- 30 Jun 09
Republic of Loose frontman Mick Pyro is among the music industry figures who spoke to Hot Press’ Peter Murphy about the passing of Michael Jackson.
In the new Hot Press, in shops this Thursday, Mick speaks about his respect for the late artist, who he refers to as “the best singer who ever sang on record”.
Pyro, whose music was heavily influenced by Jackson, speaks eloquently about his respect for the singer, and his belief that his genius was never truly realised.
“The thing about Michael Jackson was there was a complete fusion between form and content,” he says, “The calibre of his artistry I don’t think will be recognised for hundreds of years, even though he was perceived as being great in his time: the levels of his achievement in terms of what he did with his dancing, his singing – but also as a songwriter and musician and producer.
“I would have loved to have heard him working with Timbaland or someone of that calibre. That’s the real tragedy for me, I would have just loved to have heard him make an album with more intelligent, cutting-edge producers, ‘cos the only people you could compare him to in the 20th century were people like Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Miles Davis. He was far beyond Elvis.”
Hot Press also spoke to Walter Yetnikoff, Jackon’s boss at Columbia, who acted as a mentor to the singer since his Jackson 5 days. Yetnikoff tells of Jackson’s burning ambition to succeed, which he felt was a sign of insecurity: “He always had to be number one. He’d drive me crazy, he’d call me two or three times a day. When people have to be number one, it’s because they don’t feel that way. I stopped with HIStory, when he had his picture placed with Christ at the last supper. We all have some ego, but this was crazy.”
This insecurity lead to problems with his image, as Yetnikoff says: “When he started to do the surgery stuff I got angry at him: ‘What are you doing? You’re not even black… you’re non-racial.’ I tried to say to him, ‘Michael, you’re fine, what are you doing?’ and he told me, ‘I don’t like myself.’”
Grouse Lodge owner Paddy Dunning paints a more positive portrait of Jackson, saying that he was a pleasure to be around during his five month stay in the recording studio: “He was a gentleman, very intelligent, with a great sense of humour – but very cautious of people because they’d ripped him off, everybody was always out for the take. When he came here I think he felt safe and comfortable, he was amongst musicians and people in the music business, his kids went to school here and hung out with my kids. We’ve got very fond memories of him.”
Paddy also tells us about the material Jackson recorded at the Co. Meath studio, most of which he’s sure will see the light of day in the future.
Read Peter Murphy’s full feature in the new issue of Hot Press, out this Thursday.