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An hour with Jennifer Batten

June 21, 2010 33 comments


Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten, the guitarist who worked with Michael Jackson for 10 years and who joined him on his Bad, Dangerous and HIStory world tours, performed in The Netherlands last April.

Three days before Jennifer’s gig in Leeuwarden Mo was requested to do a photo shoot of another gig, and in return Mo asked her contact to put her in touch with the programmer of the venue where Jennifer was going to perform. Within a day everything was arranged and agreed on – the interview would take place on April 24th at 8:00PM.

Souza made the trip to the north again, and together we arrived at the venue on Saturday evening where we got a warm welcome from the programmer. We had already told him what we’re doing and what our website was about, but we asked him to give us the opportunity to explain this to Jennifer ourselves. Shortly after we arrived, one of the crew members took us upstairs to her dressing room, where she was finishing a radio interview. After these guys had left Jennifer invited us to sit down with her.

We started out with explaining to her what we have been doing the past 10 months, and we told her that we are running a death hoax website. We wanted to be completely honest with her from the start and we wanted her to know on what kind of website we wanted to publish this interview, as we didn’t want her to feel screwed afterwards if we wouldn’t have told her. We also offered her the opportunity to decline the interview in case she was not comfortable about it being published on a Michael Jackson death hoax website.

After we told her our story and pointed out that since the end of November we are focussing on who Mike is and what really happened to him she said: “Allright, go!”.

Since we read and heard Mike say the BAD tour was going to be his last tour, yet he continued with the Dangerous and HIStory tour and we couldn’t find any information on what might have changed his mind, or who changed his mind, that was our first question on the list.

“Well I think the whole idea used by a lot of artists is that they say ‘this is my last tour’. Partly, it’s to get people out. You know if you think somebody’s gonna be around every year, you’re not so likely to go get tickets. He may have sincerely thought that, that it was his last one, because he was getting.. I mean he was doing this since he was five and he really wasn’t enjoying that all that much. And you know being a prisoner of a hotel for a year is tough. Plus it was very exhausting to do all the shows. As far as the movie career, it just didn’t happen. You know I have no idea why. It could be the people at Hollywood just thought that… You know you get typecast. They need a pop star and he wants to be a movie star. People won’t take him seriously. It happens the same way around. You get movie stars that want to be rock stars, and it’s very difficult. So, but I’m just guessing, I have no idea why the movie thing didn’t take off. I was aware that he wanted to do that.”

We asked her if she knew why most of the staff was fired after the BAD tour?

“No I don’t, I don’t. I mean nobody ever said why, I wasn’t even aware that there was a different manager until I got on the next tour. It’s just rumours and there’s no need to put that out there. Most likely, somebody pissed him off. When everything is going wonderfully, then you would keep the people. So there must have been some stuff that went down businesswise that he wasn’t happy with. I mean that’s just logic.”


Jennifer Batten & Michael Jackson – Bad World Tour

Before we started writing down questions we read Jennifer’s interview with Charles Thomson again and something we noticed was that she said that people approached her to spill out some beans to the tabloids during the BAD tour. We wanted to know more about that, so we asked her if she remembered who that was.

“I don’t. Oh my god, it was 1987. It was just someone that was at a photoshoot or at an interview that I was doing, that I never saw again. Just some Hollywood goofball.”

Jennifer mentioned in that same interview she had with Charles that it seemed to be the same Michael during the Dangerous tour, yet she saw some differences in behaviour during the Dangerous tour compared to the BAD tour. We asked her if she could explain what those differences were.

“God, the only thing that I can think of, is that he didn’t rehearse as much as the BAD tour for the Dangerous tour or the HIStory tour. And he just explained he was showered with meetings. You know there were so many demands on his time. Other than that I don’t remember seeing his personality change, I didn’t notice that.”

We explained to her that for the public the change seemed extreme, by what was shown in the media. We all know he was portrayed as a weirdo by the media and that they always seemed to try too make him look strange. We told her we don’t think he changed that much and we asked her what her take was on it.

“No! He was consistent the whole time I knew him. The only thing that I can think of, is that he didn’t rehearse as much for the BAD tour for the Dangerous tour or the HIStory tour. He just explained that he was showered with meetings. You know there were so many demands on his time. Other than that I don’t remember seeing his personality change, I didn’t notice that.”

While going through the footage of Mike’s three world tours one thing becomes very clear – while his dancing was already incredible during the BAD tour, during the next two tours he kept on improving it until it was perfect. However, he started singing less songs live, which we actually didn’t understood as he’s a great live performer. This is what Jennifer had to say about it:

“Okay first of all, why do you think he wasn’t singing live? There are some songs where he’s doing some heavy dance moves. I’ll admit yeah. But he did sing live every tour. Not every song, but…he was getting older too. I know in the HIStory tour he would go back in between certain songs to go get some oxygen. He was working hard man!”

Did you ever notice that he had lung problems? That’s the story we’re being told now, that he had long problems, throat problems, inflamed lungs and stuff like that, for years already.

“I never heard anything about it, I would just hear him warming up before every show, with a vocal coach. And if he wasn’t going to sing, why bother hiring a vocal coach?”


Jennifer Batten & Michael Jackson – Dangerous World Tour

Jennifer told us she didn’t have contact with Mike after the HIStory tour. We asked her what her take is on the new band is, that we’ve seen in This is It.

“There was a whole new band. I think he wanted somebody younger, which I think was a very smart move to get Orianthi. I think he just wanted a fresh face, he wanted everything new. Because the songs were going be the same pretty much the same you know since people could pick their favorite songs, so rather than repeat the HIStory tour or the Dangerous tour, have something brand new with brand new people.”

“The odd thing about TII is that he changed a lot, he changed his whole wardrobe, different clothes, I don’t know if you have seen the costumes?”

“Oh they looked incredible! God yeah!”

“Still the songs were all the same as what we heard in the BAD tour, the Dangerous tour and the HIStory tour, there was not much new.”

“Well it was a greatest hits tour. That’s what it was. I mean in order to do a show, he never wanted to play stuff that hadn’t been on the radio, like in the top 10. When I first started with him on the BAD tour they had only just released Just Can’t Stop Loving You and BAD, and so we didn’t play any other stuff off the album until that stuff had been released. We did a whole year, we started out in Japan, went all over the world, then we went to Pensacola and we worked the entire show and added a lot more songs from BAD. So if he didn’t have a fresh record out, he’s not going to do new material.”

“So he changed the set list after some new stuff was released?”

“Yes, he didn’t want to do anything that people weren’t familiar with.”

At this point we started talking about Invincible, as it was huge in Europe but Jennifer didn’t know that. She was pleasantly surprised to hear that, because in the States it didn’t get any support at all. We wondered about why we didn’t hear more songs from Invincible during TII, as the 50 gigs were going to take place in the O2 so most of the fans that would have go see him there, would be from Europe. We did however hear small parts of Threatened and Speechless, while You Rock My World was left out despite it being a huge hit in Europe. Jennifer answered to that:

“Well I think he wanted the songs to be up on a certain point on the charts. You know there’s number 100 on the charts then some people aren’t going to be familiar with it. He mentioned that he wanted to play the songs that the fans wanted to hear. So if you’re getting votes on the internet it’s all going to be Billie Jean and Beat It, the top hits.”

“But the weird thing is, he did the press conference on March 5, and on March 13, the first set list was already released on the internet, and the voting was still going on.”

“Okay…hahahaha!”

After talking a bit back and forth about Mike’s performances we ended up at the Superbowl halftime show in 1993. We’re sure everybody remembers that totally awesome performance, which was watched by 90 million to 100 million viewers in the United States and many more around the world. There’s something about this performance which many people want to know and we asked Jennifer about it: How did he get from score board to score board to the main stage?

“They [the ones on top of the score boards] were look-a-likes. In the beginning, those were look-a-likes. I didn’t even know they were gonna be there. When you look at that film, you’ll see the camera is looking at me and I’m looking up the air like…huh?? I had no idea. I didn’t even know all the cards were gonna be there with all the kids, haha!”


Here’s video of that performance, enjoy it, again!

The conversation took a turn and we started talking about things that happened in recent times. We ended up discussing the media, and all the news coverage of his death. We also talked about who is blabbing about what, and ended up talking about the interview Gene Simmons gave on Mike and how Charles Thomson responded to it. Jennifer’s opinion about Gene Simmons was very clear:

“What a bastard. He is so ignorant.

I don’t pay attention to the news because I know it’s 99% shit. I mean any news. It’s just made out and copy and paste and people.”

We also asked her if she watched the news after June 25th, and for her thoughts on what family members, friends and people involved with Mike have said.

“I didn’t watch a lot to tell you the truth. I mean I watched a little bit the day he died and then I saw the tabloid stuff start to kick in and it pissed me off. Whenever they smell money…easy target…?

I saw an interview with his security guards, and I thought it was great!”

“What do you think about the stories the family have been saying, that actually the doctor is the fall guy?”

“I wouldn’t doubt it, at all. I mean, I haven’t heard as nearly as much as you guys, I’m sure, but I understand the doctor wasn’t in the room at the time. Well I thought Jermaine do a thing when he said he knew who did it.”

“That’s the interview he had with the Australian radio station where he said he left for the airport ehhhh hospital?”

“Jermaine did?”

“Yeah, that’s what Jermaine said about Michael: Leaving for the airport ehhh hospital. But that’s not the point. Like La Toya, she was on a Dutch show two weeks ago and all she is talking about actually is conspiracies and being controlled and things like that. That there’s a much bigger story behind all this.”

“Oh I think there probably is, yeah.”

We asked her about the reports in the media about his drug addiction. One says he was a drug addict, the other says he has never seen him using drugs. Jennifer did three world tours with him, we asked her if she has ever noticed him being on drugs, she was pretty clear on this.

“Never, never. No.”

Jennifer is still in contact with Karen Faye. We asked her if she discussed the preparations of This is It with her and if there were things different from the previous tour.

“Not a lot, we just emailed about that. She thought that he couldn’t handle that many shows, and not that close together either.”

“That’s the strange part because Karen and some other people are claiming that he was too ill to do the 50 shows, and there are people that say that he was in perfect shape and he did a medical test which he passed. A few weeks ago we saw a documentary in which Navi said he saw Michael in London and he was in great shape and Susan Etok said he looked horrible and was skinny and was about to collapse…”

“Hmm. Well there’s a reason to this. People that were gonna make a bunch of money out of him say he was healthy. Karen warned people.”

“Was Karen let go after the trial, was she fired?”

“No, no.”

“We’re glad you could answer that because we have been searching for that kind of information for months and we couldn’t find anything about it. We always wondered what happened to her, because when you look at the rebuttal tapes they seem very close.”

“They were. He’d call her every once in a while and send her gifts. That happened right until the end.”


Jennifer Batten & Michael Jackson – Super Bowl performance

The rebuttal tapes of course brought us to the next subject: The Batshit tapes. We have investigated everything regarding the 1993 accusations and the trial, and we have found nothing against him, but we have found a lot of people and companies that would gain and have from this. We think that there’s a reason why Bashir did that interview. We asked Jennifer what her take on this subject is, and she had a lot to say…

“That was a big hoax right there. I mean, well Uri Geller suggested the guy, telling Michael here was a guy he trusts, and so Michael let off guards and told a lot of stuff. You know, it’s the same thing as the rabbi did. You take the message, and then after the fact, just post all this crap in it. I remember that there was one scene, it was that baby dangling scene that Bashir got in, I mean everything Michael was saying was normal, it was no big deal and people would have thought it was no big deal if Bashir didn’t come back and say: “I was really disturbed about his behavior”. Well nobody else would be if he didn’t post that in there. It was tabloid journalism. ”

About there being a deeper story behind it:

“Oh he got a butt load of money, I’m sure. That was a very covenant interview. You get it. ”

“Did he put a lot of trust into Uri Geller, do you know that?”

“He was friends with Michael, and so Michael trusted him when that journalist was recommended. But ultimately there wasn’t anyone he could trust.”

“We think someone placed him there to do the interview and twist it. ”

“You can bet on that. You know the thing – I was thinking about the Bashir thing. If you take Bashir’s comments out then that’s a really good thing to watch, and it’s really enlightening you know. Michael went off and told him the truth. “I’ve got vitiligo and what’s the deal with white people trying to get a tan and get dark”. You know, there’s a lot of wisdom in the words that he had to say. But Bashir did what he could…”

“The first part of the interview is good, but then there’s a turning point and I was like: “What the hell is happening now?!”. And you just saw Bashir flip around and…”

“Yes, just like the rabbi did, what a bastard! You know, that was supposed to be his friend, and Michael asked the rabbi to put his words out while the guy waited until he was dead and then fucked up everything.”

“We have bumped into a lot of people like that with bad intentions, and we have been digging on the Arvizos and…because we think there’s a connection between the Bashir tapes and the Arvizo plan, because Gavin’s mother met with an attorney 6 months before they met Michael.”

“And she insisted that he’d be in the Bashir special!”

“And later on she says she didn’t know he was in it, and she even filed a lawsuit because her son was used without her permission??”

“Oh she’s a nutcase! And the Chandlers were too, I mean…tsssss…look at it, can you spell dysfunction? It’s the most dysfunctional family on the planet!”

At this point we told Jennifer that we think Chandler was paid for what he accused Mike of, and that is it that stuff we try to dig out. Jennifer said she herself didn’t dig that deep, but voiced her opinion as to why Mike signed that settlement with the Chandlers while he first said he wanted to go to court.

“Well when you think about it, I mean, everybody hates the surface of a lawsuit. The thing is – it’s not about justice, but about who can convince the judge and jury. And he could have gone to jail forever, still being innocent, if the kid could convince these people.”

We pointed out to the taped telephone conversation between Evan Chandler and David Schwartz, and told her that it was obvious from that call that Chandler was going to extort Mike.

“Is that the part where he says: “there’s no way I can’t win”? Because I never heard him come out and say he was gonna extort him.”

We told her that the transcript of that call can be downloaded from our website, and she responded interested.


Jennifer Batten & Michael Jackson – Bad World Tour

Since Jennifer spent quite a lot of time with Mike we thought we’d try our luck an see if she could tell us what HIS signature was, because we have seen all kinds of contracts, letters and faxes with different signatures on them. Here’s what she had to say:

“Oh gosh I’m not sure. I never studied his signature. Honestly.”

We showed her the two different signatures on the AEG contract, which Mike according to the contract both signed, and she said:

“Oh really? Hmmm, well I can’t explain it. I don’t know anything about it. ”

We explained to her that this has been keeping us busy quite some time, also in relation to the alleged dept he would have had. We told her we think he is an excellent business man and we don’t have a comfortable feeling about all this at all. We told her that we are investigating for like 10 months now, everything and really everything, so also the things he did in the past – the gigs and the contracts he signed and why he did certain things. There are a lot of things that just don’t add up when you have them all together in the same line and that’s a little why we think he might not have signed everything himself. She listened attentively and then said:

“I was never part of his business. I actually have a picture that he signed, but I never paid that much attention to how the signature looks like.”

Our final question was about the Joe/Joseph issue, since this still is a point of discussion. We asked her if she knew what his middle name is.

“It’s Joseph…right..?:

“Well, here’s the thing: We have documents stating Joe and we have documents stating Joseph. And that’s the odd part. The stuff that’s signed with Joseph, seems off. The indictment of the 2003 trial says his legal name is Michael Joe Jackson. ”

“Well I don’t know really…”

This is where our interview ended, but we did chit chat for a while afterwards. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay and watch Jennifer perform and that we truly regretted, but Mo had to do the gig shoot she was asked to do that led to this intermezzo.

We thanked Jennifer for her time, for being prepared to talk to us, and promised we would attend her next gig in The Netherlands. Below a clip of Jennifer’s new CD “Whatever” and her official website. Make sure you check out the page about Mike and take the time to read the articles and listen to the great interview with Charles Thomson she put up. A summary of the interview can be found below as well, as an audio file.


A preview of her new CD “Whatever”


Jennifer’s Official Website

Our sincere thanks of course go to Jennifer Batten who really took her time to talk to us, but also to Froukje and Bobby, for setting this up. Thank you!