Guitarist STEVE STEVENS - "I Never Made A Penny" From MICHAEL JACKSON Appearance

March 9, 2008, 16 years ago

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The Classic Metal Show, heard Saturdays from 9pm-3am EST at, recently conducted an interview with guitar legend Steve Stevens (ATOMIC PLAYBOYS, BILLY IDOL, VINCE NEIL). During the course of the interview, Stevens was asked about his short work he did with Michael Jackson when he recorded the solo for his 'Smooth Criminal' from the Bad release. Surprisingly, Stevens admitted that he never was paid for that appearance on the diamond selling album and the video. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:

The Classic Metal Show: I’m curious how a guy like you gets onto a record with someone like Michael Jackson, who was the biggest artist in the world when you played with him. Do you have to bid on that, or how does that work?

Stevens: "I got a call from Quincy Jones, actually, and I hung up thinking somebody was bullshitting me. It’s not like Quincy Jones calls every day, so I was like, 'yeah, right! Funny! Ha ha!' So he called back and said, 'don’t hang up, it’s the real deal.' I had just signed to Warner Brothers, and Quincy is friends with Ted Templeman. That’s how Eddie Van Halen ended up on 'Beat It'. I guess the conversation that Quincy and Ted had was, 'who’s the new hot guitar player?' Ted said, 'well, we just signed Steve Stevens from BILLY IDOL, and you should speak to him.' So that’s how that went down."

The Classic Metal Show: Do you still get royalty checks for that? I imagine you do.

Stevens: "Actually, I don’t. I never got paid for that. I didn’t write the track. I came in and played on it. Then Eddie Van Halen and I did the NAMM show together in the next couple of days. I asked him, 'hey man, what did you ask for on 'Beat It'?' He said, 'ah, man, the kind of publicity you get from that kind of stuff you can’t put into financial terms.' So, I never made a penny off that."

To download and listen to the entire interview, visit The Classic Metal Show's iTunes page at this location.

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