Jennifer Batten



"I just remember Michael looked gorgeous close up. He was just beautiful."

On Working with Michael for the First Time
"We heard that if he liked the music he'd start dancing and he did as soon as he walked through the door. We stopped and people who hadn't met him before were introduced to him. I remember seeing his manager Frank Dileo come in with the ponytail and the cigar. It was kind of surreal seeing the two of them together. I just remember Michael looked gorgeous close up. He was just beautiful.

But soon after hitting the road, Batten discovered a more sinister side to working with Michael Jackson. "I was approached in the beginning by somebody who said I could make a lot of money by talking to the National Enquirer," she reveals. "I was just appalled. I thought 'that is just sick', you know? I just got this great gig. Why would I sabotage it like that? It seemed like a really evil thing to do."

On the Child Molestation Accusations
"I figured it was an extortion case, which I still figure it is," she says matter-of-factly. "Everybody was concerned about him. I think it pains all of us that he was so attacked and so unfairly. Most artists are sensitive and he was talented times ten, so ultra sensitive, and to be slung that kind of stuff... I mean, you can hear it in his lyrics. It's a real drag because you wonder what kind of music he would have come up with if people weren't attacking him like that."

"I don't know anybody who could have stayed mentally healthy after all the accusations thrown at him. But people are obsessed with extortion. It gives them power. Once lawyers and the Press get involved the stories run on their own."

"The media has a lot to answer for over its coverage of the 1993 allegations."

"Honestly, I think it would have been considered uncool amongst the press to take Michael's side. I think it would take a brave soul to do that, which is really sad. Really pathetic. Even at the 2005 trial... I know people who were inside the courtroom and then they would watch the news at night and it was complete lies."

Heal the World Finale
"At the end of the show he would disappear down an elevator in the stage with a little boy and a little girl. At first I thought, 'God, because of the allegations you'd think he wouldn't do that'. But then I thought, 'You know what, he hasn't done anything wrong so why the hell should he change his life?' I think that was a little bit of giving a finger to his critics."

The Gene Simmons Controversy
Michael Jackson's former tour guitarist has slammed Gene Simmons' recent allegations against the King of Pop.

In an interview earlier this month, Simmons told Classic Rock that a musician friend had quit a Michael Jackson tour after 'seeing boys coming out of the hotel rooms'.

But Jennifer Batten, who accompanied Jackson on all three of his world tours, says the allegations are untrue and that nobody ever left a Jackson tour after it hit the road.

"Number one, there's no truth to it. Number two, I would guess that it was somebody who got fired. Somebody who was embarrassed that they got fired and so they made up a story."

Batten added that only two musicians were ever fired and they were let go 'like a week before we took out on the road', meaning that they couldn't have witnessed anything going on inside hotels.

The guitarist also blasted the media for widely publishing inaccurate stories, saying that after Jacksons death, "They were respectful for about two or three hours and then they turned it into a tabloid festival... It's all about money now, not about truth. People can be very cold."

Michael Jackson Forum
Jim from Birmingham, UK asks: How did you feel when MJ asked you to tour with him?
High as a kite. I couldn't sleep for weeks :-)

Leanne from the UK asks: What was it like being Michael's guitarist?
It's the best job on the planet. He treated us very well and I loved the tunes. 

What is your favourite Michael song that you played on? 
Human Nature and Beat It

John from the UK asks: What was Michael like in general?
Very sweet person. I liked him a lot. He was kind and considerate and treated us very well. He's just a big kid that wants to have some fun.

Hunter from Australia asks: Can Michael play guitar or any other musical instrument?
I've never seen him play an instrument but he can cover any parts and sounds with his voice. I heard he did the first demo to Billie Jean by multi tracking all the parts with his voice on tape. He's a great well rounded talent.

"He was so into being a good father to his children. 
He wanted nothing but the best for other people. I miss him."

"It was wonderful the way he moved his body. His voice was in wonderful shape and a lot of people felt really sad watching that. But I just soaked it in, with good memories."

"It was Michael's idea to have my hair turned snow white and big. 
Often all you can see in the photos is Michael Jackson and my hair!"

"I'm very proud of touring with him."