Monday, November 12, 2007

More Musings on Michael...

Just a few more random stories that I didn't manage to include in my original article...

--Once, Michael asked me to run down the street to McDonalds to grab some lunch for him. This was a pretty rare request, as he usually had a personal chef come in every day to prepare his meals. Anyway, when I asked him what he wanted, he admitted that he had no idea what they served, and that he had just heard from people that the food was good there!

I ended up getting him one sample of nearly every item from the menu. He took a small bite of each, and then told me what he liked and what he didn't. If I remember correctly, he really liked their fish sandwich.

--When the title track "Dangerous" was being recorded, Michael was injured in the studio and had to be rushed to the hospital! A temporary recording booth that we had built for him collapsed and knocked him on the head just as he started singing.

He ended up being just fine, and for a long time, we used to play an early mix of the song which started with a sample of him screaming in pain as the walls came tumbling down!

--He was amazing in the studio. He has the equivalent of a photographic memory for music. He could sing something 40 different ways, and then two weeks later, remember that takes # 6 and 27 were the best ones.

--We recorded so much music for Dangerous, that it was nearly impossible for MJ to pick out what was going to end up on the album. At once point, it was going to be a double album, as he had well over two hours of music chosen for the release.

When Sony decided they wanted it all to fit on a single CD, Michael kept coming back with lists of his his "final" selections, but they almost always added up to over 74 minutes--the maximum running time for the disc. I remember them going back and forth on this for weeks.

--Madonna visited MJ in the studio exactly one time. They spent a little while in his "private" room in the back, and then she left. When I asked Micheal later about her visit, he said that she "scared" him.

I think we all speculated that she tried to make a "move" on him, but Michael never said. In any event, we never saw her again after that...

--Brooke Shields used to call him on the phone a lot. This was the pre-cell phone era, so I would usually answer his calls and then have to go find him in the studio. She was always really nice to me.

The Backstreet Boys came by one day, too. And, in the whole time I worked there, Janet only stopped by once as well.

--There were originally three production teams working in our studio. After working up about a half a dozen songs with one of them, Michael decided he didn't like any of the stuff they had come up with, and fired them. I think some of these songs eventually came out in later releases...

--When Teddy Riley was brought on board, he didn't want to work in our studio. So for three months, our studio sat empty, and my whole job consisted of driving tapes back and forth between our place and Teddy's.

--MJ was very concerned about the Gulf War. Once, he asked me if I was going to have to go fight with the Army. When I told him I was planning on staying right where I was, he said "that's good--because if you go to the war, you could die."

--Michale had some $900 remote-controlled motorcycles delivered to the studio one day. He asked me to come out to the parking lot to try them out, and when we were messing around with them, he drove his motorcycle out of the lot and into the alley, when a car came by and ran it over!

He thought that was really funny. I couldn't believe that he could laugh so much at losing a thousand-dollar toy.

--He still has my ink pin!