Monthly Archives: August 2011

PJ20 Interview with Vanity Fair

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Cameron with Mike McCready

Cameron reunites with longtime friend and rock writer Lisa Robinson for an interview about Pearl Jam Twenty for the September issue of Vanity Fair. I’ve also included a scan of the interview below (courtesy of the amazing PJ site, Two Feet Thick).

Hot Tracks – Cameron Crowe’s New Documentary

Drugs, death and disaster are indigenous to rock ‘n’ roll. But according to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Cameron Crowe, director of the new documentary Pearl Jam Twenty, this band survived all the aforementioned dramas. The two-hour film, which opens in theaters this month and airs on PBS’s American Masters in October, was directed by Crowe from 3,000 hours of new interview material and archival footage. Both the film and forthcoming book, also called Pearl Jam Twenty (to be published by Simon & Schuster, with an introduction by Crowe), celebrate the band’s twentieth anniversary. Here, Crowe – director of such films as Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, and the forthcoming We Bought A Zoo – talks to Lisa Robinson about “my little sketch of a rare American band that didn’t break up.”

Lisa Robinson: Why did you back to the band’s beginnings as Mother Love Bone with their first lead singer, Andrew Wood?

Cameron Crowe: I wanted to tell that story of lightning striking twice. Nobody believed there was going to be a future for those guys after Andy Wood died, and it’s kind of a rock miracle that Eddie [Vedder] – who was living in California at the time – sent in an audition tape.

L.R. What do you think Eddie brought to the band?

C.C. He brought promise, and also a challenge to their Seattle, set-in-their-ways community. Eddie, as a guy, wants to fit in, but he also wants to tilt against the windmills. That combination of push and pull really helped them. Andy was ready to play arenas with no guilt, and I think Eddie wanted to stay close to fans and build it slowly. He was both an insider and an outsider.

L.R. Do you think Eddie is the conscience of the band?

C.C. I do. And I think in a way Kurt Cobain was too – in that he kept [Pearl Jam] honest. Kurt was vocal and said, “Are we watching careerism here?” Of course, [with Nirvana] Kurt was his own careerist. But what ended up happening was that Pearl Jam actually swung the other way, and became more idiosyncratic than they would  have been if Kurt hadn’t been there [initally] saying Pearl Jam was more Guns N’ Roses than the Melvins.

L.R. But doesn’t every band that steps onstage want to be really big?

C.C. Of course. Now you can look back on it and see that they’re all dying for a spot on the big stage. But the Pearl Jam situation was helped by the fact that they were in Seattle – it wasn’t New York or L.A., it was around the corner. To me, that was the heart of Seattle – it was a pretty small community, and all these people played together. There’s not a lot of other stuff to do. The cliche is, because it rains a lot, you stay inside and you play music and you get high. And in the movie, [guitarist] Mike McCready especially is pretty up-front about this former drug problems.

L.R. Pearl Jam protested against Ticketmaster, claiming it was a monopoly. What was the long-term effect of that protest?

C.C. They were out there touring without any help from other bands, trying to find places in the middle of nowhere to play. No other bands would come out to the sticks and play like Pearl Jam was forced to, and that became the basis of a whole new layer of fans for them. When you go see them now, it’s a celebration of people who stuck it out with them. That’s why their shows have become such a communal thing.

L.R. How much control did you have over the film, and how did the band react when they saw it?

C.C. I had final cut, and when we showed the movie to the band, especially the part where Mike said it used to be Stone [Gossard]’s band and now it’s Ed’s, there was no oxygen in the room. They had talked about that stuff to us, but not to each other.

L.R. How do you feel about the finished film?

C.C. When we got to the final reel of the film, it was the greatest feeling to turn it up and watch [the band perform”Better Man”] live on a big stage with the music sounding right. I make movies to get that transcendent feeling from time to time, and if we got it right in P.J. Twenty, I’m the happiest guy in the world.

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Aug 15, 2011

Fast Times at Ridgemont High: 29 Years Ago Today…

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The Scene That Wore Out VHS Tapes…

Can you believe it? . . . 29 years ago today marked the theatrical release of Fast Times at Ridgemont High in North America. Hopefully you picked up the new Blu-ray earlier this week, but regardless, it would be a great time to celebrate the film in any format (VHS, Beta, LaserDisc, DVD, HD-DVD, iTunes, etc.). All those different formats just validate Fast Times and its staying power. Maybe someday, the outtakes and deleted scenes will show up in somebody’s garage, but for now, we can always watch them during those TBS showings, right?

Cameron Makes His Mark

To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing this insightful L.A. Times article I recently came across from December, 1981. Writer Paul Rosenfield was invited on set (after midnight) as filming had just begun. He captures the excitement of all these relative unknowns making a feature film for the first time (Amy Heckerling, Cameron Crowe, most of the cast, etc.). You’ll find  some great quotes from Cameron and Art Linson and it’s an enjoyable read.

Cameron (with sweet mustache) plays “Doug” in a promo shot that wasn’t used in the film

Please share your memories about Fast Times? When did you first see it? Was it back in 1982 or more recently? Chime in with your thoughts!


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Aug 13, 2011

Door Reviews – Beach Boys, Blues Project & The Mothers

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Three more new San Diego Door reviews from the summer of 1972. First up is a Beach Boys Pet Sounds/Carl As The Passion-So Tough Double LP. Next up is the self titled Blues Project LP which Cameron plans on using as frisbee. Lastly, Cameron looks at Frank Zappa’s The Mothers live album and sees a bit of charm in it. We are now up to 198 interviews, reviews, liner notes, etc. in the Journalism section. Number 200 is right around the corner…

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Aug 12, 2011

Almost Famous Blu-ray Loses Exclusivity

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As you know, Best Buy has had the exclusive rights to sell the Almost Famous (i.e. the Untitled Bootleg Cut) Blu-ray in North America since January. This will soon change as the film will be available everywhere beginning October 4, 2011. All special features and disc contents will be identical to the Best Buy release.

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Aug 10, 2011

Available Now: Fast Times Blu-ray!

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Fast Times at Ridgemont High makes its blu-ray debut today. The high definition picture is certainly a step up from the DVD, but this movie is nearly 29 years old (more on that next week), so don’t expect a pristine transfer. The movie was shot in the early 80s and film stock back then was a bit on the grainy side. So the grain you see is supposed to be there. Maybe at some point Universal will do a frame by frame restoration, but I don’t think Fast Times has ever looked better. In addition to the old special features, you’ll find some new bells and whistles such as a Picture in Picture (PIP) feature that includes extended interviews and outtakes (from the previously seen documentary that’s also included). Shortcomings? I’d like a better cover (how about using the theatrical poster?) and the deleted scenes, but there’s always the 30th anniversary, right?

You can find more details over at the Fast Times blu-ray page. Pick up your blu-ray in you live in North America today. Overseas readers, don’t forget that the UK and Australian versions came out on late last month.

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Aug 9, 2011

Share Your Thoughts, We Are Listening . . .

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One question I’ve received numerous times since The Uncool’s resurrection is whether the Town Hall (i.e. message boards) will be returning. The answer is no. In today’s day and age, I feel that using social media and especially the comments section of each post is the best way to share your thoughts, enthusiasm, criticism, etc. Plus you never really know who might be reading and responding to your comments.

Case in point was this past weekend as Cameron himself was browsing the comments in both the Say Anything 2 and Stillwater posts. He shared some thoughts and was generally moved by your comments around the possible further adventures of Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court.

We have thousands of people visiting the site each and every day, so please join in on the discussion. We are listening . . .


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Aug 8, 2011

Some Stillwater Love

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I’ve revamped the Stillwater page with some awesome mementos from the old Vinyl Films site. In addition to existing behind the scenes info, you’ll find a discography (with album art and tracklistings), a family tree, the animated spinoff that wasn’t to be and much more. Have fun poking around.

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Aug 5, 2011

San Diego Door: Early Eagles Interview

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(L-R) Frey, Meisner, Henley & Leadon. Photo Courtesy of Gary Elam

I’m happy to present a brand new Cameron penned piece of Journalism today entitled “Movin’ Up With The Eagles”. This is a very early interview with the original members of Eagles from November, 1972, shortly after the success of their self titled debut album. Cameron brings the readers up to speed on the band’s formation and then conducts a Q & A with the band. It’s interesting now to reflect back on who the spokesmen for the band was early on. It’s very obvious that both Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon are the dominating force at this time. Don Henley doesn’t say too much and Randy Meisner is nearly as quiet as “silent Ed Vallencourt” from Almost Famous. Leadon would leave the band in 1975 as they moved in a more rock direction and left their country roots behind.

One last thing. The picture above is from the San Diego Door article and send to me by Cameron from his archives. He wants to point out that it was taken by his high school friend Gary Elam. Enjoy!

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Aug 4, 2011

  • Almost Famous- Starz
  • Aloha- FX Now
  • E-Town- TubiTV
  • Fast Times- Cinemax
  • Jerry Maguire- Starz
  • Vanilla Sky- Hulu