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Friday, January 27, 2012

Michael Jackson Interview On Fox News 5-2-2005

At Large With Geraldo Rivera Interview (5-2-2005)
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.
Read the full interview here...
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
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 superduper
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?
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
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
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
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

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
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

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.

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

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Michael Jackson interviewed by Children 1996


MJ being interviewed by children
A transcript of a videotaped interview of Michael answering questions from a group of children, ages 7 to 12 years old. The interview took place in the middle-east  Tunisia, in 1996. Most questions were posed to him in Arabic, so the transcript shows the subject of the questions, rather than an actual quote. Michael's answers are English, with Arabic subtitles shown on screen, and his answers are transcribed here word-for-word.
For the majority of the interview, Michael is the only person shown on camera, answering questions. There is also a part where he stands in front of the group of children, some of them ask him questions in English.
During the interview, Michael sits on a white couch, dressed in a black and red baseball jacket, black hat, hardly any make up, no sunglasses, no mask. Michael appears very relaxed and 'talks' with his hands, his gestures underlining what he is expressing. His face is also very expressive.

Question: about musical influences
Michael: I have been influenced by, uh, pretty much by cultural music from all over the world. I have studied personally all kinds of music, you know, from Africa to India, to Chinese, Japanese, music is music and it is all beautiful. So, I am influenced by all of those different cultures.

Question: about racism
Michael: It is cruelty, it´s ugly and I hate it. You are my brother (points out to the children). They are my brothers. If you are black, white, Arab.... we are all the same. I love all races equally.

[Michael now stands in front of the group. Has taken off his coat and hat. Dressed in black shirt and jeans. His hairdo looks like the hair in the They Don't Care About Us video shot in Brazil.]
Question: A girl about 11 or 12 years old asks a question but only the word "Arabs" is audible.
Michael: Is it true that I WHAT?
Question [girl]: That you do not like Arabs?
Michael: No that´s not true at all. I love Arabs, I love ALL people of the world. That´s a good example now of people make up stories that are not true.

[A little boy in the group, about 7 years old , introduces himself by his name and says that he is from Egypt. ]
Question [boy]: Would you ever do a concert in Egypt?
Michael: I love to do a concert in Egypt. I would love the next tour to go to all of your cities. I have only been there at the airport, but it looks like they are wonderful people. (Michael gives a big smile and points his arm to the group of kids) All of you are wonderful people. I am happy to be here.

Michael sits on the sofa again, hat and baseball jacket back on.
Question: about family wishes.
Michael: I am a very family oriented person and I come from a family of ten children (see note at end of transcript), so I am very used to a family, you know.... surrounding, to come around you as a unity. So I don´t think I can live without that bond. So I would love to have a major...... (Huge smile from ear to ear) a huge family. I´d say a total of twelve.... (bigger smile) .. My aunt had 13 children, I have an uncle who had 12 children, and my father had 10 children, and so eh.. I looove big...... everywhere...

Question: about his audiences.
Michael: I can... You can feel the audience. It is love we are talking about. Ooh, you can definitely feel them, that... You hear them, they are swaying and screaming and fainting, the reactions are always lovely....

Question: About creating music (possibly asked about collaborating with others) .
Michael: A thought, it is an embryo of a thought, of an idea. It is a brief concept. And then you collaborate with someone. Could be a writer. I say, I want to do this, I want to do that, and I want to do this. You tell him to develop it, because you..... I cannot do it right now, because I got to go on to the next song, the next thing. So they´ll come up with something, working with their ideas and they´ll come with them back to me ... you go [to see] whether you like it or not. I mean I have done that with pretty much everything that I have done. I am usually there for the concept for the writing. I co-write usually all my pieces that I do.

Question: it is not clear what the question was.
Michael: The Garden of Eden was probably in Africa, I am pretty sure. And the people could not have been nicer. (he refers to his visit to South Africa in July 1996 where he attended Mandela´s birthday). And I loved it. I loooooved it. And the music, ooooh, and the rhythm [he looks like he is in awe]. Seeing petty little kids with the perfect rhythm and .. the way they moved their little bodies. [Michael imitates their dance movements with his arms and shoulders]. I was just....Oooh I was amazed. It was GREAT! They gave me everything. They showered me with gifts. You know, clothing, food. And in the hotel... I was in this hotel, right? Big, big, hotel. It had a bowling alley, it had a big game room, big swimming pool. But when I would look out of my window, as far as I could see, there would be people. They even would sleep out there, waiting for me. They would sleep out there!!! All day long they would stand there. At night they would be out there waiting for me. It was just..... They could not have been sweeter. And I loved it. And I am thinking about buying a house there in Africa.

Question: About Heal the World.
Michael: With Heal the World we have helped millions, hm, and as we speak we are looking at a hospital in New Jersey. That would be the first Michael Jackson hospital and we would like to make these, throughout the world. That is our goal and our mission. And I hate the word orphanage, but pretty much a housing for a unity of people that are in need, you know.. This is pretty much where my heart is and I would love to continue doing it. [this was obviously a topic Michael is very passionate about, you could see it in his body language].

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Michael Jackson - Brett Ratner Interview 2004

 Sunday, 01 February 2004

Interview by Brett Ratner February 2004. Volume. 34, Issue. 1; page. 92
"Forget your personal tragedy. We are all b*****ed from the start and you especially
have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned
hurt, use it-don't cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist-but don't think
anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you."
Those words of advice, quoted in Robert Evans's The Kid Stays in the Picture, were
given to F. Scott Fitzgerald by Hemingway, some 70 years ago. They are as relevant
today as ever.

Speaking of life's desires, hurts, and euphoria! It ain't easy being a genius: You do pay
the price, not unlike Mozart, who will be remembered far longer than Napoleon.
Michael Jackson understands this irony. No one I have ever met in my life has had
such passion and love for entertainment. His work, brilliance, and vision will be
remembered far longer than any of those who now think of him harshly.
Michael and I have shared many a day, week, and month together. Our relationship is
based on our love of films. We have watched many films together, and our personal
favorite that we enjoy most is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! A few months
before the latest drama, he and I were on a little vacation. In the past he has often put
a video camera to my face and asked me questions. This is what Michael does with
his friends: He becomes a scientist and dissects them through questions in order to
learn. Many times he has asked me how my childhood dreams became a reality, about
why I wanted to become a director. So I decided it was time to hear from him about
his childhood dreams.
After my interview, I went out and bought all the records he mentioned and listened to
them, understanding a little more about Michael. What you are about to read is a very
private and personal conversation between two friends.

BRETT RATNER: Do you have a. mentor or someone who inspired you?
MICHAEL JACKSON: Yeah, I do: Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Thomas Edison, Walt
Disney, James Brown, Jackie Wilson.
BR: And what did you learn from them?
MJ: I learned a lot from them-about how to be a visionary, how to be creative, how to
be persistent, how to be determined, how to have a will of iron and to never give up
no matter what. You know?
BR: What was your first job in the music industry, and how did you get it?
MJ: First job, probably . . . Gee, I don't remember back that far. I was around 6 years
old. Maybe it was Mr. Lucky's. I think it was a club-yeah, Mr. Lucky's. We performed

BR: And how'd you get the job?
MJ: I don't know; my father would know. I was too little.
BR: What was your first break and the first great thing that ever happened to you?
MJ: The real big break was when Motown signed us. We auditioned in Detroit, and
Berry Gordy invited all our favorite stars that we saw as kids to this little town in
Indiana: Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, and Stevie
Wonder-everybody was there. And it was next to this indoor pool at this huge
mansion, marble everywhere. We performed, and they just went crazy. They loved it.
And [Gordy] says, "Boys, you're signed."
BR: Really?
MJ: Yeah.
BR: And you remember that day?
MJ: Oh, I remember it.
BR: What elements of your job make you want to go to work every day?
MJ: I want to work every day- just the idea of creating worlds. It's like taking a
canvas, an empty canvas, you know, a clean slate. They give you paint, and we just
color and paint and create worlds. I just love that idea. And having people see it and
be aweinspired whenever they see it.

BR: What qualities of yours helped you get where you are today?
MJ: Faith and determination. And practice.
BR: Right. Practice makes perfect. What would you have done differently in your
career if you knew then what you know now?
MJ: What would I have done differently? Let me see . . . Practice more.
BR: Practice more?
MJ: I practiced a lot.
BR: You practiced a hell of a lot! [Jackson laughs] But you would have practiced
more? [Jackson nods] What's your greatest lesson learned?
MJ: Not to trust everybody. Not to trust everybody in the industry. There're a lot of
sharks. And record companies steal. They cheat. You have to audit them. And it's
time for artists to take a stand against them, because they totally take advantage of
[artists]. Totally. They forget that it's the artists who make the company, not the
company who makes the artists. Without the talent, the company would be nothing
but just hardware. And it takes a real good talent that the public wants to see.

BR: What are some of your favorite albums?
MJ: My favorite albums would be Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Claude Debussy's
greatest hits, which is, you know, "Claire de Lune" and "Arabesque" and The
Afternoon of a Faun. I love Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, James Brown's Live at
the Apollo, The Sound of Music [soundtrack]. I love Rodgers and Hammerstein. I
love the great show-tune writers very much, and I love Holland-Dozier-Holland from
Motown-they were geniuses. So many great writers. So many great ones.
BR: Any other great albums, like contemporary albums?
MJ: Great albums . . . It's hard because albums today have one or two great songs and
the rest stink.
BR: Or older style-it could be like Marvin Gaye or Sly.
MJ: Sly & the Family Stone-I like everything they do. Stevie Wonder is a genius.
BR: Which album?
MJ: Every one. Talking Book. I love when he did "Living for the City." I forget the
name of it [the album]. Fantastic. I think that was Innervisions-fantastic. Hearing this
music made me say to myself, "I can do this, and I think I can do this on an
international level."
BR: Really?
MJ: Really, and then when the Bee Gees came out in the '70s, that did it for me. I
cried. I cried listening to their music. I knew every note, every instrument.

BR: [sings] "This broken heart . . ."
MJ: [sings] "How can you mend . . ."
BR: [sings] "This broken heart . . ."
MJ: And [sings] "How can you stop the rain from falling down?" I love that, [sings
with Ratner] "How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go
'round." I love that stuff. And when they did Saturday Night Fever, that did it for me.
I said, "I gotta do this. I know I can do this." And we hit with Thriller. And I just
started writing songs. I wrote "Billie Jean." I wrote "Beat It," "Startin' Somethin'."
Just writing, writing. It was fun.

BR: Any posters up in your room when you were a kid?
MJ: Yeah. Brooke Shields, everywhere. My sisters would get jealous and tear them
off the wall.
BR: What are the great shows that you've seen, concerts?
MJ: James Brown. Jackie Wilson. The real entertainers, the real ones, make you get
goose bumps.
BR: It was James Brown? Where'd you see him?
MJ: We used to have to go onstage after him because he would come on and then we
would come on amateur hour. So I'd be in the wings studying every step, every move
BR: -On TV?
MJ: No, at the Apollo [Theater],

BR: Amateur Hour at the Apollo. And you saw him perform?
MJ: Yeah, and Jackie Wilson. All of them-the Delphonics, the Temptations.
BR: But do you remember one show? You saw the Temptations, too?
MJ: Yeah.
BR: But was there a show when you said like, "Oh, my God"?
MJ: James Brown, Jackie Wilson.
BR: At the Apollo?
MJ: Yeah, they made me cry. I've never seen nothing like that. That kind of emotion,
that kind of fever, feeling-it was like another higher, spiritual plane they were on.
They were, like, in a trance, and they had the audience in the palms of their hands. I
just loved how they could control them like that, that kind of power. When they'd sing
they'd have tears running down their faces. They'd get so into it.

BR: What are some of your favorite songs?
MJ: Favorite songs of all time? I love Burt Bacharach very much. Any Motown. The
Beatles, like "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday." Any of the Supremes'. All that stuff is
great. I think the '60s had some of the best melodies of all time between Peter, Paul,
and Mary, and you know, all those people. The Mamas and the Papas were wonderful.
And the Drifters go a little further back, but I love that song "On Broadway"-it's
genius. The simple ones are the best, I think. I love "Alfie"-so beautiful. There are so
many. Like movies, there are so many great movies.

BR: So list a few things that could be helpful to someone breaking into the music
MJ: Believe in yourself. Study the greats and become greater. And be a scientist.
Dissect. Dissect.
BR: You said something else before: Don't give up.
MJ: No matter what. I don't care if the whole world is against you or teasing you or
saying you're not gonna make it. Believe in yourself. No matter what. Some of the
greatest men who have made their mark on this world were treated like that-you
know, "You're not gonna do it, you're not gonna get anywhere." They laughed at the
Wright brothers. They laughed at Thomas Edison. They laughed at Walt Disney. They
made jokes about Henry Ford. They said he was ignorant. Disney dropped out of
school. That's how far they went. These men shaped and changed our culture, our
customs, the way we live, the way we do things. And I think God plants those seeds
through people on the earth. And I think you're one, I'm one to bring some bliss and
escapism, some joy, some magic. Because without entertainment, what would the
world be like? You know? What would it really be like? It would be a totally different
world for me. I love entertainment. And my favorite of all is film. The power and
magic of movies. It's the greatest, it's the most expressive of all the art forms. I think it
touches the soul. Music and movies are the most expressive. It's almost like religion:
You get so involved, so caught up. You go in the theater a different person than you
come out. It affects you that way. That's powerful. I think that's strong. I love that.

BR: When you can make an audience feel.
MJ: Yeah, yeah.
BR: They relate to it.
MJ: Yeah, they live it. They're a part of it. They forget they're sitting in a seat.
BR: The experience of watching a movie affects their life.
MJ: Their whole life. It could change your life.
BR: Yes, I remember seeing Star Wars in the theater when I was 7 years old. It's a
different experience for Paris or Prince [Jackson's children] seeing it today on DVD,
27 years later. I saw it when it first came out, with all the shock and awe of the time.
No one had ever seen anything like it. There were lines for blocks, and I didn't even
get in the first time. I had to go back the next day to try again. The memory of being
so desperate, at 7 years old, to see that movie makes it an even more unforgettable
experience. The first time you see something like that, it permanently affects your life.
It's like listening to a song or seeing an artist perform for the first time. Getting to see
James Brown, and that moment of tears coming out of your eyes, is different than
listening to it on the radio 20 years later.
MJ: I can't tell you how incredible it was. I just love the great entertainers, the great
performers, the great showmen, the great storytellers. just watching them, you're just
mesmerized. You're caught up in it. I love it. One spotlight, baby.

BR: Frank Sinatra.
MJ: Yeah. Those guys are cool. And Sammy Davis. I just love it, the whole thing. It's
magic, it's real magic.
Sidebar: “I’m one to bring some bliss and escapism, some joy, some magic…Without
entertainment, what would the world be like?”
Author Affiiliation: Brett Ratner is a director living in Los Angeles. His first photo
book, Hilhaven Lodge.