Local rocker remakes MJ protest song

Dayton-based singer Mick Blankenship’s new single is a hard rock cover of “They Don’t Care About Us,” Michael Jackson’s protest song from 1995.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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Dayton-based singer Mick Blankenship’s new single is a hard rock cover of “They Don’t Care About Us,” Michael Jackson’s protest song from 1995.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A hard rocker tackling a Michael Jackson song is an iffy proposition, but Mick Blankenship nailed his powerful cover of the protest song, “They Don’t Care About Us.” The single hit streaming platforms March 2.

The Dayton-based musician played all the instruments on his update of the fifth single from Jackson’s 1995 album, “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.” The original version was number one in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Italy. It was Top 10 in several other European countries but stalled at 30 in the United States.

Blankenship recently reflected on this remake.

Q: What’s your relationship to this song?

A: It happens to be one of my fav MJ songs. It wasn’t one of his big hitters, but many still remember it. It was kind of obscure in a way. The tribal-type beat captivated me but then the lyrical content was what spoke to me. After relistening to it in 2022, I think the words are even more true now than when MJ wrote the song. I actually teared up a bit and got chills from head to toe. I just knew this was the one to cover.

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Q: What made this the right time for a remake?

A: Just turn on the TV! Every day, we are bombarded with division and fear. Most politicians are about the money and not about the people. The ones that do care are quickly discredited and weeded out. When we have a system where our politicians get rich and become untouchable, the system is broken. No matter what they say, at the end of the day, their actions tell us they don’t care about us – just their bank account.

Q: What’s next musically?

A: I now have two full-length albums and three singles available. I think the best move for me right now is to keep focusing on singles. I plan on dropping a new original single mid-April.

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Q: You’re performing at JD Legends on April 23. How much performing have you done the last two years?

A: Nowhere near as much as I’d like to. I’ve only done a handful of shows over the pandemic, but things seem to be looking up. I’m working on a national tour now, but everything is a moving target these days with cancellations and ever-changing COVID guidelines. I also want to do more regional and local shows this summer if possible. Most independent musicians are still trying to figure out how to start over again, you know? We’ve all suffered greatly from this pandemic. My hat’s off to anyone that’s out there still trying, especially the independent artists.

Artist info: www.mickblankenship.com.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

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