After Michael died, I read an article in a magazine about how crazy it was working with Michael: chimps, Elephant Man bones, and snakes and so on. I didn’t know the author nor had he ever been to the studio or Ranch. It was un-named sources and tabloid vomit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-8TQADs4bI&feature=related
I got tired of the press and people who wanted to make a quick buck saying and writing whatever they wanted with no shred of truth behind their words. I wrote a few articles about my years with Michael and they were well-received. A group of fans in Paris approached me and asked me to put together a seminar and really explore our years in the studio and at the ranch. I began writing a book (currently in the works) which tries to recap a story that took 18 years to live. Being totally honest, I want to try to document what it was like to work with one of the most unique entertainers in modern history. No speculation, no deep theories, just an introduction to someone I had great respect for and considered a friend. Yes, it might be for the fans, but it is also for my kids, and maybe for Michael’s kids. I want them to know what it was like to be there, and to be part of such an amazing journey.
My name is Brad Sundberg and I first met Michael Jackson during the recording of Captain EO in 1985 at Westlake Studios in Los Angeles. I was asked to join Michael’s team as an engineer the following year for the production of the BAD album in 1986. Then came the tour, I worked with Michael and the band to restructure the new songs for live performance, the dance mixes, the short films and so on.
Then came HISTORY which we recorded in New York. We were at the world famous HIT FACTORY for nearly a year, followed by tour prep for HISTORY WORLD TOUR.
Along the way many songs for Blood on the Dance Floor were recorded.
When Michael bought Neverland Valley Ranch and wanted to turn it into his amazing home, he brought me up to start designing music and video systems to make it magical. He would call me on the phone at all hours and describe a new ride or idea that he had, the petting zoo, the trains, the outdoor theatre, the music around the lake, music on the stagecoach and on and on. He loved that ranch and it always made me happy when he would be excited about my work. I wasn’t his best friend or confidante; I had an enormous respect for Michael, his music and his love of people. When he sang “Man in the Mirror” I was there. When Michael sang vocal warm-ups before each session, I was there. From setting up the vocal microphones and headphones to making sure his water was hot enough for Michael’s favorite drink, much of was handled by me. I didn’t hear stories or rumors or interviews about people working with him…I was simply there doing my job. It was an honor and priceless education to be part of his studio team.
Michael truly loved his fans. There is no tribute show or seminar or movie that can replace the talent he was born with. I am blessed to have known him and I cherish the memories of watching him practice a circular moonwalk in the studio or singing scales with Seth, or watching him from the wings on stage in front of 100,000 screaming fans. I can hear his laughter as if he were sitting across the room from me.
He was a professional, a perfectionist, an entertainer, a singer, a dancer, a dad and a friend. I miss him and I know you do, too. Thanks for lettng me share a few memories with you.
I had to share this piece with you for two reasons…the seminars will be brilliant and I cannot wait to hear all about them. Also, in these days when every aspect of Michael’s personal life is pawwed over, with all the lies and half-truths, with those unfortunate persons who can only get their five minutes of fame by spewwing their vomit…and, with those who would tear Michael apart for money, it is vital that we, who know Michael’s truths, speak out. The abuse that is talked about really is an abuse of Michael. Never before in history has anyone been held under the microscope, judged and judged again and treated with such disrespect. I thank Brad for his stories of the real Michael. I look forward to more of them from him and others. Michael continues to be my inspiration and my hope for a better world. Without that vision, I am lost.