Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Tribute to Jackson Riles Fans and Family

The GLE certainly did not do their homework when it comes to Michael Jackson or his fans. The tribute concert which I believe was spear headed By Latoya Jackson (who I think will directly profit through her company) has become a fiasco and fans refuse to be manipulated by the weak attemps of the promoters to appease them. "WE'VE HAD ENOUGH" I believe Jermaine, Randy and Janet Jackson knew this was not going to fly with the MJ fans, who expect only the Best when it comes to anything  Michael.~Qbee

A Tribute to Jackson Riles Fans and Family


It seems that nothing involving Michael Jackson or his fractious family is ever free of controversy, even two years after his death.

The most recent flashpoint is a tribute concert to be staged in Wales in October. The plans have divided the Jackson family, pitting Janet Jackson and two brothers against their mother and four other siblings. The Jackson estate has refused to give its blessing and has raised questions about the promoter’s charitable intentions. Fan groups are up in arms over high ticket prices and what they see as sloppy planning; their ire reached a peak when it was announced that a rock singer who had openly accused Mr. Jackson of molesting children was on the bill.

“This is the one and only time we can do this, and they are not doing it right,” said Gary Taylor, the president of the Michael Jackson Community, a fan organization in Britain with 80,000 registered members. “This is totally against what Michael would do.”

Feelings about the concert have gotten so raw that the promoters are holding a conference call with the leaders of fan organizations on Wednesday.

Chris Hunt, the British film producer who is the driving force behind the concert, said his company had been the victim of “disinformation that is being spread around.” He promised that the event, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, on Oct. 8, would be an extravagant show worthy of Mr. Jackson. He disputed the charge coming from fan organizations that he and a few members of the Jackson family were seeking to profit from Mr. Jackson’s celebrity.

“No Jackson is going to get rich off this event,” he said. “This is not a money grab.”

Mr. Hunt said a portion of the profits from the concert would go to at least two charities that Jackson supported: AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Prince’s Trust. He said the charities would receive a fixed sum and a percentage of the proceeds. The organizers say they are also setting up a $100,000 trust fund for Jackson’s children.

He declined to say precisely how much of the proceeds would go to charity, nor would he say who are the investors in his production company, Global Live Events, which he formed in the spring, or how much they expected to make. “It’s not automatic the concert will make much of anything,” he said. “We are not announcing numbers at this point.”

The lack of a concrete commitment to the charities has troubled some fans. Ticket buyers were asked when they registered online to give an amount to charity above the ticket price, which ranges from $90 to $300, leading some fan organizations to wonder if the event was a for-profit concert in disguise.

Mr. Jackson’s estate raised similar concerns in an Aug. 15 in the letter to the promoters, demanding to know who will share in the profits. A lawyer for the estate, Howard Weitzman, wrote in the letter that “we are concerned that the concert is piggybacking on Michael’s good name and charity.”

The promoters never contacted the executors of Mr. Jackson’s estate about their plans, lawyers for the estate said. Mr. Jackson’s family has little control over his estate, because he cut his siblings out of his will and set up a trust solely for his young children and his mother, Katherine Jackson. A judge has appointed John Branca, who was Jackson’s lawyer, and John McClain, a music industry executive, to manage the estate’s assets and debts; they do not need Katherine Jackson’s approval for business decisions.

Mr. Hunt, who became close to the Jackson family while filming a television documentary about Michael Jackson in 2006, said the idea for the concert was born at a meeting last September with La Toya Jackson, who is firmly behind the event. He later decided to take on the project himself, then approached Jackson’s mother and won her approval. Mr. Hunt said he didn’t contact the executors because he thought he had the family’s approval.

The executors have made it clear through their lawyers that Mr. Hunt and his company cannot use any of Jackson’s intellectual property, including his name, his photographic image or his music videos. (The concert is called “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert,” and ads for the event have no photos.) The musicians performing at the concert — including Christina Aguilera, Ne-Yo, Smokey Robinson and Cee Lo Green — may sing Mr. Jackson’s songs, as long as it is a one-time tribute, lawyers for the estate say. All are being paid for their performances.

But Mr. Hunt takes the position that intellectual-property laws in the United States do not extend to Britain, so he argues that he can use images of Mr. Jackson as long as they are not broadcast in the United States. He also intends to make a documentary film of the concert, he said.

The fact that the promoters never tried to enter a partnership with the Jackson estate has angered many fan organizations, and 35 of them sent an open letter to the promoters last week saying the concert was “doomed to fail.”

“We reckon without Michael Jackson’s estate at the helm, this tribute is nothing more than a money grab for the investors,” said Nathalie Smythe, a founder of Fans United for Michael Jackson’s Legacy. “They wanted to avoid sharing the profits.”

The timing of the concert has also been a point of contention. Jermaine Jackson, a sibling who tried unsuccessfully to organize his own tribute concert in 2009, has objected to staging the concert in Wales during the involuntary-manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who was with Jackson when he died in June 2009. He has been joined by Randy Jackson and Janet Jackson in boycotting the event.

“Because of the trial, the timing of this tribute to our brother would be too difficult for me,” Janet Jackson said in a statement on Monday, which would have been her brother’s 53rd birthday.

Mr. Hunt said he had initially chosen the October date because the trial had been scheduled earlier, but when it was delayed until the fall, he could not change the date without incurring a financial loss. He noted that the concert would be held on a Saturday when the trial was not in session.

Mr. Hunt has hired Paul Ring, an executive in La Toya Jackson’s Ja-Tail Enterprises LLC, to help organize the show. Mr. Hunt says neither La Toya Jackson nor the other siblings supporting the event — Tito, Marlon and Jackie — have a financial stake in his Global Live Events.

Beyond questions about money, Mr. Hunt also lost the confidence of many fan organizations when he announced that the rock band Kiss would perform at the concert. For diehard fans it was a huge faux pas because the frontman for the group, Gene Simmons, has said that he believed Mr. Jackson had molested children despite his acquittal on child-abuse charges in 2005.

Mr. Hunt has since announced that Mr. Simmons will not perform. But the damage to the concert’s standing with fan organizations was already done.

“It’s clear they have not done any homework,” Mr. Taylor said. “They had no clue about the person they are doing the tribute for.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Paris Prince and Blanket Jackson Celebrates Dads Birthday in Gary.

Michael Jackson’s kids visit with Gary crowd

GARY — While the opening day of three-day birthday celebration of the late Michael Jackson was off to a slow start, the King of Pop’s three children — Prince, 14, Paris, 13, and 9-year-old Prince Michael II, also known as “Blanket,” took a short walk Friday from their father’s childhood home at 2300 Jackson St., to Garnett Elementary where their father and some of his siblings attended school decades ago.

Michael Jackson’s birthday is Monday.

“It’s closed now and I think it belongs to Workforce Development,” Michael’s first cousin Keith Jackson said as he led the brief tour for the children and a group of bodyguards and members of the Gary police department

Prince happy to greet fans outside 2300 Jackson St.

The children posed for pictures in front of Garnett while giggling and talking among themselves with another young relative. Keith also pointed out Roosevelt High School where the older aunts and uncles attended before they became known as the iconic Jackson 5.

“The kids are having a great time here,” Keith said as they returned to the gated house.

Moments after being in the backyard near a private, luxury bus, Prince and Paris then made their way to the gated fence and shook hands, posed for pictures and signed autographs for a small group of fans lucky enough to be up close.

Beth Shadera of Lake Station was able to present Paris with a necklace and also walked away with signatures from the children on a poster of their father as a child.

“I came here not expecting to have the honor of meeting Michael’s children. They are so beautiful,” Shadera said.

As the evening progressed, the crowd grew larger with more than 200 people dancing and watching performances on a stage near the house — called The Legend’s Stage — and Joe and Katherine Jackson, Michael’s parents, made their way outside to enjoy some of the show from the front yard.

Katherine watched performers from Chicago as well as the Gary dance group, Kruciial Kreationz, founded by promoter and Jackson family friend Ivan “Primetime” Woodard. Katherine also signed T-shirts, pictures and books with her son’s image for some fans.

She said seeing the community and fans from everywhere honoring her son ‘makes her choke up’ from the love.

“This is great, beautiful,” she said, adding that she will likely be here until Sunday. “The children’s first day of school is Monday, so they have to go back.”

She said she showed her grandchildren the entire house and where their father use to sleep and practice inside.

“They are so excited about seeing where their father grew up,” Katherine said. “Paris told me, ‘Grandma, I love it here.”

Source PostTrib.suntimes.com
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent
August 26, 2011 9:42PM

Friday, August 26, 2011

Michael Jackson Crowned king of MTV VMAs - Poll

As one of the fans who spent days and hours upon hours voting for Michael.  I appreciate the nice write up from Reuters. In both categories Michael recieved over 50% of the votes. he is the King. ~ Qbee

King of Pop Michael Jackson is gone, but he is not forgotten
by MTV Video Music Award voters.

Two days before the widely-watched awards show, MTV on Friday released a poll of the top moments chosen by voters in the program's nearly three decades with Jackson singled out for most iconic and best pop performances for a medley of songs he sang in 1995.

Michael Jackson performs medley at 1995 VMA Awards

Jackson singing and dancing to "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Scream," "Beat It" and "Smooth Criminal" picked up 57 percent of the vote for most iconic performance, beating the likes of Madonna with "Like a Virgin" in 1984 and Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" from 2009.

The "Thriller" singer, who died in June 2009 , also got the nod for best pop performance with the same medley, again topping artists including Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, TLC and his own sister, Janet Jackson, who performed a tribute to Michael the year he died.

MTV annually gives away awards for best videos in what has become one of its most-watched telecasts. Last year's VMAs were seen by 11.4 million viewers, its biggest audience since 2002.
Perhaps more important than awards and stars, the program is known for its sometimes impromptu, often planned, outrageous moments that grab headlines around the world.

Last year, Lady Gaga showed up in a dress made completely of raw meat. Two years ago, Kanye West jumped onstage and grabbed a microphone from a stunned Taylor Swift to tell audiences that Beyonce, not Swift, should have won one award.

But where outrageousness is concerned, nothing beats the kisses shared among Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 show. It was voted the most outrageous moment of the VMAs history with 53 percent of the votes from some 15 million total ballots cast online.

The infamous kiss, during a performance of "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood," beat out the fight between Kid Rock and Tommy Lee in 2007, Howard Stern appearing as Fartman and Diana Ross jiggling Lil Kim's breast at the 1999 show.

In fact, the flashy purple pantsuit Lil Kim wore, which left one breast exposed except for a pasty over her nipple, was picked by 39 percent of voters as the wildest outfit ever worn to the show, beating Lady Gaga's meat dress and Britney Spear's black leather biker ensemble from 2002.

Other results of the MTV poll, which also looked at best videos of the 1980s, 90s and 00s, as well as top performances in hip hop and rock, can be found at newsroom.mtv.com.

The VMAs air on Sunday, starting at 9 p.m. edt.

Source: Reuters.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Im so sad about Frank Dileo's  passing he was a good loyal friend to Michael & a great manager. A very important part of MJ history and his  legacy ~ Qbee

This is a message sent out from  The Michael Jackson's Estate


As many of you know, Michael’s longtime friend and manager Frank Dileo had been dealing with serious health issues for the past several months. It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that Frank lost his long struggle this morning and passed away at the age of 63.

 Frank had an amazing amount of creative energy, a huge heart, an infectious spirit and a larger than life persona that captured the attention of any room he entered. He also cared deeply about Michael, his children and his fans.

 Frank and Michael became friends when Frank was vice president for promotion at Epic Records during the release of "Thriller." In his best-selling book "Moonwalk," Michael wrote: "Frank really worked hard and proved to be my right hand during the years ahead. His brilliant understanding of the recording industry proved invaluable." 

Frank went on to manage the incredibly successful Bad World Tour. Even after they stopped working together professionally, the bond between Michael and Frank remained and the family friendship continued. In early 2009, Frank was reunited with Michael once again as his manager as preparations began for the "This Is It" concerts.  After Michael’s passing, Frank proved invaluable to the Executors of his Estate, sharing unique insights that nobody else could possibly have.

 Said John Branca, Co-Executor of the Michael Jackson Estate: "I had the privilege of knowing Frank Dileo for more than two decades. He was not only one of the great veterans of the music business, he was a beloved friend to me and all who were lucky enough to have had him in their lives. He was one of a kind. He was a character. He was an original. We loved him, and we will miss him. Our hearts are with his family."

Our thoughts and prayers are with Frank’s wife, Linda, his son Dominic, his daughter, Belinda, his grandchildren and all of his extended family and loved ones.

SOURCE  Michael Jackson.com

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

John Branca Interview THE PRINCE OF ROCK

It doesn't take a telescope to see the stars circling around entertainment lawyer John Branca.

by Stan Sinberg August 2011

Photo Courtesy of John Branca
John Branca was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas with his family on June 25, 2009 when he received the news that Michael Jackson was dead. He couldn't believe it. The self-proclaimed King of Pop had just rehired the entertainment lawyer eight days earlier, the latest chapter in their three-decades-long mostly-on, sometimes-off relationship. The pair had a storied history. Jackson was best man at Branca's first wedding (accompanied by Bubbles the chimpanzee, wearing a tux) in 1987. (Little Richard officiated.) The attorney, in turn, was instrumental in both Jackson's famous 1985 purchase of ATV Music Publishing, which included in its catalog some 250 Beatles songs--and the merger, a decade later, of Jackson's ATV Music with Sony Music.

Perhaps most intriguing, Branca had persuaded Jackson to release his "Thriller" music video after Jehovah's Witness church elders informed the singer, who belonged to the denomination at the time, that they disapproved of the production because they felt the werewolf and dancing zombies it featured promoted "demonology." Faced with the prospect of trashing the $1.2 million video (the average budget for a music video at the time was a mere $50,000), Branca quickly fabricated a tale that actor Bela Lugosi, one of Jackson's idols, had been a deeply religious man who didn't approve of vampires and put a disclaimer to that effect at the beginning of his Dracula film. Jackson bought the story, placed a similar disclaimer at the beginning of "Thriller," and the rest is music-video history.

When Branca returned from Mexico to Los Angeles, he still didn't know whether Jackson had revised his 2002 will, which named Branca, along with long-time music producer John McClain, as coexecutors of Jackson's estate. Branca hadn't worked for Jackson since 2006, when he quit because he felt the singer was taking advice from people who didn't have Jackson's interests in mind. Today, Branca won't elaborate, saying only that he believed he couldn't do his job if his client wouldn't listen to him.

In the days after the pop superstar's death, it seemed as if everyone who ever met Jackson was hijacking a TV camera to talk into. But not Branca, who after this long in the business knows that the best way to deal with stars' egos and out-sized lives is to keep your own in check. As he puts it, "One of the reasons I think I've been successful over the years is discretion, privacy, and protecting clients' confidences."

He's also willing to do whatever it takes to close a deal. "I've been charming, ruthless, an asshole," he declares, characterizing himself as the guy you give the ball to in the fourth quarter with a minute left.

Until the battle over the Jackson estate captured the world's attention, Branca was better known for representing some of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll. His client list has included 29 members in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--among them the Rolling Stones, the Doors, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, Carlos Santana, and ZZ Top--plus the Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, and Nickelback. But entertainment law wasn't even on his mind back in 1975, when the New York native graduated from UCLA law school and began doing estate planning. Then he read a profile of Elton John in Time magazine that spotlighted entertainment lawyers, and it set off a bell. "I instantly recognized it as what I should be doing," Branca says. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Century City firm that is now Ziffren Brittenham.

Branca credits his father, John, a gregarious and popular local politician, as the source of his "people skills" and his mother, Barbara Werle, for teaching him about "ambition." She was a dancer who occasionally appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and when Branca was five she left to pursue her show-business dreams on the West Coast. He joined her in California when he turned eleven.

Although Branca's name isn't recognizable to the average music fan, he's influenced almost every facet of the business, from the way concert tours are organized and tickets are sold to merchandising and the distribution of royalties.

One game-changer, for example, was his 2005 deal for the rap-metal band Korn. In a traditional contract arrangement, the record company is only involved in promoting a band's CD, leaving the group to handle all of its touring and merchandising arrangements. Under terms Branca brokered for Korn, the band and its record label EMI became partners in everything, creating a synergy between them. That model has since become the norm. Similarly, until Branca put together the deal for the Rolling Stones's "Steel Wheels" tour in 1989, it was standard for each stop on a band's tour to be handled by a different concert promoter. Placing the entire tour under one promoter's control, which, of course, streamlines the entire operation, can also be lucrative for the attorneys involved. (Entertainment lawyers typically receive a percentage of contract advances, future royalties, or both.)

Away from the office, the 60-year-old Branca could pass for a rock 'n' roller himself, with his longish wavy hair, casual white T-shirt, black jacket, and jeans. Much of his persona seems to straddle the line between the worlds of business and show biz: He combines a boyish smile and self-effacing charm with an authoritative negotiating style. The bulk of his professional life has been spent among music megastars, but he still gets bug-eyed with excitement when a memorabilia dealer brings him one of the two known remaining baseballs signed by all of the Beatles. (Branca already owns the other one.) His uncle, Ralph Branca, pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1947 World Series and in 1951 gave up Bobby Thomson's famous "Shot Heard 'Round the World" home run that delivered the pennant to the New York Giants.

Over the years, Branca has also been busily helping clients acquire and sell music catalogs. He handled the sale of Berry Gordy Jr.'s Jobete Music to EMI, and Sony/ATV Music's acquisition of the Leiber Stoller catalog, which included songs made famous by Elvis Presley ("Jailhouse Rock" and "Hound Dog"), the Drifters ("On Broadway"), the Clovers ("Love Potion No. 9"), and the Coasters ("Yakety Yak" and "Charlie Brown"). More recently, he worked for one of the final bidders (Sony/ATV and another company) for the Warner Music Group, which was sold in May for $3.3 billion to Access Industries. In June he was reviewing deal terms for the sale of EMI, the world's fourth largest music company and the record label for Katy Perry, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd.

A generation earlier, it was a client of Branca who made headlines with one of the most famous and controversial music deals of all time: Michael Jackson's acquisition of the publishing rights to ATV Music, which included some 250 Beatles songs, including "Yesterday," "Help!" and "Let It Be." When the deal came down, there was some public grumbling from Paul McCartney, but the artist never seriously bid for the catalog, and later he and Jackson remained friends. John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, who also didn't bid, remarked that she was happy the rights now belonged to Jackson, a fellow songwriter.

At one point, Branca says, he had a handshake agreement to acquire the catalog from Australian businessman Robert Holmes à Court, only to discover that the seller had turned around and struck a deal with a rival bidder. "He fucked me," is how Branca puts it. Then the attorney learned that one of the financiers of the rival deal was a colleague he'd done business with over the years.

"I went to him and asked him to pull the financing," Branca recalls. The colleague agreed, effectively killing the deal with Jackson's competitor, Martin Bandier, then co-owner of The Entertainment Company.

With no ready buyer, Holmes à Court promptly phoned Branca from London and invited him to fly there to jump-start their earlier agreement. "I told him to go fuck himself," Branca says. This was a risky move: Instead of following the usual procedure and waiting until the deal was signed to start due diligence on any outstanding accounting and legal issues, Branca had already invested more than a million dollars in fees to resolve them in advance.

Over the next several days, Holmes à Court called Branca back several times. The lawyer remained noncommittal, even though, he admits, "My ass was on the line." Finally he agreed to fly across the Atlantic, but warned that he'd stay only 24 hours. "I told him if this deal didn't happen while I was there, to never, ever call me again."

Playing hard to get, Branca says, was part bargaining tactic, part payback, and partly to ensure that Holmes à Court wouldn't pull the same stunt again.

Bandier, now chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV, says he thought his company still had the inside track. But then Branca upped the ante. "He offered to have Jackson perform for Robert Holmes à Court's favorite charity," Bandier laughs. (To clinch the deal, Branca also had to accede to Holmes à Court's eleventh-hour demand that his daughter receive the copyright to "Penny Lane" as a "souvenir.")

After losing out on the Fab Four's catalog, Bandier told his partner, "Next time we bid for something like this, we're hiring John." Which is just what they did when they went after CBS Songs.

Judging the worth of a music catalog is part analysis, part instinct, says Bandier. "John has a great sense of the value of a song--which songs will last for a long time, how certain songs can be licensed for commercials."

These were the very qualities that propelled Branca into the "finals" when, in 2008, the Rodgers & Hammerstein estate went looking for someone to handle selling the composers' catalog. All five other contenders were investment banking firms.

During the interview process Branca recounted to Mary Rodgers and Alice Hammerstein how his show-biz mom had been in a touring production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music (she played the baroness) and took him, as a boy, to see the show on Broadway. "It was one of the formative experiences of my youth," he gushes. "I would've done that [catalog] project for free."

"At first I thought we were [considering] Branca as a courtesy" to the entertainment lawyer, says Joshua S. Rubenstein, the estate executor for Richard Rodgers and counsel for the estate. "But it was a family estate," he continues. "We wanted someone who would take good care of the legacy, and John blew us away with his passion and interest. For us, it wasn't just about the money."

Even so, Rubenstein credits Branca with creating strong bidding interest in the catalog, notwithstanding the bottom falling out of the economy that year. "Branca sold it for 95 percent of our highest valuation," he exults.

After Michael Jackson's death, no will more recent than the 2002 document turned up, so Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff eventually granted Branca and producer John McClain temporary coexecutor status.

Initially, Jackson's mother, Katherine, fought to gain control of the estate. She is the guardian of her son's three children and the beneficiary of 40 percent of the estate, and she accused Branca and McClain of conflicts of interest. After Katherine Jackson filed several unsuccessful legal challenges, the dispute blew over, and she has since praised the pair's management of the estate.

Adam F. Streisand, chairman of the trust and estate litigation practice at Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles, represented Katherine Jackson's interests until recently. "John Branca deftly handled the estate and was very effective in stemming the flow of red ink he found," says Streisand, "and he was always amenable to requests I made on Mrs. Jackson's behalf." Other attorneys she has employed over the course of the proceedings declined to comment.

Of course, Jackson's finances were a shambles when he died: Various reports estimated that the entertainer was more than $400 million in the red from a combination of extravagant spending and high-interest loans.

In the weeks before Michael Jackson officially rehired Branca, the attorney had several discussions with Jackson's representatives about what he wanted to accomplish. So as his client's coexecutor, Branca felt he was privy to Jackson's wishes and had a mandate for a three-pronged mission: to get the estate out from under its crushing debt; to provide for Michael's children and loved ones; and to restore the King of Pop's legacy to its former glory. It was a gargantuan task, but the fact that Jackson had recently reached out to him again made it "emotionally fulfilling," Branca says.

The estate's first major commercial decision was to make a documentary about the rehearsal process Jackson had been involved in for an unprecedented 50-concert series in London. Some family members objected that Jackson wouldn't have allowed a rehearsal tape to be released. "But we looked at the tapes," Branca says, "and we saw the Michael we loved--the perfectionist--the one who had great humanity and great respect for his fellow dancers and musicians. And that's why we put the movie out.'" This Is It became the largest-grossing concert documentary in history.

Branca and McClain further transformed the estate's fortunes by refinancing costly debts and putting together deals to open Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil shows (one in Las Vegas and another traveling version); launch an interactive museum and a Michael Jackson-themed lounge at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; create a best-selling dance game for Ubisoft Entertainment; release ten albums of both old and unreleased music in the coming years; and ramp up Jackson's profile on Facebook.

The result: In the 15 months after Jackson's death, the estate generated $310 million in revenue. By comparison, the Elvis Presley estate, previously considered the "gold standard" in the entertainment business, earned profits of about $25 million over the same period.

"If I do nothing else in my career except having done this for the Jackson estate, I can say I did a great fucking job,"~ John Branca.

As reverently as Branca speaks about his deceased client, though, the attorney won't comment on the record about other members of Jackson's family. Suffice it to say he feels unappreciated by the clan, and believes some of its members aren't acting in Michael's behalf.

Sometimes in this industry, of course, the best deal is the deal not made. The litigator representing Branca and McClain as executors of the Jackson estate is Howard Weitzman, a partner with Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert in Santa Monica. Weitzman tells how several years ago, when the singer's financial problems were getting out of control, Jackson was advised to sell his interest in the ATV Music catalog that includes Beatles tunes. Branca told him, "If there's one thing you should never do, it's sell that." Jackson listened, and the catalog remains one of his estate's most valued assets.

Branca could surely retire tomorrow and live quite comfortably with his second wife, Linda, and two young sons in their Beverly Hills mansion filled with Italian antiques--but he has no plans to stop working. "I love being a lawyer," he explains. Perhaps more to the point, though, he's a fan of the music and the musicians.

That's one of the reasons that several years ago Branca helped form the Musicians Assistance Program to aid artists suffering from alcohol and addiction issues. It was later merged into MusiCares, with an expanded mission of helping musicians in need to obtain a host of services, including medical and dental care and funeral arrangements; Branca is now its chairman emeritus.
He's also aided musicians from earlier generations who either lost copyrights to their songs or weren't being paid proper royalties. Among them: Don Henley, John Fogerty, the Beach Boys, and members of the Doors.

Between juggling clients of the current generation and caretaking the legacies and affairs of past ones, John Branca will stay busy, keeping the music alive.

Stan Sinberg is a San Francisco-based writer who has worked as a columnist, satirist, and radio commentator.

Source http://www.callawyer.com/story.cfm?eid=917175&evid=1