What It Feels Like: To Hang With the King of Pop By Chad Muska

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As told to Mackenzie Eisenhour, this is the full version of an excerpt that ran in our March 2011 issue:

Chad Muska describes meeting Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch with Stevie Williams, Anthony Moseley, and Stevie’s mom in 2003.

So here it is. I got a call from C1RCA one day asking if they could give my number to somebody from Michael Jackson’s offices. I was like, “This is some bullshit. I don’t believe this. But go ahead and give ‘em my number just in case.” About ten minutes later I get a call from some lady and she’s like, “Hey this is so-and-so from Michael Jackson’s office and we just wanted to see if you’d be willing to go Neverland Ranch in two days?” I was like, “To be honest with you, I don’t believe this is real. But if it is, I would obviously love to come meet Michael at Neverland.” About a minute goes by and the phone rings again. I pick it up and it’s like (high pitched voice) “Hey Chad, its Michael.” I swear to God my heart just stopped for a second. He was like, “ Yeah, listen some other things have come up so I’d be really excited if you guys could just come up tomorrow.” I was like, “Tomorrow?” He’s like, “Yeah. I think tomorrow would be a good day for you guys to come up.” Then he was like, “I was wondering if you know Stevie Williams too. We wanted Stevie to come.” I was like, “Okay. Sure. It would be sick if Stevie came. Whatever you say man.”

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I can’t remember exactly how it worked out, if they had called him separately but basically Stevie was coming back from Vancouver the next day and he was like, “I’ll send a van down tomorrow morning for you then we’ll pick Stevie up at the airport on the way.” The whole time in my head, I was thinking like, “We’re getting Punk’d by Ashton Kutcher.” Meanwhile, the whole time I’m having this conversation, Anthony Moseley, who rode for Shorty’s at the time, is sitting on my couch listening. So of course, I hang up the phone, and he’s like, “I’m going with you man.” I don’t even believe it’s real so I’m like, “Sure, you can come with me.” I figure at least if I get Punk’d, he’ll get Punk’d with me.”

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So Moseley stays the night on my couch, we wake up the next day and I call and ask if I can bring a friend. At first they were kind of hesitant but I’m like, “He’s a pro skater” so they’re like, “Ok, bring him too.” Like a half hour later this black van pulls up at my house. It was like this black 80s cruiser van with an old black and white TV playing old cartoons. It was driven by this 75-80 year old chauffer with the hat and the whole kit. We hop in and start driving to LAX and I’m looking for cameras in the van and just talking like, “I know I’m getting Punk’d man. You can’t fool me.” Thinking they’re recording. So we get to the airport and Stevie walks out with his mom. She had heard about it and I guess was a huge fan and had told Stevie like, “I’m coming with you! No questions asked.” So we all hop in and this old guy never says a word to us other than that we’re going to Neverland Ranch. It’s a long ass drive out there from LAX. It’s deep up north in Lompoc, around there. So we’re driving and there’s traffic with this 90-year-old driver. And the whole time, I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind the seats.

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We finally get there, get to the gate and they tell us no cameras and all that. The gate opens up and we wind down this long driveway towards Neverland. Right as we roll up a couple elephants come walking around the courtyard and they do like a little dance—poke their trunks in the air. A camel comes running around and does like a 360. Then the whole staff comes in a line and bows down to us. I’ve never seen anything like it. This guy came and greeted us, he was like some kind of groundskeeper or something. He brought us in and sat us on the couch and was like, “Michael will be with you shortly.” So we’re sitting on the couch for like three minutes, which felt like three hours, and all of a sudden, “Boom” Michael walks in. I just remember Stevie’s mom stood up and grabbed her heart like, “Oh my god. It’s Michael Jackson!” And we all just busted up laughing. He started laughing too and we all just got hyped. He was just instantly cool, and sat on the couch like, “It’s so nice to meet you.” He introduced us to his cousin or nephew who was into skating and he had shown Michael the videos, and I guess he’d been watching them for years. I guess since me and Stevie had been coming up he had been down with it, watching the videos. He knew who Stevie was and he knew who I was. And his cousin or whatever turned out to be super good at skating. It was crazy.

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He started giving us his breakdown—we go to his living room and he has pictures hanging of him with everybody, just anybody you could think of. His cousin is getting a little antsy, and Moseley’s got ADD so he’s getting antsy and next thing I know Moseley and the cousin just break out. Michael’s like,” Where are they going?” Me, Stevie and his mom are just like, “Oh well, we’re here. Let’s keep going.” So Michael gives us the whole grand tour of the grounds. Just everything. It’s the museum. It’s the gloves. There’s the train ride. The water park. The roller coaster. There was so much. I couldn’t even believe it was happening. Like I remember thinking like, “I’m going to have to wait until this is over to even start figuring out what I just saw.” We just kept looking at each other in disbelief. When we drove to the zoo, Michael was like, “Watch this, the tigers don’t like this;” he had an umbrella, and kind of opened and closed the umbrella really quick in front of the tigers, and the tigers just went crazy, like roaring and jumping and going from side to side in the cage. I remember we watched the X-Men in his movie theater before it was released. Which at the time was rad.

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Towards the end, we went down in his basement and he had this dance floor with an arcade next to a wine cellar. Supposedly that’s where all this crazy stuff went down. They made him drink Jesus juice or something. Anyways, this was right when 50 Cent was hitting. We went down there and I watched Michael Jackson bust a moonwalk to In Da Club! It felt like we were in Charley in the Chocolate Factory and he was Willy Wonka. Everybody got some cool shit too. Like Moseley got some glasses, like the gold Ray Bans with the ear wrap and a leather jacket. I was like, “Nah. I don’t want anything.” Like if I did it right I was going to get the golden ticket to stay in Neverland forever or something (Laughs.) I do remember thinking at the end though, “Damn, I wish I would’ve gotten a pair of those sunglasses.” For me, that guy was just an amazing individual – and people can say whatever they want about him: he was weird, he was different, this or that – but I mean, hell yeah he was different than all of us, he was Michael Jackson. That day was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever lived. Straight up. RIP MJ.

Chad’s classic part in TWS’s Feedback, ’99
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