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Michael Jackson

AEG Drops $17.5 Mil

Insurance Claim

9/11/2012 7:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

0911_mj_aeg_01
The concert promoter behind Michael Jackson's ill-fated "This Is It" tour has dropped its claim to collect on a $17.5 million insurance policy for the singer ... after the insurance company claimed AEG hid the extent of MJ's extensive drug and health issues.

AEG announced the move last night ... claiming the company has been contemplating the decision for months and it has nothing to do with the discovery of new emails that show AEG had doubts about MJ's health around the time the company applied for the insurance policy.

FYI -- the insurance company, Lloyds of London, had sued both AEG and Michael Jackson LLC in the wake of MJ's death to cancel out the policy. L.O.L. has claimed AEG and MJ were not forthright about the singer's drug addiction and failing health at the time they applied for the policy.

Now, a rep for Lloyds tells CNN ... "In exchange for AEG withdrawing its insurance claim, underwriters agreed to dismiss AEG from the case and to waive any costs recoverable from AEG."

Lloyds says it's NOT dropping the case against Michael Jackson LLC -- explaining they will press on seeking "rescission of the policy due to nondisclosures of Michael Jackson's prior drug use."

168 COMMENTS

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76.

Pegasus    

The next article proves what we thought all along – at the end of the 80s, even prior to 1987 when Bad was released, the media started its onslaught against Jackson, and shifted its attention from his music and dance to his personal life, making him an innocent target of their most vicious ridicule.

And although I’ve never seen Spike Lee’s film the honest way he talks about Michael is a sign that the film he made should be really something extraordinary:


Spike Lee remembers Michael Jackson at the Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 2012
Spike Lee calls media treatment of MJ ‘shameful’
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, Sep. 15, 2012 1:30PM EDT

TORONTO — Spike Lee’s new do***entary “Bad 25″ captures Michael Jackson in the turbulent time before he crafted 1987′s “Bad,” a period when the notoriously meticulous King of Pop worked with feverish obsession on trying to top his own megahit “Thriller” while the tabloids vigorously devoured the remnants of his personal life.

But even after “Bad” made good and topped charts around the world, the album’s release saw the decided shift of attention from Jackson’s pristine pop to his apparently bizarre personal behaviour (Chimps! Amusement parks! The Elephant Man’s bones!).

Here is a reader’s side-note to interrupt the story for a moment:

gertrude “Michael’s Jackson’s behaviour was not bizarre – THAT was an OPINION the MEDIA attempted to sham us into believing was a fact. FACTS are not OPINIONS, of course, and I commend this writer for describing the media as cruel, which since they slandered, suppressed the truth about, and BULLIED Jackson to death, is putting it mildly”.
(continued) And for that media-fuelled rubbernecking, Lee says there’s plenty of shame to go around.

“People, they had the hater-ade. They were drinking hater-ade,” the two-time Academy Award nominee said in an interview from a swanky hotel suite Saturday during the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie screened.

“Read the reviews of the ‘Bad’ album. They wrote like this was some piece of (crap). And (they) don’t call him by his name — ‘Wacko Jacko?’ It’s shameful…. Those people should be ashamed what they did to him.”

And while Lee’s reverential film remains studiously focused on Jackson’s work, it also reveals much about an intensely private man who really never experienced privacy.

“Bad 25″ picks up in the wake of the titanic success of Jackson’s second album as an adult solo artist, 1982′s game-changing stunner “Thriller.” The best-selling album of all time, “Thriller”‘s sales numbers are still too gaudy to believe — after all, it’s been certified platinum 29 times over in the U.S. alone while going twice diamond in Canada.

But Jackson wasn’t satisfied with that. Just as he was determined to make “Thriller” a much bigger success than his 1979 disco-informed classic “Off the Wall,” Jackson thought he could similarly top the biggest hit of all time. As Lee’s film uncovers, Jackson even used to scrawl “100,000,000″ on mirrors and notebooks as a reminder to himself of the impossibly lofty sales number he wanted to achieve with “Bad.”

Of course, that produced an almost unprecedented amount of self-imposed pressure for a pop artist.

So Lee’s film captures Jackson obsessing over not just the 11 tracks that formed “Bad” but also its ambitious music videos (one of which was directed by film luminary Martin Scorsese), the choreography of the album’s eventual epic tour (which included a show in front of 72,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium) or even bits of promotional minutiae only tangentially related to Jackson’s music.

Lee says Jackson believed that he couldn’t stop pushing himself or everything he had worked to build would deteriorate.

“He was not stupid,” said Lee, clad in a glittering Michael Jackson T-shirt with matching custom Nike kicks.

“He saw people, black artists, who were at the top and then broke. He saw many great black artists who were confined to just being black artists.

“Michael’s about breaking boundaries.”

Still, Lee can’t necessarily relate to Jackson’s unyielding eye for detail.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist. Now, me, I’m not going to do 80 takes like David Fincher of somebody picking up a magazine. I’m not going to do that!” he adds, laughing as he picks up and slams a nearby lifestyle mag for emphasis.

“But it was his money…. He put his money into his work.”

Along with Lee’s film, the 25th anniversary of “Bad” is being celebrated with a spiffy new deluxe re-release on Tuesday.

The new two-disc set includes a remastered version of the original album, plus a slate of worthy B-sides that were once axed from its concise tracklist. (With characteristic honesty, Lee dismisses a portion of the second disc’s new material, screwing his face into a frown as he warns: “Forget about the remixes.”)


Michael Jackson in a concert at Wembley stadium on July 15, 1988
Lee doesn’t think there’s room for debate over how the record — which featured such hits as the title track, “Man in the Mirror,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Smooth Criminal” — wears its age.

“Look at the Billboard charts when ‘Bad’ was released 25 years ago, and then listen to those songs, and see if they still sound contemporary or dated,” said Lee, whose film will air on ABC on Nov. 22 in Canada.

“‘Bad’ still stands up. Those other songs that were on the Top 10 list 25 years ago? Who were they? Thin Lizzy? Are we still speaking about those people?” he asks incredulously.

“The greats will stand the test of time. It’s not even an argument.”

Although Lee has condemned those who eagerly gawked at Jackson’s downfall (the film doesn’t cover the accusations of child sexual abuse brought against the singer in 1993), he does admit to some level of curiosity about one specific element of Jackson’s life: his gradually lightening skin tone.

While it was later reported that Jackson’s colour was changing due to the skin condition vitiligo and treatments for lupus, Lee watched the transition with some interest.

“Black folks were wondering about (that) — I’m not going to lie,” Lee said with a chuckle, pinching his own skin. “Because Michael never came public that he had this disease. I was one of them. Like, ‘Wait a minute man. What’s up brother?’

“I’m not going to lie. That’s full disclosure. And I’m not speaking on behalf of 45 million African Americans, but there were discussions about Michael’s complexion.”

Of course, there were discussions about virtually every element of Jackson’s life.


Ten of the 11 songs on Bad were accompanied by an elaborate music video. The only one not given the visual treatment is “Just Good Friends,” a collaboration with friend Stevie Wonder (theroot.com)
Lee had access to a deep well of sensational archival footage, supplementing original interviews conducted with Jackson collaborators including Scorsese and director Joe Pytka (as well as such admirers as Kanye West, Mariah Carey and Canada’s Justin Bieber) with clips of Jackson in the studio or warming up on video sets.

But amid all the shots of Jackson fervently fretting over some seemingly insignificant tone or lyric, there are revealing insights about the strange way he lived his life.

This is a man who adopted devious disguises just to meet up with his brothers for dinner, whose every public appearance devolved into hysteria and whose earliest memories of childhood were indivisible from showbiz.

“He had to sing and dance to eat since he was six years old,” Lee said simply.

At one point in the film, a teary-eyed confidante of Jackson’s relates a conversation they shared in which the singer yearned to be a fly on the wall at a party, to see what normal people talked about.

And one of the bonus tracks on “Bad 25″ is the knotted, claustrophobic “Price of Fame,” in which Jackson laments the cost of dealing with the demands of a massive audience that’s blindly obsessed with him.

Lee doesn’t think long when asked what that cost was.

“Look, he’s not here. He’s not here. Not in this physical form,” he replies.

“You get to be the most recognizable person on this planet, there’s a price for that…. You could say he paid with his life, really.”

Full story: http://www.cp24.com/entertainment/spike-lee-calls-media-treatment-of-mj-shameful-1.957363

680 days ago
77.

Pegasus    

“It was his money. He put his money into his work” – this phrase somehow brought home to me where Michael’s money really went into – into those 80 takes of one and the same episode and all of them in search of perfection. What a wise investment it was…

The next article says that Michael learned the work ethic from his father (which is probably correct). Only recently did we see an email from Paul Gongaware’s of AEG who accused Michael of being “lazy” and heard AEG insisting on “tough love” towards Jackson to make him work – and here we are, life itself is refuting these callous lies about the man. Michael never needed to be pushed about as he was the one who did ten times as much as anyone else would and did it all by himself!


Paul Gongaware of AEG wrote to its CEO Randy Phillips: “. “We let Mikey know just what this will cost him in terms of him making money…. he is lazy and constantly changes his mind to fit his immediate wants.”
September 16, 2012

Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson doc transcends the man in the mirror
By Liz Brown

Metro Canada

What do you do when you’re the man behind the bestselling album in music history?

You vow that your next one will be even better, naturally.

Such is the pursuit of perfection that propelled — and plagued — Michael Jackson as he spent two years writing and composing Bad, his followup to 1982’s Thriller.

In Spike Lee’s do***entary, Bad 25, we learn that in the Bad years, Jackson scrawled ‘100 million’ on his bathroom mirror, so every morning as he brushed his teeth, he’d be reminded of his goal — sell 100 million records.

The album, released in 1987, ended up being a commercial and critical success, with around 40 million copies sold. But it never came close to the sales of Thriller, which rang in somewhere near the 100 million mark.

The failure to reach his 100 million goal wasn’t for lack of effort on Jackson’s part, though.

Bad 25 reveals the late-night dance sessions, the meticulous recordings and the almost pathological work ethic of a man who seemed to be chasing a near-impossible dream.

“Michael got his work ethic from his father,” says Lee on Saturday at Toronto’s Trump Hotel, dressed in a T-shirt sporting Michael Jackson’s iconic Bad pose, just hours before the North American premiere of his do***entary at TIFF.

“(Joe Jackson) had him singing and dancing from five, six years old. I’m not going to make a villain out of Joe Jackson. Many people do, but he got their asses out of Gary Indiana and his children didn’t have to work at the steel mill that he slaved at. Something worked. He’s not all bad.”

But as anyone knows, getting out of Gary and becoming the world’s biggest pop star didn’t come without its struggles. As Jackson was promoting Bad and selling out venues around the world in a 16-month tour that set three world records, darkness was moving in on his star power.


An adorably animated music video for “Leave Me Alone” pokes fun at Jackson’s tabloid troubles. He goes on a wild ride being chased by paparazzi, dances with the bones of the Elephant Man and dodges the shocking claims of newspaper headlines like, “Michael Weds Alien,” “Jackson’s 3rd Eye Starts Sunglasses Fad,” “Michael and Diana Same Person” and “Bubbles the Chimp Bares All About Michael.” (the root.com)
The media became increasingly cruel as Jackson’s behaviour became increasingly bizarre — there were tales of him sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, his pet chimpanzee Bubbles, and rumours that he had tried to buy the Elephant Man’s bones.

In the do***entary, Jackson’s choreographer and confidant Vince Patterson shares some advice he gave the superstar: Don’t ever let a bully know they’re hurting you.

It’s a poignant moment when we are reminded that despite his fame and fortune, Jackson was human — a remarkably talented human — and that somewhere in the mess of scandals and rumours, the wonder of that talent got lost.

Bad 25 reminds us just how wondrous that talent was. Witness the lean in Smooth Criminal (don’t hold your breath — this doc doesn’t reveal the secret behind it), or the head-turning intro to The Way You Make Me Feel.

For Lee, Bad 25 is an ode to Jackson the performer; a tribute to an artist and friend he respected. “I try not to focus on the fact that he’s not here, because the way I take it, Michael’s not here in his physical form, but he’s here in his spiritual form and his music is here,” says Lee.

http://metronews.ca/scene/372001/spike-lees-michael-jackson-doc-transcends-the-man-in-the-mirror/

680 days ago
78.

Pegasus    

The readers commented:

layonmcd • I’m puzzled why this science fiction gets trotted out for public consumption every time Jackson’s name comes up. I’m talking about: “The media became increasingly cruel as Jackson’s behaviour became increasingly bizarre — there were tales of him sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber, his pet chimpanzee Bubbles, and rumours that he had tried to buy the Elephant Man’s bones.” This is ridiculous, distorted, and desperately needs rethinking. We’ve known for almost two decades now that Jackson didn’t sleep in a hyperbaric chamber (it’s a piece of medical equipment he donated to a hospital burn center), that many people enjoy exotic pets, and in fact Jackson did NOT try to buy Elephant Man’s bones. Can you give this a rest? No need to continue the “cruel” part of it by repeating these lies over and over. The bizarre behavior belongs to the media endlessly repeating the tall tales, not Jackson. Stop with the hyperbaric chamber, pet chimp, Elephant Man bones narrative! It ceased to be amusing years ago.
elke hassell Michael Jackson saved Bubbles from a Research Institute. FACT! Quote:“Why not just tell people I’m an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They’ll believe anything you say, because you’re a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, ‘I’m an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight’, people would say, ‘Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He’s cracked up. You can’t believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth.” END QUOTE. People got to stop this nonsense once and for all, to believe everything that has ever been said about him. Start saying SORRY MICHAEL JACKSON FOR WHAT WE DID TO YOU, and thank the Lord that Michael was a FORGIVING SOUL!
masonjud The same old stale chestnuts reheated — the chimp, the chamber and the bones — are hardly worth a yawn by today’s standards of epic excess, self indulgence, and being famous for being famous. The media became increasingly cruel not as ‘Jackson’s behavior became increasingly bizarre’, but as he became astronomically successful. Michael Jackson earned every bit of his well-deserved fame, and he thanked God for it every day — God and rehearsal. Looking forward to Spike Lee’s do***entary and delighted it will air on network television square in prime time where it belongs. In due course the Empire of Trash Media and Junk Food Journalism will collapse of its own arrogance and corruption.
Together with these readers I am thrilled by the perspective that the anniversary of each consecutive album by Michael Jackson will be a discovery of his music by the generations of new fans. I even presume that Michael Jackson belonged so much to the future that the public simply did not catch up with him, and that people will come to appreciate his later work when they are ready for the albums to be re-released again. (Will there be an Invincible 25th album in 2026? And shall we have to wait that long? Can we make it earlier, please?).

I am also rejoiced to see that it wasn’t only me who welcomed and appreciated the “Michael” posthumous album:


Model Tatiana Thumbtzen appeared in the music video for “The Way You Make Me Feel” and became the first person to publicly kiss Jackson in an onstage performance of the song. Thumbtzen claimed she had an affair with Jackson but later retracted the claim in a tell-all book and admitted in a European do***entary that she took the initiative to kiss him onstage and never got to see or speak to him ever again (theroot.com)
layne4 In the shadow of Thriller and surrounded by media focused on nonsense at that time, BAD truly deserves this re-release and recognitiion. I’d like to add that Spike Lee’s do***entary BAD25 has been critically praised and was a huge hit in France, London and Toronto. Oh, and personally, over produced or not, I am happy to own and appreciate ‘Michael’.

Chaz: Thanks for the write-up on the re-release of the “Bad” album. As it fell into the massive shadow of “Thriller” it didn’t get the critical attention it might have otherwise, especially since the tabloid media were already poisoning any hope Michael Jackson ever had of the focus staying on his art. Like others here, I highly value the “Michael” album warts and all, and I also think that “Just Good Friends” is notable for two of the best singers ever giving it their best energy and a full-on effort – Michael’s vocal is stellar. Not sure what your poke at his other producers means, but he had some really good ones down the line – “Dangerous25″ should be another treat if more treasures pop out of the vaults. Hope I’m still alive to see it. (Hello, Estate? We aren’t getting any younger!)
Tabinformed The attention to detail and the work ethic that Michael Jackson Jackson put into his art makes it timeless. There are so many layers and so much to learn about it. It would be nice if today’s artists spent that much time on their craft. Though the 2010 “Michael” album was somewhat overproduced, I still think it stands above most of today’s artists. It was controversial only because Michael Jackson’s fans are very particular and know his music and high standards well. I choose to love the album for the love that the producers of each song clearly put into their work. It was a glimpse into what Michael was working on in his last years as well as the regard that those who worked with him through the years had for him. There are some great tracks on there including “Hollywood Tonight” whose remix became #1 on the Billboard dance chart. It has a killer hook.

680 days ago
79.

Pegasus    

But the most insightful of all is Joseph Vogel’s article which puts the Bad album in the history context and provides a good deal of reasons why Michael Jackson’s harassment campaign started as early as 1985. After reading it you will realize that the media waited only for a pretext to bring Michael down.

I even wonder why the media waited for this “information event” for full six years until 1993, if they could arrange it by their own ways and means much earlier (remember the Newt brothers promised by the media $150,000 for lying about Michael? If you don’t, please go here for details http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,152708,00.html) . Evidently all the other candidates for the job of slandering Michael – except the Chandlers – turned out hopelessly honest and upright.

I also suddenly recalled that Victor Gutierrez, the author of child pornography book about MJ (even banned in the US), admitted starting making rounds of parents of children who Michael Jackson was friends with at about the end of the 80s too. What’s crucial about those rounds is that he didn’t even ask the parents about Michael – he actually told them something like “You don’t know who he really is? Then let me tell you…” which is in fact malicious spreading lies about Jackson and definitely not searching for the truth about the man.

As a example of his “approach” here is a quote from Gutierrez’s book about the way he told flats lies about Jackson presenting them as if they were facts. Wade Robson’s mother Joy never believed them, while Evan Chandler unfortunately did…

“I introduced myself to the mother saying that I was a journalist and that I was writing a book about Jackson which concerned his relationship with minors, including his being a pedophile. When I finished speaking, Joy exclaimed “It’s not true!” I asked her to at least let me explain what I had found out up until now, and then ask her if there was anything that she wanted to add. If not, I would understand”.
But let us get back to Joe Vogel’s article. It is long but is well worth reading in full:

How Michael Jackson Made ‘Bad’
SEP 10 2012, 3:41 PM ET


The story of how the landmark album, which just turned 25 and will soon be re-released in a three-disc set, was forged by the “Wacko Jacko” backlash against the pop star

At the height of his fame, Michael Jackson disappeared.

In 1984, he seemed to be everywhere: on MTV and in Pepsi commercials, at the Grammys and the White House, on Rolling Stone and Time magazine, and all across the United States on the Victory Tour. The next year, however, besides a brief appearance in “We Are the World,” he was nowhere to be seen.

“The year 1985,” wrote Gerri Hirshey for Rolling Stone, ”has been a black hole for Michael watchers, who witnessed the most spectacular disappearing act since Halley’s comet headed for the far side of the solar system in 1910.” It was a strategic move from a performer who understood the power of anticipation and mystique. 1986 was much the same. Jackson was said to be a recluse “in hiding” and made few public appearances.


The Gulliver chained by Lilliputs
In his absence came a flood of fantastical stories about shrines, hyperbaric chambers, and Elephant Man’s bones. Most of these were harmless (and actually amused Jackson), but there was a darker side to the media backlash. Jackson had become the most powerful African American in the history of the entertainment industry. Not only had he built an empire through his own record-****tering albums, videos and performances, he had resurrected the fortunes of CBS/Epic Records, surged life into MTV, and set the bar for live entertainment. He also smartly retained full ownership of his master recordings and with the help of his attorney, John Branca, actively acquired publishing rights, including songs by Sly and the Family Stone, Ray Charles, and of course, the crown jewel of popular music: the ATV/Beatles catalog.

It is no coincidence that this was the precise moment when the tide began to shift. From industry heavyweights and media alike, there was now suspicion, resentment, and jealousy. It was clear Jackson was not merely a naive man-child (as he was often presented), or a song-and-dance man who knew and accepted his place as a static, submissive “entertainer.” He was outwitting some of the most powerful figures in the industry. He was growing artistically and financially. And he was beginning to learn how to wield his considerable power and cultural influence for more social and political ends.

“He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables,” wrote James Baldwin in 1985, “for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael. All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair…”

The backlash, then, was not merely about Jackson’s perceived eccentricities. It was also about power, money, and more subtle forms of institutional and cultural dominance. In the decades preceding Jackson, as James Brown put it, black recording artists were all-too-often “in the show, but not in show business.” Now Jackson was a financial force to be reckoned with. His status, however, also turned him into an enormous target.

Beginning in 1985, the media became increasingly vicious toward the artist. “They desire our blood, not our pain,” Jackson wrote in a note in 1987. Tabloids soon began disparaging him with the nickname “Wacko Jacko” (a term Jackson despised). It was a term first applied to the pop star by the British tabloid, The Sun, in 1985, but its etymology goes back further. “Jacko Macacco” was the name of a famous monkey used in monkey-baiting matches at the Westminster Pit in London in the early 1820s. Subsequently, the term “Jacco” or “Jacco Macacco” was ****ney slang to refer to monkeys in general. The term persisted into the 20th century as “Jacko Monkeys” became popular children’s toys in Great Britain in the 1950s. They remained common in British households into the 1980s (and can still be found on Ebay today).

The term “Jacko,” then, didn’t arise out of a vacuum, and certainly wasn’t meant as a term of endearment. In the ensuing years, it would be used by the tabloid and mainstream media alike with a contempt that left no doubt about its intent. Even for those with no knowledge of its racist roots and connotations, it was obviously used to “otherize,” humiliate and demean its target. Like Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” scene in Invisible Man, it was a process by which to reduce Michael Jackson the human being and artist, to “Jacko” the minstrelized spectacle for avaricious amusement. (It is significant to note that, while the term was used widely by the white media, it was rarely, if ever used by black journalists.)

This was the ominous undercurrent beginning to swirl around Jackson and it had an impact on both his own psyche and that of the public (particularly in the U.S.). The tension between control and liberation or escape percolates throughout the Bad album and its accompanying music videos.

In the short film for “Leave Me Alone,” for example, Jackson keenly conveys the carnivalesque reality of his life as an objectified entertainer. Inspired in part by Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, a larger-than-life Jackson is literally trapped in an amusement park attraction as dogs in corporate suits pound pegs in the ground to keep him in place. Later in the video he sings out of newspapers, dollar bills, and within reenactments of tabloid stories. It is a shrewdly self-aware (and socially aware) examination of entrapment, exploitation, and double consciousness in the postmodern age.

Part of Jackson’s “disappearance,” then, also had to do with the realities of his life. He could no longer walk freely anywhere in the world without being mobbed, scrutinized, and dissected.

His retreat was in his art. From 1985 to 1987, away from the public eye, he was writing and recording prolifically. The Bad sessions would ultimately generate more than 60 songs in various states of completion. At one point he considered releasing it as a triple-disc album.

Jackson called his home studio at Hayvenhurst “the Laboratory.” This is where the magic was created with a small group of musicians and engineers, including Matt Forger, John Barnes, Chris Currell, and Bill Bottrell (often referred to as the “B-Team”). It has now become the stuff of legend that Jackson wrote “100 million” on his bathroom mirror, the number of albums he expected Bad to sell. The figure was more than double the number of what Thriller had sold to that point. Such was the scope of Jackson’s ambition.

However, it wasn’t just commercial success he was after. Jackson wanted to innovate. He told collaborators he wanted to create sounds the ear had never heard. Exciting new synthesizers were coming on the scene at the time, including the Fairlight CMI and the Synclavier PSMT. “It really opened up another realm of creativity,” recalls recording engineer Matt Forger. “The Fairlight had this light pen that could draw a waveform on the screen and allow you to modify the shape of it. The Synclavier was just an extension of that. Very often we would end up combining two synthesizer elements together to create a unique character. You could do that within the Synclavier, but you also had the ability in a very fine increment to adjust the attack of each sound character. And by doing that you could really tailor the sound. We were doing a lot of sampling and creating new sound characters and then creating a combination of sample sounds mixed with FM synthesis.”

Jackson was fascinated with these new technologies and constantly on the lookout for fresh sounds. The opening sound character for “Dirty Diana,” for example, was created by Denny Jaeger, a Synclavier expert and designer from the Bay Area. When Jackson heard about Jaeger and his library of new sound characters and soundscapes, he reached out and enlisted him for Bad. Jaeger’s sounds ultimately appeared on both “Dirty Diana” and “Smooth Criminal.” “Michael was always searching for something new,” Forger says. “How much stuff could we invent ourselves or research and find? There was a whole lot of that going on. That was what the Laboratory was about.”

[While you are reading you can very well listen to Michael Jackson's 'Bad' Album Megamix, taken from the Promo CD]:

What makes the Bad album so timeless, however, is the way Jackson was able to compliment this technological innovation with more organic, soulful qualities. In “The Way You Make Me Feel,” for example, the relentless steel-shuffling motion of the beat is juxtaposed with all kinds of natural, improvisational qualities that give the song its charm: the vocal ad libs, the finger snapping, the blues harmonies, the percussive grunts and gasps, the exclamations. Recording engineer Bruce Swedien speaks of how he left all of Jackson’s vocal habits in as part of the “overall sonic picture.” He didn’t want to make the song “antiseptically clean” because it would lose its visceral effect.

In so many ways, Bad was Jackson’s coming-of-age as an artist. Quincy Jones challenged him at the outset to write all the material and Jackson responded, writing nine of the 11 tracks that made the album and dozens more that were left off. “Study the greats,” he wrote in one note to himself, “and become greater.” He spoke of the “anatomy” of music, of dissecting its parts. He was also reading a great deal, including the work of Joseph Campbell. He wanted to understand what symbolism, myths, and motifs resonated over time and why.

By the time he brought demos to Westlake Studio to work on with Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien (the A-Team), most of the key elements of the songs were in place. Now it was a matter of details: small-brush coloring, polishing, augmenting, and to Jackson’s chagrin, paring down. Assistant engineer Russ Ragsdale estimates that more than 800 multi-track tapes were made to create Bad, an extraordinary number. Synth stacks filled the tracking room, where Jackson often worked with synth programer John Barnes. Vocals were rerecorded until Jackson felt satisfied. Jackson, Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien continued to tweak and debate decisions until the final minute before the deadline.

Just as much attention went into the short films. In his notes following the Bad video, Jackson indicated that he still wasn’t completely satisfied with the choreography. The moves had to be so internalized that there was no thinking whatsoever. He had to dissolve into the steps and the music until it became pure feeling.

Many people still don’t realize the input Jackson had on every detail of his work, from choreography to lighting to costumes to story. While rehearsing for the short film for “Smooth Criminal,” Jackson eloquently explained to director Colin Chivers and choreographer Vincent Paterson the tension and release he hoped to achieve in the bridge. “That’s why we build it to a mountain and we bring it back down,” he instructed. “Then at the top [mouths sounds effect] with the high strings. Something to just ride the emotion that we didn’t put into it [mouths sound effect]. Just a horn or something, you know… To ride the feeling of it… I want the music to represent the way we feel… It’s gotta dictate our emotion, our moods. We’re expressing the way everybody feels. It’s rebellion. You know what I mean? We’re letting out what we always wanted to say to the world.Passion and anger and fire!”

Twenty-five years later, the results speak for themselves. Videos like “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal” are among the finest the medium has to offer. Songs like “Man in the Mirror,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Dirty Diana,” and “Another Part of Me” remain staples in Jackson’s vast catalog. Hearing the remastered album, included in the three-CD Bad25 set out September 18, is a reminder of its singular personality and pleasure. Listen to the propulsive bass lines, the layers of rhythm, the vocal experimentation, the cinematic narratives, the signature exclamations and invented vocabulary, the sheer vitality and joy. This is pop at its most dynamic, and it stands, along with the best work of Prince, as one of the best albums of the 1980s.

Bad is a portrait of the artist in peak form—bold, creative and confident. Now as then, “the whole world has to answer.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/how-michael-jackson-made-bad/262162/2/?single_page=true

Michael indeed did mammoth creative work on all his albums. As regards BAD he composed about 70 more songs for it in addition to those nine which went into the album.

680 days ago
80.

Pegasus    

Here is the proof of it – it is an excerpt from Michael Jackson’s deposition in 1994 made in connection with some ridiculous claim concerning his “Dangerous” song. Michael testifies here that he started composing music at the age of seven, wrote his first song at the age of fifteen, wrote altogether a “couple of hundred songs” by the year 1994 and composed some 70 songs in addition to the nine released for Bad:

“Dangerous” deposition
Interview year: 1994
Clerk of the Board: Do you solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the testimony you shall give in this matter now before the court shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth; and this you do under the pains and penalties of perjury?

Michael Jackson: Yes, I do.

Clerk: Please, be seated.

Clerk: State your name for the record? Please spell your last name.

MJ: Michael Joseph Jackson. J-A-C-K-S-O-N.

Lawyer (Daniel S. Hoffman): Mr. Jackson, would you tell us the nature of your occupation?

MJ: Performer, song writer…

L: Would you tell us when you started composing music?

MJ: Probably since the age of seven.

L: Would you tell us, how old you were when you had your first song published?

MJ: That I wrote myself?

L: Yes, sir.

MJ: Fifteen.

L: Could you tell us approximately Mr. Jackson, how many songs you’ve written to date?

MJ: In general couple hundred

L: And approximately, how many of those songs had been released to the public?

MJ: About fifty, sixty.

L: How many songs Mr. Jackson were on the “Bad” album?

MJ: I think nine.

L: And how many songs did you write for the “Bad” album that were not published?

A: Objection, your honor. Irrelevant.

Judge: Overruled.

MJ: I wrote probably sixty or seventy songs for “Bad” album that weren’t published.

http://mjtranslate.com/pl/interviews/1228

And here is the final article (at least for this post).

Spike Lee Revisits Michael Jackson’s Career for ‘BAD 25′ Do***entary
Rolling Stone

At the outset of BAD 25 – the do***entary film celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Bad album – director Spike Lee quickly dispenses with talk of the pop superstar’s personal struggles, diving right into the artistic perfectionism that drove him to achieve his career milestones.

“Hopefully, that’s what this do***entary is about – it’s gonna have people return to focusing on the music, his art, which I feel is his legacy, in addition to his children,” Lee, dressed in a white BAD 25 T-shirt, told reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie had its North American premiere over the weekend, after debuting in Venice 25 years to the day since Bad’s release.

To piece together the making of Jackson’s landmark LP, Lee unearthed archival footage from studio sessions and music video shoots and conducted interviews with Jackson’s many collaborators, including Quincy Jones, Martin Scorsese, Stevie Wonder and Sheryl Crow, and stars who were inspired by his music, from Kanye West and Mariah Carey to Questlove and Justin Bieber.

The film, which will get a television premiere on ABC on November 22nd, follows the making of Badtrack by track; though it can feel clinical at times, it also revels in cool details, like the origin of Jackson’s gravity-defying lean in “Smooth Criminal” and his famous expression, “Shamon!” Then, abruptly, Lee shifts to Jackson’s death in the summer of 2009, collecting reactions from his interview subjects, many of whom choke back tears and break down. “Those were all real, raw emotions that were displayed,” said Lee.

One of the most impactful statements in the do***entary comes from music journalist Danyel Smith. “We should all be ashamed,” she says. “The way that I interpret that,” said Lee, “is that Michael should be with us. He should be here.”

… “Listen to the song ‘Price of Fame,’ which he wrote specifically about the situation,” said Lee, holding a copy of the release. “How can you get privacy when you’re the most recognizable person on the planet?”

“Did you see the disguises he had?” Lee added with a laugh, referring to a moment in the film that shows photographs of Jackson wearing intricate facial disguises.

“He had to do that. He couldn’t go anywhere in the world without there being a riot. Man, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. He became a prisoner of his fame. I mean, I’m not rewriting Michael’s titles, but [the song] could’ve been [called] ‘Prisoner of Fame,’ instead of ‘Price of Fame.’”

http://news.yahoo.com/spike-lee-revisits-michael-jacksons-career-bad25-do***entary-221540437.html

The photo accompanying this article has a special value of its own.

In an uncharacteristic move for the media people Max Rossi of Reuters noticed a crucifix over the image of Michael Jackson on Spike Lee’s t-shirt (as he poses during the photocall of the movie “Bad 25″ at the 69th Film Festival in Venice August 31, 2012). And not only did he notice it but he pointed it out to the public and newspapers reprinted it.

The photo is circulating on the net in its own capacity now. The crucifix and Michael Jackson coming together do not surprise me in the least, as crucifixtion is indeed what was done to him.

What surprises me though is that it was the media which noticed it at last. Something special must indeed be going on if even they see it now.

680 days ago
81.

Pegasus    

“If he pulled out of the tour, AEG would take control of his company and its catalogue of songs”
September 8, 2012
tags: AEG, Michael Jackson, O2 Arena, Power of Attorney, Promissory Note, Randy Jackson, Randy Phillipsby Vindicatemj (Helena)
.The above headline concerning Michael Jackson is a quote taken from a newspaper article recently published by musicweek.com. One of the readers accused me of not quoting the reference sources, so here it is (to read the article please click on the link).

A valuable discussion about AEG is now taking place in the post about Randy Jackson, however since it does not belong there I decided to shift some of the comments into a new post. These comments are my replies to Susan Joyce’s and other people’s questions about AEG.

If any other readers besides Susan have the same questions let me explain the way I’ve always seen the situation with Michael Jackson’s valuable assets and a possibility of AEG getting hold of them as a result of their “contract” with Michael. Of course this is my opinion only, but it is based on an extensive research I’ve made of the subject.

Susan Joyce raised this question twice:

“AEG could only be reimbursed what they had paid out to date in production and advances to Michael. If MJ’s musical estate (ATV and Mijac) together were worth say…..$800 million and Michael owed AEG a total of $100K, that is all AEG could collect. AEG would never own any of Michael’s musical estate.”

… I will try and explain it using an example this time. If you owned a company with a net worth of $1 million and you defaulted on your home mortgage which carried a first loan of $200K and second loan of $100K, the mortgage company could only sue you for the total amount of loans only i.e., $300K. The mortgage company, by law, has no legal standing to take your $1 million business and could NEVER act on your behalf or your sole representative

Susan,


Report by the Estate filed on 17.02.11 says that after Michael’s death they owed AEG the sum in excess of $40 mln. The actual advance to MJ was only $6,2 mln. while the rest must have been the expenses on producing “This is it” show borne by Jackson (click to enlarge)
The overall sum which the Estate repaid to AEG on behalf of Jackson was in excess of $40mln according to their first financial report. This was the sum which Michael would have had to return had his contract with AEG been severed. Those millions were made up of the $6,2 advance given to Michael under the Promissory Note and production costs which were fully placed on Michael’s shoulders (which is a complete outrage in and of itself).

Under pressure from Chernoff Randy Phillips admitted at Murray’s trial that all production costs were full Michael’s responsibility.

Now let us make a sort of a projection of the events that would have taken place in case of cancellation of that “contract”.

AEG reserved the O2 Arena for Michael and would have surely claimed compensation for their losses in connection with their arena being vacant during the period of those 50 concerts. They would have claimed loss of anticipatory profits, and this we can be sure of.

How much is that alone? One third of a billion? Half a billion? More? To get to the right figure we need to know the sum AEG got from the tickets sold plus the anticipated profit from the shows including all related merchandize, the film footage released, etc.

“Michael’s death is a terrible tragedy, but life must go on. AEG will make a fortune from merch sales, ticket retention, the touring exhibition and the film/dvd” [Randy Phillips]
In fact Randy Phillips said it himself in one of his emails that they would make a fortune out of all the events related to Michael’s concerts, and this is true not only for the situation arising from his death but the tour cancellation as well.

One more possibility of a lawsuit against Jackson is that they could have sued him for “fraud” as regards his health and their payment for the multi-million insurance policy from Lloyds.

Add to it minor things like the $150,000 monthly salary to Murray which they would have also charged to his account (multiplied by several months) and the same with the $100,000 monthly salary to Tohme (initially payment to Tohme was their responsibility, but as a result of a trick with production costs it also became Michael’s business) – and I think that now everyone will understand that after adding up all those sums it is simply impossible to calculate the resulting multi-million amount which Michael would have had to pay back.

Sorry, I forgot the legal fees for the many months of litigation with AEG.


Paul Gongaware, an AEG Live executive who knew Jackson, emailed colleagues a strategy memo. Wear casual clothes, he told them, “as MJ is distrustful of people in suits” and expect to talk “fluff” with “Mikey.
Inevitable as those lawsuits were, even without them AEG had full access to everything Michael had. According to their Promissory note for the advance of $6,2 mln. if Michael delayed payment by 5 days a major default would occur and Michael would pass to AEG everything he had or would ever have.

There are three interesting points as regards this default event:

1) the default of payment was to be declared if the Artist filed for Bankruptcy . The fact of bankruptcy did not release Michael Jackson of the obligation to pay all his advances back.

2) the default of payment could arise in case Michael did not pay at least one monthly repayment installment. It is interesting that the “contract” never said a word about any monthly repayments of the advance money, however the Promissory note mentions them, but somewhat in passing. What these installments are and how are they to be paid is a huge mystery because there is no schedule showing how much each installment is and what the dates of repayments are.

But let us suppose that a monthly repayment was to be $1 mln. If Michael was unable to pay this $1mln, five days later a full default of payment was to be declared, as a result of which Michael was to pay the full sum which was in excess of $40mln.

3) if Michael’s company could not pay (which of course it could not), the “contract” had a tiny reservation for such a case hidden in some funny miscellaneous clause which said that AEG would have access to all Artist’s assets as an individual. This was a direct road to all other Michael’s assets, even his ATV catalog, shielded by two Trusts.

Since the catalog was well protected, access to it could be made only as a result of a lawsuit. However this was no problem as the above projection shows it.

680 days ago
82.

Pegasus    

The Promissory Note also said that as a result of a default AEG would become the full Attorney-in-fact acting on behalf of MJ Company LLC. AEG was to receive full rights and receive them irrevocably (the rights were never to be returned).

Let me say it again that though the Promissory note emphasized that the matter concerned only Michael’s company and not the Artist individually, the contract contradicted this point and said that it did concern Michael as an individual (and therefore covered all his belongings).

There is a short piece I wrote about it in this post summing up AEG’s contract: http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/the-aeg-contract-with-michael-jackson/:

We can argue over the value of the Michael Jackson Company LLC as the Collateral in 2009 or in the future, but it doesn’t really matter much. Out of the many points specified in the Promissory Note the major one is that if it came to the worst AEG was to become an attorney-in fact for Michael Jackson’s company with “full authority” to take any action – up to “filing financial statements relative to the Collateral without the signature of the Holder” (Michael Jackson).
What we see here is a full Power of Attorney provided to AEG. It could enable them to act not only on behalf of MJ Company LLC, but according to the contract (remember that “miscellaneous” clause?) represent him where the Artist had “an interest in” as an individual. And this could include other Michael Jackson’s assets, probably even his ATV catalog…
Here is part of the Promissory Note speaking about the collateral (over here it looks like it is limited to Michael Jackson’s company only, while in reality it is not):


Page 4 of the same Promissory Note mentions for the first and last time certain “regular scheduled monthly payments required until the Note is paid in full”. No schedule is provided – either here or anywhere else.

To our great surprise we find the point about repaying the money in “Prepayment” clause:

The Miscellaneous clause from the Promissory Note you see here is not the same as the Miscellaneous clause in the “contract”. Over there it is the crucial part of the whole do***ent on which everything depends. This is what I earlier wrote about point 16.3 of the contract Miscellaneous clause:

But point 16.3 outplays them all. It ties together Artistco (MJ Company LLC), the Artist (the individual) and a lien (one of its meanings is “the possibility to arrest the assets of the other party”).

It says that to secure the obligations of the Artist and his company AEG is granted rights to Collateral which gives them a Lien (right to arrest) the property and assets of the Artist’s company ”wherever located”, owned “now or acquired later” and investment property, securities, claims and all other payments of money in which the Artist’s company and the Artist have an interest:


Point 16.3 of the Miscellaneous clause from AEG’s “contract” with MJ (click to enlarge)
“To secure the faithful performance of Artistco of Artistco’s and Artist’s obligations under this Agreement (including to repay the Advances), Artistco hereby grants Promoter a lien in all Artistco’s right, title and interest in, to, and under the following properties, assets and rights, wherever located, whether now owned or hereafter acquired or arising, and all proceeds and products thereof (all of the same being hereinafter referred to collectively as, the “Collateral”): contract rights or right to the payment of money in which Artisco and /or Artist has an interest, insurance claims and proceeds, commercial tort claims, securities and all other investmenet property, and all general intangibles (including all accounts receivable and payment intangibles). Artistco shall reasonably cooperate with Promoter in its efforts to perfect such security Interest”.
The main idea of the above is that the Artist’s company is responsible for both itself and the Artist. Therefore the Collateral pledged as a guarantee of their obligations includes everything the Artist’s company and the Artist had or will ever have.

680 days ago
83.

Pegasus    

Another detailed conversation about AEG took place with Ivy of MJJCommunity exactly a year ago, in September 2011. You’ll find it in the comments section to this post: http://vindicatemj.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/branca-aeg-and-karen-faye/

The order in which the comments were made at the time has now been slightly changed in order to group them together by subject. Some have also been shortened. Ivy’s comments are in quotes.

We discuss the issues of tremendous importance.

Helena,

As you know I am one of the people that believes Michael’s catalogs was never collateral. Although we cannot list what MJ Co LLC owns, we can show the entities that owns Sony/ATV and Mijac and it’s not MJ Co LLC. I’ll do it as soon as I can – and post a link to it- by using 2006 Prescient lawsuit (lawsuit about 2006 refinancing of the loans) as well as recent probate fillings. It will show the ownership structure of the catalogs from 2006 to this date. And Lyton Guest is right that the catalogs (and assets) are divided and put into trusts to protect them from creditors. You’ll see that in the Prescient lawsuit , the 2006/2007 formed New Horizon Trusts will be referred as “bankruptcy remote structure”.

Ivy,

I’ve looked up what the Estate’s report says about Michael’s ATV share. Here it is:

“Sony/ATV. Michael had also pledged his fifty percent interest in Sony/ATV as security for a loan issued by Barclays Capital***.
***The loan is also administered and serviced through two bankruptcy remote trusts which Michael Jackson established in connection with his financing transactions. Michael Jackson’s interest in Sony/ATV is owned by a Delaware statutory trust (“Trust II”). Trust II is intended to be only a security device. The beneficial owner of Trust II is another Delaware statutory Trust (“Trust III”). The Trustee of Trust II is Wells Fargo Delaware Trust Company. The Estate is the sole beneficiary of Trust III.”
The Executors successfully negotiated with UBS to refinance the loan secured by the Estate’s interest in Sony/ATV. The negotiations resulted in an amended agreement with Sony to the benefit of the Estate, and a new loan at a substantially lower interest rate for the Estate, which is locked in for the period of the loan.
I was not sure how trusts operate and looked it up. Trusts date back to the times when knights left their valuables to someone “in trust” so that these people would take care of their heirs in case they do not return from a battle. This explains the idea of trusts pretty well, however I wondered whether the guarantees provided by them were indeed that solid. One site says that the guarantees are uncertain (so that creditors can still claim those assets):

“You considered establishing a Trust and have some of your assets transferred to it in order to secure yourself, but the fees are huge, and the benefits quite uncertain.” http://freedomfromtaxes.com/AssetProtection/

680 days ago
84.

Pegasus    

Here is an article which says that only one type of a trust provides a full guarantee against creditors – if it is irrevocable and made for another beneficiary:

“Is Property in a Trust Safe From Bankruptcy?
By Mary Frazier, eHow Contributor | updated May 29, 2011

There are many different types of trusts, and whether trust property has protection from bankruptcy depends on the type of trust. The broad category types of trusts that have issues with bankruptcy are revocable and irrevocable trusts.

Revocable Grantor Trust
When a grantor establishes a revocable trust he creates a taxable entity and places assets in the trust. A revocable trust grantor has the right to amend, modify or revoke the trust at any time. Because of this, the trust grantor by definition is the owner of the trust assets, and owns the trust property from a legal and tax standpoint. Since the revocable trust grantor owns the trust assets, the trust property has no protection from bankruptcy. For example, a person cannot place $2 million in a revocable trust, file bankruptcy and expect that the assets in trust are bankruptcy protected.

Irrevocable Grantor Trust
When a person places assets in trust and creates a trust agreement that is irrevocable, the person as the trust grantor effectively gives up control of the trust assets. The trust grantor can no longer modify, amend or revoke the trust assets. Some trust grantors create irrevocable trusts, where the grantor is the trust beneficiary that receives a benefit from the trust for his lifetime. If an irrevocable grantor trust structure is proper, it is possible to afford bankruptcy protection. However, this type of trust is complicated to create and difficult to enforce creditor protection. A person with creditor issues cannot create an irrevocable grantor trust, file bankruptcy and expect the assets to be safe.

Irrevocable Beneficiary Trust
A trust created by a trust grantor for the benefit of another person typically has protection against bankruptcy of the grantor and the trust beneficiary. The grantor no longer owns the property and the trust beneficiary never owns the trust property. A trust beneficiary has a benefit of some type from the trust, such as receiving trust net income for his lifetime. Proper creation of an irrevocable trust protects the trust assets from beneficiary bankruptcy.

Spendthrift Trust Language
In order for any trust to have proper protection against bankruptcy, the trust agreement must contain specific verbiage known as spendthrift language. Spendthrift language varies by legal drafter, but the basic components state that trust assets cannot be pledged, assigned or alienated by a beneficiary or his creditors. This language is critical in the trust agreement, since it prevents bankruptcy creditors from attaching trust assets to settle beneficiary debt. http://www.ehow.com/info_8507634_property-trust-safe-bankruptcy.html

The Estate says that Trust III is the beneficial owner of Trust II, so the way I understand it Trust II “created another trust for the benefit of another person” – and this is how Trust III came into being. So if it is “properly created”, has “spendthrift language”, and is actually made for the benefit of another person [not MJ?] then it does protect the catalog well, which is good. Only I am not sure that Michael would have trusted his catalog to anyone else.

On the other hand if the Trust protects the catalog so well from anyone, why was all this fierce campaigning against Sony then?

Helena,

My understanding and please correct me if I’m wrong, It protects the catalog from bankruptcy and third-party creditors but not from defaulting on the loan payments. So although Michael was highly unlikely to lose his catalog for a $40M debt to AEG, he could have lost it due to non-payment of the loans. Michael’s “they are after my catalog” statement was based on the belief that they were creating accusations about him to hurt his income capabilities so that he would default on the loans and Sony would get the first dibs to purchase his half.

Update - I think that losing the catalog due to non-payment of the loans does not rule out the possibility of losing it also through paying hundreds of millions of dollars to AEG in settlement of their “losses’.

In case of default on the loan payments it would be the bank who would have the right to Michael’s share, and not Sony. Sony would simply have the right to be the first to buy it, nothing else.

Sony had the right to obtain half of Michael’s share (or 25% of the catalog) any time anyway, but never used this possibility either when Michael was alive or dead. For the full story please go to this post

680 days ago
85.

Pegasus    

Helena,

…The main concern or misconception of the fans is that if Michael didn’t perform and cancelled the deal, AEG could have gotten his catalog. It’s important to correct that misconception if we have been mistaken.

Ivy,

My claim that Michael could lose his catalog due to his association with AEG isn’t a misconception. What I asserted and continue to assert is that AEG’s various contract papers are structured in such a way that at any time of a default they could lay their hands on all belongings of Michael’s company LLC. It didn’t have anything at the time – $5,5mln. listed there now look like the sum later returned to it by Tohme but apart from that it was zero, I guess.


Kathy Jorrie, AEG’s attorney
But even if the company had a zero on its accounts in case of a default AEG was becoming Michael’s attorney-in-fact with huge rights to acquire his other property. In fact the “advances” were for a sum bigger than $40mln. and this is what they wanted back (most probably with compensation of their damages, interest, loss of profit, etc. plus the fees of the attorneys as the Promissory Note said). It could have been a huge trial of the century with lots and lots of millions involved. To prove whether Michael could or could not lose his catalog as a result of that we need a huge team of lawyers to look into this matter and make a sort of a reconstruction of possible events.

However the first assignment of these lawyers would be to check the validity of the AEG contract at all. In my opinion the contract was not valid, and that is why in reality AEG could not acquire the catalog (this is what I reassured my readers of). So all we can analyze are the intentions of AEG – after all they consider their contract valid, so their papers are worth analyzing as they show the train of thought of these people.

Considering that Tohme was regarded as the manager of MJ’s company LLC (all confirmations were to be sent through or by him) and that he obtained two Powers of Attorney from Michael (as we learned just recently) but was actually working for AEG, we absolutely cannot rule out that he wouldn’t have devised a fraudulent scheme to reconsider the terms under which the catalog was kept in those trusts.

I don’t know what Tohme was up to but all this dirty mess around Michael proves that there was some game at play. The irregularities we see in the AEG papers are not made just for nothing – there must be a reason for them. It would be best if AEG and Tohme themselves told us what they were up to, but if they do not, we will have to analyze the situation ourselves. If it wasn’t his catalog another goal could be ruining Michael altogether and making him work for them until the end of his life, and this is why I think we should not necessarily focus on the catalog only.

You seem to be analyzing the situation as if the papers and people around Michael were absolutely clean – which is the worst misconception of all. The validity and correctness of AEG papers leave much to be desired. Tohme was supposed to be working in Michael’s interests as he was his manager, but the contract says his services were to be paid for by AEG (!) – so who did he work for then? Later, in the attachment to contract, the AEG corrected this point by placing all production costs on Michael’s shoulders (while the contract had different stipulations about this matter). The production costs included Tohme’s salary, so by this single move Tohme suddenly began “working” for Michael again.

The whole thing is a complete mess, which could be created only intentionally. I repeat, only intentionally and in such dirty waters it was easy matter for Tohme to do some dirty business behind Michael’s back and probably even reconsider the terms under which the catalog was kept by those trusts. Remember that he had those two Powers of Attorney….

To make my position clearer to everyone I will repeat that since I consider the contract invalid, Michael’s catalog was not in danger. However the AEG contract (even if it is void) does show the company’s intentions, and there are strong signs that these intentions were far from honest.

Helena:

I believe they are becoming “attorney-in-fact of the Artist’s company” and not Michael Jackson. Again all their reach and control is to limited to MJ Co LLC and what it owns. Details are important.

Ivy,

Yes, details are important. So please do not forget that the contract refers to both the Artist’s company and/or the Artist as the responsible parties (while the Promissory Note speaks of the Artist’s company only). It is one of those innumerable discrepancies between different parts of the AEG deal which give a reason for thinking that it was not quite valid.

However, valid or not, point 16.3 of their contract says that “as a security” AEG will have rights to everything the Artist has in terms of assets and debts:

“all Artistco’s right, title and interest in, to [ ] assets and rights, wherever located, whether now owned or hereafter acquired or arising, and all proceeds and products thereof (referred to collectively as, the “Collateral”): [ ] right to the payment of money in which Artisco and /or Artist has an interest, insurance claims and proceeds, commercial tort claims, securities and all other investmenet property, and all general intangibles (including all accounts receivable and payment intangibles).”.
Helena:

“Also the good thing about being in 2012 is that we have new information that we can add and make corrections. Yes recently we learned that Tohme had 2 Power of attorneys but we also learned that Michael had cancelled his power of attorney’s in April 2009. So Tohme was no longer a threat in regards to fraudulent schemes including transferring Michael’s assets and/or signing up Michael for never ending concerts.”

Ivy:

We are discussing the AEG contract and not the drastic measures Michael took to save the situation (like Tohme’s dismissal, cancelling the Powers of Attorney and rehiring Branca). I’ve noted it already that the contract papers should be regarded only as a kind of evidence of the intentions the AEG and Tohme had towards Michael Jackson. In life, especially with Branca handling this business, everything could have turned out totally differently.

.. But why is it only the catalog that everyone is focusing on? What we should look at is the reason why the “contract” with AEG was made in such a way that it was totally unclear who, for example, would pay the production expenses – the contract implied AEG and the Definitions (listed in a separate attachment) stated that they were Michael’s responsibility. Considering the amount of those production expenses the matter was crucial for Michael! And let us not forget that artists are not obliged to put in their money in the show at all because if they do, what will they need producers for?

Helena:

Actually I wouldn’t say “at all”, because you would see different cost sharing according to the artist’s popularity and demand. Even for example the Immortal tour is a 50-50 cost sharing between MJ Estate and Cirque.

Ivy,

The Immortal project is different – Cirque du Soleil is a production company which could do without the Estate and then the Estate would receive only royalties for the music rights. But the Estate chose to invest their money in order to share the profit too and the profit might be huge here, so their decision was absolutely correct.

But when a single artist (like Barbara Streisand for example) makes a show she is not obliged to invest her own money into it. Each is doing his own job – she sings, the producer puts in money and arranges the whole thing. Otherwise all singers would be producing their shows themselves or arranging them through agents who would order the arenas, take care of the tickets, advertising, etc. There might be variations here, but generally producers do put in their money, don’t they?

If the words “at all” are not too accurate I can withdraw them as I myself said in my posts that there should have been a certain agreed budget between Michael and AEG and if it was exceeded due to the artist’s “ideas” he would be the one to pay for them. The producer is not responsible for every artist’s ‘whim’ as they also have their limits.

680 days ago
86.

Pegasus    

But in this case ALL production costs were Michael’s responsibility – with nothing to be borne by AEG! AEG was acting only as a kind of a bank which provides the money and does its own accounting – while Michael was supposed to pay for everything they spent. He was supposed to check their expenses later, but was there a way to check up whether they quoted the best price for each service and found the best subcontractors? What if they charged him double for something which cost twice as little?

When we want to buy something we prefer to buy it ourselves, because our “agent” can go to the most expensive shop and make a purchase at an unnecessarily high price (at our expense!). However we won’t mind it if our partner buys something expensive but covers his expenses himself, right? And we won’t mind it either if we share the expenses too, because the fact that he is also paying makes us sure that our partner looked for the best combination of quality and price, right?

The problem with AEG contract is that Michael most probably did not know (at least initially) that he was to bear responsibility for all production costs. This becomes clear to us from the discrepancies between the contract and attachments to it. The production costs are enumerated in the attachment only, which is not even signed by either of the parties. The contract on the other hand is rather vague as regards who is to pay for production.

Those production costs were also directly connected with the division of money between the parties. Roughly speaking AEG was to receive a fixed per cent of the gross money collected minus their small expenses, while Michael was to receive what remained after 1) AEG deducted the money due to them 2) the production costs were deducted from profit and returned to AEG. Michael was probably to receive not even the whole of what remained after all those deductions, but only 90% of it (the rest would go to AEG again).

Firstly, the fact that AEG deducted their percent from the revenue collected from tickets made them interested in selling a bigger number of shows, because their share only increased after collecting a bigger amount of money, while Michael’s share decreased after that (the production costs for a bigger number of shows grow considering the salary of the whole staff, their accommodation, taxes, travel expenses, etc.).

Secondly, AEG were interested in boosting the production expenses. The more they spent the less Michael ultimately received, while the amount of the production expenses per ce did not really matter to AEG – all production expenses were to be returned to them by Michael in full anyway.

Wasn’t it much more fair to 1) share the production expenses and 2) deduct production expenses from all money collected and only then divide the profit as all normal people do?

Since the above crooked division of profit becomes clear only after you read the attachments to the AEG contract I think it was something Michael either never saw, or saw much later. The Definitions attachment where the whole thing is stipulated is not signed by either of the parties.

… The contract in general is made in such a way that one might think it is not a contract, but an ultimatum. Add to it the facts of discrepancies between different do***ents and a grave suspicion in forgery, and you have a complete picture of a huge set up.

The question is why? Why did they do it that way? If it wasn’t the catalog (which was so well protected that even Sony could not evidently obtain it, right?), then what was the reason?

680 days ago
87.

Pegasus    

Did AEG want to put Michael into slavery for the rest of his life and does this reason sound better than their desire to get his catalog?

Helena:

Why would Michael be in slavery for the rest of his life?

Ivy,

To answer your question I need to write a new post about point 14 of the Definitions attachment to AEG’s contract (the attachment is not signed by the parties either). Point 14 is called “TERM”.

I will retype it here with practically no comment for everyone’s individual scrutiny first. It is mind-boggling to imagine that the Expiration date of the term of AEG’s “cooperation” with Michael Jackson was due only half a year ago, on December 31, 2011 (!) and even after that AEG still had the right to prolong the term and in their own discretion at that!

14. “Term” means the execution date through December 31, 2011, or the conclusion of a Worldwide touring cycle which includes Shows throughout the major touring territories of the World as mutually selected by Artisco and Promoter, whichever occurs later (“Expiration Date”), provided however, Promoter shall have the right , in its sole discretion, but not the obligation, to (a) extend the Term beyond the Expiration Date by written notice (a) until such time as Promoter recoups one hundred percent (100%) of the Advances; or (b) end the Term prior to the Expiration Date, in which event the Term shall be defined to and on the date(s) selected by Promoter, notwithstanding the Expiration Date.
To exercise its right to extend the term under the foregoing provision, Promoter must give written notice of its desire to extend the term prior to December 31, 2011. For the avoidance of doubt, Artistco and Promoter shall have all of their respective rights and obligations under this Agreement with respect to any mutually approved Shows that have been scheduled prior to the Expiration Date and are to be performed after the Expiration Date as the result of Promoter’s decision to extend the Term regardless of whether or not Promoter recoups one hundred percent of the Advancesprior to the completion of such Shows.
Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, in the event the Term is extended by the provisions of the paragraph beyond December 31, 2011, Artistco shall have the right to end the Term on the New Expiration Date (defined below) by giving Promoter written notice by facsimile transmission (the “Buy-Out Notice”) of Artistco’s desire to end the Term on the New Expiration Date, which Buy-Out Notice may be given on December 31, 2011, or any date thereafter, and upon receipt of such Buy-Out Notice, the Term shall then end on the later of (a) the date of Promoter’s receipt of the Buy-out Notice, or (b) the completion of any mutually-approved Shows previously scheduled (such later date being refined to as the “New Expiration Date”), but only so long as Artistco pays to Promoter an amount equivalent to any unrecouped portion of the Advances as of such New Expiration Date by no later than ten (10) business days from … (the last line is missing).
Did you notice any rights belonging to the Artist? (I didn’t)

And how do you like the “Buy-out Notice”? Nice wording, isn’t it?

Did you notice that Promoter has the right to unilaterally prolong the term at their desire (by just notifying the other side)?

Did you see that they can notify the Artistco of their “desire” prior to December 31, 2011, but Artistco has the right to submit the “Buy-Out Notice” only on December 31, 2011? The Artist’s rights begin only on that date instead of prior to it with AEG having a priority?

And the Artist will be released of his obligations only after he completes all the shows “mutually approved” and “previously scheduled” by ArtistCo and AEG, won’t he?

And who is Artistco by the way? Michael Jackson or Tohme who was deciding everything for him at the time?

Could the shows “previously scheduled” mean that Artisco would approve, say, another 50 shows after the AEG’s “desire to prolong” expressed prior to Dec.31 (before the Artist’s “Buy-Out Notice” sent on Dec.31 only)?

So that the Artist has to complete these new added shows even after December 31, 2011 because what he says on the day of Dec.31, 2011 does not matter any longer?

And only when he fulfils his new obligations he will be finally free, and this will be called a new expiration date?

If he is alive of course by that time?

And he cannot get his freedom before the New Expiration Date even if he repays all the advances back?

And this is because “..shows that have been scheduled prior to the Expiration Date and are to be performed after the Expiration Date as the result of Promoter’s decision to extend the Term regardless of whether or not Promoter recoups one hundred percent of the Advances prior to the completion of such Shows?

And the territories for such shows will be again selected by Artistco and Promoter (and not the Artist)?

But it will be his company which will bear all costs for transporting the equipment, travel and accommodation of the staff, etc. because all “rights and obligations” will remain the same for the period of January, 2009 up to December 31, 2011 and an indefinite period after that?

Helena:

“Did you notice that Promoter has the right to unilaterally prolong the term AT THEIR DESIRE ”

— I guess we are reading it differently. My understanding is that they have the right to extend the date UNTIL one hundred percent (100%) advances are recouped. In my opinion it’s an conditional extension ability. It even includes that it can end earlier than that and that artist can do a “buy out” meaning pay the remaining advance balance and not do the concerts. They estimated Michael to earn $2 Million per concert (Murray restitution number). So it seems like he could have paid advances + production costs by doing 20 shows. So I don’t think he would be slaved for life.

As for the contract I actually do agree that it’s not a favorable contract for Michael for things such as making him pay all the costs , delayed payments to him etc. but also at the same time I don’t think it was to the point of making him work with no end in sight or would put him on the street with no assets.

Ivy:

This is why I said the point called “Term” needed a full post, and not just a comment. Taken separately one sentence can mean that they had the right to extend it unilaterally until 100% of the advances was paid. But AEG’s papers are made in such a way that one thing contradicts the other and numerous points allow opposite interpretation. For example, the sentence you referred to is followed by a sentence which allows a different interpretation of the same thing:

“Artistco and Promoter shall have all of their respective rights and obligations under this Agreement with respect to any mutually approved Shows that have been scheduled prior to the Expiration Date and are to be performed after the Expiration Date as the result of Promoter’s decision to extend the Term regardless of whether or not Promoter recoups one hundred percent of the Advances prior to the completion of such Shows.”
Helena:

It even includes that it can end earlier than that and that artist can do a “buy out” meaning pay the remaining advance balance and not do the concerts.

Ivy:

This is a highly negative point! What it essentially says is that the Promoter has the right to unilaterally terminate the contract before the expiration date whenever they want to! They terminate it, and Michael is forced to pay all the advances back without making concerts and without a possibility to earn money!

And as regards the Buy-out notice it means that the Artist could be free if he repaid the advances but only after he performed all the shows, including the newly added ones:

“upon receipt of such Buy-Out Notice, the Term shall then end on the later of (a) the date of Promoter’s receipt of the Buy-out Notice, or (b) the completion of any mutually-approved Shows previously scheduled (such later date being refined to as the “New Expiration Date”), but only so long as Artistco pays to Promoter an amount equivalent to any unrecouped portion of the Advances”
You say that,

“They estimated Michael to earn $2 Million per concert (Murray restitution number). So it seems like he could have paid advances + production costs by doing 20 shows. So I don’t think he would be slaved for life”.

I regard it as the Estate’s not too far-sighted approach to the matter. They wanted the restitution to be big and didn’t focus on the numerous obstacles hindering Michael in making money under this ‘contract’. By saying that MJ could earn that much they practically said that the contract was valid, with which I categorically don’t agree. Fortunately they dropped that restitution altogether. Probably they understood the mistake made.

680 days ago
88.

Pegasus    

Did AEG want to put Michael into slavery for the rest of his life and does this reason sound better than their desire to get his catalog?

Helena:

Why would Michael be in slavery for the rest of his life?

Ivy,

To answer your question I need to write a new post about point 14 of the Definitions attachment to AEG’s contract (the attachment is not signed by the parties either). Point 14 is called “TERM”.

I will retype it here with practically no comment for everyone’s individual scrutiny first. It is mind-boggling to imagine that the Expiration date of the term of AEG’s “cooperation” with Michael Jackson was due only half a year ago, on December 31, 2011 (!) and even after that AEG still had the right to prolong the term and in their own discretion at that!

14. “Term” means the execution date through December 31, 2011, or the conclusion of a Worldwide touring cycle which includes Shows throughout the major touring territories of the World as mutually selected by Artisco and Promoter, whichever occurs later (“Expiration Date”), provided however, Promoter shall have the right , in its sole discretion, but not the obligation, to (a) extend the Term beyond the Expiration Date by written notice (a) until such time as Promoter recoups one hundred percent (100%) of the Advances; or (b) end the Term prior to the Expiration Date, in which event the Term shall be defined to and on the date(s) selected by Promoter, notwithstanding the Expiration Date.
To exercise its right to extend the term under the foregoing provision, Promoter must give written notice of its desire to extend the term prior to December 31, 2011. For the avoidance of doubt, Artistco and Promoter shall have all of their respective rights and obligations under this Agreement with respect to any mutually approved Shows that have been scheduled prior to the Expiration Date and are to be performed after the Expiration Date as the result of Promoter’s decision to extend the Term regardless of whether or not Promoter recoups one hundred percent of the Advancesprior to the completion of such Shows.
Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, in the event the Term is extended by the provisions of the paragraph beyond December 31, 2011, Artistco shall have the right to end the Term on the New Expiration Date (defined below) by giving Promoter written notice by facsimile transmission (the “Buy-Out Notice”) of Artistco’s desire to end the Term on the New Expiration Date, which Buy-Out Notice may be given on December 31, 2011, or any date thereafter, and upon receipt of such Buy-Out Notice, the Term shall then end on the later of (a) the date of Promoter’s receipt of the Buy-out Notice, or (b) the completion of any mutually-approved Shows previously scheduled (such later date being refined to as the “New Expiration Date”), but only so long as Artistco pays to Promoter an amount equivalent to any unrecouped portion of the Advances as of such New Expiration Date by no later than ten (10) business days from … (the last line is missing).
Did you notice any rights belonging to the Artist? (I didn’t)

And how do you like the “Buy-out Notice”? Nice wording, isn’t it?

Did you notice that Promoter has the right to unilaterally prolong the term at their desire (by just notifying the other side)?

Did you see that they can notify the Artistco of their “desire” prior to December 31, 2011, but Artistco has the right to submit the “Buy-Out Notice” only on December 31, 2011? The Artist’s rights begin only on that date instead of prior to it with AEG having a priority?

And the Artist will be released of his obligations only after he completes all the shows “mutually approved” and “previously scheduled” by ArtistCo and AEG, won’t he?

And who is Artistco by the way? Michael Jackson or Tohme who was deciding everything for him at the time?

Could the shows “previously scheduled” mean that Artisco would approve, say, another 50 shows after the AEG’s “desire to prolong” expressed prior to Dec.31 (before the Artist’s “Buy-Out Notice” sent on Dec.31 only)?

So that the Artist has to complete these new added shows even after December 31, 2011 because what he says on the day of Dec.31, 2011 does not matter any longer?

And only when he fulfils his new obligations he will be finally free, and this will be called a new expiration date?

If he is alive of course by that time?

And he cannot get his freedom before the New Expiration Date even if he repays all the advances back?

And this is because “..shows that have been scheduled prior to the Expiration Date and are to be performed after the Expiration Date as the result of Promoter’s decision to extend the Term regardless of whether or not Promoter recoups one hundred percent of the Advances prior to the completion of such Shows?

680 days ago
89.

Pegasus    

Helena:

It even includes that it can end earlier than that and that artist can do a “buy out” meaning pay the remaining advance balance and not do the concerts.

Ivy:

This is a highly negative point! What it essentially says is that the Promoter has the right to unilaterally terminate the contract before the expiration date whenever they want to! They terminate it, and Michael is forced to pay all the advances back without making concerts and without a possibility to earn money!

And as regards the Buy-out notice it means that the Artist could be free if he repaid the advances but only after he performed all the shows, including the newly added ones:

“upon receipt of such Buy-Out Notice, the Term shall then end on the later of (a) the date of Promoter’s receipt of the Buy-out Notice, or (b) the completion of any mutually-approved Shows previously scheduled (such later date being refined to as the “New Expiration Date”), but only so long as Artistco pays to Promoter an amount equivalent to any unrecouped portion of the Advances”
You say that,

“They estimated Michael to earn $2 Million per concert (Murray restitution number). So it seems like he could have paid advances + production costs by doing 20 shows. So I don’t think he would be slaved for life”.

I regard it as the Estate’s not too far-sighted approach to the matter. They wanted the restitution to be big and didn’t focus on the numerous obstacles hindering Michael in making money under this ‘contract’. By saying that MJ could earn that much they practically said that the contract was valid, with which I categorically don’t agree. Fortunately they dropped that restitution altogether. Probably they understood the mistake made.

680 days ago
90.

Pegasus    

This discussion was closed by Mona who asked me to send her a link to the contract as a whole and whatever other do***entation I had on this.

Here is a link to the do***ents containing AEG’s contract with Michael Jackson, AEG’s contract with Murray and all related papers. The source is Joe Jackson’s suit against Murray and AEG (which is now dismissed as a double to Katherine’s). Double or not, but it has all the do***entation we need on the subject:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/59105659/Notice-of-Motion-and-Motion-for-Leave-to-File-First-Amended-Complaint-FULL-AEG-CONTRACT-P43

On pages 43-70 you will find the full AEG contract with attachments to it. There are many other interesting do***ents in this package – for example, Conrad Murray’s correspondence with AEG people (beginning with page 71), his expenses allegedly covered by AEG (page 76), the search warrant of Murray’s premises dated August 7, 2009 (only 7th of August!) and Murray’s contract with AEG (p.119 and p.137).

* * *

Following the recent new developments with AEG emails and prior to the civil court hearings of Katherine Jackson’s case against AEG the media (suddenly for me) began to confirm what I’ve been writing about all along:

If he reneged, AEG would take control of the debt-ridden singer’s company and use the income from his music catalogs to recoup its money. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-aeg-jackson-20120902,0,6711027.story
Jackson faced debts of $300 million and, if he pulled out of the tour, AEG would take control of his company and its catalogue of songs. http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/leaked-aeg-emails-describe-jackson-as-an-emotionally-paranoid-mess-ahead-of-comeback-tour/051632
Time will show what’s what. Considering the super power and influence of our opponent let us hope for a miracle to help us. Let Michael Jackson’s true supporters from all over the world pray for the truth to be finally uncovered.

In God we trust

680 days ago
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