Tag Archives: San Diego Door

San Diego Door Mini Reviews: Bob Weir, Sutherland Brothers Band & More

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Cameron does four mini album reviews from the June 22, 1972 issue of the San Diego Door. These are brand new to the Journalism section! Sorry for the delay in posts, Roadies is in full swing. I’ll try and post things more regularly. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned!

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Apr 7, 2016

Glenn Frey Tribute

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Eagles (November, 1972) (L-R) Frey, Meisner, Henley & Leadon. Photo by Gary Elam.

Cameron shared his thoughts with Rolling Stone in a new tribute to late Glenn Frey. We will share an excerpt below, but please check out Rolling Stone for the entire story.

It was 1972, and “Take It Easy” was still on the charts. The Eagles came to San Diego, and I was working for a small local underground paper.   I grabbed my photographer buddy Gary from high-school and made a plan. We were going to sneak backstage and grab an interview with this new group. I loved their harmonies, and the confident style that charged their first hit-single.

Glenn Frey introduced the band. “We’re the Eagles from Southern California.”

They were explosive, right off the top, opening with their acapella rendition of “Seven Bridges Road.” Then, with utter confidence, this new band, filled with piss and vinegar, launched immediately into their hit.   There was nothing “laid-back,” about them.   No “saving the hit for last.” This was a band with confidence. They were a lean-and-mean American group, strong on vocals and stronger on attitude. Gary and I talked our way backstage with ease, found the band’s road-manager, and he threw us all into a small dressing room where drummer-singer Don Henley, bassist Randy Meisner, and guitarist Bernie Leadon took us through the story of the band.   Every other sentence began with “And then Glenn… “ Glenn Frey was the only guy not in the room.

After about a half-hour, the door whipped open and Frey walked in. He had a Detroit swagger, a memorable drawl and a patter like a baseball player who’d just been called up to the majors. He was part musician, part tactician and part stand-up comic. It was immediately obvious, Glenn had his eye on the big picture. He’d studied other bands, and how they broke up or went creatively dry. He had a plan laid out.   He even used that first interview to promote his friends – Jackson Browne, John David Souther , Ned Doheny and San Diego songwriter Jack Tempchin.   His laugh and demeanor was infectious. Immediately, you wanted to be in his club.   At the end of the interview, I asked them all to pose together. The photo is one of my favorites. It captures one of their earliest, happiest, freest moments… a band that would later brawl memorably, was giddy and happy that night, arms wrapped around each other. Glenn’s look is priceless – this is my band, and we’re on our way.

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Jan 25, 2016

Eagles: The Million Dollar View

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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.)

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Aug 24, 2015

Archives: The James Gang

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The James Gang in 1972. L to R (Jim Fox, Dale Peters, Domenic Troiano and Roy Kenner)

In 1972, Cameron sat down with (one of the many configurations) of the James Gang in this lengthy interview for the San Diego Door. There’s some interesting discussion around the music business, life without Joe Walsh (who left the band the prior year) and their recent albums, Straight Shooter and Passin’ Thru. We hope you like it!

James Gang Rides Again

Not unlike those James Brown records that constantly remind us all that he of “the hardest working man in show business,” those James Gang biographies always seem to emphasize that the James Gang is “the hardest working band in show business.”

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Apr 25, 2014

Archives: The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine

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The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine (Electra 8E-6001)

Before last July, they called him a pervert, a satanist, a syphilitics maniac, an alcoholic, and a transvestite.

After last July, they called him a genius, a virtuoso vocalist, a superb showman, and a worthy idol to millions.

“He” is Jim Morrison, famed lead singer of The Doors. July 3, 1971, he died. The man who was once the object of critical ridicule is now an immortal. Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine is his eulogy.

Enclosed inside the two-record set is a soundtrack to a generation. The generation that shredded their flower-power image with The Doors, marveled the wonders of acid with Strange Days, discovered country-rock with Soft Parade, came down from Altamont with Morrison Hotel, and got drunk with Absolutely Live.

The LP is actually a form of the “greatest hits” concept, being the cream of the album cuts, or, as the album sticker implanted on the jacket states, “22 Classic Doorsongs.” The single hits were previously released before Morrison’s death as 13.

Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine, when listened to in it’s entirety proves several things. In almost every pre-Other Voices album reviews of Doors albums the subject of the similarity between all the songs is touched upon. I can remember Chris Van Ness of the Free Press said of L.A. Woman, “Every song every recorded by the group sounds the same as the first album’s material.” This album seems to be the necessary evidence to prove the contrary. The Doors were a changing band. They evolved, while Morrison’s extremely conspicuous voice remained constant presenting the illusion of stagnating consistency. It isn’t hard to distinguish the difference between “Break on Through” and “Riders on the Storm” when they are conveniently placed on the same album. The former cut was raw Doors, while the latter an excellent mellow attempt to appeal to a vast James Taylor-Joni Mitchell-Gordon Lightfoot hungry audience. The sole item The Doors, in their last days, had in common with the early Doors was the above mentioned consistency of Morrison’s vocals.

Another evidency is the overall noticibility of their inevitable break-up. The Doors were actually Jim Morrison and back-up band. The crowds came to see Morrison. The public bought records to hear Morrison. Look at the sale of, say this album and compare it with the sales of Other Voices. It is quite obvious that sooner or later the other members, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore would get the ever-popular creative urge for equality, ala Creedence.

It can’t be said that Jim Morrison was The Doors, but it can be said that Morrison made the Doors. Without him, Krieger, Manzarek, and Densmore have lost their uniqueness. They immediately fall into the category of being a two-bit band that sounds just like a thousand others.

Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine is actually two collections. A mandatory collection of some of the best Doors music recorded, and a mandatory collection of the best music ever recorded. And you can be sure there’ll be none like it again.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  February 24, 1972 – March 9, 1972

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Feb 4, 2013

Archives: Raspberries – Self Titled

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Raspberries – Raspberries

It’s awfully hard to figure this band out. Many times an album, especially a debut album, will go in numerous directions functioning as an exposure to the band’s versatility. This album can head in as many as three different paths within the tight boundaries of a two-and-a-half minute track. I’m not saying it’s good…I’m just saying I like it.

Let’s look at the LP opener, “Go All The Way.” A commercial piece of music if ever there was one, the cut sounds for the first five seconds like a Stones or Humble Pie track. The curt, sassy sound of a twanging lead guitar. A moment later and the guitar is replaced by a disciplined strum behind a falsetto vocal.

Three cuts later and we are served up a tasty piece of rock ‘n roll in “Rock & Roll Mama,” a classic tune that, had the Stones themselves done it, every pimply high school band in America would chalk up in the repertoire.

Raspberries is the type of band that in a year could either be headlining the Sports Arena or a part of the never-never land of oblivion.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  June 8, 1972  – June 22, 1972

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Jan 28, 2013

Journalism Archives: Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes

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Mott The Hoople – All the Young Dudes

Released in England several weeks ago and yet to be made available in the States is Mott The Hoople’s fourth album, All the Young Dudes, named after the incredible single of the same name.

Produced and arranged by David Bowie, All the Young Dudes fails to live up to the excitement of the title cut…a very English, very metal, very riske ode to homosexual rape. “I’ve been wanting to do this for years”, admits the aggressor, lead-singer Ian Hunter as the cut fades into either “Sucker” or a label depending upon whether it’s the single or the LP. Despite its overly decadent theme, “All the Young Dudes” is very simply the best single since “Take It Easy” graced the airwaves.

The album opens with the theme song of Bowie’s musical idol, Lou Reed (who, by the way, is letting David produce his next album), “Sweet Jane”. A quite limp delivery on Hunter’s part and a plodding accompaniment courtesy of the boys in the band provides for a soggy indication of what’s to come. The rest of the record follows fairly closely the impact (or lack of it) of the previous. The recording job is very  clinical and exacting, a habit which suits Bowie’s own style but reveals a major flaw in Mott The Hoople’s, who is best displayed in a somewhat reckless light.

But it’s a fun record. The material is lyrically dependant on tongue-in-cheek for its effect, and Bowie, in his production debut is impressively meticulous. Too bad that the intricate arranging and direction was utilized by a group who just can’t benefit from it.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  November 4, 1972  – November 18, 1972

 

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Jan 20, 2013

Journalism Archives: Carole King – Music

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Carole King – Music (Ode SP 77013)

With the release of the new Carole King album, Music, she is in the same situation The Band was in with Stage Fright, Cat Stevens is in with Teaser and the Firecat, and James Taylor was in with the release of Mud Slide Slim. When an artist becomes a superstar on the basis of one album, the follow-up LP is always compared with it’s predecessor. No matter how good the second album is, the majority of critics and buyers will criticize it as not “being as good.”

If the artist has changed his style in any way, the buyers will be disappointed. If the artist has stayed the same, the critics will pan the album and him for not evolving musically. So, Carole King can’t please everybody in Music.

Writer, her first album, was an experimental one. She switched from style to style, the result being an amateur recording with the exceptions of “Child of Mine” and “Up on the Roof,” which made it hard to believe that these were from the same album as the disasters “Spaceship Races” and “To Love.”

Tapestry, one of the most successful albums in recording history, was Carole King after she found her strength. Her jumpy piano work and the bubbling guitar of James Taylor seemed to make a combination that pleased both undergrounder and Sixteen Magazine devourers alike.

Music, however, isn’t a carbon copy of this successful style. For the new album, Miss King has employed the same group of musicians that has accompanied her throughout her previous albums: James Taylor and Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar on lead guitars, her husband, Charley Larkey, on bass, and Russ Kunkel on drums. So, what we hear on the new album is not only the musical evolvement of Carole King, but of the accompanists as well.

Eight of the album’s ten tunes were written by Miss King solely. In the past, she has collaborated with Gerry Goffin and, more recently, Toni Stern (who wrote three songs for the album), but these are the first lyrics that she has written by herself.

My favorite cut is the trivial “Brighter.” These changes are really first rate and the up-tempo arrangement couldn’t be more efficient. Although the song is obviously for the purpose of filling up the LP and achieving the quota for playing time, there is something about it that cries out for more than the skimpy 2:50 that is devoted to it.

The changes in Carole King’s style with this new album are minor. Her stuttering piano work has been replaced by a more continuous flowing sound. Her strained voice has matured in a short time to a smoother style.

The simple arrangements have grown more complex and lasting with the effective addition of more voices and guitars.

So, what more can be said? Carole King is definitely worthy of all the premature hype placed upon her by the many critics eager to unload their journalistic vocabulary of superlatives.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  December 23, 1971  – January 12, 1972

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Dec 10, 2012


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