Статьи: 1987 Ebony/Jet Interview

EBONY/JET: It’s been almost four years since you’ve recorded a come out with the new album. How do you feel now that the album is out?

MICHAEL JACKSON: Um… I feel rejuvenated, kinda, because after working on it so long… It’s so much work. A lot of people… they’re used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the sight of the work you go through to produce that outcome. And I feel, you know, rejuvenated and happy. It’s a jubilation, it names what it is. It’s like a celebration, it’s like: «We’re done!»

E/J: How long did it take to come up with… I guess you almost wrote eight songs or seven songs on it. How long did it take to come up with that creative process?

MJ: I don’t remember. I totally don’t… I don’t even count the hours or anything. Every song is different.

E/J: It is.

MJ: Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it happens slowly. No one can quite say what the creative process is, because I have nothing to do with it almost ’cause it’s created in space. It’s God’s work, not mine.

E/J: You know, talking ’bout that… God gives us a lot of gifts, a lot of times and you’ve been really blessed with a tremendous amount of gifts. And yet is seems is though a lot is being required of you. Do you sometimes regret being so awfully famous?

MJ: No… Some time. Only some time. Sometimes I wanna sneak into places and not have any […?], you know and it doesn’t work all the time, because people starting a crowd around… which is sweet, I mean, I shouldn’t complain, but…

E/J: No, but you have a right to complain because everybody has a right to go out there and to just be alone. But it seems like that right is not really given to you.

MJ: That’s part of the work, I would say.

E/J: Mhm. How do you feel about the song «Bad»? We talked earlier and I told you that, I like the song «Bad» because it’s really all about you. You are the baddest when it comes to the record industry.

MJ: Um… Well… It is quite different from anything I’ve ever recorded, from I’ve ever written. That’s a bold statement to say. But I mean [… …?] so don’t take it too seriously. Yeah. I’m sayin’… It’s like you were sayin’ you’re cool, you’re alright, you’re tough. I’m not sayin’ I’m like criminally bad. Of course that’s how people will take it. It’s a bold statement to make.

E/J: How about the video? The video is… Another thing on this album is that a lot of songs make social statements. And the video also does that too, with «Bad». I know that you probably didn’t experience anything like that but my name is Daryl, I grew up in Harlem in a south Bronx and I went away to school and I also had to deal with few pressures. How did you come out about the whole idea of doing something like that?

MJ: Oh, it wasn’t really my idea. It’s actually part of a true story where this kid tried to…

E/J: That’s my story!

MJ: Yes, your story. But the truth of what really happened… this kid… [? MJ is talking something to Frank]

[PAUSE]

E/J: Now I know that you didn’t write the video. But you’re telling me… The story is almost like the story of my life. But you told me that it’s based on another person.

MJ: Yes, it is. This kid who went to school upstate, in the country, whatever, who is from the ghetto and he tried to make something of his life and he would leave all his friends behind and when he came back on spring break or whatever, Thanksgiving break, his friends became so envious, jealous of him and they killed him. But in the film I don’t die of course. So it’s a true story that was… We had taken it from «Time» or «Newsweek» magazine. And… he’s a black kid, like me. And… it’s a sad story. But we…

E/J: How…

MJ: Pardon?

E/J: How does that make you feel when you see those sad stories?

MJ: Oh, something like that is very sad, because it’s all negative, it’s wrong. I think that’s life, to wanna grow and become more and like you plant a seed and it grows into something beautiful and it never dies really. I think people should be that way.

E/J: You know what, my favourite song on the album is «Man in the mirror».

MJ: Oh, yeah, I like that a lot.

E/J: That’s my favourite song. [….?] I’m feelin’ that no matter what you do in the world, it really has to start with you.

MJ: It’s my philosophy, too. «If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change».

E/J: Is it hard to do?

MJ: Well, people don’t look at themselves honestly. They don’t look at themselves and point the finger ’cause it’s always the other guys’ fault or [somebody up?] You should change yourself. Look at yourself. Make better of yourself.

E/J: When you look in the mirror, are you happy with what you see?

MJ: In what way?

E/J: Just when you look there in terms of that social philosophy.

MJ: Um… I’m never totally satisfied. I always wish the world could be a better place. No. No, no. Hopefully…You know, that’s what I do with my music — bring happiness to people. And to bring joy. Bring some peace in their lives.

E/J: Are you a prayerful person?

MJ: Pardon?

E/J: I said: are you a prayerful-typed person?

MJ: Oh, yeah, yeah. I pray a lot, yeah. I see a beautiful sunset, I say: ‘God, it’s beautiful, thank You’. Or a baby’s smile or butterfly’s wings or anything like that, you know.

E/J: You know, on the album version of «I just can’t stop loving you» you make some very strong sensuous remarks to a woman that you’re layin’ next to.

MJ: I was in a bed when I was doing that also.

E/J: Really?

MJ: Yeah. I was laying in cover and everything when I did that whole rap. In the dark.

E/J: And the lyrics go: «because people really don’t understand me».

MJ: No, I say: «a lot of people misunderstand me, it’s ’cause they don’t know me». I guess that’s true. People believe a lot of crazy stories they read, some is true, some is not, and…

E/J: Does it hurt when you see those crazy stories?

MJ: Some time. But it’s part of the work, you know.

E/J: You ever wanna lash out in any type of way and say: «Hey, that’s not true»?

MJ: Yeah, a lot of times. But why bring more attention to a thing?

E/J: Aha. Is there another favourite song of mine. Is… not as much as «Man in the mirror» but… «Liberian girl». Is there a Liberian girl in your life?

MJ: No, I wrote that at my house, in a game, I guess I was playing some pinball or something and the song just popped in my head. And… I ran upstairs, put it on tape and… it became «Liberian girl». Same thing with (Michael sings) «We are the world, we are the children». I didn’t really… I mean I don’t know why those words came, they just came as that: «we are the ones to make a brighter day, so let’s start giving». I didn’t think about it, it just… you know… it just comes.

E/J: One thing that I find is like what you said it took so long to come up with all the different songs on the album and every song is different. You have calypso influences, you have reaggae influences, you have ‘new cool sound’ with one, you have heavy metal with «Dirty Diana»…

MJ: I love «Dirty Diana».

E/J: That’s your favourite song?

MJ: One of my favourites.

E/J: Why?

MJ: Because it’s a life story of a groupie. Hate to say the word ‘groupie’ but that’s what it is. And it’s something that I’ve experienced and a lot of people who grow up on the road. Like me. I don’t remember not performing.

E/J: Do you feel that you’ve missed out on something by not remembering not performing?

MJ: Of course. But I’ve gained a lot, too. Lot of people never get out of their home town, get to see other wonderful places. Lot of kids read about things and I get to see in person — all over the world — different places. So that’s… I’m so happy about that. I mean… You never can have everything.

E/J: How does it feel when you go in to do a concert somewhere and literally there are tens of thousands of people that are rushing over to you just to get a glimpse?

MJ: That’s a wonderful feeling. Especially when you see them smiling. I love the fans. I think it’s very sweet. I feel thankful, it’s how I feel. I really do. I don’t take any of it for granted.

E/J: What would you say — what interests you most about life?

MJ: What interests me most about life… is learning. Finding out new things, exploring different worlds. I’m so interested in human anatomy now, the brain and in so many different things like that, the bones and everything.

E/J: I know that… And you know, this is [… …?] but you’re very much interested in the bones of the Elephant Man, John Merrick.

MJ: Yes.

E/J: Is that because of your anatomical interest?

MJ: Yes, I’ve been to the London school for doctors twice and I visited John Merrick’s remains who I feel a closeness to. I love story of the Elephant Man, very sad story.

E/J: Would you some day like to do maybe a remake of the movie or of the play?

MJ: Nnn… Maybe. Maybe, but I feel it’s been done so well already with David Lynch. And I think it was John Hurt who played John Merrick. And I don’t think I can contribute any better than what they’ve done.

E/J: The part that I like best is when after he gains confidence and then he’s back on his way after having gone to the [… … …. ?] stole them out of the hospital and then he’s inside the subway station and then finally he has to yell…

MJ: Oh, yeah. Yeah. «Leave me alone»…

E/J: «Leave me alone, I’m not an animal…»

MJ: «…I’m a human being».

E/J: «…I’m a human being». Do we as human beings treat people as animals too many times?

MJ: I think so. [… …?] I mean, that’s what war is all about.

E/J: Sure.

MJ: [… … …?]

E/J: Are you scared of war?

MJ: I think anybody likes war in truth. I don’t like war. I like peace. I’m a peaceful person.

E/J: Do you ever think about ever being an ambassador or anything like that? The fact’s that you’re accepted around this whole world. Did you ever think of being some type of an ambassador?

MJ: I feel I’m that really with my music, what I’ve done with music, ’cause it breaks all barriers. I don’t have to make a political statement. I do all of that with music. It breaks all language barriers and everything, to all races of people. It goes all over the world. And it’s funny to see kids from India or whatever country you name, you know, who know about the music.

E/J: Last question, sure. This will be about the tour. Why did you choose to start your worldwide tour in Japan? And not really give your fans here in America a chance to see you until the end of the year?

MJ: Well, as you remember, the Victory Tour was all American. And the rest of the world didn’t get anything, so it’s good to be fair, you know. And ask me, I think it’s more fair because the show will be much better when we get here. The worst thing to me personally to see is an opening show because you know it’s not as tidy as it can be. It was something that my manager have done and people who work for me. Wherever they book it — if I like it, I’ll go. I like Japan, I’ve been there before.

E/J: Any apprehension about touring by yourself for the first time?

MJ: I’ve done some much solo work. Even when I was little, thirteen — solo albums, solo appearances on TV shows. And it’s just another road. But of course you always think… feel things… I don’t see Marlon next to me, I don’t feel Jermaine, I don’t… you know…

E/J: Sure.