New York magazine’s David Marchese interviewed legendary producer Quincy Jones on a wide range of subjects and his comments about Michael Jackson are jaw-dropping…
You worked with Michael Jackson more than anyone he wasn’t related to. What’s something people don’t understand about him?
“I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. [Donna Summer’s] “State of Independence. The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come.” (Originally written by Vangelis and longtime Yes front man Jon Anderson, “State of Independence” was recorded by Donna Summer in 1982. Jones produced Summer’s version, Michael Jackson helped out on backing vocals, and the song’s central riff does sound awfully similar (albeit faster) to the iconic bass riff on Jackson’s hit single “Billie Jean.” It should also be noted that, last year, Jones won a lawsuit over a royalties dispute against Jackson’s estate.” and “Billie Jean.”)
“Greedy, man. Greedy. “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” Greg Phillinganes wrote the c section. Michael should’ve given him 10 percent of the song. Wouldn’t do it.” (Phillinganes, an in-demand studio keyboardist, played on a handful of Jackson-Jones collaborations, including the 1979 album Off the Wall, from which “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” comes.)
What about outside of music? What’s misunderstood about Michael?
“I used to kill him about the plastic surgery, man. He’d always justify it and say it was because of some disease he had. Bullshit.”
How much were his problems wrapped up with fame?
“You mean with the way he looked? He had a problem with his looks because his father told him he was ugly and abused him. What do you expect?” (Jackson described being abused by his father Joe in a 1993 interview with Oprah, as well as in a 2003 interview with Martin Bashir. “It was really bad,” he recalled during the latter.)
It’s such a strange juxtaposition — how Michael’s music was so joyous, but his life just seems sadder and more odd as time goes by.
“Yes, but at the end Michael’s problem was Propofol. and that problem affects everyone — doesn’t matter if you’re famous. Big Pharma making OxyContin and all that shit is a serious thing.” (In 2009, not long after Jackson’s death, the Los Angeles County coroner announced that the singer’s death was caused by “acute propofol intoxication.” Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, had been prescribing the powerful sedative, which Jackson called his “milk,” to help with the singer’s insomnia. In 2011, Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death.)
Fascinating stuff. He talks about The Beatles being crap musicians, Microsoft’s Paul Allen being as good as Jimmy Hendrix on guitar and more. Read the whole amazing interview here. (Photo, YouTube; via Vulture)