Interview with Fans (1996)
November 10th, 1996
While in Asia on his HIStory tour, Michael agreed to an exclusive, on-camera interview with the American video channel VH1, to answer fans' questions. VH1 solicited questions from fans and received thousands of them via email, phone, mail, fax, and from fans on the street. Michael couldn't answer them all but below is the VH1 Interview, word for word...
Note that during the entire interview, Michael was very happy and smiling almost all of the time...
MJ: "In truth, I really don't like being interviewed; I feel it's such an intrusion..... Every interview I've ever done I've been forced into it. And you guys (the fans) have been so nice to me and that's the only reason I agreed to do this."
Question: "What are some of the things that make you angry?"
MJ: "I believe in perfection, and I try to create that in everything we do. We never seem to totally get there, but I believe in perfect execution. And when we don't get at least 99.9%, I get really upset, so, that gets me upset."
Question: "Are you going to be doing any more videos off your HIStory album?"
MJ: "There's a lot more releases from HIStory. We have the Ghosts [short film] coming up, which is a big one, and Stranger in Moscow, and it's just gonna go on and on. I mean, we're at 28 million albums right now, other than what the press continue to lie about--the tabloid press--they're terrible. Don't read the tabloids - that's something you [the fans] can play. Don't read stories that aren't true. They write these stories to mislead you and you're just making them rich. It's not true, don't read it, it's garbage, it's junk food. Believe what I tell you."
Question: "Why are you wearing a silk mask in your latest appearances?"
MJ: "Because with time my skin condition has gotten worse, I hate to say it. I have vitiligo, and I'm totally completely allergic to the sun. I'm not even suppose to be outside actually. Even if I'm in the shade the sun rays can destroy my skin."
Question: "Are there any songs you released that you wished you didn't?"
MJ: "Not that I can think of. Some of the Motown songs, the early songs, I remember getting upset with the songwriters cause I wanted to sing them one way and they wanted me to sing it another way. And I would call Barry Gordy, who is the chairman/owner of the company. He would say, 'Look, let Michael do what he wants, I'm sure he's right'.
Question: "Was the atmosphere between the Motown stars competitive or friendly?"
MJ: "Very friendly. Marvin Gaye used to come to my house at least twice a week to play basketball with my brothers. Stevie Wonder would come by for gatherings and parties, and I would go to the Supreme's house and Diana Ross would invite the other girls over and it was really sincerely one happy family. We would have a baseball team where we played against one another, and I was just really little but they let me bat, and it was really a happy family and I do miss all of them--even the Temptations, they would come over to my house all the time.
Question: "Are you going to retape the HBO special you cancelled last year, and if so, when?"
MJ: "Yes, we're planning on doing that in South Africa."
Question: "Have you ever been scared to go on stage?"
MJ: "No, I don't remember ever being afraid to go on stage. I'm more comfortable on stage than giving this interview right now!"
Question: "Are you going to be doing any concerts here in the United States?"
MJ: "I'd like to - we're planning on it next year."
Question: "Do you ever plan on working with Quincy Jones again?"
MJ: "I would love to work with Quincy again. The doors are always open. We're very friendly with each other. But I just like challenging and going different things and experimenting. He's a very endearing person and I do love him very much."
Question: "If you could spend one day in complete anonymity, where would you go and what would you do?"
MJ: "Probably go to Neverland, or an island isolated somewhere. What would I do - probably write music or kind of create some music or stage play or something - something creative. I never stop working."
Question: "Does the real Billie Jean know about the song and if she did what was her reaction?"
MJ: "There is a girl named Billie Jean, but it's not about that Billie Jean. Billie Jean is kinda anonymous. It represents a lot of girls who used to - they used to call them groupies in the 60's - they would hang around backstage doors and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with. And I think I wrote this out of experience with my brothers when I was little. There was a lot of Billie Jean's out there. Every girl claimed that they're song was related to one of my brothers."
Question: "Which songs of yours are autobiographical?"
MJ: "Stranger in Moscow, Heal the World, We Are the World, I'll Be There. Those type of songs."
Question: "What inspired the song Stranger in Moscow?"
MJ: "I wrote that in Moscow. The lyrics are totally autobiographical. When you hear lines like 'Here abandoned in my fame..Armageddon of the brain'--at the time, on the last tour when we were in Moscow--that's really how I felt. It kinda created itself; it fell into my lap, because that's how I was feeling at the time. Just all alone in my hotel and it was raining and I just started writing it."