With ‘The King Of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson’ by Michael Bush about to hit the bookstores, we had the privilege and honour of asking Michael Bush some questions about his career and friendship with Michael.
MJWN: Did you have other choices of a career before costume design and tailoring?
MICHAEL BUSH: I GREW UP IN OHIO AND ACTUALLY WENT TO SCHOOL AT OHIO UNIVERSITY TO STUDY AGRICULTURE. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE A CORN FARMER. ON A FARM FASHION WAS A SCARECROW! I THEN WENT TO LAS VEGAS AND THERE I WAS A BARTENDER, A BLACK JACK DEALER, A WAITER BUT IT WAS IN LAS VEGAS THAT I SAW WHAT COSTUMES WERE ABOUT, THE SHOWS, THE LIGHTS AND ALL THOSE THINGS THAT THEN LED ME TO THEATRE. IT WAS THE 25 YEARS THAT I SPENT WITH MICHAEL JACKSON THOUGH THAT WAS THE REAL EDUCATION.
MJWN: You were partners with Dennis Tompkins. Did you each specialize in a different area of the work, or did you design and tailor those costumes together?
MICHAEL BUSH: WE ALWAYS COLLABORATED ON EVERYTHING TOGETHER. IT WAS PRETTY MUCH 50/50 ON EVERYTHING. WHAT HE COULD DO I DIDN’T, WHAT I COULD DO HE DIDN’T BUT TOGETHER WE WERE A TEAM.
MJWN: In the press release for ‘The King Of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson’ you mentioned that you first met Michael on the set of ‘Captain Eo.’ Did you actually design that costume?
MICHAEL BUSH: NO I DID NOT, THAT WAS DESIGNED BY JOHN NAPIER FROM STARLIGHT EXPRESS
MJWN: You have mentioned in the past that Michael would come to you with his own ideas for costumes he would like to wear on stage. In your opinion was he a visionary in that direction, as well as in his music? If so, could you give us an example?
MICHAEL BUSH: MICHAEL WAS A VISIONARY IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. HE WOULD LOOK AT IMAGES AND TELL US WHAT HE LIKED AND THEN HE WOULD TALK TO US ABOUT WHAT HIS MUSIC AND DANCE MEANT. FROM THERE WE WOULD TAKE THAT VISION AND DESIGN AROUND IT SO HE HAD THE COSTUMES HE NEEDED TO PERFORM AND MOVE IN BUT ALSO ONES THAT HELPED CREATE THAT VISION ON STAGE.
MJWN: In the twenty-four years you worked with Michael, did you have a particular favourite costume and did Michael have a favourite?
MICHAEL BUSH: I ALWAYS GET ASKED THIS QUESTION AND I ALWAYS REPLY THE TOUR OPENING ACTCOSTUMES. LIKE THRILLER, THAT JACKET FROM THRILLER CHANGED COLORS AND WAS ALWAYS ONE OF MY FAVOURITES. IF YOU ASKED MICHAEL JACKSON WHICH WERE HIS FAVOURITE HE WOULD SAY “ALL OF THEM BUT ESPECIALLY THE ONES HE USED ON TOUR FOR THE OPENING ACTS.” HE ALWAYS LOVED THOSE BECAUSE THEY WERE USUALLY THE MOST INTRICATE, OVER THE TOP AND HIGHLY DESIGNED COSTUMES.
MJWN: What are your future plans? Will you continue on your own creative path?
MICHAEL BUSH: I PLAN ON PROMOTING THE BOOK THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AND SHARE THE STORY OF MICHAEL AS MUCH AS I CAN. ITS MY JOB NOW TO KEEP MICHAEL’S LEGACY ALIVE AND PAY HOMAGE TO ALL HE DID FOR THE WORLD, MUSIC, HIS FANS AND THE ENVIRONMENT. SINCE HE PASSED MY JOB IS TO EXPLAIN TO THE WORLD AND THE UPCOMING GENERATIONS OF ARTISTS HOW IMPORTANT AND SPECIAL HE WAS IN EVERY WAY.
MJWN: I am sure you are continually bombarded by other stars requesting help with their costume choices. Can you name any of them for us?
MICHAEL BUSH: I THINK AFTER WORKING WITH MICHAEL JACKSON FOR ALMOST 25 YEARS IT WOULD BE VERY HARD TO TRY TO DESIGN FOR ANYONE ELSE. I WORKED WITH THE BEST AND I DON’T THINK I CAN LEARN MUCH MORE FROM ANY OTHER CELEBRITY, AT LEAST NOT MORE THAN WHAT I LEARNED FROM MICHAEL JACKSON.
MJWN: What would you like Michael’s fans to know about you?
MICHAEL BUSH: THAT I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY BLESSED HAVING BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE THAT CLOSE TO MICHAEL JACKSON WHO TAUGHT ME THINGS ABOUT MYSELF I DIDN’T KNOW AT THE TIME.
MJWN: And finally, in your own opinion, who WAS Michael Jackson?
MICHAEL BUSH: THE MOST GIVING PERSON I HAVE EVER MET. HIS LAUGHTER WAS CONTAGIOUS AND ALL HE EVER CARED ABOUT WAS THAT THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM WERE HAPPY.
Michael Bush’s wonderful book, ‘The King Of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson’ with its stunning illustrations, on Michael’s costumes and design is available on pre-order on the usual internet sites or by clicking here.
It will be released on October 20th.
Source: MJWN with a very special thank you to Mr Michael Bush & Caroline