Tag Archives: Rolling Stone

Archives: Joni Mitchell – Never Boring…

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“Every journalist has their dream list of interview subjects. Mine was Marvin Gaye, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. I never got to Marvin Gaye, but Joni Mitchell more than made up for it. My last cover story for the magazine, and still my favorite. Years later, though, I was still chasing that elusive interview with Marvin Gaye. A mutual friend spoke to Gaye about it, and Gaye enigmatically sent me back a copy of What’s Going On signed in spangly colored pen. It read: ‘Dear Cameron – Keep Getting It On! Love Love Love, Marvin Gaye.’ A couple months later he was dead. Through earthquakes and rain damage, the record remains one of my most prized possessions.”
– Cameron Crowe – Summer 2000

Several days before beginning these interviews, I overheard two teenagers looking for a good party album in a record store. “How about this one,” said one, holding up Joni Mitchell’s ‘Miles of Aisles.’” “Naaaaaah,” said the other, “it’s got good songs on it, but it’s kind of like jazz.” They bought a Cheap Trick album.

When I told this story to Joni Mitchell later, I could see the disappointment flicker across her face for an instant. Then she laughed and took a long drag from her cigarette. “Here’s the thing, ” she said forcefully. “You have two options. You can stay the same and protect the formula that gave you your initial success. They’re going to crucify you for staying the same. If you change, they’re going to crucify you for changing. But staying the same is boring. And change is interesting. So of the two options,” she concluded cheerfully, “I’d rather he crucified for changing. ”

Joni Mitchell, thirty-six, has been living in exile from a mainstream audience for the last three years. Her last resoundingly successful album of new material was ‘Court and Spark,’ a landmark in poetic songwriting, performing and in the growth of an artist we had all watched mature. From folk ballads through Woodstock-era anthems to jazz-inflected experimentalism, Joni Mitchell had influenced a generation of musicians.

Then, in 1975, she released ‘The Hissing of Summer Lawns,’ her ambitious follow-up to ‘Court and Spark.’ She introduced jazz overtones, veered away from confessional songwriting and received a nearly unanimous critical drubbing. Mitchell reacted to the criticism by keeping an even lower personal profile. She spent most of her time traveling (the road album, ‘Hejira,’ was released in 1976), associating with progressive jazz artists and asking questions. With ‘Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, ‘ a double album released in the winter of 1977, she and pop music had nearly parted ways. In a time when the record-buying public was rewarding craftsmen, Mitchell seemed to be steadfastly carrying the torch for art. Her sales suffered, but this direction was leading to a historic juncture in her career.

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Oct 12, 2014

Archives: Stills & Young

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Things have been pretty quiet around here, but we thought you might like this 1976 Rolling Stone story that Cameron wrote about the Stills & Young tour. More soon, so please stay tuned.

Quick End to a Long Run

In which Neil Young and Stephen stills find that old magic and lose it all to a sore throat

Los Angeles – Forget the balding pate and those wisps of gray. Stephen Stills and Neil Young, their hair cut summer-short, looked eerily like they did on the cover of Buffalo Springfield Again. But gone, at least temporarily, was the carefree abandon of those days. This was serious business.

The scheduled three-month-long Stills-Young band tour had been rolling only two weeks, and while it came close to jelling in Boston just a few days before, the show still teetered on the edge of the magic that everyone knew they were capable of.

Even before they broke into their opener, “Love the One You’re With,” the sold-out crowd of 20,000 at the Capitol Center exploded at the sight of Stills and Young on the same stage again. And this, the summer of Aerosmith and ZZ Top, it was nothing short of astonishing to see the sustained drawing power of two artists who have not seen a solo hit single or gold album in years.

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Sep 17, 2014

Archives: Pearl Jam – Five Against the World

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Happy Saturday. Thought it might be fun to look back on Cameron’s Pearl Jam 1993 cover story for Rolling Stone. It was the band’s first real in-depth interview just as Vs. was making its debut. There’s an even longer version that we might share one day, but for now, check out the published version.

Five Against the World

Pearl Jam emerge from the strange daze of superstardom with a new album full of rage and warrior soul.

There are two Eddie Vedders. One is quiet, shy, barely audible when he speaks. Loving and loved in return. The other is tortured, a bitter realist, a man capable of pointing out injustice and waging that war on the home front, inside himself. On a warm and windy late-spring day in San Rafael, California, it’s easy to see which Eddie Vedder is shooting baskets outside the Site, the recording studio where Pearl Jam are finishing their second album. It is tortured Eddie, the one with the deep crease between his eyebrows.

“Your shot,” calls Jeff Ament, the group’s bassist. He bounces the ball to Vedder, who takes a long outside jumper. It rattles into the basket and rolls away. By the time Ament retrieves the ball, Vedder has already disappeared into the studio. His mind is on a new song, “Rearviewmirror.” This is the last day of recording at the Site, and the track’s fate hangs in the balance. It’s a song about suicide… but it’s too “catchy.”

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Jul 19, 2014

Meet the Crew: Neal Preston

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Neal Preston is one of rock’s most celebrated and iconic photographers. Neal’s relationship with Cameron nearly goes back to the beginning of his illustrious career. We chatted with Neal on location in Hawaii about his career, his new iBook Led Zeppelin: Sound and Fury and much more.

When did you first meet Cameron? I know you guys worked together at Circus magazine and Rolling Stone, but had you met earlier while he was writing for the San Diego Door or Creem?

You know, I actually don’t recall the very first time we met — but I know that around the time we met he was definitely writing for the San Diego Door. I remember my girlfriend Bobbi (who was a publicist with rock p.r. agency Gershman, Gibson and Stromberg) shoving a copy of the Door in front of me, virtually demanding that I “read this kid’s stuff!! He’s only 14 years old!!!!”

Yeah, he could write, but what was far more astounding to me was that he was a really good ping pong player.  There was a ping-pong table in the rec center where he lived.  I was 5 years older than him, yet he probably beat me 80-90% of the time.  I hated losing to him, more than he ever knew.  In fact I’m still upset about it.

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Apr 22, 2014

Deep Purple – Circular Magazine

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Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bass player Glenn Hughes- Houston Astrodome in August 1974. Courtesy of CNN

Here’s new addition to the Journalism archives. It’s Cameron’s interview with the always quotable, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple. This Q & A was done for Circular Magazine’s November, 1974 issue. Cameron also spoke with Ritchie on related (and different) topics during the same time period for the following publications:

A Cynic’s View of Deep Purple

The additions of singer David Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes, Burn, the well-publicized American tour on Starship One, the California Jam . . . It seems like the last Deep Purple barn-storming ended just a couple weeks ago. Yet those prolific rogues are assaulting Fall with another burst of activity. A strong new LP, characteristically titled Stormbringer, has just been released. An international tour is already underway. Suffice to say Purple is back for more pillage with scarcely a moment’s rest. 

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Mar 1, 2014

Elton John: My Life in 20 Songs

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Courtesy of Terry O’Neill – Getty Images

Cameron explores 20 songs with Elton John that encapsulate his legendary career in this Rolling Stone article from this past October.

Elton John: My Life in 20 Songs

Cameron Crowe explores Elton’s journey from Reginald Dwight to technicolored pop sensation to rehab and back

“You don’t mind if I play it loud, do you?”

It’s morning in Las Vegas, and sunlight fills the condo that serves as Elton John’s home during his latest run of shows at Caesars Palace, part of the residency known as “The Million Dollar Piano.” Wearing a white terry-cloth robe, he moves to the stereo system like an athlete, arms swinging crisply at his sides. Soon, he’s locked and loaded his latest album, The Diving Board. Many who’ve just spent the past year and a half working on arecording might then leave the room, allowing the listener his own experience. Not Elton John. He sits down on a small sofa in front of the speakers, closes his eyes and listens along with you. And yes, it’s loud.

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Jan 22, 2014

Stephen Stills: Captain Manyhands

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Courtesy of Henry Diltz.

Courtesy of Henry Diltz.

Happy New Year everyone Today marks singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Stephen Stills’ 69th birthday. Cameron has interviewed and profiled Stephen quite a few times over the years with Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy and Creem magazines. Both as a solo artist and as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young). Check them out below:

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Jan 3, 2014

Archives: Boston Takes Over…

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Photo by Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

We’ve got a brand new Journalism addition to the site today as Cameron profiles the rock group Boston in this lengthy interview for Rolling Stone.  Boston was on top of the world and dominating the charts and sales, but feeling the sting of being a critical after thought. Topics include the bands history and the pressure on founder/leader/perfectionist Tom Scholtz to deliver their sophomore album…

Boston: The Band From the Platinum Basement

THE PHONE RANG AT SIX IN THE morning, early in 1975.

Twenty-eight-year-old recordman Paul Ahern grumbled into the receiver: “Who the fuck is this? This better be good!’ “It’s McKenzie. You gotta hear this, PA….”

As employees in Warner-Elektra-Atlantic’s regional office several years earlier, Charlie McKenzie and Paul Ahern were the young lions of Boston-area promotion. McKenzie had the ear, Ahern the rap. They became buddies with all the jocks and, one golden month in 1972, broke Yes and the J. Geils Band and placed thirteen company singles and album cuts on the Top Thirty playlist of Bostons WRKO. They had dreamed of finding the band that would take them off the street and make them “the idle rich,” but their era passed. Ahern moved to L.A. for a better job with Asylum Records. McKenzie left WEA but continued to work for other record companies in Boston. And he hung on to the dream…. You gotta hear this,” he was saying that early morning” in ’75. “Local guy, Tom Scholz … the group has no name. The whole tape is like this!”

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Nov 25, 2013


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