Lorette C. Luzajic talks with Michael Jackson Expert Charles

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Teva
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Lorette C. Luzajic talks with Michael Jackson Expert Charles

Post by Teva » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:43 am

This interview is not necessarily positive/negative, but there is no middle ground group topic on this forum. Anyway since we comment on what Charles Thompson says I thought I would post.

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Lorette C. Luzajic talks with Michael Jackson Expert Charles Thomson

Why are you considered a “Michael Jackson expert?”
I’m a fan of black music generally and discovered Michael Jackson at a young age. Over the years I’ve amassed a vast collection of black music books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, videotapes and more. There are a few artists who I’ve always found particularly interesting — people like James Brown, Chuck Berry, Prince — and Michael Jackson is one of them. As such, I’ve have had nearly 15 years of ‘study time’ — reading stacks of books, watching documentaries and so on.
I only began working as a Michael Jackson ‘expert’ last year. In March 2009 I received a tip-off from somebody in Michael’s camp, who gave me specific details about his arrival in London to announce the This Is It shows. They told me which airstrip he was flying into, what time he was landing and where he would be staying. My source asked me to leak the information.
I worked on that tip-off with the Sun, which is Britain’s biggest newspaper. They used the info to snap exclusive pictures of Jackson disembarking his private jet. Once I had delivered an exclusive of that magnitude, the Sun decided to keep using me and I’ve worked with them frequently since then.
My most recent Michael Jackson contribution was the Sun’s exclusive revelation that filmmakers had dubbed old vocals into ‘This Is It’. That story really illustrates my role perfectly. When I saw the film I noticed immediately that the vocals during the latter half of Earth Song were dubbed in from Michael’s 1991 demo. Only a fan or an expert would notice that. Similarly, I noticed the lyric change in Billie Jean and realized that the vocals on that track were also dubbed in from a demo.
I passed my notes to the Sun, who hired audio experts to confirm that the vocals were old and eventually got a Sony rep to admit it.
That might sound like a negative story but I didn’t like the deceit involved — selling tickets to a ‘documentary’ but not really delivering one. A documentary should be truthful and honest. It shouldn’t be dubbed to paint an inaccurate picture. I also felt that the dubbed vocals could be there to disguise something — something that might blow apart the filmmakers’ claims that they had no idea Michael Jackson was experiencing ill-health or using drugs. I didn’t think I should let it go unreported.

You stood within metres of Michael Jackson. Did you feel it? What is it exactly that is emanating off of him to cause mass faintings, millions of tattoos, crazy love, wild and absurd sexual desire, sobbing, loyalty, hysteria, even madness?
The first time I saw him up close, at the World Music Awards in 2006, was quite exciting because there seemed to be a mass hysteria around his appearance. It felt like an event. The place blew up when he finally appeared onstage. He certainly looked striking — different to his photographs. He was incredibly slender, particularly given that he was approaching fifty. He walked very majestically, almost like he was floating. He was impeccably dressed and his face looked, dare I say it, quite normal — certainly a lot better than it looked in most photos. But for all the hysteria, after he’d left the stage I felt a little empty. To be honest, I think that 1993 drained a lot of the joy out of him and the trial killed most of what was left. He seemed to just be going through the motions.
At the announcement in March 2009 something just didn’t feel right. I’d heard that Jackson was supposed to fly over a week previously to announce the gigs but had pulled out (you’ll read more about that in Randy Taraborrelli’s updated biog, due out in Summer). Also, he was very late on the day of the announcement (more on that in Taraborrelli’s book, too) and the PR people seemed to be slightly on edge in the press room.
I had dinner with a group of friends right afterwards inside the O2 complex and we all agreed that something had seemed wrong. He had sounded like he didn’t want to be there — ‘This is the final curtain call, OK?’ — and rather than feeling excited I just felt like the whole thing was doomed from the beginning. Although I bought tickets and hoped the shows would go ahead, deep down I expected the concerts to be cancelled for one reason or another.
I don’t really think I can comment on what it was about Michael Jackson which elicited the hysteria often exhibited by his fans, because I think that whatever it was, after 1993 it wasn’t really there anymore. It was as though all the soul had been stamped out of him; like you were watching the shell of Michael Jackson but his essence had long since dissipated.

Although I’ve loved Michael for nearly a quarter century, I never actually contemplated how I would feel when he died. I’ve felt desperate, devastating grief with the loss of a man I never actually met. Do you think the kind of energy of love that Michael put out there, the feeling that he personally loves each and every one of us, is real? Can art make that real, or is his love- and ours- an illusion?
Michael’s concern for people certainly seemed genuine — you don’t give away millions of dollars unless you really believe in the cause. Nor do you open your home to strangers unless you really want to.
However, after 1993 he never seemed quite the same. As I said earlier, it was like all of the joy had been stamped out of him. He reiterated the same sentiments as before but now they felt more like catchphrases than heartfelt messages. He seemed to speak almost entirely in repetitive soundbites: ‘I love you more’. ‘The best is yet to come’. ‘Burn the tabloids’. It was like he was on autopilot.
In truth, I think he was bored and fed up with being Michael Jackson. I think he just wanted a quiet life but felt under pressure to be Michael Jackson all the time.

What makes Michael different?
As an artist, Michael Jackson had the complete package. He could sing, dance, write and compose. Little Richard once called Michael Jackson the ‘most complete artist’ he ever knew. Michael Jackson, at his peak, raised the bar for quality as both a recording artist and a live performer.
But there have other artists who could sing, dance, write and compose. James Brown and Prince both spring to mind but there are plenty more. However, none of them inspired the same hysteria and adulation as Michael Jackson. I think it was his personality that his fans really bought into. Michael Jackson’s relationship with his fans went beyond posing for the occasional picture or signing the odd autograph.
For instance, in 2001 he played two concerts in New York — one on September 7th and one on September 10th. The terrorist attacks happened on the 11th and many fans who had flown to New York to see Michael Jackson were left stranded with little or no money. Jackson tracked down some of those fans and covered them financially, paying for their hotels while they were stuck in NY and then funding their trips home. There aren’t many other artists who would do that.

You mentioned how hard your own grief was. In light of the many interesting the world mourned Michael, what course did your experience take?
Grief is a strong word — I don’t think I’ve ever said I experienced grief after Michael Jackson’s death. Shock, certainly. Sadness too. But I have always taken a very rational approach to Michael Jackson — I never felt personally connected to him in any way. I appreciated him as an artist but I wasn’t afraid to address his shortcomings. I’ve never defended his prolific miming or his decision to let kids into his bedroom or the baby-dangling incident.
A lot of people saw Michael Jackson as an intricate part of their lives — like a friend or a family member — but I always saw him as an entertainer whose work I admired. I was saddened by the loss and I think his story is as tragic as it is triumphant. I feel sorry that he will miss watching his children grow up and it’s a shame that he fought tooth and nail to survive his trial only to die four years later having not done a whole lot in the interim. But I didn’t get dressed up in mourning gear or make any plans to travel to LA. Did I shed a few tears during the televised memorial? Of course I did. But so did an estimated billion other people.

I believe the witch-hunt and eventual lynching of Michael Jackson speaks volumes about our gladiatorial darkness, the spectre of the Inquisition and the Burning Times, the joy we used to take in public hangings and stonings. So why Michael Jackson, the one we loved most?
I interviewed Aphrodite Jones in 2008 for a now defunct magazine called Deadline. The article is on my website. She made a comment during the interview about the public’s enjoyment of the ‘lynching’ of celebrities: “There’s this ghoulish sense of everyday people taking pleasure in witnessing the downfall of celebrities; this morbid sense of glee at watching those better off than ourselves being punished for their success.”
I think Jackson was targeted by the media primarily because he was the most famous man on the planet. Big name + big story = big revenue. I think it also irritated the media - understandably — that Jackson kept stitching them up. At his peak Jackson was forever planting stories about himself, then publicly whinging about them and urging his fans to boycott newspapers! You can see why that would have got up their noses.
Many think he may have been targeted on account of his race and I think it would be shortsighted to rule that out entirely. I often compare Jackson to Jack Johnson, the world’s first black Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Johnson’s media treatment was unarguably racist, and Jackson’s media treatment has been unarguably similar; name-calling, rampant misquoting, bogus stories, derogatory cartoons, biased coverage of criminal allegations — so on and so forth.
Just as Johnson was a black world champion more than fifty years before segregation was lifted, Jackson was a black man who outsold Elvis and owned the Beatles in an era when MTV still didn’t like putting African Americans on its TV channels.
You can trace it on a timeline; Before Thriller hit, Jackson was already getting surgery. His make-up was already lightening and his voice was already high. His friends were already young. As long as Jackson was only successful within his own racial parameters, the media didn’t care. But the moment Thriller broke white records — the moment he outsold Elvis and started buying white musicians’ publishing — the media was suddenly interested in his surgery, his light skin, his high voice and his young friends. The moment Jackson threatened the status quo, he became a target.
Arguably, like Johnson, he was seen as a black man who didn’t know his place.
What is undeniable is that in certain areas of the media there is a blatant and concerted attempt to slander Michael Jackson as frequently as possible. Facts are intentionally misstated and false information is intentionally represented as truth. That much is unarguable.

My knee-jerk response to Evan Chandler’s suicide was hardly charitable, though if I judged everyone for the mess they made out of their own lives, I’d have to judge myself most harshly. But I can’t deny that my immediate response was, “What, couldn’t live with the guilt?” Of course, Chandler’s health and fractured family were no doubt contributing factors. The question here is why no one knows this story. Surely, it should be slathered over every paper, not meted out in a page 17 dribble, given its sensationalism. You talk about media bias. Why has no one heard about Evan Chandler trying to kill Jordan, a few years back, with a gym barbell and some mace? Wouldn’t both of these stories pay big time, too?
I think the primary reason Evan Chandler’s death wasn’t widely reported is because nobody knew anything about him. Most major outlets covered the story but all of their articles contained exactly the same information because so little was known.
The only in-depth report I saw was a totally factually inaccurate feature in the Daily Mail, which I reported to the Press Complaints Commission for breaching about seven sections of the Code of Practice, including an overt reference to Jackson as ‘a common paedophile’. Unsurprisingly, they found no merit to my complaint. They don’t seem to be interested when newspapers baselessly accuse an innocent black man of paedophilia.
And yet, if the Daily Mail referred to Paul McCartney as a ‘common paedophile’, I think the PCC would probably have something to say about it.
That story about Evan trying to kill his son didn’t suit the media’s agenda. It portrayed Evan as a violent and shady character and suggested that the pair’s relationship was far from tight-knit or functional, lending credibility to claims that Jordy despised his father for apparently forcing him to lie in 1993. That story about Evan trying to kill Jordy with a barbell — it shattered the myth of Evan as the doting father who just wanted justice for his son.
The timing was particularly bad for the media as the incident happened shortly after Jackson’s 2005 trial, during which most outlets had routinely skewed evidence and testimony in order to portray Jackson as guilty. Their first accuser discrediting himself [again] didn’t quite tally with the picture they’d been trying to paint.

Ending on a lighter note, what are your personal Michael Jackson faves (songs, videos, moments, etc.)
My favourite solo albums are Off The Wall and Thriller but I also rank the Jacksons albums Destiny and Triumph alongside them. Michael actually had more creative input on Destiny and Triumph than he did on Off The Wall and Thriller and I think the albums are just as good — those albums are where Jackson really flourished as a lyricist and a composer. His later work becomes patchy for me — too processed.
In terms of live performance, I like everything from the Destiny Tour up to the Bad Tour.
Bad Tour is easily the pinnacle of Jackson’s career as a solo performer. What he did with that tour was to successfully merge the spectacle you expected from a pop concert with the musical legitimacy you expected from a James Brown concert. So you got all live music and vocals, but you also got great costumes, great dancing and so on. On subsequent tours the focus seemed to shift away from the music and towards the spectacle, so you had tanks driving onstage or angels floating out of the rafters — but you forfeited the live vocals. I would rather have the live experience than the tank. I’d never even consider buying a ticket to a concert if I knew it was going to be mimed.
My three favourite videos are Thriller, Smooth Criminal and Remember The Time.

http://extrememichaeljackson.wordpress. ... s-thomson/
I will remember you.

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OneMoreChance
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Lorette C. Luzajic talks with Michael Jackson Expert Charles

Post by OneMoreChance » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:41 am

It's great to here people talk about Michael this way. This is what he has always deserved and the rest of the world was just to see it!
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Lorette C. Luzajic talks with Michael Jackson Expert Charles

Post by MJfan01' » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:27 am

:biggrin
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