Q: But it must've been so disturbing to see Michael's face turn into what it turned into.
A: It's ridiculous, man! Chemical peels and all of it. And I don't understand it. But he obviously didn't want to be black.
Q: Is that what it was?
A: Well, what do you think? You see his kids?
Q: Did you ever discuss it? Did you ever ask, "Michael, don't you want to be a black man?"
A: No, no, no, please. That's not the way you do it.
Q: But he was beautiful before?
A: Man, he was the most gorgeous guy.
Q: But he seemed to have some deep-seated issue with how he looked?
A: Well, that comes about a certain way. I'm not sure how it happens. I'm just a musician and a record producer. I'm not a psychiatrist. I don't understand all that stuff. We all got problems. But there's a great book out called Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart. Did you see that? That book says the statute of limitations has expired on all childhood traumas. Get your stuff together and get on with your life, man. Stop whinin' about what's wrong, because everybody's had a rough time, in one way or another.
Q: I've heard you say that you wanted Michael to sing "She's Out of My Life," the great pop ballad from Off the Wall, in part because you felt like he had to deal with reality.
A: I just wanted to hear him deal with a romantic relationship with a human being rather than a rat. I'm saying that facetiously, but it's true. I saw him at the Oscars very emotional about "Ben." I wanted to hear him get in touch with a real human relationship. "She's Out of My Life" was written by Tommy Bahler from a very bad ending to a marriage. So it was very real. I was saving it for Sinatra. But I gave it to Michael. And Michael cried during every take, and I left the tears in.
Q: It's interesting you mention this, because I was just watching a clip on YouTube where you're sitting on a couch with Michael and he's petting a snake the whole time.
A: Oh, I remember that. Yeah, that was Muscles.
A: Muscles. That's a big boa constrictor he had. Muscles used to wrap around my leg in a record session and crawl across the console. I was never comfortable with that. It was a choice between that and Bubbles—you know, the chimp.
Q: Did you ever meet Bubbles?
A: Are you kidding me? He bit a hole in my daughter's hand! Rashida's hand. Rashida Jones—did you see I Love You, Man? That's my daughter. She was a little girl. And Bubbles bit her hand. Michael used to bring Muscles and Bubbles by the house all the time, you know.