An interview with solo Jermaine (1976) PART II
JERMAINE JACKSON BREAKING OUT ALL ALONE! PART II
Striking out on a solo career was one hard decision for Jermaine Jackson to make. Now that it’s done, he’s smiling a genuinely happy smile these day!
BY FLO JENKINS, PHOTOS BY GIL GARNER
Having entered the fast-paced world of show business at such a young age – even before he was in his teens – Jermaine, now 22 years old, learned a lot, not just about the music business, but about life and people in general. And now that he’s about to tackle a career alone, without his brothers Michael, Tito, Jackie and Marlon, he is possibly more able to handle the situation than many who had not been exposed to life so early.
Jermaine says that he’s aware of show business and its pitfalls. He’s aware how time-consuming it is. He’s aware of the dedication it takes to be and remain successful. He’s aware how easily being a “star” can cut away a big chunk of the “star’s” personal life and his personality if he’s not careful!
With all that knowledge and more tucked safely in his head, Jermaine is ready and able to become the solo performer he’s set out to become. Matter of fact, he feels he’s ready to be and do just about anything he sets his mind to … and that “thing” he’s most ready to do nowadays is just be Jermaine. He had discovered a whole world exists outside of show business – like going fishing, riding horses, liking spending time at home relaxing with his wife, Hazel.
Since his time off from recording with his brothers, he’s found a world he was once too busy to see. Jermaine discovered a lot of joy and peace of mind. He came in contact with a natural flow of life. And although Jermaine has in mind continuing his show business career, he has no plans of letting go of his latest happy discoveries!
RIGHT ON!: You began traveling and experiencing a lot about the world early in life. What are your thoughts now about so much of your young life being spent on the road? And about being a “star” so early in life?
JERMAINE: “Yeah, young people in entertainment do grow up faster. The entertainment life sorta puts the entertainer away from the regular people. Like, I find myself not doing normal things at times. And before we (he and his brothers) became entertainers, we could go here and there and that sort of thing. But now, I’m doing those things, and I enjoy that more than entertaining, ‘cause it’s the way you’re supposed to take life. You’re supposed to enjoy it … see nature and stuff … go to the lakes; which we never got a chance to do because we were always so busy. It’s so much of California to see … all kinds of forests, and I’m going to see those things.”
RIGHT ON!: What are some of your hobbies nowadays? What do you like to do?
JERMAINE: “I’m basically a home-body. But I like to go camping, Hazel and I, and Barry White and his wife. We have motor homes and we go fishing, camping …. I horseback ride. We like to go to a rifle range and shoot targets. And Barry and I spent weeks going to hobby stores buying things for a portable ranch we built. We put it together on pieces of plywood. It’s a high-class miniature ranch!”
RIGHT ON!: You and Barry seem to have a lot in common musically and personally. Is he your best friend?
JERMAINE: “Yeah, he’s my personal best friend. Hazel and I see him practically every day. We do have a lot in common, and we notice that we think alike in certain areas. We even found we had more in common when we went over to Barry’s house and he and his wife had some of the same stuff in their house that we have in ours. And we didn’t use the same decorator; it was just that their taste in things for their home were that close to what we selected for our home. “
RIGHT ON!: Being that he is older and has been involved a long time in show business, you must learn a lot musically and otherwise from Barry…
JERMAINE: “Oh, he’s unbelievable! See, he’s the type of person who can teach you about life. It’s not the type of knowledge that you get out of books, I guess you’d call it ‘street knowledge.’ Barry has taught me a lot about just being on my own. He’s a very honest person, and he’s very smart. We just love him.”
RIGHT ON!: Obviously the fishing and camping and outdoor life agrees with you. You seem slimmer. Is it because you’re now a vegetarian as I’ve heard?
JERMAINE: “Well, off and on, I’m a vegetarian. When Hazel thought she was pregnant, the doctor said she should eat some meat because it would be healthy for the baby. So she made me start back eating meat! But the meat got so good, even after she found she wasn’t pregnant, I couldn’t turn it loose! But I do go off and on the vegetarian diet. We have a juice-a-rator which makes all kinds of juices from carrots, celery. We love juices. I had some watermelon juice that was outta sight!”
RIGHT ON!: You and Hazel really had a false alarm some months back when she thought she was pregnant, are you still planning a big family?
JERMAINE: “Yeah, we are. But it’s taking awhile. We both love kids.”
RIGHT ON!: Being young yourself, what do you think of the young generation, young Blacks in particular?
JERMAINE: “Well, I think we’re going to see a lot of good changes in this life because of the present generation of young people. I think they should listen to us more. As far as the Black man is concerned, we have a lot of good things to add to the world. And I hope to be here when there’s a major change. There was a time when you didn’t see Blacks on television, there weren’t many with money, but things are steadily getting better and better. And I do feel the day will come when the Black man will run the whole world. For so long we’ve been told we didn’t know anything. We’ve been pushed in the background. But Black people are waking up…. And in the music industry, you take one of our weakest Black acts and they’re usually better and stronger than a major white act. There is a lot of talent in Black people, but some just don’t get the push. But I see a change coming.”
VALUABLE LESSONS LEARNEDRIGHT ON!: What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned since being in show business?
JERMAINE: “The most important lesson is entertainers should be in the business to make money, but also enjoy what they do. Another important lesson is one that some people never seem to learn, and that is to keep your money after you’ve made it, ‘cause it’s very easy to spend it all foolishly.”
RIGHT ON!: You’ve earned lots of money, Jermaine, which has allowed you to do many enjoyable things. Is that the value you see in having money? How important to you is having lots of money?
JERMAINE: “That’s a rough question. But I will say this, the people in this world, they only understand money. What I’m saying is you can’t easily live in this world without it. It even costs money to be born. It costs money to die! Money is important to almost everybody. But people shouldn’t value it like they do, like it’s a God or something, ‘cause there are lots of people who can be happy without it, or at least only a little of it.”
RIGHT ON!: You’re in a position to say something important to people, young people especially. What kinds of messages could you give them that would possibly be helpful? And what would your advice be to young people who are interested in a show business career?
JERMAINE: “I would first like for young people to know how important it is to find out who they are, what they are, what they truly might be capable of doing in their lives. As for the future entertainer, I would say that if he or she is really enjoying life and happy with doing the everyday things in life, I’d advise them to stay away from entertainment. Because if you should become successful, you’ll find yourself trying to find shelter away from the limelight. You can’t really enjoy yourself at parties, basketball games. It can be terrible out there once you become a popular entertainer.”
“… SMILES ARE THERE BECAUSE I’M HAPPY …”RIGHT ON!: Jermaine, people have listened to your records, watched you with your brothers on television, and they all probably come to different conclusions about Jermaine Jackson, the entertainer. But they never really know what you’re like as a person. How would you describe yourself to someone else?
JERMAINE: “I guess most of us don’t really analyze ourselves much. But if I had to, I’d just say I’m easy to get along with. I can adapt myself to other people’s moods, their ways, and we can both be happy. I wake up smiling, I go to bed smiling, but I don’t want people to understand the smile and think they can run over me. The smiles are there because I’m happy.”
RIGHT ON!: So your smiles are a sign of happiness and not weakness. Why are you so happy?
JERMAINE: “I’m happier now than I was before, because I can think better now, and I can see where I’m going. See, although I wasn’t too happy about leaving The Jackson Five at first – it’s like leaving home; that meant I had to do everything by myself. You know, whenever you leave home, that means your mother doesn’t wash your clothes for you anymore; your mother doesn’t make your bed for you anymore. Those little things sorta make you feel sad inside, ‘cause you left the family. And you’re not there at the dinner table. It was on me at first, but now I’ve gotten used to it. I have a lot of brothers. We still love each other. We still see each other. We’re used to seeing each other. But it’s not like we’re all at the same dinner table, all together like before.”
RIGHT ON!: You’ve had to make some heavy decisions on a number of occasions within the last few years, getting married, leaving your family’s group, surely they’ve made some changes in you. What are the biggest changes in you within the past few years?
JERMAINE: “Well, the biggest change is that I knew I’ve hit that road … See, there’s a certain road in everybody’s life where they gotta do everything for themselves. They have to take a big step; they have to take on heavy responsibilities. And I feel I’m there now. So, I’m just going straight ahead.”