While the contracts were being ironed out – Joe Jackson had previously entered into an agreement with a local company back in Gary – the kids shuttled back and forth between school in Indiana and Taylor’s apartment in Detroit. “That is, as long as I had an apartment,” Bobby laughs. “Having all these young, boisterous house-guests always around, making music or making mischief, didn’t sit well with my neighbours. Listen to this: My youngest brother Jerome and Michael were busted for peeping on the people next door. They leaped from my balcony to the next, and then to the one beyond that, just to watch this couple having sex. And this was way up on the 19th floor! Crazy kids. Not long after that I was invited to leave the building.” Taylor then found a house which he says was more suited to constant influx of Jacksons.
MJ: (gets up and browses through magazines on a table, picks one up and goes to sit back down)
Jermaine: Michael, please. No, he got the Playboy. He got the Playboy. (tries to snatch it away from him)
MJ: (fighting his brother off) No, sit down. (to interviewer): Now, I would like to tell you all the people on (Inaudible) TV (flicking through it) one of my favourite things…
Michael: … in The Playboy magazine.
Jermaine: Michael, they filming you.
MJ: (looking like he’s been caught, looks up at camera and smiles)
MJ: (flicking through the magazine) This is a big butt.
Right On, August 1973
After receiving our individual room keys, everyone rushed upstairs to check out the rooms, order some food and mess around.
I doubt anyone got any sleep that first night, since there was so much of the hotel to see, plus “X-Rated” movies on TV after 11:00.
Ask Jackie, Tito and Jermaine… they’ll tell you! Because the next night at 11:00 people probably thought the whole slab of us had gone back to California… you could hear a pin drop. Everybody was in their rooms checking out the “you-know-what.” But the funny thing is that if you asked anybody the next day what they did last night or what time they went to bed – they’d crack up and start laughing. That really became the joke of the tour.
Touring with the Jacksons in the 70s asking a prostitute Lillias Harris what “get off” meant,
“He started asking me about my life. I didn’t want to talk. That’s not why I was there. I gave him my number and told him to call me if he ever wanted to get off. Michael looked at me and asked, ‘What does get off mean?’ He was totally sincere. ‘It means screw Michael. Call me when you want to screw’. Michael said ‘Oh, ok. I doubt it.'”
Truman Capote, Studio 54, 1977
Author Truman Capote remembers watching Michael riveted by a man and woman having sex in the shadows. “I sort of expected him to be absolutely shocked,” he reasoned. “But he seemed to be studying them like they were mating panda bears in the zoo.”
To His Sister Janet Jackson around 1977, Vibe, September 2006
Didn’t you once walk in on your parents having sex when you were younger?
Yeah, but I didn’t know what I was watching. I couldn’t figure out what the hell it was. And the horrible thing about it was that I should have known about it way before then, because I was 11 or 12. But I had missed all my sex education classes.
So how did you find out what was going on?
My brother Mike and I were very close at that time, so he was the one who told me. Now don’t forget, he’s very young at this point too, so he’s teaching me whatever it is he knows about it.
Bobby Colomby, Todd Gold’s book, Recording of Destiny, 1978
Michael, on the other hand, was utterly infatuated with the woman whom Colomby was then living with, actress Pam Grier, the tall sexy star of low-budge black exploitation films like Foxy Brown. “When he found out I was living with her, he just flipped out,”Colomby recalls. “She’d walk into the studio and he’d squeal and run out and hide.” When Grier called, Michael felt tongue-tied. “She’d want to have him over for dinner. I’d say, hey Michael, it’s Pam and I’d hand him the phone. He couldn’t handle it. It’d just drop in his lap and he’d stare at it. He wouldn’t even talk.”
But Michael’s curiosity was like an open floodgate and he couldn’t stop talking about Grier. “What does she do with you, Bobby?” he asked. “What do you mean?” Colomby replied. “She must hit you with skillets,” Michael laughed. “I think when you come home, she throws a skillet at you. She bops you over the head.”
Michael’s gullibility about sex worried Colomby so much that one day he took him upstairs to one of the small, second-storey offices at Cherokee Studios for a man-to-man talk. “Michael,” he started, “you’re a young man. You’re about to get out there in the world and meet a lot of people–a lot of women. And you might run into some interesting situations. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to go to your parents or your brothers and talk about those kind of things. But I want you to know that I’m there for you. That any time you need a friend, in any kind of situation, I’ll help you.” Michael smiles. He was touched. “God, that is so sweet of you,” he said. “But I already have someone I confide in like that.” “Oh, great,” Colomby replied, mildly surprised. “Can I ask who?” “Diana Ross” Michael replied.
Asking Tatum O’Neal (her autobio: Paper Life), 1977-1979
He gave me his number, and we started talking everyday–long drawn-out conversations that sometimes got so boring I would hand over the receiver to my friend Esme Gray. Michael would just keep on, thinking he was talking to me. His usual subject was sex. At 12 I didn’t have much to say about sex–all I knew was that it went on, pretty steadily, in my father’s room next to mine. But Michael was intensely curious about anything, everything sexual, though in an incredibly sweet & innocent way.
Asking Byron what “Jack U Off” meant in 1981,
“In 1981 Prince had a song about mutual masturbation on his ‘Controversy’ album called ‘Jack U Off’.” Byron goes on to say that Michael made comments and asked questions like “What does that mean, exactly? What kind of person writes a song about that? I mean, that’s so private, isn’t it? Maybe I should write a song about something like that,” Michael said, teasing him. “Can’t you just see that?”
Byron said, “no.”
Asking Brooke Shields about the bases, 1981-1984
“I would share with him, and he was like a little kid who talked about the bases- what first base was, what second base was, and it sounded very odd to the outside, I can imagine, but to the inside, to someone who’s never really left his bubble, you can understand how he would be curious.” Shields continues.