I have written alot about knowing Michael Jackson, but not really about knowing Michael himself. He was definitely an extraordinary man. It was fun working on projects with him. He was a kid at heart. But, who isn’t or wouldn’t want to be a kid again? One could only dream of the life he lived and being able to decide at the spur of a moment to want to build a fairytale park for kids or even create cartoons for kids and adults alike, including Pinky and The Brain and Sponge Bob. We worked on ideas and dialogue for Pinky and The Brain together along with some other artists.
Michael was a very influential artist, with a lot of powerful friends in the entertainment business, and other artists flocked to him. We all are strange to outsiders, but only those willing to get close enough could truly understand us or our motives.
Since I was still a kid myself when we met, while working on songs together he would make it a word game for me. I remember laughing alot when he was around despite the main objective being to produce new songs.
I never got to spend as much time with Bubbles as I would have liked. While still little, I would sing to him and make up new songs, one being Come Away With Me eventually to be performed by Norah Jones. Bubbles would usually put his head on my shoulder and his hand over my mouth while I would sing. It reminded me of when I read the biography of another Alabama native, Helen Keller. I remembered her teacher, Anne Sullivan, would place Helen’s hand over her mouth while trying to teach her. I suggested to MJ he should teach or have someone teach Bubbles’ sign language. Bubbles’ trainer cringed when I started trying to teach him to give me a kiss.
Kurt Cobain would call Bubbles his little buddy. I know most people think that Kurt was weird, even I did at times, but he was a very talented and dedicated artist as well. He started a collection of toy monkeys inspired by his little buddy which were used in the Sliver music video and a picture of MJ is on the wall.
It took MJ five years to produce his next album after the success he had with his ’82 hit album Thriller. Thriller was in direct competition with Def Leppard’s ’83 album Pyromania on the charts. During those five years he was a very busy man.
Michael’s next album released in 1987 and titled “Bad”. The songs I know what inspired them are as follows:
Dirty Diana – I know who it is about, but I’m not going to tell you.
Bad – One day we were joking around and I told MJ he was being bad and starting singing “You know I’m bad, I’m bad-
you know it”.
Smooth Criminal – The idea for this song came from lyrics in the song Joe Elliott and I worked on together titled Pour Some Sugar On Me. “Easy operator come a knockin’ on my door” which the idea came from one of my favorite Disco era songs Knock on Wood performed by Amii Stewart. Annie mentioned in the song is me, as in Little Orphan Annie. My foster parents gave me the name due to my curly red hair since I was unnamed by my birthmother. My adopted mother named me Amy.
Man In The Mirror – Michael got the idea to do this song from one of my favorite early Def Leppard songs titled Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes). Kurt Cobain did a little home movie and in it he is staring into a mirror (pictured).
PINKY AND THE BRAIN
The Brain: I will accept nothing less than mahogany.
Pinky: There is no substitute for Diana Ross.
I actually came up with this line for Pinky. The idea behind it was Amii Stewart’s Knock on Wood and MJ’s friend Diana Ross.
I would always joke around that this was Joe Elliott and Kurt Cobain, Joe thinking he was The Brain and Kurt being Pinky.
Michael Hutchence of INXS would make reference to Pinky and The Brain in a “To Do List” in his journal supposedly written in ’84, but I believe he wrote it later than that.
“4. Start my own stratdgy for WORLD DOMINATION!!” – Michael Hutchence
It was my idea for Brain to look and sound like Orson Welles, which The Alan Parsons Project used an Orson Welles radio spot and dialogue on their ’76 album Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
Kurt Cobain would say he lived under a bridge for a while. I think the actual bridge was the “bridge” of a song. But, this inspired me in the development of Pinky & The Brain to want the Acme Lab to be located near a bridge.