Quincy Jones has a blunt assessment on the latest posthumous Michael Jackson album release, “Xscape” — “It’s about money.” The music legend’s comments were broadcast Tuesday in an interview on Jian Ghomeshi’s “Q” talk show on CBC Radio.
Jones, the great composer, producer and all-round music man, masterminded many of the top hits in MJ’s glittering career. Though clearly he’s not a fan of the “new” stuff. “They’re trying to make money. And I understand it. Everybody’s after money, the estate, the lawyers. It’s about money,” he said.
The L.A. Reid-helmed “Xscape” is flying high in sales charts around the world. “Xscape” opened at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums chart this week and it’s charging toward the top spot on the Billboard 200. The album’s lead producer was Timbaland, with additional work courtesy of Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome “Jroc” Harmon and John McClain.
When asked if he was bothered by the ongoing rollout of recordings featuring the late King of Pop, Jones had this to say: “Yeah, but it’s not my business anymore. They’re not our business (laughs).”
Jones’ comments come on the heels of a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit he filed in connection with Jackson’s projects released after the singer’s 2009 death. In a complaint filed last October in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jones alleged that master recordings he worked on were wrongfully edited and remixed so as to deprive him of back-end profit participation. Jones also asserted that he’d been denied credit for his work on the late singer’s releases and that MJJ Productions and Sony Music have entered into side deals taking profits that should have been included in the calculation of royalties.
In the new interview, Jones also goes deep into the sessions on “Thriller,” and he dispelled the oft-told tale of how he’d initially rejected “Billie Jean.” “And this whole fallacy of me not liking ‘Billie Jean’ is a lie. It is some lie that started somewhere. Anybody can hear that record’s a smash. And also I know where it came from.”
Jones, a winner of 27 Grammys, also reflects on his “amazing times” with Ray Charles, his lack of fear (except with driving) and he tells of his near-death experience. Listen to the full interview here.