Jann Wenner – Happy Birthday!

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Twenty-year-old Jann S. Wenner in the original San Francisco office, 1967. Photograph by Baron Wolman. Courtesy of Jann’s website.

Jann Wenner turns 70 years young today. All of us here at The Uncool/Vinyl Films want to wish him the very best. Here’s the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame piece that Cameron wrote back when Jann was inducted in 2004.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nineteenth Annual Induction

There are some who say rock & roll, at its very core, is a temporary form. Even the earliest days of rock & roll, it was all folly, right? Passionate and cheeky melodies meant to be heard crackling over a car radio, a souvenir of a night spent dancing or making out. Every real musician or fan knew, though, that rock & roll was much deeper than that. Rock & roll was code, and just under the surface was the promise of rebellion, of a life beyond what your parents could understand. It was a secret world to smuggle into your home, shut your door and get lost in.

It took a fleet of guitarists and pianists to put that secret world together, but one man realized rock & roll needed a diary and a journal. In 1967, with borrowed money and the support of a veteran jazz journalist named Ralph J. Gleason, a twenty-year-old dropout from UC Berkeley put together a folded paper, a publication that lent a tiny bit of permanence to all that timelessly “disposable” art. And on that day, Jann Wenner took the first step on the famously long, strange trip that would lead him to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Frampton Comes Alive! Turns 40

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Can you believe it has been 40 years today since Peter Frampton’s seminal live album, Frampton Comes Alive!?  It was a phenomenon upon its debut and the album has now sold more than 11 million copies worldwide. To celebrate, here’s Cameron’s liner notes from the January 6, 1976 release.

Frampton Comes Alive!

It’s the classic tale of most inspired performers. Be they actor or musician or both, anyone whose art often burns with the passion of a man possessed is more often than not a soft-spoken personality away from their craft. Twenty-five-year-old Peter Frampton is no miraculous exception. He is a quietly good-natured man who, in his own words, lives for the stage.

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EW’s First Look at Roadies

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Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino. Photo by Katie Yu and courtesy of Showtime.

Roadies is featured in Entertainment Weekly‘s latest “First Look” issue. The preview includes a Q & A with Cameron. Here’s an excerpt, for the entire article, check out the story over at EW. 

Roadies

Almost Famous writer-director Cameron Crowe is going behind the music again – this time with a TV series starring Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, and Imogen Poots as the support staff for a touring rock band.

In Almost Famous you shined a spotlight on a kid coming of age on the road, following around a rising band. Now you’re shining the spotlight on the people who shine the spotlights on the band. What intrigued you about that side of the business?

I hadn’t seen their stories told….I always used to see these pictures – or when we’d film something – where Elton John would come down the hallway of the Forum on his way to the stage, and some poor [stagehand] would be moving a cart, and he’d see the camera and Elton coming and he’d be like [mimics someone trying to get out of the frame]. The camera would just move past him, and I was like, No – let’s do the show where the camera’s on this guy that’s against the wall. Let Elton John go. We want to know his world. That’s kind of the show.

How long have you had the idea for Roadies?

It happened about eight years ago. J.J. [Abrams, an exec producer alongside My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holtzman and Crowe] and I both came up at the same time working with Jim Brooks, so we became friends. And then one time we just started pitching. He said, “I went to this show, and I looked up, and I saw this girl on a rigging tower, and I just wondered, “What is her world like?” And I was like, “Well, I’ll tell you what her world is like,” and he’s like, “You know, this is your show.” I said, “Wow, okay.” We never see the band, we never hear the band. It’s about the people. It’s about that girl and those people that disappear when the lights go down.”

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J.J. Abrams, Luke Wilson and Cameron on the set of Roadies. Photo by Katie Yu and courtesy of Showtime.

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly – Dan Snierson – January 8/15, 2016

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Almost Famous – Kicks Off Down Under Pop Up Cinema Fest

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Almost Famous kicks off the new year as part of QV Melbourne’s new pop-up Outdoor Cinema film festival. Viewers are provided with individual wireless headphones to enjoy the film in a beautiful outdoor setting in Melbourne, Australia. Almost Famous plays on January 2nd and is followed over the next couple of months with a wide variety of films such as Amelie, Wall-E, Love & Mercy, Searching for Sugar Man and many, many more.

All the details and ticket information can be found over at their official site.

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Pictures from the Road #1

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Cameron will be sharing pictures he took while filming the Roadies pilot. It begins today. Happy Holidays everyone!

Jan 9, 2015. Vancouver. “Roadies” rehearsals begin with the explosive Keisha Castle-Hughes, Machine Gun Kelly and Imogen Poots.

 

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Chris Hillman Slips Away…

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Cameron talks with Chris Hillman on the cusp of his first solo album, Slippin’ Away. They chat about his long career with such legendary acts as The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and much more.

Chris Hillman: Early Byrd Finds His Wings

Los Angeles – The laundry attendant at Holloway Cleaners was amazed. “You’re Chris Hillman, aren’t you? What are you doing here?” In another 15 minutes, Hillman was scheduled to make his Los Angeles solo debut at the Roxy nightclub down the street.  He handed over his claim check. “I can’t go to work in a dirty shirt,” he said.

Chris Hillman’s use of the word “work” should never be taken as an antimusic remark. He does not fashion himself an archetypal rock star, riding in limousines and worrying of nothing but art. Ever since his too-much, too-soon days as bassist/guitarist with the Byrds, Hillman has demanded none of the luxuries of his trade. “fuck all that other stuff,” he laughs.

Now 31, Hillman has made his reputation by staying out of West Coast music spotlights. Whether with the Byrds or as a founding member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, he has been most content as the lurking accomplice.

Few even know of his discoveries. Hillman was one of the earliest supporters of the Buffalo Springfield, arranging for their first auspicious break as house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. It was even Hillman who brought fellow Byrd David Crosby over for a first look at the band that featured Crosby’s future partners, Steve Stills and Neil Young. (Crosby’s reaction: “Aww, I don’t like ’em.”) Years later, he stumbled onto Emmylou Harris – then a shy Joni Mitchell-esque folk singer – in a Washington D.C. nightclub. “I wanted to sing with her, but I was too wrapped up in Manassas.” Instead, he convinced Gram Parsons to give her a call. More recently, he helped his former backing band – now called Firewall – record the demos that led to their contract. “Look at me,” Hillman likes to joke, “look at what I get for helping everybody out. A cult. I should recut ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ disco.”

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Pearl Jam – 5 X 1 Through the Eye of Lance Mercer

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Cameron provided one of the introductions to Lance Mercer’s 2006 photo book of Pearl Jam. Enjoy!

first song, first show.”Release.” moore theater. seattle. even then, pearl jam was something a little more personal, a little more passionate than you were prepared for, already with a history steeped in pain and rebirth and a deep-running love of music. it felt like a club, in the best way. still does. every album, every show still resonates like a bootleg, smuggled directly from the band to you. and every one of lance’s great photos pulses with that spirit. this is the backstage, onstage, every stage journey of pearl jam, forever strapped to the muse. so pick your disc, or spin your vinyl and turn it way up. these images are meant to be listened to, loud.

Cameron Crowe

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Lynyrd Skynyrd: Hell on Wheels…

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Cameron chats with Lynyrd Skynyrd for this 1976 piece for the L.A. Times. Happy Monday all.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Hell on Wheels Puts On the Brakes

When Lynyrd Skynyrd finally broke into the top 10 last month with its fifth album, “One More From the Road,” singer-founder Ronnie Van Zant could hardly wait to celebrate by canceling all future interviews. “The band doesn’t owe anything to anybody,” he declared happily. “Most of the media people, especially the press, have consistently portrayed us as either children or a bunch of rowdy drunks. That may or may not be true, but I know I’d much rather deal with the audiences that really put us here.”

After 10 grueling years of almost constant touring, Dixie’s Lynryd Skynyrd are anything but children. Their notoriously long record of pillage and arrest, however, does provide one thing. To the absolute delight of its hell-raising following, the band has boozed and brawled its way to top. But now, bolstered by the confidence that only long-sought success can bring, 27-year-old Van Zant is talking about changing that too.

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