song. I'm also a fan of the great old MGM musicals. I love show tunes, I'm a big fan of melody.

TV Guide: What's your favorite song to perform?

Michael: "Billie Jean", but only when I don't have to do it the same way. The audience wants a certain thing. I have to do the moonwalk in that spot. [Laughs] I'd like to do a different version.

TV Guide: Who's your audience today?

Michael: I don't know. I just try to write wonderful music; and if they love it, they love it. I don't think about any demographic. [The record company] tries to get me to think that way, but I just do what I would enjoy hearing.

TV Guide: Is there a new Michael for the millennium?

Michael: Yeah, I have a couple of things planned. I think it's going to be totally different than what I did before. There's a song on the new album called "I Have This Dream". It's a millennium song about the world and the environment that I cowrote with Carol Bayer Sager and David Foster.

TV Guide: Do you think you will tour again?

Michael: I don't think so. It takes a lot out of me.

TV Guide: You rarely travel in public without a disguise. Why?

Michael: I don't see any other way. I've tried everything. [Laughs] Fat suits. Nuns. Clowns. Trick or treat is the best for me. And Mardi Gras.

TV Guide: Do you think you'll ever be able to walk around freely just as yourself?

Michael: I do disguises for different reasons. I like to study people - be like the fly on the wall. Even if it's two old ladies sitting on a bench or some kids on a swing. Because I don't know what it's like to fit in an everyday situation. One time I was in a record store, completely disguised, and these girls were pulling out my album talking all about me. I was literally next to them. It was wonderful. I loved it.
But if I go out as myself, I can't have fun. People always say, "Why don't we just go to a party?" Soon as I step in, the party's over - for me. It's a party for them, but they're all putting their cards in my face, saying, "Remember me? I met you four years ago at" And I say "I don't remember." So I can't enjoy the experience. They play all my songs. I didn't come to hear my music. And everybody starts chanting, "Dance!" "Well, I want to see you dance for a change."

TV Guide: Do you think, given all the negative press that you've had, that people will judge you solely on your music"

Michael: I don't think so. 'Cause [the press] has made me out to be this monster, this crazy person who's bizarre and weird. I'm nothing like that.

TV Guide: Is there anything you can do to change that impression?

Michael: Well, all I can do is be myself and create from my soul. But they take that and manipulate it.

TV Guide: But what will make you seem OK to people who think, "He's weird; he has exotic animals in his house, " or -

Michael: God created animals. And they're loving; they're beautiful. I feel the way [anthropologist] Jane Goodall does or any of those naturalists. I don't find my interest in animals weird or strange at all.

TV Guide: What about the plastic surgery?

Michael: All of Hollywood has plastic surgery! I don't know why they point me out. The press exaggerated it. It's just my nose, you know. They want it to be everything. Just the nose isn't enough. Elvis had his nose done - Lisa Marie [Presley, to whom Jackson was married from May 1994 to January 1996] told me. They don't talk about that. They single me out. It's not fair.

TV Guide: OK, well, now that you bring up Lisa Marie, I read that you said she regrets not having had your son and that she may still want to have a child with you. Is that true?
Michael: Well, I remember that's how she felt at the time. [Laughs] No matter what I say, I'm in trouble with this question - the next issue [of TV Guide] will probably say, "Well, Lisa said she doesn't ever want to see him again!"

TV Guide: Are you two friends now?

Michael: Lisa's sweet. I like her very much, and we are friends. And who knows what tomorrow brings? I have no idea how she feels today. I'll just say that. She comes to my house and sees the children [from Jackson's second marriage, to Debbie Rowe, whom he wed in November 1996 and who filed for divorce in October 1999], and we talk on the phone, that sort of thing.

TV Guide: Do you think you'll marry again?

Michael: That would be nice.

TV Guide: What would make the third time the charm?

Michael: It just has to hit me. You have to see that person and go, "This is it. This is the one."

TV Guide: Did you feel that way with both of your marriages?

Michael: Yeah. Of course.

TV Guide: Do you wish you were still married?

Michael: Yeah, I do. But you have to do what's best. What happens happens. You have to respect that.

TV Guide: Who are your closest friends?

Michael: Elizabeth [Taylor], for sure. We go to the movies every Thursday.

TV Guide: You go to a regular theater?

Michael: I want to go to the Warner Bros. Studio, and she refuses. She says, "No, I'm getting you out." So we go right into this area - which I can't say - and walk right in. And it's usually empty, because [most] people are working at the time. [The theater employees] go, "Wow, come on in," and we never really pay. And we're the ones who can afford it. [Laughs]

TV Guide: Lets talk about your kids [Prince Michael, 2, and Paris Katherine, 1]. I have to ask you about this business in the papers recently about you and Debbie not being the biological parents of your children, about her being implanted with another women's egg and then impregnated by artificial insemination.

Michael: That's total garbage. It's just trash and not true.

TV Guide: Do the kids live with you at Neverland?

Michael: They were at Neverland two weeks ago. I think they realized for the first time that it's their home. They used to always think it was some hotel resort. We stay in hotels everywhere. They didn't realize that the train and the train station is for them, and those rides are for them. Now they go, "We want to go to Neverland!"

TV Guide: What are their personalities like?

Michael: Prince tells me all day that he has to make movies. So I bought him this video camera. I say, "What are we doing this time?" He goes, "Star Wars." So we put some figures on the table, make them move. And Paris is just now starting to talk and walk. She's very sweet. And I'm surprised she loves dolls. My sister Janet didn't like that sort of thing. She was a tomboy. I thought [Paris] was going to be like that, but she isn't.

TV Guide: And you're changing their diapers and feeding them?

Michael: Yeah, I love it. It's a lot of work. I thought I was prepared 'cause I read everything about child rearing, but it's so much more exciting than I ever imagined it would be. The only regret I have is that I wish I had done it sooner.

TV Guide: Do you sing and dance for them?

Michael: That's how I keep them quiet if they're crying. If I just start dancing, they shut down.

TV Guide: Do you want to have more kids?

Michael: Definitely. I told my father [Joe] I'm going to match his record. He had 10.

TV Guide: What is your relationship with your father like now? You were estranged from him for a while.

Michael: I have the best relationship with him now that I've ever had with him. I think with age and time he's really mellowed out to become a nice person. He'll simply say to me, "How are you doing? Are you eating? That's all I wanted to know." Not, "Did you sign that contract". He just wants to know if I'm OK. I think that's really nice. And my mother [Katherine] is like the perfect angel.

TV Guide: At 41, are you happy?

Michael: Well, I usually am happy. I don't let anything get me down, no matter what. I like to hear the sound of water, and birds chirping and laughter, you know. I love all the real, natural, innocent things. I would never go to a party or a club. I did that when I was a kid, and I don't care to do that anymore.

TV Guide: I found it jarring to read a recent quote in which you said that if it weren't for your desire to help the children of the world, you'd throw in the towel and kill yourself. Do you really feel that way?

Michael: I always have. 'Cause I would feel I have nothing to live for.

TV Guide: Not even for yourself and your own creativity?

Michael: I wouldn't care. Everything I create is inspired by that kind of innocence. And nature, it's everything. It has to be. I mean, that's it.

Read more...

USA TODAY Edna Gundersen (2001)

 

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Michael In The Mirror - Interview By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY 2001

Q: How do you respond to inaccurate articles about you?

MJ: I don't pay any attention. The fans know the tabloid garbage is crap. They always say to me, "Let's have a tabloid-burning." It's terrible to try to assassinate one's character. I've had people come to me, and after meeting me, they start crying. I say, "Why are you crying?" They say, "Because I thought you would be stuck up, but you're the nicest person." I say, "Who gave you this judgment?" They tell me they read it. I tell them, "Don't you believe what you read."

Q: Do these rumors persist because you don't refute them?

MJ: No. I've done so much in the past. I did the most watched TV interview in history with Oprah Winfrey [in 1993]. But [the media] tend to want to twist what you say and judge you. I want to keep it on the music and the art. I think about some of my favorite people who ever lived. If I could stand face to face with Walt Disney or Michelangelo, would I care what they do in their private life? I want to know about their art. I'm a fan.

Q: How do you shield yourself from being hurt by criticism?

MJ: Expecting it, knowing it's going to happen and being invincible, being what I was always taught to be. You stand strong with an iron fist, no matter what the situation."

Q: Critics refer to you as the self-proclaimed King of Pop. Did you choose that title?

MJ: I never self-proclaimed myself to be anything. If I called up Elizabeth Taylor right now, she would tell you that she coined the phrase. She was introducing me, I think at the American Music Awards, and said in her own words - it wasn't in the script - "I'm a personal fan, and in my opinion he is the king of pop, rock and soul." Then the press started saying "King of Pop" and the fans started. This self-proclaimed garbage, I don't know who said that.

Q: The New York concerts marked your first U.S. shows in 12 years. Were you nervous?

MJ: No. It was an honor to be back with my brothers again. The producer wanted a cavalcade of luminaries from different fields of endeavor. It was a great honor to have them salute me. It was heartwarming, a happy, fun occasion.

Q: Would you consider another tour with your brothers?

MJ: I don't think so. I would definitely do an album with them, but not a tour. They would love to tour. But I want to move on to other things. Physically, touring takes a lot out of you. When I'm on stage, it's like a two-hour marathon. I weigh myself before and after each show, and I lose a good 10 pounds. Sweat is all over the stage. Then you get to your hotel and your adrenaline is at its zenith and you can't fall asleep. And you've got a show the next day. It's tough.

Q: If you don't tour, how will you satisfy public demand as well as your need to perform?

MJ: I want to direct a special on myself and do songs that touch me. I want something more intimate, from the soul and heart, with just one spotlight.

Q: How did you react when 'Invincible' topped the chart here and in a dozen countries?

MJ: It was a lovely feeling. I cried happy tears to see all the love.

Q: 'Invincible' was several years in the making. Does your perfectionism slow the process?

MJ: It did take a while because I'm never happy with the songs. I'll write a bunch of songs, throw them out, write some more. People say, "Are you crazy? That's got to go on the album." But I'll say, "Is it better than this other one?" You only get 75 minutes on a CD, and we push it to the limit.

Q: Did you approach 'Invincible' with a single theme in mind?

MJ: I never think about themes. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.

Q: Has it become easier to write songs over time?

MJ: It's the most effortless thing in the world because you don't do anything. I hate to say it like that, but it's the truth. The heavens drop it right into your lap, in its totality. The real gems come that way. You can sit at the piano and say, "OK, I'm going to write the greatest song ever written," and nothing. But you can be walking down the street or showering or playing and, boom, it hits you in the head. I've written so many like that. I'm playing a pinball machine, and I have to run upstairs and get my little tape recorder and start dictating. I hear everything in its totality, what the strings are going to do, what the bass is going to do, the harpsichord, everything.

Q: Is it difficult translating that sound to tape?

MJ: That's what's frustrating. In my head, it's completed, but I have to transplant that to tape. It's like (Alfred) Hitchcock said, "The movie's finished." But he still has to start directing it. The song is the same. You see it in its entirety and then you execute it.

Q: After such a long absence, did you have doubts about your current relevance?

MJ: Never. I have confidence in my abilities. I have real perseverance. Nothing can stop me when I put my mind to it.

Q: After Sept. 11, you wrote a benefit song, "What More Can I Give?" What's the status?
MJ: It's not finished. We're adding artists, and I'm getting myself satisfied with the instrumentation.

Q: Is it your belief that music is a tool for healing?

MJ: It's a mantra that soothes the soul. It's therapeutic. It's something our body has to have, like food. It's very important to understand the power of music. Whether you're in an elevator or a department store, music affects the way you shop, the way you treat your neighbor.

[Prince hands Jackson a drawing. "I appreciate it," Jackson says. "Do you have to go to the bathroom?" Prince: "No."]

Q: 'Invincible' hasn't enjoyed record-breaking sales. Does 'Thriller' cast too big a shadow?

MJ: Absolutely. It is tough because you're competing against yourself. 'Invincible' is just as good or better than 'Thriller', in my true, humble opinion. It has more to offer. Music is what lives and lasts. 'Invincible' has been a great success. When The Nutcracker Suite was first introduced to the world, it totally bombed. What's important is how the story ends.

[Prince surfaces again with another picture. "What did you promise me?" Jackson asks. "To be quiet?" Prince responds, then retreats.]

Q: How has fatherhood changed you?

MJ: In a huge way. You have to value your time differently, no doubt about it. It's your responsibility to make sure they're taken care of and raised properly with good manners. But I refuse to let any of it get in the way of the music or the dance or the performing. I have to play two different roles. I always wanted to have a big family, ever since I was in school. I was always telling my father I would outdo him. He had 10 children. I would love to have like 11 or 12 myself.

Q: What have you taught your children?

MJ: I try to make sure they're respectful and honorable and kind to everybody. I tell them, no matter what they do, work hard at it. What you want to do for a lifetime, be the best at it.

[Prince is staring. "Stop looking at me," Jackson says, smiling.]

Q: And what have your kids taught you?

MJ: A lot. [Parenthood] reminds you to do what the Bible has always told us. When the Apostles were arguing among themselves over who was the greatest in Jesus' eyes, he said, "None of you," and called over a little boy and said, "until you humble yourself like this child." It reminds you to be kind and humble and to see things through the eyes of children with a childlike wonderment. I still have that. I'm still fascinated by clouds and the sunset. I was making wishes on the rainbow yesterday. I saw the meteor shower. I made a wish every time I saw a shooting star.

Q: What are your wishes?

MJ: Peace and love for the children.

[Prince returns, gazing intently. "Stop that," says Jackson, gently turning the boy's head away. "Can you be still?"]

Q: You've said you plan to home-school your kids. Given your fame, how can you provide a normal life for them?

MJ: You do the best you can. You don't isolate them from other children. There will be other kids at the school [on his property]. I let them go out in the world. But they can't always go with me. We get mobbed and attacked. When we were in Africa, Prince saw a mob attack in a huge shopping mall. People broke so much stuff, running and screaming. My biggest fear is that fans will hurt themselves, and they do. I've seen glass break, blood, ambulances.

Q: Are you resentful that stardom stole your childhood?

MJ: Yeah. It's not anger, it's pain. People see me at an amusement park or with other kids having fun, and they don't stop and think, "He never had that chance when he was little." I never had the chance to do the fun things kids do: sleepovers, parties, trick-or-treat. There was no Christmas, no holiday celebrating. So now you try to compensate for some of that loss.

Q: Have you made peace with your father?

MJ: It's much better. My father is a much nicer person now. I think he realizes his children are everything. Without your family, you have nothing. He's a nice human being. At one time, we'd be horrified if he just showed up. We were scared to death. He turned out really well. I wish it wasn't so late.

Q: Did music offer an escape from childhood worries?

MJ: Of course. We sang constantly in the house. We sang group harmony while washing dishes. We'd make up songs as we worked. That's what makes greatness. You have to have that tragedy, that pain to pull from. That's what makes a clown great. You can see he's hurting behind the masquerade. He's something else externally. Chaplin did that so beautifully, better than anyone. I can play off those moments, too. I've been through the fire many times.

[Prince is back. He leans against the chair to gawk at the king of pops. "Stop looking at me," Jackson implores, clearly unnerved by the tyke's scrutiny. "You're not making this easy." Both of them chuckle, and Jackson warns teasingly, "You may not get that piece of candy."]

Q: Do your religious beliefs ever conflict with the sexy nature of your music or dancing?
MJ: No. I sing about things that are loving, and if people interpret it as sexy, that's up to them. I never use bad words like some of the rappers. I love and respect their work, but I think I have too much respect for parents and mothers and elderly people. If I did a song with bad words and saw an older lady in the audience, I'd cringe. Q: But what about your trademark crotch-grabbing moves?

MJ: I started doing that with "Bad". Martin Scorsese directed that short film in the subways of New York. I let the music tell me what to do. I remember him saying, "That was a great take! I want you to see it." So we pushed playback, and I went 'aaaah!' I didn't realize I was doing that. But then everyone else started doing that, and Madonna, too. But it's not sexual at all.

Q: How are you spending your free time these days?

MJ: I like to do silly things; water-balloon fights, pie fights, egg fights. [Turning to Prince] You got a good one coming! I don't think I'll ever grow out of that. At my house, I built a water-balloon fort with two sides, a red team and a blue team. We have cannons that shoot water 60 feet and slingshots that shoot the balloons. We got bridges and places to hide. I just love it.

Q: After 38 years in show business, fans still mob you. Are you immune to adulation?
MJ: It's always a good feeling. I never take it for granted. I'm never puffed up with pride or think I'm better than the next-door neighbor. To be loved is a wonderful thing. That is the main reason I do this. I feel compelled to do it, to give people some sense of escapism, a treat to the eye and the ear. I think it's the reason I'm here.

[More Conversation with Michael Jackson - Outtakes from the Interview]

Q: Why do you think people are jealous?

MJ: If you look back in history, it's the same with anybody who's achieved wonderful things. I know the Disney family well, and Walt's daughters used to tell me it was difficult when they were in school. Kids would say, "I hate Walt Disney. He's not even funny. We don't watch him." Charlie Chaplin's kids, who I know well, had to take their children out of school. They were being teased: "You're grandfather is stupid. He's not funny. We don't like him." He was a genius! So you have to deal with this jealousy. They think they're hurting you. Nothing could hurt me. The bigger the star, the larger the target. At least they're talking. When they stop talking, you have to worry.

Q: How did you gear up for the physical demands of your special concerts [which aired as a two-hour CBS special]? Do you exercise?

MJ: I hate exercise. I hate it so much. The only think I do is dance. That's an exercise. That's why I like some of the karate stuff or kung fu. It's all a dance. But sit-ups? I hate it.

Q: Were you intimidated by any of the other superstars on the bill?

MJ: No. I enjoy watching performers. It's all school for me. I never stop learning. It was really inspiring.

Q: Are you more enamored with modern music or vintage stuff?

MJ: I like the earlier stuff. It's more melodically conscious. Today people rely on a beat or a rhythm, which is nice, but I said this time and time again, melody will always be king. You have to hum it.

Q: You've teamed with a huge variety of musicians. What attracts you to a particular collaborator?

MJ: If I see some potential in their ability as an artist or musician, I'll give them a hook or a line or a phrase and see how they play it or execute it. Sometimes we go all day and it's still not right.

Q: Did you learn that lesson from your parents?

MJ: Our parents taught us to always be respectful and, no matter what you do, to give it everything you have. Be the best, not the second best.

Q: You are often pursued by mobs of fans. Are you ever scared for your own safety?

MJ: Never ever. I know exactly what to do when it gets really rough, how to just play them. As long as they can see you, they're crazy, but you can put yourself in the eye of the hurricane. If you duck and they can't see you, they calm down.

Q: Your inner circle seems to consist of very young friends or much older ones. What connects you to people like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor?

MJ: We've had the same lives. They grew up in show business. We look at each other, and it's like looking in a mirror. Elizabeth has this little girl inside of her who never had a childhood. She was on the set every day. She loves playing with a new gadget or toy, and she's totally awe-inspired by it. She's a wonderful human being. So is Brando.

Q: What happened to your plans to build theme parks in Europe and Africa?

MJ: We're still working on a couple projects. I can't say right now where. I love theme parks. I love seeing children coming together, having a good time with their parents. It's not like it used to be, when you put your kids on the merry-go-round and sat on the bench eating peanuts. Now you enjoy it with them. It builds a unity to the family.

 

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TV Guide Interview (Nov 2001)

 

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TVG: This television special celebrates your long career. Do you remember the first time you ever stepped onstage?

MJ: I was 5 years old. And it was at a public school recital. We had to wear white shirts and short knickers. And I remember them saying, "Little Michael Jackson is coming up to sing 'Climb Every Mountain.'" I got the biggest applause. When I went to my seat my grandfather and mother were crying. They said, "[We] can't believe how beautiful you sound." That's the first one I remember.

TVG: It's rare for you to do a TV special.

MJ: I've turned down so many because I just don't like to go on television. I get embarrassed. So I'll do a performance, but I won't watch it until almost a year or two later because I'm always disapointed in something I did.

TVG: The concerts that were filmed for this special were packed with big stars. That couldn't have been disapointing.

MJ: The [second] show was good. [The first show] was horrible because, technically, there were a lot of breakdowns and intermissions in between each act. It was very difficult. The audience was waiting and waiting and waiting.

TVG: What does it feel like when you're dancing onstage?

MJ: I am a slave to the rhythm. I am a palette. I just go with the moment. You've got to do it that way because if you're thinking, you're dead. Performing is not about thinking; it's about feeling.

TVG: Do you plan the dance steps?

MJ: Certain steps are set with my brothers. But when I'm alone, it's all improvised. Nothing is planned, ever. All the dance schools now teach kids to count, and that's completely wrong.

TVG: What do you think about current pop groups like N'Sync? Are they imitating you?

MJ: I think they're very good singers. I know them very well, and we hang out every once in a while and laugh and play. I have no problem with them imitating [me]. It's a compliment. Everybody has to start out looking up to someome. For me it was James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Wilson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly.

TVG: The special feaures an appearance by Marlon Brando. How did he get involved?
MJ: Brando's a good friend of mine. I've known him for about 20 years. He comes to my house all the time. He loves to play with the kids. I play with his grandchildren, and we love to watch movies.

TVG: Who else do you spend time with?

MJ: Elizabeth [Taylor], Brando, Gregory Peck, these are very close friends of mine. Either they're much older than me or much younger. I've never had real contact with a person my age level. I think this happened because all my life I played clubs, since I was 5 years old. I saw people drunk, fighting, and it was just disgusting. When people say to me today, "Hey, lets go to a club," I go, "No way." If I go, it's not a party for me - too many autographs and photographs.

TVG: Was that true at your postconcert party at [the] Tavern on the Green restaurant?

MJ: It was worse then - I couldn't breathe because everybody [was crowding around].

TVG: And you fainted?

MJ: That's a rumor. It was sensationalism. [The press] made it up. As usual. They love doing that to me.

TVG: What did happen?

MJ: Nothing. I didn't faint. Not even close. [The press has] done his for so long, and it's disgusting. [Gently, to Paris, who is skipping around the coffee table] Paris, you can't make noise. You can't - no, don't bump the table. [The reporters are] tape recording.

TVG: Liza Minnelli also sang at your tribute concerts. You two seem very close.

MJ: I speak to Liza every week. We come from the same planet. Like Elizabeth does.

TVG: What planet is that?

MJ: It's called Capricious Anomaly in the Sea of Space. [laughs]. Gee, I can't name it. Just beyond our solar system, I think. But this is true, and this is not to be taken lightly: People who grew up as child stars have the same thing in common. You're cute, they love you; you go through the awkward stage, they don't accept you anymore. Very few make the transition to adult star. And most of them become self-destructive. And it's very sad.

TVG: How did you avoid self-destruction?

MJ: I think religion entered in?

TVG: Are you still a Jehovah's Witness?

MJ: Yeah. I've done, you know, we call it pioneering. We do 90 hours a month. I don't do as much now because I'm busy. You go door to door. I wear a fat suit, pop-bottle glasses, mustache, buck teeth, and, like, an Afro wig. And I knock on the door and say we're Jehovah's Witnesses.

TVG: This special is in conjunction with the launch of your seventh solo album, Invincible. Is this your comeback?

MJ: I don't see it as a comeback. I only do an album every four years. It's just that I've been on hiatus, writing.

TVG: The album features rap stars Wil Smith and Jay-Z. It's hard to imagine you working with Jay-Z, whose image is a bit rougher than yours.

MJ: [He] was just so sweet. And you hear these crazy stories about something [some of these rappers] did the next day, and it's hard to believe. I always see them to be very kind. Perfect gentlemen.

TVG: What's the message of "Unbreakable", the first song on the album?

MJ: That [I'm] invincible, that I've been through it all. You can't hurt me. Knock me down, I get back up. [To Prince, who begins to bang his Snapple lemonade on the coffee table] See the noise you're making? You've got to be nice and quiet.

TVG: You are known fr being eccentric. Did growing up in the limelight have something to do with that?

MJ: [Smiling coyly] It depends on what kind of eccentricities you're talking about.

TVG: People call you Wacko Jacko.

MJ: But that's not nice. They do that because they're jealous. I haven't done anything. I go to hospitals and orphanages. And we take huge bags of toys. I spend thousands of dollars. What's so wacko about that?

TVG: Because of the way you are portrayed in the press, people wonder, "Is he strange?"

MJ: [Exasperated] I did Oprah. I did Diane Sawyer. [People] saw me. [The press] is just completely jealous. And it's just one of those things that I have to deal with.

TVG: How do you deal with it?

MJ: I turn it into positive energy. And I write about it; it's in my movement, it's in the expression on my face. And it becomes a part of me, part of my creation. And I try not to let it get to me. Because if you do, you'll go crazy.

TVG: Your first video, for the single "You Rock My World", is actually a 15-minute short film. How did you come up with a gangster theme?

MJ: I don't know - the idea just kind of happened. In Cuba. Hot summer night. A club run by these hoods. I just wish [MTV] would show the long version. The short version I don't like at all. It's not entertaining enough.

TVG: How much are you involved in the video-making process?

MJ: When you say Michael Jackson, people always think of an entertainer. They don't think of the fact that I write songs. I'm not trying to brag, but I write them, and I direct a lot of [the videos]. I don't think [younger artists] are aware of those things, which I think would be inspiring for them.

TVG: When you were making this video, did you think, "I want this to be as good as the one for 'Thriller'"?

MJ: NO, because I know I didn't have the time to execute that. There are ones that are coming up that will be better.

TVG: Do you let your kids watch MTV?

MJ: At a certain age I will, not now. They are going to have to be 15 or 16.
TVG: Do you watch TV?

MJ: I love PBS, the Discovery Channel, The Simpsons. I love Sesame Street. I could watch it for hours. But my favorite show is Malcolm in the Middle. It reminds me so much of [my brothers and me] when we were little.

TVG: Which character do you relate to?

MJ: Malcolm. Mainly because he tries to fit into society, and he doesn't - like E.T. or Bambi, he can't adjust to other people's concepts. And I feel like that a lot of times. Once I'm offstage, I feel awkward, like this is not where I'm supposed to be.

TVG: Which one of your kids is most like you?

MJ: Both, but in different ways. Prince likes to tease, to the point where you want to pull his hair. I always used to tease my sisters all the time.

TVG: And Paris?

MJ: She's the tough one.

TVG: How is their mother, Debbie Rowe? [A former nurse, she was married to Jackson from 1996 to '99. Jackson was married to his first wife, Lisa Marie Presley, from 1994 to '96]

MJ: I heard she's doing good, she's fine. Paris is strong like Debbie.

TVG: Regarding your finances, there are rumors that you are bankrupt and that's why you charged high prices for the concert tickets.

MJ: That's tabloid garbage. They make things up. They're looking for something to sell a paper.

TVG: With the state of the world right now, you must be concerned for the kids. You were in New York when the terrorists attacked, right?

MJ: Yeah, I got a call from overseas that said America's being attacked. I said, "What are you talking about?" They said, "Turn on the news." And I couldn't believe what I saw. And I screamed down the hallway, "Everybody, quick, get up, we've got to go." And everybody got dressed, and we got in the car and drove farther out [from the city].

TVG: The attacks prompted you to write and produce an all-star recording of the song "What More Can I Give" to benefit the victims. [Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, Bozy II Men, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Usher are among the artists scheduled to perform.]

MJ: I was sick over the notoriety of the attacks. I don't know if [television news] played it too many times, but we went from fear to hate to anger to vengeance. And I think the media had a lot to do with that.

TVG: We hear you are planning to talk to President Bush about the song and its proceeds.

MJ: I talked to [Bush] senior. We have a phone call coming up very soon with the president. They told us that they're very proud of what I'm doing and that he said I'm an international hero.

TVG: Your mission seems to be about helping people.

MJ: I've always done that, yes. It's funny now, because of the this [terrorist] attack, everybody is trying to regroup, find songs about this kind of stuff. I've done it all my career: "Heal The World", "We Are The World", "Will You Be There", "Man In The Mirror", about the planet, earth songs. And nobody was doing it but me because that's where my heart is. I care. My biggest dream is to have a Children's Day, where children can bond with their parents.

TVG: Do your kids travel with you everywhere?

MJ: Everywhere I go.

TVG: What will happen when they start school and can't travel as much?

MJ: I'm going to build a computer school on the grounds [of Neverland, Jackson's estate]. With other children.

TVG: So they can go to school online?

MJ: Yeah. How can they go into society? He's Prince Michael Jackson. She's Paris Katherine Michael Jackson. It would be too difficult.

TVG: Why do you think you have such an affinity for children?

MJ: I'll tell you exactly where it comes from. Because I never had a childhood. When they're in pain, I feel their pain. And when they're in despair, I feel their despair. I have such concern about the plight and the state of our children today. If there was one day where kids could get with parents and bond, this would make such a difference. If I had that one day with my father, it would have made a difference in our relationship today - just the one day.

TVG: What is your relationship with your father?

MJ: It's much better now. He's a much nicer person now. He's mellowed out a lot since he's had grandchildren, you know. He has thirtysomething grandkids now.

TVG: What did your dad think of the concert special? Was he there?

MJ: He was at the show. But my father, if he feels you've done a good show, he'll just go, "Good show". He won't say, "Oh, you did wonderful." I don't think he know's how to show affection. [Michael looks at Prince, who is crawling around the room with a rubber ball stuck on his nose, chattering and poking certain reporters on the cheek.]

MJ: [Sweetly]Prince, shh! You promised me you'd be quiet, remember?

TVG: What else do you want to do with your career?

MJ: I love movies. I'm going to direct more and act more. I feel the most powerful artistic expression in the world is film. I want to do a film with Liza Minnelli. We are planning a movie together. It's about two struggling entertainers trying to make it; they get turned away everywhere they go. With some of the best dancing ever. I'm not joking. Because I see it, I feel it here. [Points to his heart. Meanwhile, Prince toddles across the room and sits at his father's feet. Paris crawls into Jackson's lap and sits there curled up, while he strokes her hair.]

TVG: Michael Jackson as a father. It is an image we never see. Are you a good father?

MJ: I try my hardest. I try to bring them a lot of fun. Once a year I dress up like a clown, with the whole gear - the nose, the paint. And I give them candy and cookies.

Prince: [Smiling] And ice cream.

MJ: And ice cream!

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Online Audio Chat (Oct 2001)

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Anthony: Hello Ladies and Gentleman, this is Anthony DeCurtis. You're on Getmusic.com and we're here tonight for a very special event. The King of Pop, one of the greatest artists in the history of popular music, Michael Jackson, is going to be joining us. He has a new record coming out on Oct. 30, it's called Invisible [interviewer's error]. You can check it out at Michaeljackson.com, you can preorder it at getmusic.com.


Anthony: Michael, it's a pleasure to talk to you man.

Michael: Pleasure to talk with you.

Anthony: Tell us a little bit about the new album. It's your first new record in 6 years. Uh, do you still get exited when you have something come out? Obviously you've accomplished so much over the years. You know, do you still feel that, like, "Wow, I wonder what people are gonna think" or, you know, feel all of that kind of anticipation?

Michael: I kinda parallel it to a, uh, you know... It's like the gestation process of, uh, birth. You know, it's a... You know, it's like having children, and having to raise them and bring them out into the world, and once they get into the world they're on their own. So, it's, it's, very exciting. I mean, you never get too used to it, ever. It's, uh, an incredible process. But you leave it in the hands of God, like you do when you're having a child.

Anthony: Absolutely. We've got questions already beginning to pour in from your fans on the Internet. We've got Electric Eyes, male, writing in. Says, "Michael, you are, in my mind, the greatest artist of all time. The true King of pop, rock, and soul." And he wants to know, "What is your favorite song on the new album?"

Michael: My favorite song on the new album. Can I pick two?

Anthony: Uh, yeah, I think you can do that. You can pretty much do whatever you like.

Michael: Uh, it would probably be Unbreakable... I'll pick three. Unbreakable, Speechless, and The Lost Children.

Anthony: Tell us about a couple of those tracks. You know, what was it like work... I mean, were there special guests, or were you working with new producers, or how you wrote them. You know, something that gives us some flavor.

Michael: Well, the songwriting process is something very difficult to explain because it's very spiritual. It's, uh...You really have it in the hands of God, and it's as if its been written already - that's the real truth. As if its been written in its entirety before were born and you're just really the source through which the songs come. Really. Because there is...they just fall right into your lap in it's entirety. You don't have to do much thinking about it. And I feel guilty having to put my name, sometimes, on the songs that I - I do write them - I compose them, I write them, I do the scoring, I do the lyrics, I do the melodies but still, it's a...it's a work of God.

Anthony: Samantha from Canada just sent us in a question. She would like to know, "How would you describe the sound on Invincible and have you incorporated any other genres into the album?"

Michael: Well, the sound is...sonically, we always try to make sure we have, you know, pristine, detailed, uh, you know, the best sound, the best engineers, the best technicians available. And of course, I tried to make the album a potpourri of just wonderful melodies of any style. Because I don't believe in stylizing or branding any type of music. I think a great artist should be able to just create any style, any form, any...any thing from rock to pop to folk to gospel to spiritual to just, just wonderful music where every, uh, anybody can sing it, from the Irish farmer to a lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem. If you can whistle it and hum it, that's the most important thing.

Anthony: Now, when you're working do you find, are you in a mode where you like to listen to a lot of other music, or you're listening to the radio and maybe picking up people's CDs. Or when you're working do you like to just kinda shut it all out and concentrate, you know, intently on what you're doing?

Michael: I pretty much... I always know what's going on, on the radio and in clubs, that people are listening to. Even though people think I live at Neverland -- mentally I'm in Never Never land all the time -- I'm always connected. I always know what's going on in the music world, all the time. Not just in America but Internationally. You know, all over the world. And uh, when I'm working though, I don't... I'm not in... I don't think I'm influenced by a lot of the music today. Uh, I pretty much create what I think is in my heart. Very original. I try to be as original as possible. I don't say, 'OK, I'm gonna make this a great R&B song, a great pop... I just want to make a great song.

Anthony: Like the song takes it's own form.

Michael: Yeah. Yes.

Anthony: Well, uh, Amber here on the Internet offers you lots of love and wonders if, um, it was fun for you to make the rock... the You Rock My World video.

Michael: Yes, that was a lot of fun. Uh, it was... We stayed up all night, which was very hard [giggling]. We, uh, it was fun hearing it blasted on the set on really good speakers. That's one of my favorite things, hearing the music really loud. 'Cause I like to play music loud. I mean, it's, uh... If you play something over the Internet or small speakers, it doesn't have the same punch. That's why you have to buy it. You have to buy that CD to really hear that punch. It makes a huge difference. Huge difference. There's no comparison. Buying the CD is the best thing. There's no comparison. [Interruption from host]... You can't hear all those sounds if you do it on a smaller system.

Anthony: And when you're, uh... So when you're out on the video set, uh, you're able to just kinda crank it up as loud as you want?

Michael: As loud as I want.

Anthony: Very good [laughing]. Well, we have Michael Mathew from Canada. He says, "I just saw Ghosts on MTV. As always, you are awesome, Michael. Do you have any plans of releasing it as a DVD in America?"

Michael: Yes, it will be released as a DVD in America in it's entirety, and some of the making of Ghosts. And that was one of my most favorite things I've ever done because it's been a dream of mine for a long time to do something like, you know, scary but comical at the same time, and, uh, it's all the elements, just fun. 'Cause I don't want to scare people to the point where they're afraid to go to sleep. I want it to have a little twist of humor. And within the laugher there is a tear, you know? It's fun, you know. These ghosts, they weren't really scary, they were fun. They walked up the ceilings. Little kids were laughing at them. They were fun. You know, we don't want to horrify them. But we gave this fat man, this Mayor, his justice, for coming into my house, which was private property, judging me. You know.

Anthony: Absolutely. We have Cloudlee2000 who writes in and wonders, "Why did you name the album Invincible?"

Michael: Well, invincible is something of... I think it's a proper name. It's one of the cuts on the album and I've been an artist.. uh, not to pat myself on the back but the Guinness Book of World Records just listed me, uh, another time, as the artist who's had the longest stretch career 'cause since I was a little, little kid to this point with still hit records from number one records, and uh, I'm so proud and honored that I've been chosen from the Heavens, or whatever it is, to be Invincible, and to just continue to grow and to be, you know... serve the people. It serves the people with wonderful entertainment.

Anthony: Now, one of the, you know, the kind of conventional wisdom in the music industry is, you know, audiences don't really have an attention span any more, you know. If an artist stays away for too long the audience wanders off and goes somewhere else. Was that a concern of yours with coming out with a record and taking a while to work on Invincible or do you, uh, are you convinced your fan base is still there and will be as strong as ever?

Michael: I'm, I'm ... No, the answer to your question is that has never concerned me once and I've never thought of it. Because I've always known if music is truly great or if a movie is truly great, people want to see it or hear it. No matter where you, how long you've been away, or whatever the situation is. You know, greatness is greatness and if you really do a great job on what you're doing, people want to hear it. Or they want to see it. You know, it doesn't matter, It really doesn't. Long as you're an innovator and a pioneer, you know. And that's the most important thing. Give them what they want to hear.

Anthony: Now Slimslady420US sends in a question and wonders "which song on the Invincible album do you think you personally relate to the most?"

Michael: Ummm, Unbreakable.

Anthony: Talk a bit about that track. Now you mentioned it a couple of times, I'm getting really curious about it. Could you... What could you tell us about it?

Michael: 'Cause, uh, I' m one of the few people, probably in show business, that have been through the ins and outs, you know, of so many different things. Um, I've been through hell and back. I have, to be honest, and uh, and still I'm able to do what I do and nothing can stop me. No one can stop me, no matter what. I stop when I'm ready to stop. You know, and uh, I'm just saying, you know, I will continue to move forward no matter what.

Anthony: Now we have Warful writes in, "Are you working or planning to do any more short films for Invincible, specifically for the really fast tracks such as 2000 Watts, Heartbreaker, Unbreakable, and Invincible?"

Michael: Absolutely, and she said... Whoever said that said the right word when they said said "short films." And uh, that's what we try to make them, short films: a beginning and middle and a ending of a story. Uh, to take the medium to a new level but absolutely. There's like a an array of, an encyclopedia of just great short films to make from the album. It's very exciting. I can't wait to do Threatened. It's a kind of scary one with Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone. I can't wait to get my hands on that one.

Anthony: We have a question here from Nepolian3, says his name is George really, and it says, "Michael, I think this is your most cohesive and impressive album since Thriller. Or, really, Off The Wall. What are some of your most memorable moments while recording the tracks for this album?"

Michael: Most memorable moments were, it was... of all my albums I would say this one was the toughest. 'Cause I was hardest on myself. Uh, I wrote so many songs, I don't want to say the number, just to get to uh, how many are on there, 16? Just to get to the 16 that I think are acceptable. And, um, it's the album where... I didn't have children before other albums, so I caught a lot of colds; I was sick a lot. Cause my children got [interruption from host]. So we had to stop and start again and stop and start and... constantly. But I enjoyed it very, very much.

Anthony: Now, when you describe yourself as being tough on yourself during the recording process. How does that, you know... what is the process that you go to. If you think something isn't quite what it ought to be or maybe you could do better or you know, maybe you want to move something in a new direction. You know, what is that like?

Michael: If I truly told you, I don't know if the fans would like me anymore [giggles]. I've had musicians who really get angry with me because I'll make them do something literally several hundred to a thousand times till it's what I want it to be. Um, but then afterwards, they call me back on the phone and they'll apologize and say, "you were absolutely right. I've never played better, I've done better work, I out-did myself," is what they'll say. And I say, "That's the way it should be because you've immortalized yourself. This is here forever. It's a time capsule." It's like Michelangelo's work. You know, it's like the Sistine Chapel, it's here forever. Everything we do should be that way, you know?

Anthony: To try to bring it to the best possible standard that it can be.

Michael: Absolutely.

Anthony: Now Sweetpea4286 wonders, "Are there any surprises on the new album?"

Michael: Any surprises? Boy. I think it is what it is, and you can interpret it the way you want to interpret it. Um, but uh, that's all I can say about that. Other than some ... we will be releasing some surprise CD singles at some point -- something like that, yeah. In the future, though. That's coming up.

Anthony: Very good. I wanted to ask you, just as... in performing... and recently you've done a couple of shows, you did a couple at Madison Square Garden and you did a show at RFK stadium, a benefit concert, and you know, obviously, you know, you.... live performance has been one of the things that has distinguished you throughout your career. You've been offstage for a while. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about what it was like to be out there again in front of an audience and, you know, getting that opportunity to perform again.

Michael: It was, um, it's hard to explain. It was quite exciting, to feel the audience and to see them and to be accepted so warmly by them. Um, it's just an incredible feeling. It really is. They're there to support you and to love you and to hear their favorite songs and you're just standing there and they're just giving you so much adulation and love and the sprit is just full of love, it's wonderful. It's very emotional. It, uh, brings me to tears. It's wonderful.

Anthony: I remember in your book you describe that like sometime on stage is when you feel the most alive, that those are the moments that, you know, really are the whole -- kind of the most transporting for you.

Michael: It is. It's being offstage that's difficult for me. Uh, being on stage ... either writing music or writing poetry, and being on stage, and watching cartoons are my favorite things to do in the entire world. Um, that's what brings me to life. I love that. That's what inspires me to do what I do, you know?

Anthony: Excellent. We have a question from someone calling themself The best dancer in the world. Well, we've got you on the line, I'm not sure that uh, we might have to contest that a little bit. But anyway, the best dancer in the world wants to know, "Michaeljackson.com said that JayZ will appear with you on the new album. Is that true?"

Michael: No, but we are talking about doing something in the future together.

Anthony: Is JayZ an artist who's worked you've liked, is ah.. as a person, have you spent time with him? What's your impression of him?

Michael: I think he's excellent. He has incredible rhythms, counter-rhythms. And he's just one of the newer contemporary artists that the kids really love. He's really, really great.

Anthony: We have a question here from Sweden. Tony from Sweden writes in and says, "Hi Michael. You're the most amazing artist of all time. I just love your music. Do you want to tour, and will you do a world tour or a European tour?"

Michael: Um, gee, we haven't thought about it much right now, but uh, I don't want to say it's not in the works. Um, we're concentrating on a lot of different things right now. But I can't quite say.

Anthony: Fine. I wanted to ask...

Michael: You know what, in the near future I'm sure there'll be something that'll come up. In the near future.

Anthony: People should, ah, keep their eyes open for announcements on that front. We have a question from Noria, describes him or herself as a 32 year old Spanish fan, writing from Los Angeles, would like to know if you have any plans to release any of your songs in Invincible in Spanish or any other language besides English.

Michael: Uh, as of now we haven't but that would be a great thing to do. We haven't written that off. We think it's a big market, so that's a great possibility.

Anthony: Especially for someone like your self who has a big International following -- you know, for many people, their following is in England or in the US, but your following is very International obviously.

Michael: Thank you.

Anthony: Um, talk a bit... One of the things that was of kind of a little bit of a sensation this year was Alien Ant Farm's cover of Smooth Criminal. I wanted to see if you'd paid attention it, if you... Do you enjoy it, or how you felt about it.

Michael: I saw it and fell in love with it. I loved it. I said, I just gotta have this come out. So, they wanted my permission; I saw it and I approved it and gave it a triple A, and said "go right ahead."

Anthony: Fantastic. It must be interesting, as a songwriter, to have other people do your songs and come up with another interpretation. What is that like?

Michael: It's a great compliment. It's a wonderful compliment. It makes you feel worthy and that your music is reaching all the different generations. You know, and all the different, uh... I mean, everybody's out there listening and that makes me very happy.

Anthony: Now we have a question from Canada. Gary, who is 19, writes in, "What other artists did you collaborate with on Invincible?"

Michael: What other artists did I collaborate with on Invincible...

Anthony: Do you have any special guests.

Michael: Umm, oh yeah, Carlos Santana. He and I have done, like, a duet. He plays the guitar and I sing and it's something that, uh, we've written. And it's really, really a nice song.

Anthony: Now had you known him from over time or did you meet him recently?

Michael: I've met him before, but we've been talking a lot on the phone recently. After winning his Grammy award he said to the press that he would like to meet me and he's ready to work with me. So everybody's been telling me that, and uh, I called him up and he said he really would, it would be his dream come true. And he was the nicest man. He's so kind and so spiritual. I found him to be so humble, so I said to myself, "We have to make this work."

Anthony: And so you wrote a song together?

Michael: Well, there's a song that myself and two other people wrote and he was a part of it, and uh, Whatever Happens.

Anthony: Ok.. We have a question from Anicia. Says, "Michael are you a fan of Chris Tucker." Describes him being in your recent video.

Michael: I am a huge, huge fan Chris Tucker. He makes me laugh so hard. um, I uh, I've seen all of his films, and he's just a funny guy. I like people who can make you laugh without using vulgarity, or bad words. For the kids, they're for all different demographics, all the corners of the earth and he's just a funny guy.

Anthony: We have another question from Canada. Tony, who's 17 from Canada, writes and wonders, "How long does it take you to produce a song from the initial conception to the final recording?"

Michael: Well....

Anthony: [laughing] I guess it probably varies from...

Michael: Yeah, it does vary. And for me it's really different than most artists because I'll do a couple of songs, they'll be 5, 6, 7 or 8 or 10 of them; I'll throw them all away and start over. So, that's a difficult question to ask me.

Anthony: I wonder if... is there a specific song on the album -- say Invincible -- you know, how long... when... Do you remember getting the first inspiration for that song and then maybe the day when you finally said, "This is it, I've got it exactly the way I want it?"

Michael: On Invincible itself?

Anthony: umhum.

Michael: Ummm, yes. Yes. I remember having the guys go back in and create more innovative... 'Cause we don't... um, this is our thing, we don't, uh, a lot of sounds on the album that aren't sounds from keyboards, uh, that are, you know, pretty much programmed into the machines. We go out and make our own sounds. We hit on things, we beat on things, so nobody can duplicate what we do. We make them with our own hands, we find things and we create things. And uh, that's the most important thing, to be a pioneer. To be an innovator.

Anthony: Absoluteluy. Now we have Vernay who writes to us from Newark, Delaware, the good ole USA, and Vernay says, "I'm so pleased with the new album but I was particularly touched by Speechless. What was your inspiration for this song?"

Michael: Speechless was inspired to me by, um, I spend a lot of time in the forest. I like to go into the forest and I like to climb trees. My favorite thing is to climb trees, go all the way up to the top of a tree and I look down on the branches. Whenever I do that it inspires me for music. There are these two sweet little kids, a girl and a boy, and they're so innocent; they're the quintessential form of innocence, and just being in their presence I felt completely speechless, 'cause I felt I was looking in the face of God whenever I saw them. They inspired me to write Speechless.

Anthony: Well, that answer actually might touch on this next question which we have, which wonders, "Where do you look for inspiration when you write your songs. Does inspiration come from a variety of different places?

Michael: Well, the best songs that are written write themselves. You don't ask for them, they just drop into your lap. Then there are those songs that, you know, you kind of uh, incubate. You know, you plant the seed, let the subconscious take its course, and within time you hope something comes, and most the time it does. I don't believe in the concept of writer's block -- that is a bad word. You create it when you say it. There's no such thing. Um, like any painter or sculptor, they paint... they do their best work when they're in the 60s and their 70s. Fred Astaire did his best dancing when he was in his 70s. Angelo [Michelangelo] sculpted late into his 60s and 70s, doing brilliant ingenious work. But in the music business some of these great artists have become stumped because they self-abuse themselves at a young age, with all these crazy things they drink and pills and things, and uh, that's just not good -- just not a good thing. I hate to say that to hurt anybody, but we should take care of our bodies a little more.

Anthony: Naw, I think a lot of people have realized they've damaged themselves. You know, many people have talked about it in recent years, you know.

Michael: Yeah.

Anthony: We have a question from Allen here who asks if you think that Rodney Jerkins and you have created a new sound for 2001.

Michael: For the song 2000 Watts?

Anthony: He says, "Do you feel that you and Rodney Jerkins, of course the producer, have created a new sound for 2001?"

Michael: 2001? Anthony: Yes

Michael: Oh. Um, that would be a nice thought, yes.

Anthony: What was it like working with him. How did you guys meet and, you know, how did your collaboration go?

Michael: He was this guy who went around Hollywood and around the industry saying his dream was to work with me to everybody. Then at Carol Bayer Sager's house, who's this great song writer; won several academy awards for her songwriting, said, "There's a guy I used to work with. His name is Rodney Jerkins, he's been crying to me begging to meet you. I mean, why don't you pick up the phone and say 'hi' to him." And he came over that day and he said, "Please, my dream is to work with you. Will you give me two weeks and I'll see what I can come up with." And uh, we ended up working together.

Anthony: And what were your impressions of him, like as just somebody... What did he bring; what did you feel that his contribution was?

Michael: His contribution was he loves to create in the same kind of way that I like to create. But I pushed Rodney. And pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed him to create... uh, to innovate more. To pioneer more. He's a real musician. He's a real musician and he's very dedicated and he's real loyal. He has perseverance. I don't think I've seen perseverance like his in anyone. Because you can push him and push him and he doesn't get angry. Yeah, I think he's a great guy, he really is.

Anthony: That is a great compliment.

Michael: And um, and Teddy Riely is just incredible. He's innovative too. I love working with him.

Anthony: And you had worked with him in the past, of course.

Michael: Yeah, he's one of my favorite... as a human being, he's one of my favorite people in the world. He's just a really sweet, kind guy. You know. And Rodney's very funny. You laugh all day when you're with him. He turns his music up in the studio and he starts dancing around the room. He's fun.

Anthony: We'd like to remind everyone, you're on Getmusic. We're here talking with Michael Jackson, whose new album Invincible is out on Oct. 30th. You can check it out at Michaeljackson.com. You can preorder it on Getmusic.

Now we have a question from ItsJackson who is really named Rachel from Connecticut, wonders "Do you have any new dance moves that you've invented while you were making your album?"

Michael: For the first time working on any album, I put a halt to dancing. Because I was just so engrossed and so infatuated with what I was doing um, I did something that was very unusual. But once the music started playing, of course, I started to dance. But um, uh, it's starting to now create itself and, uh, with the music playing I'm coming up with some new things. But that's coming in the future with the newer short films. They'll be seeing... they'll be seeing all kinds of innovative things and movements that have never been seen before. We'll go places where we've never gone in dance before. Cause all the hiphop things that are happening now are beginning to look like aerobics, it's kinda getting annoying.

Anthony: [laughs] We have a question from Simon who, you know, you've obviously mentioned you know, all the people who have wanted to work with you. He wonders, "Michael who wold you love to do a duet with, past or present?"

Michael: Uh, if it's past, it'd be somebody like, uh, I would say Sarah Vaughn [*] or Nat King Cole. Present, I think, uh, Whitney Houston is brilliant and Barbara Striesand has a beautiful voice. You know, those kinds of artists, they're just wonderful.

Anthony: What's your impression of some of the artists who've come on the scene just in recent years, you know, people like Britney Speares and Christina Aguilara. You know, young pop stars who are obviously hugely popular. You know, obviously, Britney participated in your show at the Garden, You know, what was your sense about her?

Michael: I think they're a new breed that are coming out. They're doing a very good job. And what impressed me more about any of these artists, like Speares and Christina, they're so determined. I've heard about the way they work. They'll work on a dance step, I mean, like, for months, and, uh.. to get it right, you know. Uh, they're just so determined. And I've met... I've met Britney several times and she was very sweet and humble. She came to my room. We quietly talked for couple hours, and she was just, uh, like a Barbie doll. She was very sweet, she was very kind.

Anthony: I imagine that someone like you would be a kind of interesting and important resource for her, you know. As someone who was a star when you were so young, and then when... I don't think people necessarily understand what a kind of strange reality that is, you know, within all the acclaim and the fame and the excitement, you know, to be a kid and have all that attention focused on you must be kind of scary also. Did you find it that way, uh, in your own experience?

Michael: Yeah, because where ever I go, um, I disguise myself, now -- but now I can't with, 'cause, you know, with what's going on in the world -- so I don't wear a disguise. And uh, people they just go... They really go crazy. They're very happy to see you. They feel as if they know you. You have to respond back to them like you know them. They feel they personally know you. My picture's on their walls, you know, my music is playing in their house, so they grab you and they hug you and they touch you and they... So I usually respond back with hugs and loves and kisses. Cause I love... I love... I truly love my fans. Truly, truly from the heart. That's the real truth. I love them. And the ones who are, um.... Like when we go to a certain country and they're outside, and outside they're sleeping on the street and I throw them pillows and cover and everything. And I have my security guards buy them pizza so they can all eat, and get the candles and, you know, we really take care of them. They're very, very, very sweet and supportive.

Anthony: Sam who is 20 years old and from Texas here in the US wonders, "Will you release Butterflies as a single? That's one of your best songs."

Michael: Butterflies is, uh, is a single that's released now. It's a single now. Tell him thank you very much.

Anthony: Great. What other plans do you have, you know, when you... As somebody who's been a kind of innovator in terms of making short films to accompany your songs, do you conceptualize all that ahead of time or, you know, do you decide, on a kinda step by step basis, you know, this is gonna be the next single and I want to make a, you know, a kind of visual statement to accompany it. You know, how does that all proceed?

Michael: All right, the short film itself?

Anthony: Yeah.

Michael: Well, I let the song pretty much speak to me and I get in a room and I pretty much start making notes... You know, I'll speak to a writer -- like Stephen King and myself, both of us wrote Ghosts, the short film Ghosts, and we just on the telephone started writing it and let it create itself and go where it wants to go. But we try to do things that are very unusual. And it's... it's not an easy thing to do because you have to time it with the song, and you can't spend too much time, and the special effects can take 5 months sometimes to execute. So, it's just .. .it's kinda difficult thing and the record company's saying, "Come on, come on, come on, we have to go, we have to go." So, I understand. So we try to do the best we can in the amount of time that we can execute it in.

Anthony: We have a question now, uh, Helen from Scotland says, "If you could only perform one of your songs for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?"

Michael: Ooh, it would probably be... if I could pick more than one, up to two or three?

Anthony: yeah, I think we can go that far.

Michael: Heal The World, Speechless, um, and that's a difficult one... I think, uh.. huh... ummm, You Are My Life.

Anthony: So, you went for the ones that are the... the kind of, uh, the biggest statements, in a way, it seems to me.

Michael: Yeah, because, uh, the point is that they're very melodic and if they have a great important message that's kinda immortal, that can relate to any time and space, you know.

Anthony: One of the things, actually, I wanted to ask you is, you know, we've had these, you know, horrible terrorist attacks here in New York City and in Washington, DC. What is the role that you feel, you know, artists can play in the wake of something like that. You know, I mean, you did that benefits show in Washington. You know, is there... In music and in... you know, can artists do something to help people get through what for many of us has been a very difficult time?

Michael: Yeah, you give of yourself. You give of your talent, of your ability... The talent that was given you by the Heavens. That's why we're here, to bring a sense of escapism in time of need. And, uh, if you're a painter you paint; if you're a sculptor, you sculpt; if you're a writer, you write; if you're a songwriter, you give songs; if you're a dancer, you give dance. You give people some love and some... some bliss and some escapism, and to show that you truly care from the heart, and be there for them. Not just from a distance, but show you really care. You know, take the long mile and be there for them. And that's what I did, and many others who cared and helped. And it's an important thing.
Anthony: We have a question now from Chili Boy who wonders, "I've always wanted to know, how do you come up with a dance move, and how long does it take for you to put the choreography for a song together?"

Michael: I pretty much just get in a room and I start to dance, and uh, I don't create the dance, the dance creates itself, really. You know, I'll do something and I'll look back... I'll look back on tape and I'll go, "Wow," I didn't realize I had done that. It came out of the drums. You become.... Dancing is about interpretation. You become.... You become the accompaniment of the music. So when you become the bass of Billie Jean, I couldn't help but do the step that I was doing when the song first starts, because, uh, that's what it told me to do. You know, if I turn around, spin, stop, move my legs to the side and then lift up the collar of my shirt, that's for that moment is an accompaniment.

Anthony: I remember watching that moment on television and just leaping out of my chair. It's so extraordinary.

Michael: Thank you very much.

Anthony: That was really one of the great, great moments.

Michael: It's all spontaneous movement. Nothing in that piece was, on, uh, Billie Jean, was planned but the Moonwalk. Everything else was just, you know, improvising, really.
Anthony: We have a question from SJ Chams who wonders, "Do you think you'll do another duet with Janet?"

Michael: I would love to! It depends on the song, the time. When she's in one corner of the Earth, I'm in another place. It's very rare that our ships pass in the night. So it's not easy to do 'cause we're both very busy. But that would be very nice. I love working with her. She's a true real professional and a wonderful sister.

Anthony: Excellent. Ah, we have Sheik 33 who wonders, "Who was your idol when you were a child?"

Michael: I always went nuts for.... I mean, I could be asleep... In Indiana, at like 5 years old, I'd be asleep and it'd be late at night, like 1 in the morning, some show on, I remember seeing my mother run to my room, "wake up , wake up! James Brown is on! James Brown is on!" Or "Sammy Davis Jr.'s playing" or "Fred Astaire! They got a good Fred Astaire movie on." "Gene Kelly's on right now!" And I'd sit there with my eyes just... I'd be awe-struck, just watching. So when videos came out, I had a collection. [giggles]

Anthony: Yeah, I understand that you have a, an extraordinary collection of a kind of old movies of all of the performers that you like and, oh, the music performances of the artists that you admire. You know, talk about some of those, and some of the stuff that you've got that you like to watch.

Michael: Well, I .. I like to, um, before I do anything, it could be any situation, I love studying the whole history of it before I take the first step to innovate. So, um, I love studying any Vaudevillian, you know, who came from that era, even though they didn't have T.V. Uh, but they, uh, they transcended into television later on. I love people like Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, I'm crazy about the 3 Stooges, uh, anything Walt Disney... And far as performers, uh, I love Anthony Newley, you know, like I said, Jackie Wilson, James Brown. So.. They're incredible! I mean, when James Brown was "James Brown and the Famous Flames" he was so incredible. I would watch him and cry. I'd be crying and watching. I've never seen a person perform like that, ever.

Anthony: You know, it must have been extraordinary for you, as a ... you know, when you were young and making records and getting to meet some of your idols, you know, that must have been such a powerful experience.

Michael: Oh, it wa... It truly was. And to have them tell me that they ... they thought I was incredible, and all my life I thought they were, like, the best. It was the best...I mean, it was the best compliment I could get, and no award could be given to me that could top that. You know. When Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, who I knew very well, or Frank Sinatra, told me I .. they think I'm amazing and I have an amazing career ahead of me.. As a child they would tell me this. 'Cause they were my neighbors. They lived by me. And uh, I felt very honored and happy to hear those kind of words from these legends.

Anthony: That must have been very encouraging.

Michael: Yes, very.

Anthony: Now we have Mhagrice who is actually Margaret from the Netherlands, a 26 year old woman, says, "Is it true that you'll star in Men In Black II, and will you record a soundtrack for that film?"

Michael: Uh, I don't think we're doing a soundtrack, but I did a .. a guest appearance, like a Cameo, for Men In Black, uh, 2, and we're expecting to do part 3 as well. And it was a lot of fun, and exciting. Um, and it's one of my favorite films of all time. Uh, I'm a big Men In Black fan. I love it very much.

Anthony: Well, weren't you .. Now, I understand you're also doing The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Michael: Yes, that one's coming up. It's about the great prolific American writer, Edgar Allen Poe.

Anthony: Kind of a scary guy himself, too.

Michael: He's very diabolical, and very dark, and .. But he was a genius and it's... But his own personal life was very interesting, and that's what it's about, you know. How he was, you know... What he had to go through to create such ingenious work. It's a great story. But... and by the way, make sure the fans know, all tabloids should be out. Do not believe anything you read in a tabloid. It's garbage and it's junk. We should have a tabloid burning, like a big mountain -- just set it afire.

Anthony: You heard it first here from Michael Jackson.

Michael: Don't waste your time with it. It's stupid.

Anthony: Now we have Rapmaster JA writes in, who is actually Jason from Illinois. He says, "Michael, you are undoubtedly the greatest artist in the history of the world. How do you do the Moonwalk. It's the coolest move I've ever seen?"

Michael: Gee, it's hard to explain on the phone [interruption from host]. I love moves and dancing. I's like walking forward and backward at the same time, but not just walking, but as if you're on a conveyer belt. And it's, uh, it's hard to explain. If he was in the room with me, I could show him how to do it with my fingers, or with my feet, but. Maybe he could see at the end of the Jam video where I'm trying to show Michael Jordan how to do it. Only time I think I showed it.

Anthony: Now we have a Mark the Shark, uh, who asks, "How do you do that lean on the video to Smooth Criminal?"

Michael: Oh, Smooth Criminal, well. That one happened ... it was in the middle of the shoot and it wasn't .. I choreographed it right at the moment. Took us an hour to execute it. It's a special effect that we kind of lean as far as we can and, uh, we let the conveyor belt do the rest.

Anthony: Now Glenn from Toronto Canada asks, "Do you feel a special spiritual energy when you're performing; do you feel you are connected to a higher force? Cause this is what you make many feel when they see you live?"

Michael: That's exactly what it is, you're connected to a higher source and you just go with the moment and you become one with, you know, the spirit. Not to sound religious or anything, but it's a very spiritual... very much like religion, and it's a God-given gift and you just go with it. And I'm honored to have been given it. And, uh, as fun to become one with the audience. It's a one-ness, you know?

Anthony: I was reminded of, ah, some of that when you were talking about the way you would work out your moves, you know, listening to ... just listening to the music and kind of disappearing into it. You know, it has like a really mystical feel.

Michael: Thank you.

Anthony: Now Charlie sends in a question and says, "What achievements in your life are you the most proud of?"

Michael: Boy, uh, one of my biggest dreams since I was really, really little... I think around 7 years old, I use to always buy the Guinness World Book of Records. [Giggles] You know what the answer's gonna be right? I said, "Hmmm, I love to dance and sing. Hopefully one day I can be in this book." And I believed that it was possible. So when Thriller became the biggest selling album of all time, and it was enlisted in the Guinness Book Of World Records, and, uh, there's so many other lists... You know, they've enlisted me in there like 7 different times now. It was my happiest time of my life. I was so happy.

Anthony: To what do you attribute that level of ambition and possibility you felt when you were a kid. You know, I think it's sometimes hard for people to feel... You know, you weren't, obviously, rich as a kid or from some kind of fancy background, but still somehow you were able to envision a life of success. What do you attribute that to?

Michael: I attribute that to my parents who always taught us to persevere and believe in yourself, have confidence, no matter what you do. Even if you're sweeping floors or painting ceilings, do it better than anybody in the world, no matter what it is that you do. Be the best at it, and have a respect for others, and be proud of yourself.. and to honor; be honorable, you know.

Anthony: Absolutely. Now, you've been making records for a long time, you've been a force on the music scene for many years. What do you think are the biggest changes in music that you've seen?

Michael: Biggest changes?

Anthony: Yeah, what's changed about the music industry or about, you know, the music that's out there. What do you think is different?

Michael: Well, I think.. Ah, I don't think people thought the Rap music would last as long as it has. And it has gone through evolutional stages -- there's more melody in it now, it's more acceptable, because melody will never die. Will never die. And the rhythm-- things are a little more rhythmic now. Because people want to dance. It's part of the human condition; it's part of our biological makeup. Our cells dance when we hear beats. You notice a.. a one year old child will start moving hearing music. How do they know to move? 'Cause it's biological. It's not just hearing of the ear, it's feeling, you know. And playing music, the grass and the trees and the flowers... They're all influenced by music. They become more beautiful and more vibrant in how they grow. Music is a very important and powerful substance, and all the planets in the universe make music. It's called music of the spheres. They all make a different note; they make harmony. So there's harmony even in the universe as we speak.

Anthony: Now we have a question from Holland, uh, Femka from Holland writes, "I love the special editions from Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous." She loves you. And asks, "Why does Invincible... Why will Invincible be coming out in different colors?

Michael: Because we wanted the fans to have some fun with it and collect them and, uh... It's a, uh, a Limited Edition, I think. And, uh, there's albums that I love and I will buy them 5 times, even though I have the same cover. Like, 5 times 'cause I love that album so much. So, imagine if they did a different color or just changed the color, I would buy it 5 more times. We just wanted the fans to have some fun with the pictures and with the colors and... Just to try something a little different. That's why we did it.

Anthony: Now we have TJ who's 17 and from Australia, wants to tell you that, "You are still my hero," and says, "How do you explain your ability to inspire so many people all around the world?"

Michael: I just do what I do and I love doing it. And, uh, I love art. I love anything, any art. And, uh, if they're inspired by it, I feel I'm ... I pray that I'm doing my job; what I'm here to do on Earth. Because I love the fans, I love the kids, I love the babies, and that's what give me my inspiration, the children, the babies, the fans. I love them very much.

Anthony: Now Michaela from Pennsylvania, who is 14, writes, "Michael, I'm only 14 but I've been a fan since I was 10. You've accomplished so much more than any artist ever. I was just wondering if you could change one thing about your life, what would you change?"

Michael: I would like to be able to go out in public and just be normal sometime, without people recognizing who I am, and to get a little bit of a feeling of what it's like to, you know, be of the regular norm. To see how things are done; to learn what people speak about when they're just casually talking. Cause soon as they see it's Michael Jackson, the conversation changes; it all becomes about me and not about the situation -- the moment, that's happening at the moment. That would... I would learn a lot from that. I don't get to see that unless I disguise myself and put on a lot of things, and then they stare at me, then it's even different; it's not the same even then. So, it's a difficult thing to pull off. Tell him that's a very great question he asked.

Anthony: That's a really interesting question, actually. We have an interesting answer, as well. We have Greg from Glasgow, Scotland, wants to know, "When do you plan to release the charity song What More Can I Give?"

Michael: Well, it's being, uh.. We're putting the final voices on and, uh, it's coming very, very soon. We're putting it together now; the final touches. It's a very important song for the world. To give some feeling and some loving and some caring to those people who were thrust into orphanage, uh, or just within a matter of seconds they lost their parents and their loved ones, you know?

Anthony: Absolutely. Um, what are some of the things you are looking forward to; what are your hopes for you know, the new year. You know, we're coming down to the end of the year, you have this album coming out, we've had a lot of tragedies and crisis that we've all faced. Everybody's trying to keep their spirit up. When you start thinking about 2002, what .. what kind of things come to mind for you?

Michael: Um, film. I love movies. To do more movies; to integrate the songs with the film. Dancing. And more peace into the world. I pray for peace all the time. And the most important thing I pray for is protection for children and babies. That's the thing that concerns me the most, I like them to be protected and to have more children's rights in the world, where children, you know, where there's a day for children; a celebration for children. Give them a little more attention and love.

Anthony: Now Sergei from Russia writes in, says, "Michael, sing a cappella for us."

Michael: [laughs] You know what, I would love to do it. But believe it or not, I've been sniffling since this interview, I woke up with laryngitis, I caught a cold from the children the other day. My children were sick and I caught their cold. So, tell her I'd love to do it when I visit their town in concert. And Speechless opens a cappella, on the album, the song Speechless. It's one of my favorites.

Anthony: Opens in an a cappella part?

Michael: It opens and closes a cappella.

Anthony: Now we have a question here from Karen who says that you've helped her since she was a little kid. You've always been one to think about other people; to care for children around the world. "What could we do for you," she wonders. "We give you all our love, but what more could we give to you?" Obviously one of your great fans here.

Michael: When I come to town, I would love to see a children's festival, to hear children's choirs, uh, you know, pretty much present when I come to different countries, singing some of their favorite songs of mine. Uh, we should forge and create a children's day, a celebration Internationally, where children are honored. Where parents can take their children to the movies or to the toy store or to the park. And that, alone, will create a bonding. Because the family bond has been broken. They don't eat with their children or speak to their children much anymore, or mother their children. And I would love to see a celebration for children. Children's Day; a holiday. We have Mothers Day, Fathers Day -- no Children's day. And, uh, I would love when I come to town just to see them sing songs, or a parade or something. I would love that.

Anthony: Michael, we have one last question. It was a great pleasure talking with you. We have Emanuel, who is 16, from the US. Says, "Mr. Jackson, what would say to all your fans that have dreams and goals of being a star like you?"

Michael: No matter what, the most powerful thing in the world is the human mind and prayer, and belief in your self and confidence and perseverance. No matter how many times you do it, you do it again until it's right. And always believe in your self. And not matter who's around you that's being negative or thrusting negative energy at you, totally block it off. Because whatever you believe, you become.

Anthony: They say that the thing that most affects people, or the way that you can really tell someone's had a successful life is the way that they deal with success or the way they deal with failure or challenges. That sounds like what you're saying.

Michael: Yes, and after all that, the most important -- most important: Stay humble. The humbleness that a child, like a new born baby has. Even though you become powerful or have power with people, with your talent .. like with what Michelangelo did with sculpting, you know, underneath all that be as humble as a child, as a baby, and be as kind and as giving and loving. They don't become puffed up with pride.

Anthony: I think we're gonna sneak in one last question here from someone called Invincible103, "Halloween is coming up. Do you have plans to, uh, kind of dress up; do you have plans for a Halloween party?"

Michael: Uh, no. I was going to just go trick or treating. Go out, knock on some doors and get some candy. I love trick or treat. It's one of my favorite ones. I love dressing up like some kind of monster or something and knocking on the doors. No body knows it's me, and I get candy.

Anthony: Now if Michael Jackson turns up at your door, people.

Michael: [giggles]

Anthony: Sure, wouldn't it be nice to have some nice things on hand for him. Well, Michael it was great, great pleasure talking to you. A lot of fun, and uh, everybody wishes you the best with your new record. We're all looking forward to it.

Michael: Thank you so much and God bless you. Thank you.

Anthony: Thank you very much.

Read more...

VIBE Magazine (2002)

 

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I first met Michael Jackson some 33 years ago when Diana Ross introduced the Jackson 5 - then a brand-new Motown act - to 350 music and media folk at the Daisy Club in Beverly Hills. My husband, Ken, and I were then publishing Soul, one of the first national black-entertainment newsmagazines.

Ten year old Michael already knew how to charm a crowd. Acknowledging Diana's support, he said, "After singing for four years and not becoming a star, I thought I would never be discovered - this is, until Miss Ross came along to save my career."
Just four months later, the Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back," soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, followed two months later by "ABC". Thousands of letters from across the country poured into our mailbox. Responding to the Jackson's first tour, one reader wrote: "Those youngsters performed in a manner that could be harmful to one's health. The heart can only stand so much soul, and their performance was definately an overdose."

Over the next decade, Soul kept up with the Jackson family as a guest at parties, weddings, and concerts. We were also regular visitors to the family home, where Michael - soft-spoken, polite, curious, and quiet - was usually off by himself, drawing or playing with his snakes and other pets, while his older brothers, cousins and visitors played basketball. But when Soul stopped publishing in 1980, I lost touch with the family.

And then Michael became a pop-culture superstar, changing the face of music, dance, fashion, and music video with hit after hit. He was idolized and chased by fans and media wherever he went. He took an art form, refined and packaged it, and became an international icon. The American Music Awards recently named him the Artist of the Century. When it comes to the King of Pop, the world is insatiable.

You can tell a lot about someone by the people who work for him. Arriving at Michael's 2700-acre Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., north of Santa Barbara, I'm greeted by some of the 70-odd members of Michael's exceedingly friendly staff, which helps the self-proclaimed King of Pop maintain the comples and welcomes busloads of visitors a year, mostly kids who suffer terminal illnesses.

Dressed in black slacks, white socks, black loafers, and a soft yellow shirt, Michael greets me with a warm smile hello and a big hug. He then excuses himself to see about his son, Prince, 5, and daughter Paris, 3, who have just returned from a long walk and are excitedly chattering to their dad about their day. The governess, who closely resembles Michael's mother, Katherine, suggests I have a brief look around the ranch before dark. So I take off in a battery-powered golf cart, while Michael spends some time with his babies.

I discover an amusement park, playground, train station, arcade, swiming pool, Jacuzzi, bumper-car tent, and various areas where anumals roam free. I spot a llama, a parrot, a cheetah, a pony, and several deer.

Michael is ready to talk when I return 45 minutes later. I've brought along a bound volume of Soul, and he looks at the old photographs and laughs at himself, his brothers and a picture of Diana Ross. "Do you remember interviewing me when I was little?" he asks, reminding me of the time Soul talked to him through his "interpreter," Janet. "It wasn't a game, it was real," he says. "I felt afraid. I felt that if my sister was there, the person would go easier on me."

Often very animated, Michael goes from a whisper to raucous laughter in a split second. The only matter that he refuses to address is his plastic surgery. "That's a stupid question," he says. "That's one reason I didn't do interviews for years."

At a time when stars routinely boast about their Bentleys and blingbling, Michael is singularly modest. He brushes off a question about his financial health - there have been recent reports of trouble - saying only, "I'm taken care of fine." Michael makes money when he sleeps. He owns half of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which includes most of the Beatles catalog as well as songs by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Babyface, and Elvis.

At 43, Michael is indisputably back. Invincible, his first album in four years, was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. His two sold-out tribute shows at Madison Square Garden last September (just before the terrorist attacks) were later aired as a CBS special watched by more than 25.7 million viewers, making it that network's highest-rated music special of all time.

As we resume the conversation that began so many years ago, I discover that, in spite of all the flash and tumult of Michael's time in the spotlight, he's remarkable unchanged - still caring, inquisitive, and sensitive.

VIBE: How is it to be competing for sales with the likes of 'N Sync and Britney Spears, children who were basically born at the height of your fame?

MJ: It's a rarity. I had No. 1 records in 1969 and '70, and still entered the charts in 2001 at No. 1. I don't think any other artist has that range. It's a great honor. I'm happy, I don't know what else to say. I'm glad people accept what I do.

VIBE: What are your thoughts on the current state of R&B?

MJ: I don't categorize music. Music is music. They changed the word R&B to rock n' roll. It was always been, from Fats Domino to Little Richard to Chuck Berry. How can we discriminate? Its what it is - great music, you know.

VIBE: Are you feeling hip hop?

MJ: I like a lot of it, a lot of it. I like the music. I don't like the dancing that much. It looks like they're doing aerobics.

VIBE: How did you decide to feature Biggie Smalls on "Unbreakable", off Invincible?

MJ: It wasn't my idea, actually. It was Rodney Jerkins's, one of the writer/producers working on the album. It was my idea to put a rap part on the song, and he said, "I know just the perfect on - Biggie." He put it in, and it worked perfectly.

VIBE: Why did you choose Jay-Z for the remix of the first single, "You Rock My World"?

MJ: He's hip, the new thing, and he's with the kids today. They like his work. He's tapped into the nerve of popular culture. It just made good sense.

VIBE: What was it like for you to appear at New York's Hot 97 Summer Jam concert as Jay-Z's guest?

MJ: I just showed up and gave him a hug. There was a tumultuous explosion of applause and stomping, a lovely, lovely welcome, and I was happy about that. It was a great feeling - the love, the love.

VIBE: Does it bother you to see people emulate you, such as Usher, Sisqo, Ginuwine, and even Destiny's Child?

MJ: I don't mind it at all. These are artists who grew up with my music. When you grow up listening to somebody you admire, you tend to become them. You want to look like them, to dress like them. When I was little, I was James Brown, I was Sammy Davis Jr., so I understand. It's a compliment.

VIBE: Did you know that you were creating timeless classics when you were recording Thriller and Off The Wall?

MJ: Yes, not to be arrogant, but yes. Because I know great material when I hear it, and meoldically and sonically and musically, it's so moving. They keep the promise.

VIBE: Do you feel there's a greater acceptance of black artists these days?

MJ: I think people have always admired black music since the beginning of time, if you want to go back to Negro spirituals. Today, the market is just accepting of the fact that that's the sound. From Britney to 'N Sync, they're all doing the R&B thing. Even Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees he always tells me [immitating a British accent], "Man, we do R&B." I say, Barry, I don't categorize it, but it's great music. I understand where he's coming from. I love great music - it has no color, it has no boundaries.

VIBE: You seem to be enjoying life as a single parent.

MJ: I never had so much fun in all my life. That's the truth. Beacause I'm this big kid, and now I get to see the world through the eyes of the really young ones. I learn more from them than they learn from me. I'm constantly trying things and testing things on them to see what works and what doesn't. Children are always the best judges to monitor something. If you can get the kids, you've got it. That's why Harry Potter is so successful - it's a family-oriented movie. You can't go wrong there. We want a wide demographic, and that's why I try not to say things in my lyrics that offend parents. I don't want to be like that. We weren't raised to be like that. Mother and Joseph [Michael's father] wouldn't say stuff like that.

VIBE: What do Prince and Paris listen to?

MJ: They listen to all of my music, and they love classical, which plays all around the ranch. They like any good dance music.

VIBE: How would you feel about your children becoming pop icons, based upon your experience?

MJ: I don't know how they would handle that. It would be tough. I really don't know. It's hard, since most of the children of celebrities end up becoming self-destructive because they can't live up to the talent of the parent. People used to always say to Fred Astaire Jr., "Can you dance?" And he couldn't. He didn't have any rhythm, but his father was this genius dancer. It doesn't mean that it has to be passed on. I always tell my children, You don't have to sing, you don't have to dance. Be who you want to be, as long as you're not hurting anybody. That's the main thing.

VIBE: Which artists - past and present - inspire you?

MJ: Stevie Wonder is a musical prophet. All of the early Motown. All the Beatles. I'm crazy about Sammy Davis Jr., Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson - the real entertainers, the real thing, not just gimmicks, showstoppers. When James Brown was with the Famous Flames, it was unbelievable. There are so many wonderful singers - Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis. Real stylists. You hear one line, and you know who it is. Nat "King" Cole, great stuff. Sam Cooke - they are all ridiculous.

VIBE: How involved were you in selecting the artists to perform in your 30th anniversary special?

MJ: I wasn't involved at all.

VIBE: How were you able to let go of something so big and so special?

MJ: Trust.

VIBE: What was your experience on September 11?

MJ: I was in New York [after performing at Madison Square Garden on September 7 and 10], and I got a call from friends in Saudi Arabia that America was being attacked. I turned on the news and saw the Twin Towers coming down, and I said, Oh my God. I screamed down the hotel hallway to our people, Everybody get out, let's leave now! Marlon Brando was on one end, our security was on the other end. We were all up there, but Elizabeth Taylor was at another hotel. We all got out of there as quickly as we could. We jumped in the car, but there were these girls who had been at the show the night before, and they were banging on the windows, running down the street screaming. Fans are so loyal. We hid in New Jersey. It was unbelievable - I was scared to death.

VIBE: On another tip altogether, what do you do for recreation?

MJ: I like water-balloon fights. We have a water-balloon fort here, and we have a red team and a blue team. We have slings and cannons, and you are drenched by the time the game is over. There's a timer, and whoever gets the most points is the winner. If I'm going to do some kind of sport, I have to laugh. I don't do anything like basketball or golf. Basketball is very competitive, and so is tennis; they make you angry. I'm not into that. It should be therapeutic. I also like to go to amusement parks, hang out with animals, things like that.

VIBE: Do you have a fantasy of something that you'd like to see in your lifetime?

MJ: I would like to see an international children's holiday to honor our children, because the family bond has been broken. There's a Mother's Day, and there's a Father's Day, but there's no children's day. It would mean a lot. It really would. World peace. I hope that our next generation will get to see a peaceful world, not the way things are going now.

VIBE: Has singing ever stopped being fun and become work?

MJ: It's always been fun. Unless I get physically sick, it's always fun. I still love it.

VIBE: Many of us see you as a historic figure, an innovator who has set a standard that still exists in music. Where does Michael Jackson go from here?

MJ: Thank you, thank you. I have a deep love for film and I want to pioneer and innovate in the medium of film - to write and direct and produce movies, to bring incredible entertainment.

VIBE: What kinds of movies? Are you looking at scripts?

MJ: Yes, but nothing has been finalized yet.

VIBE: Are you ever lonely?

MJ: Of course. If I'm onstage, I'm fine there. But you can have a house full of people and still be lonely from within. I'm not complaining, because I think it's a good thing for my work.

VIBE: Tell me about the inspiration for "Speechless". It's very loving.

MJ: You'll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water-balloon fight - I'm serious - and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote "Speechless". Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in it's entirety right there. I felt it would be good enough for the album. Out of the bliss comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.

VIBE: Do you collect anything?

MJ: I like anything to do with Shirley Temple, the Little Rascals, and the Three Stooges. I love Curly. I love him so much that I did a book on him. I got a hold of his daughter, and we wrote the book together.

VIBE: Is there anything that you would like to say to VIBE readers?

MJ: I love Quincy Jones. I really do. And also, I want to tell the readers not to judge a person by what they hear, or even what they read, unless they hear it from the person himself. There is so much tabloid sensationalism. Don't fall prey to it, it's ugly. I'd like to take all he tabloids and burn them. I want you to print that! Some of them try to diguise themselves, but they are still the tabloids.

VIBE: Finally, how do you channel your creativity?

MJ: I don't force it, I let nature take its course. I don't sit at the piano and think, I'm going to write the greatest song of all time. It doesn't happen. It has to be given to you. I believe it's already up there before you are born, and then it drops right into your lap. It's the most spiritual thing in the world. When it comes, it comes with all the accompaniments, the strings, the bass, the drums, the lyrics, and you're just the medium through which it comes, the channel. Sometimes I feel guilty putting my name on songs - "written by Michael Jackson - because it's as if the heavens have done it already. Like Michelangelo would have this huge piece of marble from the quaries of Italy, and he'd say, "Inside is a sleeping form." He takes a hammer and chisel, and he's just freeing it. It's already in there. It's already there.

 

Read more...

CBS 60 Minutes (December 2003)

 

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ED BRADLEY: What is your response to the allegations that were brought by the district attorney in Santa Barbara, that you molested this boy?

60-mins1

MICHAEL JACKSON: Totally false. Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists. I would never hurt a child. It's totally false. I was outraged. I could never do something like that.

EB: This is a kid you knew?

MJ: Yes.

EB: How would you characterize your relationship with this boy?

MJ: I've helped many, many, many children, thousands of children, cancer kids, leukemia kids. This is one of many.

EB: So, when he would come over, what would he do? What would you do?

MJ: I'll tell you exactly. When I first saw (BLEEP), he was total bald-headed, white as snow from the chemotherapy, very bony, looked anorexic, no eyebrows, no eyelashes. And he was so weak, I would have to carry him from the house to the game room, or push him in a wheelchair, to try to give him a childhood, a life. Cause I felt bad. Because I never had that chance, too, as a child. You know? That the-- and so, I know what it... it felt like in that way. Not being sick, but not having had a childhood. So, my heart go out to those children I feel their pain.

Michael says he tried to help in the healing process by taking the boy around the grounds of Neverland to Jackson’s favorite places.

MJ: He had never really climbed a tree. So, I had this tree that I have at Neverland. I call it, "My Giving Tree." Cause I like to write songs up there. I've written many songs up there. So, I said, "You have to climb a tree. That's part of boyhood. You just gotta do it." And-- I helped him up. And once he went up... up the tree, we looked down on the branches. And it was so beautiful. It was magical. And he loved it. To give him a chance to have a life, you know? Because he was told he wa s going to die. They told him. They told his-- his parents prepare for his funeral, that's how bad it was. And I put him on a program. I've helped many children doing this. I put him on a mental program.

EB: What was going through your mind when you're taken into a police station, in handcuffs, to have a mug shot taken, that you know is gonna be shown around the world?

MJ: They did it to try and belittle me, to try and to take away my pride. But I went through the whole system with them. And at the end, I... I wanted the public to know that I was okay, even though I was hurting.

EB: What happened when they arrested you? What did they do to you?

MJ: They were supposed to go in, and just check fingerprints, and do the whole thing that they do when they take somebody in. They manhandled me very roughly. My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It's hurting me very badly. I'm in pain all the time. This is, see this arm? This is as far as I can reach it. Same with this side over here.

EB: Because of what happened at the police station?

MJ: Yeah. Yeah. At the police station. And what they did to me... if you... if you saw what they did to my arms... it was very bad what they did. It's very swollen. I don't wanna say. You'll see. You'll see .

EB: How did they do it? I mean, what, physically, what did they do?

MJ: With the handcuffs, the way they tied 'em too tight behind my back...

EB: Behind your back?

MJ: Yeah. And putting it, they put it in a certain position, knowing that it's going to hurt, and affect my back. Now I can't move. I... I... it keeps me from sleeping at night. I can't sleep at night.

And Michael says there was more:

MJ: Then one time, I asked to use the restroom. And they said, "Sure, it's right around the corner there." Once I went in the restroom, they locked me in there for like 45 minutes. They was doo doo , feces thrown all over the walls, the floor, the ceiling. And it stunk so bad. Then one of the policemen came by the window. And he made a sarcastic remark. He said, "Smell... does it smell good enough for you in there? How do you like the smell? Is it good?" And I just simply said, "It's alrig ht. It's okay." So, I just sat there, and waited.

EB: For 45 minutes?

MJ: Yeah, for 45 minutes. About 45 minutes. And then-- then one cop would-- come by, and say, "Oh, you'll be out in-- in a second. You'll be out in a second." Then there would be another ten minutes added on, then another 15 minutes added on. They did this on purpose.

EB: How did you feel when they went into Neverland, I mean, with a search warrant? I mean, what were they looking for? What did they take?

MJ: My room is a complete wreck. My workers told me. They said, "Michael, don't go in your room." They were crying on the phone, my employees. They said, "If you saw your room, you would cry." I have stairs that go up to my bed. And they said, "You can't even get up the stairs. The room is totally trashed." And they had 80 policemen in this room, 80 policemen in one bedroom. That's really overdoing it//They took knives, and cut open my mattresses with knives. C-- just cut everything open.

EB: Did-- did they take anything from Neverland?

MJ: A... I'm not sure what they took. They never gave me a list.

EB: But you're saying that they destroyed your property?

MJ: Yes, they did. And then they, what they did was they made everybody that work at the property (SIC), they locked everybody out of the house. They had the whole house to themselves to do whatever they wanted. And-- they totally took advantage. They went into areas they weren't supposed to go into-- like my office. They didn't have search warrants for those places. And they totally took advantage. And the room is a total, total wreck, they told me. I don't think I wanna see it. I'm not ready to see it yet.

EB: So, you haven't been back there?

MJ: I've been back there. But not in my bedroom. I won't live there ever again. I'll visit Neverland. It's a house now. It's not a home anymore. I'll only visit there.What time is it? Cause I'm hurting. You know what? I'm... I'm hurting. I have to go pretty soon anyway. Yeah. Okay. I don't feel good.

Michael goes on to talk about how he thinks it's all about the money...

MJ: Somewhere greed got in there, and somebody... I... I can't quite say. But it has to do with money. It's Michael Jackson. Look what we have here. We can get money out of this//That's exactly what happened.

EB: You had helped him with his cancer. ...What I don't understand is why today and I know you say it’s money, but ...why would he turn around and say, "Michael Jackson sexually molested me," if it weren't true?

MJ: Because parents have power over children. They feel they have to do what their parents say ...But...the love of money is the root of all evil. And this is a sweet child. And to see him turn like this, this isn't him. This is not him

EB: So, you don't think this comes from him? This...

MJ: No.

EB: ...comes from his parents?

MJ: No. This is not him. No. I know his heart

Michael said he would NEVER settle this case.

EB: When the accusations that were made, the allegations back in 1993, you were innocent of those allegations then?.

MJ: Yes.

EB: So-- if you were innocent, why would you pay, I mean, to keep you quiet? I mean, why not go into court, and fight for your good name? I mean-

MJ: I'm not allowed to talk on that

Male Voice: I'm gonna stop you for a second.

EB: Sure.

Mark Geragos (Michael's Lawyer): I mean, remember what happened to him ten years ago. He was humiliated. He was... he went through where somebody... was examining him. Was photographing him. Was having him-- humiliating him in the worst way in terms of looking at his private parts and photographing his private parts. And... and he was subjected to some of the most, just intrusive kinds of things that you could ever imagine. I can only try to put myself into that situation and... and say look; If money could make that situation go away, maybe that... that was the calculus then. I don't know and I don't wanna second guess it

EB: But-- but what you end up with is the public perception that this has happened not once, this has happened twice. That young boys have... have come forward to accuse him of... of sexual molestation over the last ten years. And he has made public comments about how he enjoys sharing his bed with children. Can you understand how the public might feel that, hey, maybe there's something here. There's a lot of smoke.

Mark Geragos: Well, look. There's a lot of smoke. But a lot of the people who blow the smoke are-- are twisting what's happened. I understand when people say, now, there's somebody else who came forward. But I... I think, in all fairness, most people 'get it.' Most people understand that this case is not about anything but money.

EB: That British documentary last February-- which you didn't like

MJ: Yeah, I didn't like it.

EB: You... you said in that documentary that... that many children have slept in your bedroom.

MJ: Yeah.

EB: You said, and-- and I'm gonna (SIC) quote here, "Why can't you share your bed? A most loving thing to do is to share your bed with... with someone."

MJ: Yes.

EB: As-- as we sit here today, do you still think that it's acceptable to share your bed with children?

MJ: Of course. Of course. Why not? If you're gonna be a pedophile, if you're gonna be Jack, the Ripper, if you're gonna be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I'm not. That's how we were raised. And I met... I didn't sleep in the bed with the child. Even if I did, it's okay. I slept on the floor. I give the bed to the child.

EB: You're a parent. You've got three children.

MJ: Yes.

EB: Would you allow your children to sleep in the bed with a grown man, who was not a relative, or to sleep in the bedroom?

MJ: Sure, if I know that person, trust them, and love them. That's happened many times with me when I was little.

EB: Would you, as a parent, allow your children to sleep in the same bedroom with someone, who has the suspicions and allegations that have been made against you, and about you today? Would you allow that?

MJ: Someone

EB: If you knew someone, who had the same

MJ: I'm not

EB: kind of allegations...

MJ: Ed, I... I know exactly what you're saying.

EB: --that were made against you-- would you let your children...

MJ: My children?

EB: ...sleep in that man's bedroom?

MJ: Mmm, if I... if I knew the person personally. Cause I know how the press is, and how people can twist the truth, if I knew the person personally, absolutely yes. Absolutely. I wouldn't have a problem with it.

EB: Do you know how this looks to a lot of people? I mean, do you understand that?

MJ: How does what look?

EB: How the fact that you...

MJ: Know why? People think sex. They're thinking sex. My mind doesn't run that way. When I see children, I see the face of God. That's why I love them so much. That's what I see.

EB: Do you know any other man your age, a 45 year old man, who shares his bedroom with children?

MJ: Of course. Not for sex. No. That's wrong.

EB: Well, let me... let me say, from my perspective, my experience, I don't know any 45 year old men, who are not relatives of the children, who share their bedroom with other children.

MJ: Well, what's wrong with sharing your bed? I didn't say I slept in the bed. Even if I did sleep in the bed, it's okay. I am not going to do anything sexual to a child. It's not where my heart is. I would never do anything like that. That's not Michael Jackson. I'm sorry. That's someone else.

EB: What... what has this done to your career?

MJ: What... what has it done to my career?

EB: What has it done to your career?

MJ: In what way?

EB: How has it impacted-- you know...

MJ: I'm... my album...

EB: ...touring, record sales...

MJ: --album is number one all over the world. All over the world. America is the only one, because I... I don't wanna say too much.

EB: But it's not number one in the United States?

MJ: It's a conspiracy. Yeah. I’m getting tired.

EB: Michael, what would you say to you-- your fans, who have supported you through all of this, and... and who today, some of them might have questions? What would you say to them?

MJ: Well, I would tell them I love them very much. And I... I... they've learned about me, and know about me from a distance. But if you really want to know about me, there's a song I wrote, which is the most honest song I've ever written. It's the most autobiographical song I've ever written. It's called, "Childhood." They should listen to it. That's the one they really should listen to. And thank you for your support, the fans around the world. I love you with all my heart. I don't take a ny of it for granted. Any of it. And I love them dearly, all over the world.

Read more...

At Large With Geraldo Rivera (Feb 2005)

 

 

geraldo

On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera conducted an intimate and revealing interview with Michael Jackson. Here we see a glimpse of the real man, the father, the warrior and the tender heart behind the media's often very inaccurate portrayal.

Geraldo Rivera: How you doing, man?

Michael Jackson: How you doing?

GR: Good to see you.

GR: You get to smile anymore?

MJ: Of course, I smile a lot.

GR: You smile when you’re in a recording studio like this one, doing music?…

MJ: Of course, I love music.

GR: Is it nice to get back to the music? …

MJ: It’s fantastic. Because ahhh… It’s my life. That’s what I do.

GR: You’ve been so distracted, you know, you want to talk about how you’re feeling?

MJ: I’m doing fine Geraldo, how are you?

GR: Despite whatever else goes on in the world, you’re doing ok?

MJ: I’m doing very well, thank you.

GR: You know, it was wonderful, seeing you with the children. That I think, is the real Michael Jackson that has not been seen… you with your own children, one in diapers the other two toddlers… I don’t know how you manage without a nanny.

MJ: Well, I enjoy taking care of my children myself it’s... it’s fun that’s why I had them so I could take care of them and it’s just great relief for me you know it’s a pleasure it keeps me happy and laughing and you know, they’re wonderful sweet innocent children.

GR: I saw you as kind of the arbitrator between the Nickelodeon and the Disney channel there. You got some really difficult problems to solve there. But you have such a- a kind of a normal life there. It’s sweet to see.

MJ: Thank you. They bring me that.

GR: Tell me, tell me what the children mean to you, your own children.

MJ: They mean, it’s hard to put it into words because they mean everything. The way you would explain how your children make you feel... They’re the world for me, I wake up and I’m ready for the day because of them. I get them breakfast, I change diapers, if they want to read, we do a lot of reading, we play hide and seek, we play blind fold and have a wonderful time with it.

GR: And you can create a world that at least begins to seem normal? They don’t know any other world obviously.

MJ: I do my best for sure.

GR: So, that is obviously a priority to you

MJ: Yes of course. I want to be the best father in the world of course.

GR: Do they know who you are? Or what you mean to people?

MJ: Yes, they do. They’ve been on tours with me and in limousines among a sea of fans.

GR: Do they like it?

MJ: They find it exciting. They want to get on stage. They bug me to go on stage with me. So, pretty sure I ‘m going to take them on with me and let the world see them for the first time.

GR: They don’t say, ‘Daddy I want to go home and watch Nickelodeon?’

MJ: (Laughs) Probably, probably.

GR: They do that too.

MJ: Yes.

GR: So how do you feel being here again, being in a recording studio again, focussing on the music again? Is it a relief, in a sense?

MJ: It’s a great relief. It makes me feel like I’m totally at home. I’m into my own. Which is what I’m here for. Any of the arts… like that could be film, you know, music, any type of art, I love it.

GR: So, when you’re being the quote on quote, King of Pop, that’s when you’re the most comfortable? Or is it the creative process?

MJ: The creative process, yes. I’m obsessed with creating…

GR: I saw you and Randy, the way you guys react - it’s very reminiscent of the way my brothers and I are together. Who’s top dog?

MJ: Randy.

GR: That’s not what I saw

GR: But, uh, you trust your family.

MJ: Of course, you have to.

GR: Is it a ‘blood thicker than water’ thing? What is it?

MJ: Family is everything. It’s love. It’s what we were taught. We’re friends at the end of the day, which is important. Other than what the public or press people say, we’re friends. We love each other very much.

GR: So, is the family closely knit, despite all the tabloid stuff?

MJ: That’s sensationalism.

GR: How do you deal with that?

MJ: How do I deal with sensationalism?

GR: Yeah. How do you deal with everything in your life being magnified, exaggerated, almost to a grotesque level.

MJ: It’s like looking at a fictitious movie. Because its fiction. It’s like watching science fiction. It’s not true. And I know myself and it’s sad when people have to read those things and they believe it.

GR: Do you feel like holding a press conference every week and saying, this is the rumor du jour, it’s not true

MJ: I know eventually, the truth will prevail and I’m about truth.

GR: I’ve researched it and I can’t find anyone who has been more frivolously sued than you for the most outrageous reasons. One of your attorneys told me that a woman called Billie Jean Jackson called and said, ‘Stop accepting any paychecks, Mr. Attorney, I’m the wife - Billie Jean…’ obviously from your hit song, I mean, how do you… First of all, how does it affect you?

MJ: Does it affect me? Yes, but I’ve become immune in a way too, I have rhinoceros skin but at the same time I’m human. So, anything can hurt like that, but I’m very strong. And, I just don’t like people hearing about such false information.

GR: For instance, did you father quadruplets last year?

MJ: That was a crazy rumor.

GR: Then they became twins. I don’t know what happened to the other two, maybe they were abducted by aliens.

MJ: I heard about that story and I don’t have any twins. They said I’m hiding them or something? Another made up rumor.

GR: So it’s completely false.

MJ: The bigger the star, the bigger the target. I’m not trying to say I’m the super-duper star, I’m not saying that. I’m saying the fact that people come at celebrities, we’re targets. But truth always prevails. I believe in that. I believe in God, you know?

GR: Does that faith sustain you?

MJ: Of course, it does.

GR: How about friendship?

MJ: What about friendship?

GR: Do you rely on friends? Have people stayed with you through thick and thin? Who are your best friends?

MJ: My children, my family, my brothers and my sisters and yeah, most people have. Most people have.

GR: Do you want to mention the names of the true blue?

MJ: The faithful, you wouldn’t know them so, it’s uh…

GR: Elizabeth Taylor?

MJ: Oh, she’s very loyal, I see Elizabeth Taylor all the time. She’s my dear friend, I was just at her house. We have wonderful talks on the phone at night, several times a week sometimes…

GR: So how long have you two been friends?

MJ: I’ve known Elizabeth closely since I was 16…

GR: And you’ve been making music since you’re five

MJ: Yes

GR: So you’re in your fifth decade of making music. That’s forty-one years of making music.

MJ: Yes.

GR: You ever get sick of it?

MJ: No, no, not at all I never get enough of it (music).

GR: Really.

GR: Do you ever get sick of Randy?

(Laughing)

GR: He’s here, ladies and gentlemen.

MJ: Never, never, never He’s (Randy) wonderful. He’s been amazing, supportive, and amazingly brilliant.

GR: So, they’re all different. Your whole family is crazy, exocentric… like my family.

MJ: Every brother, sister is completely different, like any family, you have all the different elements… that’s what makes it a family.

GR: When you have such intense scrutiny, how do you live any kind of a normal life? How do you have any kind of fun outside of your own property?

MJ: I don’t. I go off property sometimes, but not all the time. I create my world behind the gates you know because I can’t go to the local movie theater down the street or the local park down the street or go pickup ice cream at the market, at the corner store. So, you want to create that world behind the gates and that’s what I try and do. And it’s not just for me if I could share with my family, friends, or whoever I do.

GR: And that necessity for some privacy, drives all these crazy rumors and speculations. A difficult balancing act that you have to endure.

GR: But you’re not complaining are you? I don’t. I try to rub it off. I don’t know what I’m the king of… the king of getting shot at maybe. Ha ha ha ha.

MJ: “The king of journalism.”

GR: So, what is it about children in distress? You mentioned the Tsunami relief effort. What is it? Is it your own fatherhood that motivates that?

MJ: Caring. And reading the Bible, learning about God, Jesus, Love. He said, ‘bring on the children’, ‘imitate the children’, ‘be like the children’ and ‘take care of others.’ Take care of old people. And we were raised with those values. Those are very important values and my family and I we were raised with those values and they continue strong in us today.

GR: What about movies for yourself again? You had The Wiz and some of the others but we haven’t seen you on the big screen in a while.

MJ: I’ll be directing myself. I love directing. I love creativity and I think when an artist steps forward with a production of some type, if he can express himself the way he sees it should be done. I feel it and I see it. I’m a visionary. If I can give that, I do and that’s what I love to do with music and dance and the arts.

GR: And do you think art has a role in real life? Specifically referring to this record and Tsunami relief?

MJ: I saw it the day after Christmas and as the numbers kept escalating, it just became phenomenal and not even I could believe that it was true. I was amazed. I said, I thought I should do something. That’s what God gave us talent for. To give and to help people and to give back. So, my brothers and I decided to put a song together…

GR: What did you pick up the phone and say, “hey bros?” What did you say?

MJ: We just say, hey, we want to do something in the studio for the Tsunami victims. Let’s get together and organize it. And they just said great.

GR: However, you’re back, I think that people will appreciate the fact that you’re back. Wouldn’t you kind of exalt in a world where you could concentrate on your art and your kids?


MJ: I would love it. I mean that’s what drives me. The medium. The art. That’s the world I’m most comfortable in.”

GR: In Gary, Indiana, did you ever expect where your world would be as a 46 year old man?

MJ: I never thought about it. I knew I wanted to do something wonderful all of my life and to help people and I never clearly really thought about it when I was really little. I just sang and danced and didn’t understand whey people were applauding and clapping and screaming. You really don’t. You don’t know why…

GR: When you grow up like that on stage, when do you get it? When do you understand where you fit in to society?

MJ: It takes longer when you get older. You get a more rounded personality and your brain starts to grow. You start reasoning and understanding more things, researching.
.
GR: Isn’t it nice to have a conversation on television where people can just hear you being ordinary, normal, reasonable.

MJ: I’m like this all the time. I’m just being myself.

GR: At a certain point, Michael Jackson and the brothers Jackson kind of separated artistically, is this a moment in your life where you’re coming back together? Obviously you’ll continue your solo career, but what’s the big plan, what’s the big picture at this stage in your life? What has been left unachieved? What would you like to do?

MJ: There are a lot of surprises. Film. I love film. It’s innovating, taking the medium to a new place. I used the music video medium as a short film medium to take me to the next level. I’m having a lot of fun.

GR: Do you ever look back and contemplate, oh my goodness, Thriller is the biggest selling musical performance ever, do you ever get your arms around that?

MJ: I try not to think about it too hard because I don’t want my subconscious mind to think I’ve done it all, you’re done now. That’s why I don’t put awards or trophies in my house. You won’t find a gold record anywhere in my house. Because it makes you feel you’ve accomplished. Look what I’ve done. But I always want to feel, no I haven’t done it yet.

GR: ‘The King of Pop’ and now I look at some of these performers- there’s a new one - there’s 50 cent and another one- I forget his name, but they’re well-known because they survived violent attacks where they almost died and they’re into hip hop kind of - it’s a different era in popular music- do you think you’ll be more like them- more urban kind of- or will the world come back to more pop and traditional rock?

MJ: Great music & great melodies are immortal. Culture changes, fashion change, customs, great music is immortal. We still listen to Mozart today, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, any of them, any of the greats. Great music is like a great piece of sculpture, a great painting. It’s forever. That’s a fact.

GR: On the other hand, I interviewed Barbara Streisand at one pivotal point in her career, she was going to do duets with the BeeGees and other popular artists- she kind of changed the tempo to surprise people.

MJ: I’ve done a lot of it already… I don’t really rap, but I could… I’ve written songs with rap versus in them for very famous rappers, but they’re much better at it than I am.

GR: Don’t you appreciate, despite your isolated life and despite the fact you’ve been a star so long, you still have what appears to be a very passionate and profound relationship with the community. Does that support you? Does that sustain you? Do you agree with me?

MJ: Yes, I do agree, because it’s important to love your neighbors…

GR: But were does it come from… where does that almost instinctive love of you come from?

MJ: I truly think it comes from my mother and God (instinctive love) The way we were raised. The values my father instilled in us in youth. She was always with the Bible teaching us - we’d go to service all the time. Four times a week and I’m so glad we did that because those are values that are very important. I don’t know if I could have done as well without them.

GR: Do you still spend time with mom and dad? They’re not far from here right now? And what is that relationship all about? I’m so close to my mom, obviously.

MJ: It’s wonderful. At this stage, you tend to appreciate more who your parents are more and what they’ve done for you. You start to retrack where you are in your life and all the wonderful things they’ve instilled in you. You start to see them come forth. I’m starting to see a lot of things. Traits that my father influenced me on and my mother.

GR: My friend Cheech, who you know, whose partner Tommy Chong helped discover you guys, ‘Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers’, he says that as he gets older, he looks at his father’s face in the mirror. Do you feel that? Are you becoming like your dad?

MJ: I’m very much like my father in a lot of ways. He’s very strong. He’s a warrior. He’s always taught us to be courageous and to be confident and to believe in our ideals. And no matter what, no star is too far to reach and you never give up. And our mother taught us that as well.

GR: So you’re a warrior also?

MJ: Absolutely.

GR: That’s the way you see yourself?

GR: Tell us more about the way you see yourself?

MJ: I try to be kind and generous and to give to people and to do what I think God wants me to do. Sometimes I pray and say “where do you want me to go next, God? What do you want me to do from here?” I’ve always been very spiritual in that way. It’s nothing new.

GR: Did you ever see the movie “Finding Neverland” or read about J. M. Barrie, the man who wrote “Peter Pan.”

MJ: I know a lot about Mr. Barrie and I’ve been a fan for many, many, many years.

GR: You know, he had a rocky road, similar to you, I don’t want to get too far into it. Tell us what led to the creation of Neverland. I mean, specifically the place – There are 2 Neverlands, there’s 3. There’s Peter Pan’s Neverland, there’s the Neverland in Michael Jackson’s mind and then there’s the physical place you created up there where I visited you when you brought up all the inner-city children. Why did you create that place?

MJ: I created Neverland as a home for myself and my children and it was created simply, it was almost like it was done subconsciously, like I said earlier, where can I go? I mean, it’s hard. I’ve tried to go out as myself and I’ve had policemen tell me, “put on a disguise! And give me an autograph for my wife!” They tell me, “why are you out here with no security?” I can’t do it. I do it sometimes, but it’s very difficult.

GR: But you owned Neverland before you had the kids, was it for you? The exotic animals, were they for Michael Jackson?

MJ: For me and sharing with others. It gave me a chance to do what I couldn’t do when I was little. We couldn’t go to movie theaters. We couldn’t go to Disneyland. We couldn’t do all those fun things. We were on tour. We were working hard. And we did enjoy it. But this allowed me to have a place behind the gates where the entire world I love is there.

GR: You create, like Barrie, this imaginative world, do you ever outgrow something like that Michael? Do you ever think this is silly to have the llamas and the choo-choo trains and the rides?

MJ: It’s calling God silly if you do that, because God made all things great and small. Other men have their Ferraris and their airplanes or helicopters or wherever they find their bliss. My bliss is in giving and sharing and having simple innocent fun.

GR: Your homes. For all the grandeur of Neverland. Your home is quite modest. And your personal style. I don’t see any bling for instance. How come you don’t have the big diamond thing that says Michael?

MJ: I’m modest in that way. If I had it on, I would probably give it away to the first kid to say, ‘wow, I like your necklace.’ When I was growing up, stars like Sammy Davis, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly… if I admired something they were wearing, If I simply said, ‘I love that shirt you’re wearing,’ they would give it to me. It’s a show business trait. Hand it over.

GR: Despite the glare of the media attention and even the day that I was there and you invited the inner-city kids there, what’s it like to have the kids there? Why do you do that? I wanted to ask you that question that day but I pose it to you know.

MJ: I’ve traveled the world over 8 times. I do as many hospitals and orphanages as I do concerts. But, of course, it’s not covered (by the press). That’s not why I do it, for coverage. I do it because it’s from my heart. And there are so many children in the city who haven’t seen the mountains, who haven’t been on a carousel, who haven’t pet a horse or a llama, never seen them, so if I can open my gates and see that bliss, an explosion of screaming laughter from the children and they run on the rides, I say “Thank you, God.” I feel I’ve won God’s smile of approval, because I’m doing something that brings joy and happiness to other people.

GR: So, you’re close to your siblings? How does it affect you when they get involved - like Janet’s superbowl flap? Just tell me how you responded as a brother and a viewer?

MJ: Oh, I can’t speak for my sister. With love. Actually, I was looking right at it and I didn’t see it. I was at a friend of mine’s house, Ron Burkle and in a movie theater, it was huge on the screen and I didn’t even see it. I heard all this controversy the next day and I said, “That’s not true.” I didn’t even see it.

GR: Do you think the controversy was overblown? Do you think it’s a Jackson related phenomena or is it a testament to our times socially in this country?

MJ: That’s an interesting hypothesis too. It’s both. It’s hard to answer. I’d rather not answer that one.

GR: Did you call her and say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff?’

MJ: Something like that. ‘Be strong. This too shall pass.’ ‘Don’t worry about it.’ I’ve seen worse things. I said, “Janet, you’re too young to remember but, I once watched the Oscars with David Niven on it and a naked man came running out, streaking. Now, he didn’t get there on his own. That was organized and nobody - they didn’t say much about that.” I’ll just say that much. That was live, around the world. The next day it was a joke.

GR: I think there is a Jackson component. I think the thing was exaggerated. I think the Jackson thing was part of the reason.

MJ: Thank you.

GR: So as you go forward in this record, what are we going to expect? Are we going to hear this on the radio and then people are going to send in their money and it’s going to go to these kids in the Indian Ocean region?

MJ: I would like that very much.

GR: Now tell me, how that act of largesse, that compassion, will make you feel? Sometimes, I think, I feel better giving than receiving in my life, explain the mechanics of that in your own life.

MJ: It’s just the idea. I don’t know if its the psychology of it or what. I just love working hard on something. Putting it together. Sweating over it and then sharing it with people and then having them love it and I always pray that they like it. That’s what gives me great satisfaction as an artist.

GR: Does it frustrate you professionally or personally when people say that this Jackson project flopped or that happened. Your ‘Number Ones’ compilation for instance, 7 and a half million copies sold. Now I think that’s quadruple platinum or whatever it is you label it. And yet the characterization by some in the music business at least is that you’re not- you know, that it wasn’t a hit.

MJ: I don’t know which project you’re talking about… because of negative news. Sensationalism seems to sell more than wonderful, positive news. People would rather hear gossip. My last 8 albums have all entered the charts at number 1, so people like to sensationalize things and make up stories and rumors and sometimes…

GR: Does it hurt your feelings? Do you want to scream out and say, “Hey wait a minute, check the numbers!”

MJ: It’s a commonality in mankind that I don’t like. That part of it, but then there’s a beautiful side to mankind too, isn’t there?

GR: But not to Eminem. We’ve spoken about it. I think that you should. Why not?

MJ: And what’s your question?

GR: Stevie Wonder said that he was piling on and how really rude it was for someone who made his money from the community to ‘diss the community in a sense in a racist and, I’ve said it, very bold faced, bigoted presentation. Tell us how that hurt you and how you’re feeling about it now.

MJ: I’ve never met Mr. Eminem, and I’ve always admired him and to have him do something like that was pretty painful as an artist to another artist and it’s sad because I think what Stevie Wonder said is true, I just don’t want to say too much more than that. He (Eminem) should be ashamed of himself what he’s doing. Stevie said he’s bulls***. He used the word. That’s what he said. I’m not saying it, Stevie said it. Stevie’s amazing. He’s one of the sweetest men in the world.

GR: Stevie did and he is bulls***. So, when Stevie said that, did you feel a tremendous sense of reassurance, of brotherly love, there?

MJ: I love Stevie Wonder. To me, he’s a musical prophet. I’ll always love him. A lot of people respect Stevie and he’s a very strong entity in this medium, in this business and when he speaks, people listen and it was wrong of Eminem to do what he did. I’ve been an artist most of my life and I’ve never attacked a fellow artist. great artists don’t do that. You don’t have to do that.

GR: I mentioned Janet’s fiasco and the exaggerated response to it. Once again do you think he only did it because he knew he could get away with it because you’re Michael Jackson?

MJ: Yeah, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s silly. It’s kind of elementary. I hope he’s having fun…

GR: Like a poo-poo joke. It still hurts your feelings and you don’t want your kids to see it.

MJ: Oh god, I would hate it if they saw it. I would hate that”

GR: Finally, we’ve studiously avoided the case and not talked at all about the case that’s pending. You’re under this gag order. I know that you have received permission from the judge to read a statement. I hate to end an interview that way, but if you’d like to read that statement now, I think it’s important.

MJ: IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS, A LARGE AMOUNT OF UGLY, MALICIOUS INFORMATION HAS BEEN RELEASED INTO THE MEDIA ABOUT ME. APPARENTLY, THIS INFORMATION WAS LEAKED THROUGH TRANSCRIPTS IN A GRAND JURY PROCEEDING WHERE NEITHER MY LAWYERS NOR I EVER APPEARED. THE INFORMATION IS DISGUSTING AND FALSE.

YEARS AGO, I ALLOWED A FAMILY TO VISIT AND SPEND TIME AT NEVERLAND. NEVERLAND IS MY HOME. I ALLOWED THIS FAMILY INTO MY HOME BECAUSE THEY TOLD ME THEIR SON WAS ILL WITH CANCER AND NEEDED MY HELP.

THROUGH THE YEARS, I HAVE HELPED THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE ILL OR IN DISTRESS.

THESE EVENTS HAVE CAUSED A NIGHTMARE FOR MY FAMILY, MY CHILDREN AND ME. I NEVER INTEND TO PLACE MYSELF IN SO VULNERABLE A POSITION AGAIN.

I LOVE MY COMMUNITY AND I HAVE GREAT FAITH IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. PLEASE KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND LET ME HAVE MY DAY IN COURT. I DESERVE A FAIR TRIAL LIKE EVERY OTHER AMERICAN CITIZEN. I WILL BE ACQUITTED AND VINDICATED WHEN THE TRUTH IS TOLD.

GR: Michael is there anything else you would like to say?

MJ: Yes. I would just like for the public to keep my family and myself in their prayers. That would be very nice. Thank you, Geraldo.

 

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Jesse Jackson Interview (March 2005)

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Jesse Jackson Interviews Michael Jackson

Sunday, March 27, 2005

From the Jesse Jackson’s Radio Show Keep Hope Alive

Jesse Jackson: Good morning. God Bless you. Happy Easter. Welcome to Keep Hope Alive with Reverend Jesse Jackson radio program. This is Reverend Jesse Jackson and this morning I wish you a happy and glorious Easter.

Brothers and sisters, I encourage those of you who are listening today, to tell your friends about us and to listen to us on live on the web on Sunday mornings from 7-8am Central Time, 8-9am Eastern Time (sic) on your website, on our website keephopealiveradio.com. And please email us with your thoughts and comments. We want to hear from you. So drop us an email throughout the week at the same address keephopealiveradio.com.

But what can I say today about our special guest this morning. This legendary singer, dancer, songwriter, extraordinary, has transfixed the role for more than 40 years. He became an instant star at age eleven. Is the front man in Motown’s phenomenally successful family act, the Jackson Five. One of the best selling groups of all time. Hickering off their Motown tenure in 1969 with the unprecedented feat of four consecutive number one singles. Who can forget “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “Mama’s Pearl”, or “I’ll Be There”?

Where were you when you were having barely turned thirteen? He began his solo career. Released a successful string of solo singles including “Got To Be There”, “Rockin’ Robin” and “Ben”. We’ve all marveled as he continued to scale at unprecedented heights with the success of three of the biggest selling albums of all time: ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’. Indeed, ‘Thriller’ is the biggest selling album of all time. Having sold 51 million copies world-wide, beyond the numbers how important and pyridine shifting has Jackson recording and shattering record, how… How phenomenal has it really been? What a phenomenal feat.

As producer Quincy Jones told Time magazine. “Black music had to play second fiddle for a long time.” In the spirit is the whole motor of pop. He has connected with every soul in the world. He has been proclaimed the biggest selling artist of all time. The singer most awarded entertainer the world has ever known. The most popular artist in the history of show business. And not so modestly, the world’s most famous man. And of course, the King of Pop.

And still our world goes on, on about this genius, about this icon for ages. Brothers and sisters, members of the Keep Hope Alive family, today we have the rare opportunity to take a journey from Gary to greatness. Hear the King of Pop share the story of his life as only he can tell it. It’s with great pride and pleasure that I bring to you this morning Michael Jackson from California.

Good morning Michael.

Michael Jackson: Good morning Jesse. How are you?

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Good. It’s good to hear you there. Many listening ears around America and the world for our conversation today.

Michael: Yes.

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Good.

Michael: Good.

Jesse: We’ll my friends lets get this conversation started. We have a shared conversation with our nation. Stay right there. You don’t want to miss this conversation with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. We’ll be right back with Keep Hope Alive with the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]


Jesse: Welcome to Keep It Alive with Reverend Jesse Jackson. Our regular Sunday morning talk show. Today we have a phenomenal guest in Michael Jackson. Michael has taken this phenomenal journey from ground zero to outer space. Good morning Michael.

Michael: Good morning Jesse. How are you?

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Remember when we met on 47th Street way, way many years ago. Your father brought you and the guys by the office in your station wagon and U-Haul. You were performing at the Regal Theatre. Do you remember that?

Michael: Yes, I do remember. It was a long time ago. I was just very little.

Jesse: What do you remember about that period?

Michael: Oh, I remember what we were wearing kinda like dashikis (sic) and bell-bottoms pants and I just remember the love from the public was very great and accepting of what we had to offer. And the support from you know the people from the times was just beautiful, the black people was fantastic. You were always very kind to us as well.

Jesse: Good. Good. Good. Did your mom make those outfits?

Michael: Yes she did. She always made all of our clothes. My mother would sew and stitch everything. Everything we wore before we really making it at Motown.

Jesse: I remember so well that uh Julius Griffin and up your dad came over and asked if you guys could be a warm-up act at Expo, and we had to make room for you in our schedule and you guys stole the show.

Michael (laughs): I remember those shows. You had a big time Afro at that time.

Jesse: Don’t remind people of that Michael. You did so very well.

(Michael laughs)

Jesse: During that time you were being whipped up by Motown. Who discovered you for Motown?

Michael: Well in complete truth, it was Gladys Knight and a guy named Bobby Taylor. And they were on the bill of some of the shows who were doing that you would see like…you would do a show and there would be like twenty or thirty acts. It was pretty much like Bonneville. You would do just a certain number of songs and you would go off. They were always on these shows. And they would watch us and they were so impressed with what we were doing. And Barry Gordy wasn’t interested at first. But eventually he loved us and wanted to sign us. And after being signed, and uh, since Diana Ross was their biggest star at the time, that he used her as the vehicle to…you know…introduce us to the public. The first album was called “Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five”.

Jesse: At that time, who was your favorite artist?

Michael: Oh God, I loved Diana Ross and uh, I loved James Brown, I still do. I love all these artists…still to this day. I love Jackie Wilson. The real show stoppers. You know the real entertainers.

Jesse: did you did…

Michael (interrupts): Sammy Davis, Jr, I loved him as well (laughs).

Jesse: Did you get any of your moves from Jackie Wilson?

Michael: Oh yes of course! All these artists inspired me very much. I couldn’t help but be inspired by these great entertainers.

Jesse: A little later, remember we were out in Los Angeles and at that time Suzanne dePasse was your the godmother for the group and she had you at Fred Seigel’s shopping for some, shopping for some jeans.

Michael: Yes! Remember Suzanne dePasse, she was so wonderful, you know. She was pretty much our manager with my father at the time and with Tony Jones. They were all wonder people. I thank them from the bottom of my heart, you know.

Jesse: She was such a wonderful person, and she remains, she’s so top-notch in that what she does.

Michael: Yes, she is. She was very helpful and instrumental in the early days of our careers that she remains a friend. And I do, I do…I miss her. I haven’t seen her in awhile. She remains a wonderful person… so does Berry Gordy.

Jesse: Michael in this whole developmental period. I call it ground zero like Gary and the Regal Theatre and the Expo and early meeting of Barry Gordy and Motown, would you reflect, what was out of this period that you remember the most?

Michael: Which period was this now?

Jessie: Kinda like this period of Gary, to the Regal Theatre, to Expo to meeting Gladys Knight, to going to Motown. From what about this period that stands out the most in your mind?

Michael: This period for me which stands out is because I was so young around that time. I was like eight, eight or nine. I just remember the environment, what it was like, all the music I was hearing. My father played guitar. My uncle played guitar. Everyday they would come over, and you know they would play great music. And we would start to perform to the music. I remember seeing marching bands go down the street. I would remember the rhythm of the band and the beats of the drum. And every sound around me seem to record in my head and start making rhythms and dancing. I use to dance to the rhythm of the washing machine. My mother went to the corner store to wash the clothes. I would dance to the rhythm and people would crowd around. I remember those kind of stories. They would crowd around pretty much and watch me. Those kind of little things. They are reflections really.

Jesse: Well, you remember you said that Jackie Wilson, and James Brown and Sammy Davis were heroes. Did you ever see them perform?

Michael: Yes, of course I did and they were friends of mine. All these great artists. That’s why I was so lucky. I was just such a little kid, looking up to these people. We were real catatonic, awestruck with their talent. Not only did I get to see it, but I got to see it close up right on the side curtain, on the side of the wings. I got to know these great artists. These were the best entertainers in the world. They were show stoppers. And I would have to go onstage sometime after them, you know. It was amazing!

Jesse: But the thing is that at first I remember Tito and Jermaine you were like so little, so small. You was part of the Jackson Five. At what point did you know that you realize you were a show stopper?

Michael: You know when you have a special ability. You don’t realize it because you think everybody else has the same gift that you have. So you don’t realize it. When I used to sing at such a young age, people were so inspired by my singing and they loved it. I didn’t realize why they were clapping or crying or start to scream. I really truly didn’t Jesse. And it just uhm, just later on in life, people would come up to me and say you know do you realize you have a special gift or you have a special talent. I just remember from my mother who is very religious always telling us to always thank God, to thank Jehovah God for your talent, your ability. You know it’s not from, it’s not our doing, and it’s from above. So we were always humbled by people would come with accolades or you know, adulations or whatever it is. You know, it was a beautiful thing.

Jesse: When did you stop going to school formerly?

Michael: Oh I was very young. I think it was…oh boy, hmmm. I think it was the fifth, fifth, fourth or fifth I think. Then I had tutoring the rest of my life. Because we did so many tours and concerts and TV shows and things, all the albums and all the recordings because we would have three hours of schooling, then we would do the concerts, then we travel to another state or another country. Then by that time we would do some concerts again and then it would be time to record the next J5 album, then after the J5 album, it was time for another Michael Jackson album. So in my youth, as a little kid, I was always busy. I remember across the street from Motown recording studio, there was a park. I used to hear the roar of the kids and the throwing of the football and the basketball. I remember going to the studio everyday, and I was just feeling kinda sad, because I wanted to go to that park. But I knew I had a different job to do, you know so going in and make the records. All day till late at night, then you would go to sleep, then you were up for the next day, just the same regimentation.

Jesse: Does that insintu-… you missed a certain body of childhood experience. How did you compensate for this loss of ordinary childhood experience?

Michael: I-I – It’s true. I didn’t have a childhood. But, when you don’t have a childhood like people like myself and other child stars, you try to compensate for the loss for later on you try to catch up. That’s why you see, like you may see a theme park or amusement rides, that type of environment at my home. But what I like to do is help other children who are less fortunate than I am. You know kids who are terminally ill, kids who have diseases, poor children from the inner cities, you know the ghettos, to let them see the mountains, or to let see or go on the rides, or to watch a movie or to have some ice cream or something.

Jesse: Of course one of the difference about you Michael, you did have a family. How many of, how many is in the family?

Michael: The immediate Jackson family?

Jesse: Yeah.

Michael: There were originally ten of us. There’s nine. There’s nine. And my mother Katherine and Joseph Jackson are still alive. We all were born in Gary, Indiana.

Jesse: Well in that setting, did Tito and Jermaine beat up on you and give you some normal childhood experiences as a younger brother?

Michael: We would be on tour. We would go to Miami. We would, you know, be able to use the beaches. We were so popular at that time. Wherever the Jackson Five would go, there would be a mob scenes. We couldn’t go in the shopping center or anywhere because there were kids screaming. We had hit records back to back to back. We were playing these arenas all across America. And so it was difficult. We would did get to have a chance to have some fun in the hotel. We would have pillow fight in the hotel or if we wanted to swim after hours, we swim in the pool downstairs. You know that type of thing

Jesse: Who would win the pillow fights?

Michael: Pretty much Tito or Jackie. [laughs] They were the oldest.

Jessie: You know you kind of grown from this kind of phenomenal rise to the artist that has sold the most records in history. You look back from that period that we call Ground Zero to the period of your maturing in writing. Who was your greatest influence in learning to write? You write so well.

Michael: My greatest influence learning to write music. I think this is when I was lucky. In my opinion, I came into the Factory, the greatest song writers at that time in the sixties. Holland, Dozier, Holland of Motown. These two guys were phenomenal. You know, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland. These guys were amazing. They wrote all the great Supreme hits and the Four Top hits. They were just amazing. And I got to learn and work with these guys. And I love of course some of the Beatles stuff. I love the Beatles music actually. I love a lot of the show tune writers. Richard Rogers, and Oscar Hammerstein and Leonard Lowe and Harold Arland, Johnny Mercer and these kind of show tune. I love melody. I love the great Irish pub songs. I love English melody. The rhythms of Africans. Which is the roots of rhythm . That’s my favorite music. That’s my favorite music of the world because all music is defined from that. Africa is music. It is the origin. It is the dawn of existence. You can’t avoid that. It is in everything that is about myself.

Jesse: So much as you went through these stages and you began to write, sing and dance, did you ever have like a dancing coach?

Michael: You know what, I never studied dancing before. It always became natural for me. Whenever I was little, any music would start, they couldn’t sit me down. They couldn’t tie me down actually. Even to this day, if anyone played a beat, I’ll start kicking in and making counter rhythms to the beat that I’m hearing. It’s just a natural instinct. I never studied. And Fred Astaire who was a good friend of mine, and Gene Kelly, they used to always marvel at my ability for dance. When I was a little kid, Fred Astaire used to always tell me how that he knew in his heart that I would be a special star. I used to just look at him thinking what are you talking about? [laughs] But uh, you could see, you know

Jesse: Michael, where did the moonwalk come from? [laughs]

Michael: The moonwalk is a dance. I would love to take credit for but I can’t because I have to be completely honest here. These black children in the ghettos are, they have the most phenomenal rhythm of anybody on the Earth. I’m not joking. I learned, I get a lot of ideas from watching these black children. They have perfect rhythm. From just riding through Harlem, I remember in the early, you know, late 70’s early 80’s, I would see these kids dancing on the street and I would see these kids doing these, uh sliding backwards kinda like an illusion dancing I call it. I took a mental picture of it. A mental movie of it. I went into my room upstairs in Encino, and I would just start doing the dance, and create and perfect it. But, it definitely started within the black culture. No doubt. That’s where it comes from.

Jesse: Well then, connected to that piece when you were dancing, did you ever watch Don Cornelius Soul Train?

Michael: Oh I love that show. Are you kidding? Of course I did. I would wait for the Soul Train line. They would have a line that they would make, like a wall of people and the dancer would come through the middle, dancing to the song. It would give them a chance to showcase their talent and what they could do with their body creatively. I used to watch that catatonically, just watching that! I was mesmerized by uh, and studied the rhythms and the dancing of course. Of course I watched it. [laughs]

(19:17) Jesse: Michael, you know as you look back, you kinda make this kind of transition from ground zero in Gary and you begin to ascend, and you became, in many ways, a man in a child’s body and I mean, you never gained any weight! How did you manage?

Michael: (laughs) Well, I’ve never been a great eater, I’ve, uh ~~ to tell a little secret, I hate to tell it, uh, I’ve never been ahhh, great eater or a great admirer food, even though I appreciate food and the gift of food and how God has given us food to eat, but my mother has always had a hard time with me, all my life, uh, forcing me to eat ~~ Elizabeth Taylor used to feed me ~~ hand feed me at times, because I-I-I I do have a problem with eating, but, I – I do my very best, and I am eating, yes I am! So I don’t - Please, uh, I don’t want anyone to think I’m starving, I am not …

Jesse: But you’ve…

Michael: My health is perfect actually.

Jesse: You’ve maintained this weight man, that’s what people is most jealous of and so excited about…

Michael: No no, my health is perfect actually, I’m a great believer in holistic natural foods and eating and (sp) herbs and things, you know, God’s medicine, instead of Western chemicals, not those things, you know.

Jesse: You know Michael, as you look back on this phenomenal career, you—you remember at least the 5th grade in Gary and how you guys became a- a big hit so-so quickly, what do you remember, what is to you, the high point, you know ~~ I’ve asked people all week long the high point for them - it may have been Thriller, it may have been Beat It, it may have been some performance, what for you represents the kind of ah, high point?

Michael: Well, one of the great high points, ahem, I would have to say….. because I remember before ’82, in the early ‘80s ~~ I had done an album called ‘Off The Wall’ – it was an important point for me because I had just the movie ‘The Wiz’ and I wanted to express myself as a writer, as an ah, artist, you know to write my own music, do the music, pretty much put it together. And Quincy Jones, who I’ve loved – I was fortunate to work with him and I love this man, he is very gifted. But I was writing these songs at the time, ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, you know, ‘Shake Your Body to The Ground’, you know ‘Billie Jean’, and ‘Beat It’, you know, all these songs were written at this time. Ahem, so I pretty much was setting mental goals of what I want to do as an artist and I uh, it was a high point for me, during the uh, the winning of the Grammys for the ‘Off The Wall’ album, but I wasn’t happy. Because I wanted to do much more than that... I wasn’t happy with, uh ahem, the way it was accepted, even though it was a HUGH success, it was the biggest selling album for a solo artist at that time ~~ it was over 10 million, and ahem, ahem, for a Black solo artist. And I said for the next album, I refuse for them to ignore, and that’s when I set my heart (clears throat), on-on writing the Thriller album and I really said I ----

Jesse: What-what-what gave rise to The Thriller?

Michael: Pardon?

Jesse: What gave rise to The Thriller?

Michael: What gave rise to ‘Thriller’ was that the time, was pretty much disappointed and hurt – I lived in an area called Encino, and I used to see signs of graffiti saying “Disco Sucks” and “Disco is this” and “Disco is that” and disco was just a happy medium of making people dance at the time, but it was so popular, that the uhem, uhem, society was turning against it. I said, I’m just going to do a great album, because I love, uhem, the album Tchaikovsky did, The Nutcracker Suite, it’s an album where every song is like a great song. I said I wanted to do an album where every song is like a hit record, and that’s what pretty much the hit, ‘Thriller’ spawn from that… And I did that album and it made, er, all time history, the Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed that it was the largest selling album of all time and it’s still to this day and I’m, er, I would say that it was a pinnacle, that was a – I’d reached a certain zenith point, I would think, but I still wasn’t er, pleased after that – I was always wanting to do more, wanting to do more. And

Jesse: And somewhat you---

Michael: And the Victory tour came along.

Jesse: And somewhat you reached out, before we get to the Victory tour, and we had this phenomenal crisis of people dying and you used your celebrity to pull artists together to do ‘We Are The World’.

Michael: Yes.

Jesse: What was that like?

Michael: ‘We Are The World’ was a great project, because er, ah, Quincy Jones called me on the phone and he asked me to write a song, for ahem, for ah, ahem, the devastation that was going on in Africa ~~ and Ethiopia was hit very badly, and he knew my love for the people over there, because I would go to Africa all the time. I-I loved the culture, I love the people, I love what they represent, and er, so I put this song together, he said let Lionel Richie help you (clears throat), so Lionel came over ~~ we started, you know, putting ideas together, and ahem, we talked most of the time because we pretty much caught up with old times because I’ve been knowing Lionel Richie for many, many years, and ahem, so Lionel, er, and I put something together, but I wasn’t happy with it completely, so after that, I just went into the studio myself and pretty much completed it and finished it and packaged it and did all the music, put everything together and turned it in. Quincy was very impressed with it and he said this is the song, we’re going to go with it and we put the song out and it became the biggest selling song single in history and it raised a lot of money. It was called ‘USA For Africa’ and we heightened, it heightened, er public awareness on the subject. It was relief for Africa, it was a beautiful thing. We gave a certain percentage to America and the majority share went to Africa. It was a great, great thing.

Jesse: Reverend Jessie Jackson, Keep Hope Alive, our very special guest for our edition today, with Michael Jackson. So many people are listening all around the nation, all around the world ~~ just a kinda family talk with Michael, I’ve known him since he was like seven years old, but the entire family ~~ at some point in time, his father, driving a ahem, station wagon with a U-haul brought the guys by our office and asked if they would be a warm up act for Expo and of course, they were a warm up act, in fact, they set it on fire and the Expo was never quite the same again. Matter of fact Michael, when we did the film ‘Save the Children’ that was a big hit too.

Michael: Yes it was, yes it was…. I remember those times… it was a little cloudy, but I do remember Jesse and I remember how wonderful you were to us and uh, I remember the love from the audience and I could hear the screaming of the crowd. and I could see all of the Afros and the dashikis and er, it was just a wonderful time, it was a wonderful cause…

Jesse: On that show, it was Marvin Gaye, and Roberta Flack, and

Michael: Ah!!!

Jesse: … and the O’Jays

Michael: Wow!!!

Jesse: … and the Staples Singers and er…

Michael: Wow.

Jesse: …Cannonball Adderley, it was a huge deal.

Michael: That’s amazing ~~ an amazing list of people, that’s some of the greatest talent ever – that’s amazing.

Jesse: We going to re-release the ‘Save the Children’ sometime soon and people who missed that period will really enjoy watching it. Michael, you know, when we think about the-the kind of rise from Gary, Indiana, you were but a child and you went through your teenaged years being tutored along, but then I remember another phase, I-I think is a another phase, when the Victory Tour occurred. At that time, you were a full grown ~~ all of your brothers and sisters were full grown and we met in Kansas City, remember? With your family?

Michael: Yes.

Jesse: … We all had prayer together, ahem…

Michael: Yes we did.

Jesse: The Victory Tour. Describe that season.

Michael: The Victory Tour was one of the great pinnacles of our-our, my success because Thriller had won more Grammys than any other album in the history of – of music, and it created so much phenomenon and such adulation and notoriety at the universal level, and it was very, very hard to-to go anyway, do anything without press and helicopters and people sleeping in your bushes and hiding in your trees, and it was just a phenomenal pinnacle, it really was and after all of that, I announced that I was going to tour. And to tour and perform those songs live, in front of an audience so the world was going just really, really wild at that time. And we did this tour that broke records all over America and we played stadiums, for instance, the-the setting record at Dodgers Stadium, before we played it, it was one show and a half by Elton John. We did 8 shows there – sold out, and they wanted another 2 – so we did 8 sold out shows there. (Clears throat) This happened all over America ~~ the first city was Kansas City and that’s where we met with you Jessie and I remember you coming to the suite and you gave prayer and it was a beautiful thing and ah, it was an amazing time, it really was. My dreams had come true.

Jesse: Good. Good. But you know Michael, in this life, they say some rain must fall and you’ve had these seasons of just ahem, tailwinds like pushing you forward. But life is of such that’s not a straight line, ah, some argue you either in a storm, or you are just leaving a storm, and going to a storm and it’s not difficult to handle the sunshine of bright skies, tailwinds days, but then these headwinds come that kind of uh, test what you really are made of, the kind of test your metal, your true grit. And so you’ve had these high points. What do you consider to be the low point?

Michael: Probably the low point, the lowest point, emotionally and experience, is probably what I’m going through (clears throat).

Jesse: In the sense – what, what about it has kind of stung you?

Michael: What about it … has what?

Jesse: Has stung you, so to speak.

Michael: Has, …. Use the word again…

Jesse: STUNG. You said it’s kind of hurt you, you said the low point.

Michael: Yeah, just the pain of what I’m going through, where I’m being accused of something, where I know in my heart and in my experiences in life I’m totally innocent, and it’s very painful. But this has been kind of, ah, a pattern among Black luminaries in this country.

Jesse: And so since, you-you have been going through this and you feel the pain, you think it’s a kind of pattern? How are you handling it spiritually? Because you go from being held so high and now your very character, your very integrity is under attack. How your handling it?

Michael: I’m handling it by using other people in the past who have gone through this sort of thing. Mandela’s story is giving me a lot of strength, what he’s gone through and the Jack Johnson story was on PBS ~~ it’s on DVD now. It’s called ‘Unforgivable Blackness’. It’s an amazing story about this man from 1910 who was the heavyweight champion of the world and bust into a society that didn’t want to accept his position and his lifestyle, and what they put him through, and how they changed laws to imprison the man. They put him away behind bars just to get him some kind of way. And-and Muhammad Ali’s story. All these stories. The Jesse Owens story. All these stories that I can go back in history and read about gives me strength Jessie. Your story gives me strength, what you went through. Because I didn’t, I came in at the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement ~~ I’m a, ah – I-I didn’t get the really, I’m a 70’s child, really, but I got in on the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement and I got to see it, you know?

Jesse: And so, you-you-you-you had these hits, ahem, and people that you have embraced are now facing you in court on a daily basis. How does your spirit handle that?

Michael: Ah, I gained strength from God. I believe in Jehovah God very much and ah, and I gain strength from the fact that I know I’m innocent ~~ none of these stories are true ~~ they are totally fabricated, and it’s very sad, it’s very, very painful. And I pray a lot and er, that’s how I deal with it and I’m a strong person, I’m a warrior. And I know what’s inside of me. I’m a fighter. But it’s very painful. At the end of the day, I’m human, you know, I’m still a human being. So it does hurt very, very, very much.

Jesse: You and I were watching, you know you and I were talking last week on the phone and – and there was this rhythm of the trial, which we will not get into at all today, but then they shifted from the focus of the trial to say you are broke. And last week, people are calling in, all around the nation saying, “Is Michael broke”? Michael, are you broke???

Michael: That’s not true at all. It’s one of their many schemes to embarrass me and to just drag me through mud. And it’s the same pattern, like I told you before with these other people in the past. Same pattern. Don’t believe, you know, this is tabloid, sensationalized kind of gossip.

Jesse: Well, how did the money issue get in it in the first place? Some people called and they thought it was about the Sony catalog. What’s- what’s in that catalog?

Michael: In my Sony Catalog, is all the Beatles music, ahem, all of the music I own – I own Sly and the Family Stone, I-I own such a volume of so many, I own Elvis – so many Elvis songs and it’s a huge catalog, very valuable, it’s worth a lot of money. And there is a big fight going on right now, as we speak about that. Now, I can’t say whether or not – I can’t comment on it, but there’s a lot of conspiracy, I’ll say that – conspiracy going on as we speak.

Jesse: It was suggested by a number of your friends and family members was that this fight was really more about this catalog issue than it is any thing else. Do you believe that?

Michael: Well, you know, I don’t want to comment. I don’t want to make a comment, Jessie ah—it’s a real delicate issue and uh, I’ll let you, I’ll let you make the comment on that one.

Jesse: Let me shift this to this extent. Ahem, since so many people are listening and there have been so many opinions – I was in London a couple of weeks ago, and 24/7 was Michael Jackson all-day-long and all-night-long and the day that you came to the hospital late [to court], you said you were injured. What happened that day?

Michael: I was coming, er, out of the shower and I-I-I fell. And all my body weight, and I’m pretty fragile, all my body weight fell against my rib cage. And I pretty much, er, er, I bruised my lung very badly. My lung is on the right, it’s very [sp], it’s, I’m in pain as we speak and ah, I’ve been going to court everyday in immense pain and agonizing pain. And I sit there – and I’m strong, I try to be as strong as I can. So I can, ahh, but what we are looking for is the coughing of blood now. The doctor said I should – he said it’s still very dangerous as we speak, and if I cough the blood, he said it’s a very dangerous thing, so we’re, we’re still watching it very closely.

Jesse: The cynics said you were faking. And it seems that the judge is [sic] will not even willing to believe you, even though you had just left the hospital.

Michael: You know the – there’s no faking with this at all. I mean there was a scan done and you could see, uhhh, the swelling on my whole rib cage, I mean, uh, it was you could see it and it’s bright red. And how it, it [the fall] busted my chin, and it put a huge gash over my forehead, blood, it was er, it was very bad actually. And er, but errr, we’ve treating it actually, I do have some medicine for it, but we are watching it very closely.

Jesse: As I listen to your talking about this whole ordeal that you are going through, and how you’ve er, stood strong sometimes amazingly so, ah, at some point last week, you – you cried. What-what touched you? What made you, breakdown, as it were?

Michael: You mean at court?

Jesse: Yeah.

Michael: I was in pain. I was sitting there hurting. And er, the pain was so immense, all I could do was to sit there and cry. See, because it er, it was so intense at that moment, ah, ahem, I just couldn’t handle it. So I just grab tissues and just put it to my face… and…

Jesse: So, it was more about your personal pain, than the, than the challenges of the, from the stand?

Michael: No, it had nothing to do with what was going on inside. It was totally with personal pain, physical pain.

Jesse: Michael, since so many people are listening, I’m trying to gleam from some of our calls on the phone today and from last week, as people listen to you, what do you want people to know? Those listening to you on the phone – I see calls from Philadelphia, and from Holland and from Britian and New York and Mississippi and Florida, California – what do you want people to know?

Michael: About?

Jesse: About you. About where you are now in the head, how you are feeling?

Michael: Well, ahem, pretty much to-to be strong for me, to pray for my children and my family and myself. This is uh…uh very difficult time and to not believe what they hear, and see and read and just because it’s in print does not make it… just because it’s in print does not make it the gospel. And uh… you know, because they have sensationalized this thing to an immense degree. It’s a feeding frenzy – it’s because of uh, my celebrity. The bigger the celebrity, the bigger the target. And they have to remember that. So they’ve turned this into money – it’s like who gets the biggest ratings, you know, it’s terrible what’s happened with it. But it’s part of what I have to suffer [through] as a celebrity. It’s part-part of what I have to go through. And to just uh, just know in the end that I will be vindicated, I pray, because I know the truth. I’m an innocent person. And I believe in God and love God. And just continue to pray for us.

Jesse: You know that, given your faith, in God and in yourself, and your declaration of innocence and while you are going through this storm ahem, presuming that you ah – win this, this has been a close battle, ahhh, a very intense battle, because the battle is-is not over, ah, the, appearance, given your relationship ahh, has called for lots of consternation. Is there anything that you will do differently? When this season is over?

Michael: Is there anything that I would do differently?

Jesse: Differently? When this season is over?

Michael: (Clears throat) Ahem, my level of trust will change. And ah, there-there there’s a lot of conspiracy going on. I’ll say that much. A lot of it.

Jesse: Do you think that….

Michael: All around me.

Jesse: Is the conspiracy connected to the celebrity or to the trial or to the catalog – what do you think the source of it is?

Michael: I-I can’t comment. I can’t comment Jessie, I-I don’t wanna… it ah, I’m under a gag order and it’s a very serious thing. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. With the wrong flavor. It’s a very delicate area. Very delicate where we are now.

Jesse: Good. Good. Let me ask you this question though, that for those who are praying fervently, want to help and look forward to seeing Michael Jackson again. What can people expect next from you?

Michael: Well, like-like I always say, I’m-I’m a person of the arts. I love the arts very, very, very much. And ah, I’m a musician, I’m a director, I’m a writer, I’m a composer, I’m a producer, and I love the medium. I love film very, very much. I think it’s the most expressive of all of the art mediums. The sculptor can sculpt, the painter can paint, but they capture a moment, ah, they freeze time with the moment. In film, you live the moment. You live, you have the, audiences for two hours. You have their brain, their mind – you can take them any place you want to take them. You know, and that idea is mesmerizing to me – that you can have the power to do people, to move people to change their lives and that’s where you to marry the music [and the] individual together. And that’s what excites me so much about film and the future. Because I love motion pictures very, very much.

Jesse: Given, ah, the, heat that is on you and the taxing issue that you are facing now, does it deter you from pursuing your career when this is over?

Michael: No! No. Not at all. Because ahem, I know who I am (clears throat) inside and outside and I know what I want to do. And I will always – er – you know, go with my dreams and my ideals in life. And I’m a very courageous person and I believe in perseverance, determination, and-and, you know, and all those wonderful things, and those ideals are very important for a person who is goal-orientated, you know?

Jesse: Since people have-have risen so high and so far with your dreams, what are, what are you dreaming of now?

Michael: Oh ahem (clears throat), like I was saying before, ahem, it’s to innovate, to tie in the medium of-of film, and there’s other things I want to do, which are some surprises. Ah, things in society that I want to do in the future. You know, in Africa. I have some great plans, ah, that I’ve been preparing to do there. I’d had several meetings with people whose flown out to see me since I’ve been going through what I’ve been going through and so my heart is set on doing some things there, very much so as well.

Jesse: You ah, your next project. Because often when people at a stage like this is kind of frozen, but you’re thinking about the next project. What do you see as the next immediate project? What’s hitting you right now?

Michael: Probably, ahemmm… the tsunami song that we want to do to raise money for tsunami because Africa was ummm, was it Madagascar? One of those countries…

Jesse: Indeed. Madagascar…

Michael: Somalia and Madagascar was hit very hard, and they never…talk about that, the way they talk about the other countries. Now, we have, I mean, uh, my heart is going out for everybody, but at least, when they distribute the truth, distribute it right and ahem, it – they never talk about the devastation down in Africa, so we ~~ I wanna do something for that. And of course, I’ve been working on doing, planning a resort that I’m building down in Africa. Ah, beautiful hotels, ah, just a beautiful setting for people and families and something beautiful down there. There a lot of beautiful places down there. So I want to do something that is more international. You know?

Jesse: Well, you know, it’s interesting about the tsunami with this huge national - natural disaster uh, couldn’t be stopped, maybe if we had early detection devices, we could have saved some lives perhaps, but it was a natural disaster, but what you raised is that while that we’ve lost 200,000 lives in the tsunami, we’ve lost 2 million in the Sudan and that’s a manmade disaster and oil and materials all caught up in that stuff, and then 4 million in the Congo. And ah, and I think as we talk about it, you know you and I talk almost everyday, you are reaching out to these African crisis – appears to have er, taken up a large part of your dream at this stage in your life.

Michael: Yes it has. Because Jessie, in my heart, deepest of heart, I really love Africa and I love the people of Africa. That’s why, whenever I get the chance, the children and I, we jump on the plane and fly to Africa and we vacation there. I spend more of my vacation in Africa than in any other country. And ah, we love the people and we love the environment. Topographically, one of the most beautiful places on the surface of the Earth. They never show the sandy white sugar beaches, and it’s there! And they never show the beautiful, you know the landscaping, never show the buildings, the metropolis and urban – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kenya, ur, you know the Ivory Coast ur, you know, Rwanda, how beautiful the place is! And it’s really stunningly beautiful! And I want to heighten that awareness with what I’m doing and it’s been my dream for many, many years. And everybody around me knows that, because I go there very much.

Jesse: You know, we knew about the high points of Rome, because we see it on film.

Michael: That’s right.

Jesse: We know about the high points of Britain and the palace, we see it on film. On Paris, we don’t see much of Africa on film. We see Africa as misery and Africa as problems. We do not see it as being this phenomenally endowed continent of sand and sea and

Michael: Because the…

Jesse: oil and resources…

Michael: Because, yeah. The world is jealous of Africa for many centuries because it’s natural resources is phenomenal. It really is. And it is the dawn of civilization. The history, a lot of our bible history is right there in Africa. And King Tut, all those great civilizations – that is right there in Africa. Egypt is in Africa!!! And they always try to separate the two, but Egypt is Africa!!!

Jesse: Well, it’s certainly true that when Jesus was threatened, ah, with death, when Harod sent out the edict for [the] genocide of all of the first born babies, that Joseph took him to Egypt, to Africa, kept him there for 12 years.

Michael: That’s right. That’s right.

Jesse: You’ve shown an amazing level of depth and commitment. Let me say this and in closing Michael, because people are listening and the reason I didn’t want to open up the lines today is because you have, you’re sharing stuff with us that you never quite really hear, but as people go and watch the trial next week and the coming days, what do you want your fans… we have callers on here right now from London, Holland and all around America, so people out there are listening today to you. What do you want to say to your fans and even to your detractors today?

Michael: I just wanna say: fans in every corner of the Earth, every nationality, every race, every language, I love you from the bottom of my heart. You know, thank you for your love and support and understanding during this trying time. I would love your prayers, and your goodwill. Ah, and ah, please be patient and be with me and believe in me because I am completely, completely innocent. But please know a lot of conspiracy is going on at this time as we speak.

Jesse: Well, it’s Easter time, ah, we fall down, we get back up again. The good news is that, ahem, nothing is too hard for God. And those who believe, fervently believe, no matter how far down that they reach for a rope and not a shovel. They’d be pulled up and they will rise again. Michael, thank you for sharing yourself with the nation today, and the world and for getting up so early in California …

Michael: God bless you.

Jesse: God bless you and keep hope alive. Talk to you a minute off the air, okay?

Michael: Bye-bye.

Jesse: Alright.

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