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Our friend Michael Jackson
Dean Denton with his family and Michael Jackson.

It is the picture that inspires memories of an extraordinary brush with mega-stardom for a well-known Perth music family.

Dean Denton, frontman of former Perth pub rockers the Frames, and his family have revealed details about a bizarre friendship with pop legend Michael Jackson.

They told _The Weekend West _how a chance meeting with Jackson in a Doubleview video shop in 1996 led to an intimate year-long relationship and they were all adamant "Jacko" was nowhere near as whacko as implied before his death in 2009.

The revelations surfaced as a Los Angeles jury began hearing evidence this week in a negligence lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother Katherine against promoter AEG Live.

She claims AEG, which has denied any wrongdoing, was negligent in not properly investigating a now-jailed doctor who gave her son a powerful anaesthetic as he prepared for his This Is It comeback tour.

The trademark black hat, with gold-embossed name on the inside, that Jackson gave the Dentons sits in a transparent box in their northern suburbs home under their prized family photo with him. It is encased with their backstage passes to his Perth concert.

A then eight-year-old Ash Denton had been roller-blading along Scarborough Beach Road with his mother Val when Jackson's security guard invited them into the video store. A day later, they joined an excited mob at Scarborough's Rendezvous Hotel where Jackson was staying.

On spotting Ash in the crowd, Jackson invited him and his mother to his pent- house suite. The family then joined others the night of the concert in the suite, which was scattered with children's party food such as lollies and fairy bread. Ash went with Jackson in his limousine to the gig and was part of a circle of children on stage for Jackson's song Heal The World.

"You think back to it now and you think, 'We've met the absolute pinnacle of performers' . . . wow," Ash said.

Dean Denton recalled Jackson phoning him for consent about any contact with his children. "He was as eccentric as hell, but he had that many people caring about him he couldn't do anything himself," he said.

Mrs Denton said Jackson let her "play in his wardrobe" and try on his jackets. She said later they started speaking by phone. "To start with, he was phoning me about once a week, just about life," she said.

"It was like, 'Wow, you cut your own lawn? You paint your own house? Do you love shopping? I love shopping'. He was just lonely. It was when the first lot of charges were laid and we talked a lot about that, how heartbroken he was that it had come to that."

Then suddenly, the calls stopped for good.