TO: Michael Jackson
FROM: Don Skwatzenschitz
RE: Career advice
Mike, I gotta tell ya, Mitzi and I were at this party up in the Berkshires last weekend (the weather was gorgeous, and the place we stayed had a slide that emptied out into a hot tub.Â Amazing.Â You should consider it sometime—the kids would love it), and the damnedest thing happened.Â It was pretty quiet—you know, little hors d’oeuvres, sparkly drinks, polite conversation, and the like—until somebody had the khutspe to ask the string quartet to play “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” You should have seen it, Mike.Â Eighty-year-old women and their grandkids, bustin’ moves all over the place—and this is without a backbeat!Â It was a skirt-hikin’ good time.
Got me to thinking how perfect the timing is now for you to make a comeback.Â All the legal shit is behind you by a couple years, and the memory (not to mention the attention span) of the public is notoriously short.Â The kids who bought Thriller have kids of their own now, so your audience is at least two generations deep, and most of them never heard Invincible when it was out, so the stink of that one probably won’t cling to you.Â Here are some things I think you should do:
- Stay away from the following things: children, Elizabeth Taylor, Saudi princes, monkeys, hyperbaric sleep chambers, your brothers (Jermaine is jer-messed up, Mike.Â Well, somebody had to tell you), boy bands, British press, 60 Minutes, the LAPD, Liza Minnelli, Lisa Marie, any giant likenesses of yourself, antique stores, and Debbie Rowe.Â These things always seem to get you into trouble, Mike.
- Get some surgery done. You’re looking a little peaked these days, Mike; Mitzi and I worry about you.Â That thing that supposedly turned your skin lighter has also apparently been eating away at your nose.Â Good news, though, pal—I know a doc in Staten Island who can restore your schnoz (at least to Thriller-era proportions) and a great makeup artist in Queens who might be able to do something about the pigment issue.Â Think about it.
- Do an unplugged show. You could single-handedly bring back the Unplugged franchise, if you wanted to.Â We’ll get the Roots to back you, or maybe the Weinberg group from Conan’s show.Â Bring in a small string section for “She’s Out of My Life” (those guys from the Berkshires party were aces; I think Mitzi got their card).Â Show everybody what real singing and real songs are all about. No children’s choirs, though (see my first bullet).
- Bring back the charity single. Find a cause, give Lionel Richie a call, and get a bunch of new and ancient artists to each sing a line, then line up, choir-style, for the chorus.Â You’ve done it before, and I think the time is right to do it again.Â Do you still have Quincy’s number?Â I’ll check my Rolodex.Â I believe the surviving Pointer Sisters may be available, Steve Perry apparently isn’t doing anything, and Kenny Loggins … well, you can always get Kenny Loggins.
- Fake your death. You can hide out in the Berkshires, or maybe Canada, and count your money.Â What sells more records than an artist’s demise?Â Look what it did for Harry Chapin, Mike.Â Or John Denver—his plane goes down and suddenly everybody realizes they never replaced their vinyl copy of “Rocky Mountain High.”Â And if you have any unreleased stuff in the vaults, so much the better—we can put out an album every five years forever!Â At least consider it.
All the best,