Re: Brad Sundberg seminar, June 29th: Making Music With Michael Jackson
More recollections from the seminar with Brad:
Brad said MJ had his own language--like "smelly jelly." (I think we knew about that
He said MJ had long bony fingers and could make amazing finger snaps and could do it forever--his fingers never got tired.
About "Streetwalker"--Brad said Quincy Jones HATED "Streetwalker" but he and Dileo loved "Another Part of Me." So MJ hired another studio (studio C) at Westlake Studio and hired another engineer (a Brazilian guy called Humberto ? didn't get his last name) to work on Streetwalker (this was in 87?). He said MJ was very competitive and wanted the best so he would get people to compete with each other--this happened a lot when they worked on Dangerous, when he had 3 different producers--Teddy Riley, Bill Bottrell, and Bruce Swedien. And all of them wanted THEIR songs on the album.
IJCSLY--pillow talk. Brad said the opening where MJ talks to a girl about how much he loves her was mocked by DJ's. He said to get the "pillow talk" someone actually designed a head (made a head) it looked like a robot's head, and put it in the bed with MJ and he talked to it (??). Don't know if this is true but this is what Brad said! He also said there were about 8 or 9 versions of the Bad album because every time a single was released it was a new mix and then incorporated into a new version of the album. Interesting!!
He said when the songs were performed with a live band on tour, the songs were 30% faster and 2 keys lower to save MJ's voice.
When they were in Pensacola, FL, rehearsing for the Bad tour, MJ recorded a 4-part harmony for the opening of the song TWYMMF in his HOTEL ROOM! Brad said they had a trailer with the studio equipment parked close to the hotel and ran a wire up the outside of the hotel to MJ's room. (doooo-do, doooo-do).
Here's how Brad characterized the 3 production teams for Dangerous:
1) Teddy Riley--" a revolving door of women." LOL (Teddy replaced a guy who was there previously called Brian X (?) who worked on song that became part of Ghosts).
2) Bruce Swedien--"a scientist' who 'did everything by the book" very organized.
3) Bill Bottrell--moody, disillusioned with the music industry, independent. (he said Bill B.and Bruce S. were opposites in temperament and hated each other !). Bill sounded kind of spontaneous and hippie-like vs. the very organized and scientific Bruce Swedien. Brad used to like to hang out with Bill B.
Then Brad played the creation of Give In to Me, which happened when Bill B.played the guitar and worked with the gum-cracking MJ to put the song together over a 2 hour period. It was very exciting and fascinating to hear the song and the lyrics develop as they worked together. This is also where the word ORGANIC appeared; in Brad's estimation this was v.important to how the music was born. You can hear MJ finding the song lines, the sounds he wanted, and how he asked Bill to shape the guitar chords he was playing (similar to how he directed Michael Bearden in TII when he was telling him to play a simple chord opening to TWYMMF). I think here too in this part we saw how important the word PLAY was to MJ--to play with the music in a fun way and enjoy the creative process.
BTW, Brad really respected Quincy as a musician and said the album Back on the Block was brilliant. He said he thought Q. did not like some songs that MJ liked, such as Billie Jean, because Q. thought that musically they were too simple.(But MJ liked that simplicity IMO.)
to be cont.