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Post here if you worked on Michael Jackson's DANGEROUS album
Old 11th July 2009
  #391
Here for the gear
 

Question for russrags re: Bad: Who were the guiding forces behind Bad's very synthesized, mechanical sound? More than any MJ record, Bad sounds like a product of its time. It works well for the record, but it's such a departure from the already Synclavier-heavy Thriller and the machine-heavy-but-organic-sounding Dangerous that it must have been a calculated decision. Who was the visionary behind this very distinctive sound?

Another question: about half of the tunes on Bad are actually in between keys (a microtone between pitches on a piano): how/why did this happen?

Thanks....I'm really enjoying this thread!
Old 11th July 2009
  #392
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Out of interest what songs would Michael sing when he was around the studio, russrags mentioned some beatles songs, just be cool to know what songs got stuck in his head!

Any strories regarding jokes or practical jokes (I love the pie in face story btw) or was MJ more professional in the studio haha!
Oooooh good one Eagle_CFC,

1st off the song I always heard Michael singing around the Studio was "Black Dog" by Led Zep truely amazing to witness 1st hand.

Once I was out at Michael's Studio on Havenhurt in Encino, and I was going through a stack of vinyl records sitting by the console. One of the records I came across was Grace Jones "Nightclubbing" I picked it up to look at it front and back and Michael got kind of excited about it too. He took the record from me and asked if I'd like to hear a song that was very influential to him, and I thought are you kidding, YES please. He put on a song called "Feel Up" from that record and I about fell over !!! All the little inflections Michael creates with his voice on his records, are present on this Grace Jones track from 1981. Please check this song out, anyone reading this thread will be glad they did.

OK here's MY pie in the face funny story:

One fear of mine was that I knew there’d come a day that it would be just Michael and I in the same room one on one. I’d rehearsed it in the mirror over and over, just what was I going to say to this guy??? Well that day came, and what was probably seconds, seemed like a very long time. Catering had arrived at the Studio and here Michael and I were standing by ourselves. I was looking at the floor and said to myself, “this is it, this is what I‘ve been afraid of, I’m going to have to break the ice.” I took a big deep breath and raised my head to speak and … wham .. I got hit with a handful of corn, I thought, “oh no this is going to be war” … I picked up some pickles and threw them at Michael, then he threw something else and it went back and forth for a while. We were laughing so hard (I had to clean it all up later of coarse) but for three weeks we couldn’t look at each other without laughing. What a great way for him to make me feel at ease. Michael really has a great sense of humor, he just loves seeing people do a 3 stooges act and fumble all over themselves. I wish there were more people in the world exactly like Michael Jackson, he is truly one amazing human being.

How's that for a funny pie in the face story???



Russ
Nashville
"In Order To Predict The Future ... Create It"
Old 11th July 2009
  #393
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robmix's Avatar
Here's another funny story about a Michael session that MJ was not there for, but I think he would have appreciated quite a bit.

When Michael entered the building a whole host of people would spring into action. People would vibe the room, order food, start boiling water for him, clear out the various rooms in the studio. General panic and mayhem would ensue. At the end of HIStory I kind of let it slip that MJ had snuck into the building when no one was ready for it. I sat back and watched everyone run around like crazed kids cleaning up a party when their parents came home early from dinner. They kept asking me if he as here, and I just said "I think so, that's what the receptionist said". After about 20 minutes, they realized it was a false alarm . . . . Never found out it was me, until now. Sorry guys
Old 11th July 2009
  #394
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robmix's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle_CFC View Post
First of all thank you Robmix, Resonator and Russrags for sharing your experiences, it's a once a lifetime for people who followed MJ

Out of interest what songs would Michael sing when he was around the studio, russrags mentioned some beatles songs, just be cool to know what songs got stuck in his head!

Would be interesting to hear any stories about vocal range and power, one story I read from Bruce was how MJ could keep the volume of his voice the same and not have to massively raise his voice when he was belting out some parts of songs, Bruce said MJ had remarkable control in that area.

Robmis, do you remember anything from the recording of the song Money? Is it just MJ's vocals on the chorus harmony or others too, it's very deep and rap like, such a great track, and very frank too.

Just how much of a perfectionist was he, from all you read he seemed overly dedicated to his craft.

Any strories regarding jokes or practical jokes (I love the pie in face story btw) or was MJ more professional in the studio haha!

Thank you again, will try and think of some good questions for you all.
There are background singers on "money", but I don't remember their names. It was a relatively quick session. Bruce set up his Fet47's into the 1084's. No compression if I recall correctly. You hear them clearly on the opening "money".

He was a perfectionist, but not in the tortured soul, I'm going to tweak everything until it's lifeless kind of way. He'd do takes until he was happy or ran out of tracks. But his every performance was almost perfect. I never heard MJ sing a bad note, ever !! He would take notes with Eddie and we would comp the vocals when he left. He was meticulous.
Old 11th July 2009
  #395
Here for the gear
 

Hi,

I'm a french sound engineer and fan of Michael Jackson. You can imagine how I'm curious to discover how have you worked with Michael.

I'll try to reduce my questions. What do you know about preferences of Michael Jackson about sound ? Is there a microphone he prefered ? Was he overdemanding for the sound of his wedge ? The equalisation of his voice ? Did you work with a high ratio of compression for his voice ? What kind of machines did you use ?

Do you know the personn who mixed his sound during concert ? Did he used particular things ?

Thanks in advance !
Old 11th July 2009
  #396
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robmix's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJP777 View Post
Secondly - would you reccommend buying 40 DAT tapes worth of recordings from the Bad Sessions? I just want to know in your opinion if the stuff recorded would be worth the purchase.

?

I'd be curious where those came from. MJ ran a pretty tight ship, and at least on HIStory we all signed confidentiality contracts. No tapes ever left the building except in MJ's hands.
Old 11th July 2009
  #397
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Steve G's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJP777 View Post
Secondly - would you reccommend buying 40 DAT tapes worth of recordings from the Bad Sessions? I just want to know in your opinion if the stuff recorded would be worth the purchase.
I'd be surprised if DAT tapes from then stilled played. Buyer beware.

Steve
Old 11th July 2009
  #398
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DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

You guys have any idea why HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor don't seem to be available anymore in Belgium? They're not even on iTunes here, unlike the other albums, and unlike the US iTunes store where they are there.
Old 11th July 2009
  #399
.

guys - this is FREEKING AWESOME - I LOVE IT!!!.....lovin' the food fight story, russ rags!!

...keep it coming!!!

...

.
Old 11th July 2009
  #400
Here for the gear
 

Thanks guys, so nice to hear your stories (:

Quote:
Originally Posted by russrags View Post
Oooooh good one Eagle_CFC,

1st off the song I always heard Michael singing around the Studio was "Black Dog" by Led Zep truely amazing to witness 1st hand.

Once I was out at Michael's Studio on Havenhurt in Encino, and I was going through a stack of vinyl records sitting by the console. One of the records I came across was Grace Jones "Nightclubbing" I picked it up to look at it front and back and Michael got kind of excited about it too. He took the record from me and asked if I'd like to hear a song that was very influential to him, and I thought are you kidding, YES please. He put on a song called "Feel Up" from that record and I about fell over !!! All the little inflections Michael creates with his voice on his records, are present on this Grace Jones track from 1981. Please check this song out, anyone reading this thread will be glad they did.

OK here's MY pie in the face funny story:

One fear of mine was that I knew there’d come a day that it would be just Michael and I in the same room one on one. I’d rehearsed it in the mirror over and over, just what was I going to say to this guy??? Well that day came, and what was probably seconds, seemed like a very long time. Catering had arrived at the Studio and here Michael and I were standing by ourselves. I was looking at the floor and said to myself, “this is it, this is what I‘ve been afraid of, I’m going to have to break the ice.” I took a big deep breath and raised my head to speak and … wham .. I got hit with a handful of corn, I thought, “oh no this is going to be war” … I picked up some pickles and threw them at Michael, then he threw something else and it went back and forth for a while. We were laughing so hard (I had to clean it all up later of coarse) but for three weeks we couldn’t look at each other without laughing. What a great way for him to make me feel at ease. Michael really has a great sense of humor, he just loves seeing people do a 3 stooges act and fumble all over themselves. I wish there were more people in the world exactly like Michael Jackson, he is truly one amazing human being.

How's that for a funny pie in the face story???



Russ
Nashville
"In Order To Predict The Future ... Create It"
Old 11th July 2009
  #401
Here for the gear
 

robmix and Resonator, after reading through this thread, I pretty much hate you guys' guts... But only because I am insanely envious of you two!

Last edited by Habbit; 11th July 2009 at 11:57 PM.. Reason: Word choice.
Old 12th July 2009
  #402
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robmix View Post
I'd be curious where those came from. MJ ran a pretty tight ship, and at least on HIStory we all signed confidentiality contracts. No tapes ever left the building except in MJ's hands.
Yeah well maybe it was more controlled during the recording of HIStory.

I know for a fact an engineer (who worked on Thriller) can sell me a copy of the Thriller demo reels containing "Starlight" and all the rest, for a nice sum.

It's the same case with the 40 Bad DAT Tapes - another engineer is offering an exlusive deal.

But to be honest I'm more interested in the Dangerous Sessions. I just HAVE to find out about this track "Men In Black".. lol
Old 12th July 2009
  #403
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJP777 View Post

I know for a fact an engineer (who worked on Thriller) can sell me a copy of the Thriller demo reels containing "Starlight" and all the rest, for a nice sum.

It's the same case with the 40 Bad DAT Tapes - another engineer is offering an exlusive deal.
Isn't that illegal... or at the least, pretty unethical of him to offer these for sale?
Old 12th July 2009
  #404
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Football View Post
Isn't that illegal... or at the least, pretty unethical of him to offer these for sale?
Sure is.
Old 12th July 2009
  #405
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Robmix, a few questions

- what's the synth at the beginning of Scream ?

- how would michael exactly do his demos ? he'd choose songs from producers and sang over it into a microcassette recorder ? he would make up his own, beatboxing and singing various parts in a small multitrack recorder ? i'd be curious to hear some

- did Michael have perfect pitch ?

- what N.I.N songs did he like in particular ?

- what other music did he listen to at the time ?

thanks ! and sorry if some have already been asked ...
Old 12th July 2009
  #406
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This is the best thread on any website, ever. Fascinating!
I wonder if MJ was ever tempted to offer Reznor a wedge to produce. I know Prince did.
Old 12th July 2009
  #407
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up !
Old 12th July 2009
  #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hankdrummer View Post
- what N.I.N songs did he like in particular ?
i second!
Old 13th July 2009
  #409
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chtimixeur's Avatar
 

Here is a message posted by Bryan Loren on his myspace page

Quote:
Philadelphia, Pa.- Wow. This is really tough for me.

It’s always hard losing someone that you called friend. But even more when you felt that they really understood some part of you that most people don’t. For me, that was Michael.

I spent a lot of time with Michael. Yes, a lot of time in the studio, but a lot of personal time as well. Among other times, Michael spent at least one Christmas and one Thanksgiving at my house. Just the two of us. We spent a lot of time talking. About life, music, art, movies, people, women(yes, women), and what it meant for him to be who he was at the time in which he lived. We talked about Elvis. He actually conjectured as to whether his musical legacy would be considered as great as Elvis'. I always assured him it would. I was with him in N.Y. working on ‘History’ around the time he first started seeing Lisa Marie. I was actually even a little jealous, then. I’d always thought she was very attractive(lol). I was with him when he decided he was going to the Oscars with Madonna. I stayed at, and went back and forth to Neverland. I spent many days at the ‘Hideout’. This was a condo that Michael had in Westwood, in L.A. I remember going with him into a room there where he kept a lot of the wardrobe from the ‘Bad’ tour. He showed me a jacket that I’d seen him wear on stage during the ‘Thriller’ performance. It looked like the one in the video, with the exception that it was loaded with neon lights that he would turn on during the dance routine. I put it on. This jacket was HEAVY. It seemed to have weighed 30 or more pounds. To think, he wore this during a big dance routine. It was then that I realized how strong he was for his very lean frame. On several occasions, we drove in this big white pick-up truck he used to drive, to Tower Records. Before going into the store, he would put on some glasses, a hat and these really weird teeth. Invariably, someone would recognize and watch him, but usually people would repectfully allow him to shop. I remember once being on the 101 freeway coming from the Hideout on the way to the studio in my car, with Michael in my passenger seat. At some point, a man driving on the passenger side of my car looks in the window at Mike, curly hair and Fedora in tow. Does a double-take and shruggs his shoulders as if to say ‘nah, couldn’t be’. Now that was funny. Then, there’s the people. The endless parade of high-profile people I met, just because I was with him when they showed up. From Michael Milken to Eddie Murphy, Steve Wynne, and Little Richard. I did the arrangement on the song he wrote for the Sigfried and Roy show in Los Vagas. The list goes on.

I still have the Fedora I took off his head while he was annoyingly poking at a plate of food I was eating at the studio one day, making him recoil because he had ‘hat-hair’(lol). I remember clearly the day he brought Bubbles(the chimp) to the studio, and Bubbles hit me(open-hand) in my chest(that s$%t hurt!). I wanted nothing to do with the chimp after that. Michael said it meant he liked me. He could not have been more amused. We shared laughter about things that only we knew. We could be in a room full of people, and either one of us could make the other laugh about something that would have others thinking ‘what’s so funny?’ It really made me feel special when Michael told me how talented he thought I was, knowing what the whole world thought of him. Likewise it was a special feeling working with him.

We recorded some twenty-plus tracks together. Sadly, many of these we never finished. But when we did do vocals, beyond his lead work it was always a pleasure to listen to this man lay background harmonies. His voice was truly unique. Really pure tone, and great intonation. On The Simpson's song ‘Do The Bartman’, the background vocals in the bridge are just me(contrary to what the press believed at that time). But, the harmonies in the chorus are performed by the two of us. We are each, singing each part harmony. We did them simultaniously. It was a quick, and painless process. I mixed the record, and I promise you all the vocals are equal gain. That’s two people, and it’s tight! It was really cool for me, as I’d never so easily before doubled with someone doing background vocals. He did the backing chorus voices on ‘To Satisfy You’ from my ‘Music From The New World’ CD because I’d written it for him, for 'Dangerous'. When it was decided he wasn’t going to use it, I told him I wanted to keep his vocals and put it on my record. He said, ‘Of course’. We actually did the finishing work on ‘Superfly Sister’ from ‘Blood On The Dance Floor’ a few years after I’d already done the track, as this was a song that I started writing during the ‘Dangerous’ sessions. Which made me feel it was always possible that we might revist some of the other music we’d started all that time ago. This was not unusual for Michael, as in the case of ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ from the ‘History’ album. This was a song that he’d started even before I joined him for 'Dangerous'. One of the first things I heard was this song, but it got bumped at that time. ‘Earth Song’ was also started during 'Dangerous'.

'Dangerous' was a rough period for me as well. As we’d recorded so much music and none of it was used for that project, and much else occured that I won’t go into here. But, I will say that I spent a great deal of enjoyable time with Michael and made some great music with him as well. There are some songs that even in there unfinished format, you can hear their potential. And over the next few months I will be posting some of those that have enough content to hear that potential.

When we began working, it was my hope to return to a form of feeling that you got from the 'Off The Wall' or even the 'Thriller' Lp. Where there was a very organic feeling about the content. ‘Work That Body’, is complete with Michael repeating(at my behest) the rap from The Jackson Five’s ‘ABC’. He DID NOT want to do this(lol), but realized the toungue-in-cheek fun contained in it. I produced this track, and am performing all of the music. There are no sequencers on it, as I do not generally use them in the course of my work. The two of us wrote the lyric and melody.

Ironically, I’d intended a while ago to post this and other songs that we’d done together because somehow, they’d been leaked to the internet. I would occasionally get email here at Myspace and otherwise asking if I had done this work. Well, to finally and officially answer that question: yes. A bunch of these are my songs, produced by me and co-written with Michael. It is sad that this would be the occasion to finally get to this, but I suppose people who love Michael would especially now like to hear work of his that was unreleased. There is also some amount of catharsis for me in this process.

I am proud to have produced and written for Michael. I am also proud to have called him my peer, and my friend. We shared a friendship that he had with very few people. It was very special to me. I am deeply saddened by his sudden, and untimely passing. My best wishes and sympathy go out to his children and all of the Jackson family. It goes without saying, he will be missed. R.I.P., big bruh...

B

Bryan Loren on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos
Old 13th July 2009
  #410
Quote:
Originally Posted by chtimixeur View Post
Here is a message posted by Bryan Loren on his myspace page
.

hey, thanks for that - great post!

.
Old 13th July 2009
  #411
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This thread is an example of how the internet can be a beautiful thing...
Old 13th July 2009
  #412
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RodmanSan's Avatar
Found something Weird Al Yankovic said concerning MJ :

Quote:
Legendary pop music parodist Weird Al Yankovic has written a touching remembrance for Rolling Stone about the passing of Michael Jackson.
Yankovic, who parodied both Beat It (Eat It) and Bad (Fat), reveals on the magazine's website that Michael was a gracious man who didn't mind being poked fun of and was an avid fan of Weird Al's movie UHF.
The first time around I pursued Michael Jackson about a song parody, it was a shot in the dark. We're talking about the most popular and famous person in the known universe, and here I was, this goofy comedy songwriter. He not only returned our phone calls, but he approved it. He thought it was a funny idea. Then when we did the second parody, "Fat," he was nice enough to let us use his subway set for the video, so he's always been very supportive.


The first time I met him in person was long after I had gotten permission to do "Eat It" back in 1984. There's a contract somewhere that has his signature next to mine, proving that we are the co-writers of "Eat It," which is surrealistic in and of itself. The first time I actually ran into him was backstage at one of his concerts, this was maybe four years later, when Even Worse came out with my second parody, "Fat." I went backstage, and he was seeing a lot of people, but I brought along a gold record of Even Worse to present to him, and he was very gracious and thanked me for it and said some nice things. After the fact, I thought, "That's probably the last thing Michael Jackson needs, another gold record for his storage locker." Seeing him in person was amazing, it was otherworldly. He was and continues to be so iconic, it's hard to even conceive of him as a human being. He always was bigger than life.


Our second meeting was a TV show taping. He was performing "Black or White," and I remember Slash was onstage and I talked to [Michael] briefly afterwards. He told me he would play my movie, UHF, for his friends at Neverland Ranch, and he was very soft-spoken, very quiet, but always very friendly to me.
I considered parodying "Black or White" around that time. Michael wasn't quite so into it, because he thought "Black or White" was more of a message song, and he didn't feel as comfortable with a parody of that one, which I completely understood, and in a way, he did me a huge favor, because I was already getting pegged as the guy who did Michael Jackson parodies, and because he wasn't so into it, I decided to go with Nirvana, which wound up revitalizing my career. I don't know what kind of career I would have today if it hadn't been for Michael Jackson. In a very real sense, he jump-started my career. "Eat It" basically changed me from an unknown into a guy that got recognized at Burger King.
Old 13th July 2009
  #413
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Makinithappen's Avatar
 

OK... Screw it... I'll help clog this thread. heh

I've read several things in the last few days with Weird Al talking about MJ. Every great artist should have the ability to poke fun at themselves. It's refreshing to learn that Michael was no exception.
Old 13th July 2009
  #414
Lives for gear
Thanks for all these great stories ! I wish I'd had that great picture of MJ before he died ... I can only blame the media for what bs they threw at him and myself for giving them too much weight sometimes ...
I hope that we all learn from that ...
Also just saw the interview of MJ that Oprah did years ago ... he's just like a child, so pure and gentle ... it's somewhere on youtube if anyone cares
Old 13th July 2009
  #415
.

hey, thanks for the Weird Al stories...

...judging from all the tales relating MJ's propensity for goofy humor and slapstick -
it totally makes sense that he would've enjoyed Weird Al.

.
Old 13th July 2009
  #416
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Thank you so much for taking time to share!
Thousands of people reading this will only get this close to him - through your stories. This is precious.

In his CNN interview Bruce said that Michael wasn't your guy next door.
To a certain degree this is what made people so agitated when in his presence - MJ was special.

His life was rather intense, if anything then for the media and the insanity that it built around his name.

Could you please answer these two questions, which might be interesting for others as well:
1. You guys worked with Michael for many years, did the growing media attention to his personal life have an effect on how MJ worked in the studio? His later albums seem to be much more fraught with hurt, even anger.

2. Fans tend to idealize their idols, the real people. It's just hard to believe that MJ never lost his cool, which is a very human thing to do. MJ being the wonderful person that he was, what was he like when he got mad at something? And what were these things normally?

I think this last question would add an element of realness to Michael Jackson as a man, who was so absolutely not like other guys.

Thank you!
Old 14th July 2009
  #417
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellendee View Post
who was so absolutely not like other guys.
Well he did say that himself on the Thriller video intro, didn't he?
"I'm not like other guys..."
Old 14th July 2009
  #418
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hiltonius's Avatar
 

gratitude

many thanks to those who worked with MJ for sharing their stories on here. this is a fabulous thread, and it is completely consistent with the stores i've heard personally from those who knew him and worked around him.

Rich Hilton
Nile Rodgers Productions
Old 14th July 2009
  #419
Here for the gear
 

Thanks again.

I have an extremely important question to all of you working in the industry. We know that Michael has been recording songs the past few years, do you know if it was financed by Sony/Epic or if he was paying for it?

It is important because Epic's CEO, Ghost, is now saying that they have new songs ready to be released and I'm just wondering if they will be as new as she says. We don't know if Michael was still in a deal with Sony, and I don't want to be fooled when these songs will be released and presented as "new" while it might as well be some songs recorded for History or Invincible.

Did I mention it is important? Please, even if you know a little or just have an opinion: share it!

PS: What do you guys think of INVINCIBLE?
Old 14th July 2009
  #420
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Thanks Robmix and resonator for all your insights into working with Michael, extremely inspiring and interesting.

In reply to Mederick, I think Invincible is incredible... so many people i know just don't get it. Stand out tracks for me on there would be 'Heartbreaker'... the production is ridiculous! 'Break Of Dawn', 'Butterflies', 'Heaven Can Wait', 'You Rock My World'. I honestly don't think anything Michael did was ever anything but INCREDIBLE.
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