YES! Roadies has been picked up by Showtime. Stay tuned for 10 stories about life, music, love and all points in between.
Here’s a look…
Cameron gets the scoop on Led Zeppelin’s latest album, Presence. This August, 1976 story is brand new to the site and marks our 251st article/interview in the Journalism section. Happy Monday!
Zeppelin Rising . . . Slowly
Jimmy Page tells how Led Zep turned an accident into an album: ‘We started screaming and never stopped’
Los Angeles – Had singer Robert Plant’s sedan not slammed into a tree on the Greek island of Rhodes, shattering his ankle and all the bone supporting his left leg, Led Zeppelin would surely have dwarfed all touring competition is golden rock & roll summer. But Plant, who is not one to perform from a chair, is still months away from complete recovery. Until that day, the band even Elton John calls “the world’s biggest act in music” is stilled.
Presence, Zeppelin’s seventh and latest album, remains one of the best-selling albums of the year, even without benefit of a tour, a single or even a photo of the band. A film of the band in concert, The Song Remains the Same, is set for release this fall. All this at a time when most heavy-metal heroes have either tempered their approach or died an unsuspecting death. Such is the enigma of Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page, the band’s guitarist and mentor, was on a working vacation in Los Angeles with Plant, drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham, manager Peter Grant and various members of Bad Company. Page was keeping a low profile. His easy pace of writing, relaxing and supervising a band called Detective, the newest act on Led Zep’s Swan Song label, was interrupted by only one nightclub visit – to the Roxy for Doctor Feelgood – and one interview.
Cameron talks about the rock and roll business with the Marshall Tucker Band for this 1974 Rolling Stone interview. Happy Tuesday everyone…
Marshall Tucker: The South Also Rises
Atlanta, GA – It’s Friday night and Richard’s, the lively hotspot of Atlanta’s rock-club scene, is jumping. Onstage, a local favorite is grinding out rock raucous blue standards. The dance floor is an euphoric mass of squirming young bodies.
Welcome to the great lost teenage innocence. David Bowie may set the coasts afire with his 36 costume changes and the New York Dolls can mincingly sing of decadent trauma, but for this typically well-scrubbed Southern crowd, “drag” is when you’ve waited too long to buy your Allman Brothers tickets.
“That glitter shit,” drawls one sweat-drenched regular, “is for the people that don’t care about the music, dontcha think? Here in the South we got our own bands who don’t need any of those…gimmicks. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Marshall Tucker Band or, acourse, the Brothers. Man, they just get out there and fuckin’ play.”
Scott Robertson has been working in the film industry for more than 25 years. He’s worked on a great mix of comedies (Superbad, I Love You Man, Eastbound & Down) and dramas (Moneyball, Foxcatcher, Zero Dark Thirty). In addition to Aloha, Scott’s work will also be seen in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant starring Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio.
You’ve had a long film career dating back to 1991. Tell us how you broke into the business?
I was working in a record/video store called Music Plus in Hollywood. This was 1989 and I was 20 years old. Back then directors/producers and assistants would come in and rent movies so that they could reference other films while shooting or editing their own movies. Well before YouTube. Anyway, one of my usual customers came in and asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Asked me if I would be willing to work long hours with no pay. I jumped at the chance. I was given an 8:00am call time the next day at 20th Century Fox. The job was a movie called The Abyss and I was hired to be a film runner. Eventually I found myself working as Jim Cameron’s second assistant. That’s a whole other story.
How do you see the role of a 1st AD on the film set?
To support the director and the film. Every director and movie is different. I find myself taking on whatever role best fits both.
Cameron has a quick chat with The Doobie Brothers for this 1973 interview with Rock Magazine.
Nice Guys Don’t Win, But Doobies Do
Nine months ago, in a Warner/Reprise mail-out by the name of The Circular, a contest was declared. The Doobie Brothers, owners of an obscure first album, were about to finish a second and needed title for the LP. Readers were encouraged to send in their suggestions, and the winner, besides receiving credit for the verbal creation, would have his picture plastered on the album’s cover.
“We had a tough time deciding what the name of the album should be,” Tiran Porter, Doobie’s bassist reminisces. “That particular contest for the name never worked out. We had a lot of “Doobie Doo” and some clown even thought up “Dickey Doo and the Don’ts.” Needless to say, there was no winner. The album was simply called Toulouse Street after one of the album’s cuts.
Cameron reflects on his 1975 Rolling Stone Eagles cover story just ahead of its 40th anniversary. He discusses his first encounter with the band in 1972 (for The Door) and his unprecedented access for the ’75 piece. Enjoy!
Cameron Crowe Looks Back on His 1975 Eagles Cover Story
Writer-director recalls unlimited access he enjoyed during research of definitive piece on California rock icons
“Take It Easy” had only been out a few months in the summer of 1972. I was a big fan of the song, and was still in high school when the Eagles came to the San Diego Civic Theatre. They were the opening act on a bill with Procol Harum and Cold Blood, and the Civic Theatre was a few blocks from my house. I bought a ticket, and brought my tape recorder. The idea was to slip backstage and talk the band into an interview for a local underground paper, The San Diego Door.
The Eagles opened the evening without an introduction. The lights lowered, and they began with an a cappella version of “Seven Bridges Road,” quickly adding instruments and swinging into “Take It Easy.” They were fierce and joyful, playing with all the piss and vinegar of a young band hitting its early stride. I slipped backstage with my photographer friend from high school, Gary Elam, and asked their road manager if I could interview the band. They were eager to talk. Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner all hung out in a tiny dressing room and spent hours detailing their history and their dreams of hitting the big-time. “If you like us, you should check out our friend Jackson Browne and John David Souther,” Glenn Frey said excitedly, clutching a long-neck Budweiser. They posed for a photo by the amps, arms around each other, and we exchanged phone numbers. I stayed in touch with them. (Little did I know, that fuzzy group shot would be one of the only known photos of all four original members hugging each other. Looking at it today, it has the same slightly surreal quality of one of those photos of the Loch Ness Monster.)
Have you read Cameron’s introduction to Teenage? The 2003 book by Joseph Szabo is very collectable, but worth seeking out if you are lucky enough to find one. It includes an amazing collection of photographs that Szabo took while teaching on Long Island in the 70s, 80s and 90s. More information and details over at Szabo’s official site.
Okay, so let’s just momentarily forget the eloquence and the longing and the intangible truths about high school that shape our perspectives for all time. Let’s set aside the images and the feelings so beautifully documented in timeless detail by Joseph Szabo. Just for a moment, let’s talk about things that truly matter.
Like I knew a guy named Sam Schumacher who somehow could give the finger better and more powerfully than anybody else alive. His fingers would snap into position, both hands at the same time, forming two passionate machine guns, single-digits blazing. And Sam’s legs would bend at the knee, where they would stay as he brandished his double “fuck yous,” at adults and kids alike, and anybody who challenged him. In those moments he was a one-man Iwo Jima, unforgettable, a symbol. Iconic.
In this piece from the archives, Cameron reports on the shooting of Bob Marley in a Rolling Stone story from January, 1977. Miraculously, Marley played a festival in Jamaica just days later.
Bob Marley: the shooting of a Wailer
Los Angeles – Bob Marley, one of the world’s best-known reggae performers, and three other persons were shot December 3rd when seven gunmen burst onto the grounds of Marley’s home in Kingston, Jamaica, where he and his band, the Wailers, were rehearsing. Miraculously, amid a shower of bullets, there were no fatalities.