Category Archives: Pearl Jam

Cameron Crowe “Singles” interview for PULSE! and Rock Power

Click to listen to the actual interview, conducted by phone in the summer of 1992.

Rock Power was published out of London in the early 90s, translated into ten languages and distributed globally.

Cameron Crowe2Cameron Crowe1SINGLES, a movie set in Seattle starring Matt Dillon and directed by Cameron Crowe (husband of Heart’s Nancy Wilson), brings to the silver screen the sounds of Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and more! MICHAEL BROWNING meets the director of what may go down in history as Grunge -The Movie…

Rock Power Sept 16 1992 Intl Cover

MAKE SURE EVERYBODY KNOWS we did this movie a year and a half ago,” Cameron Crowe, writer and director of Singles, emphasises. The irony is that all this stuff, which is the music I was listening to, or the music we love, has become very commercial. So it was a good investment for Epic, but still nobody’s getting rich off of this.”

Then again, you couldn’t really call it a losing proposition either, now could you?

In fact, in advance of the movie’s release, most involved are probably hoping the film itself makes as big a splash as the soundtrack {out since midsummer) already has. Heralded as a quintessential composite of Seattle tastes, if not the entire sound, the ‘Singles’ LP contains ten cuts from the city’s creme de la creme, as well as three songs from non-residents that still manage to embody the region’s musical vibe. Which, for the clueless, all boils down to honesty. Crowe, former editor at Rolling Stone magazine and screenplay writer of Fast Times At Ridgemont High, The Wildlife, Say Anything and Singles (also directing the last two), recognises the value of honesty in music and shows his appreciation of honesty (and loud guitars) by liberally adding his favourite artists to his movie making formula. “I love guitar. I love hard, guitar-oriented rock, and in the middle ’80s there was all this synth-pop garbage everywhere and I just found that guitar was still alive in the Northwest.” 1990’s Say Anything had both Mother Love Bone and Soundgarden in it and this year he’s upped the Seattle ante by including music from Alice In Chains, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Chris Cornell, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam and, perhaps the most intriguing addition, The Lovemongers, a hometown side project of Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson. With that list, you could easily think that the movie is about the Seattle scene itself. It’s not.

While Matt Dillon does play the singer/songwriter of fictitious band Citizen Dick, Crowe likens the film to Woody Allen’s Manhattan where intense personal relations (a new direction for Allen) are played out against a colourful, cultured backdrop. With the Washington metropolis as the stage, Singles is about how six young lives intertwine within the building in which they live.

Pearl Jam plays Matt’s band in the movie so that’s how the rumour got started that it is a movie about the Seattle scene.”

So how did Crowe come up with the idea a couple of years back to do a film in the now globally acclaimed climate of Puget Sound?

“Nancy (Wilson – she and Crowe are now married) gave me someone to visit up here, but I always loved the area. I first came here in 74, writing a story on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; I was 17 at the time. I really loved it up here and I just love music, so it was kind of a natural thing to get hooked into some of these bands.”

Now wait a minute: Smashing Pumpkins and Paul Westerberg (of The Replacements fame) aren’t from Seattle. What’s with that?

“The incongruities serve to show that we’re not in the business of selling Seattle music. (Sub Pop’s) Bruce (Pavitt) and John (Poneman) have done an amazing job with their samplers and the truth is, this is just the music that I love and that worked in the movie.”

The rest of that truth is these artists have a kind of soul connection to the Northwest. Firstly, Seattlites seem to dig all things Butch Vig (the Pumpkins’ producer, and Nirvana’s as well) and “Paul Westerberg really is the spirit of the movie. Paul was one of the first guys to have pretty melodies built into hard, thrashing rock and punk attitude.”

Westerberg also got the job of scoring the film, with some incidental guitar work from Chris Cornell. You may have noticed that this is the first solo work ever released by Cornell, although the deeply personal Temple Of The Dog LP comes close This was no easy feat for Crowe “I don’t want to start a thing with A&M (Soundgarden’s label), but they have fought putting music in stuff I’ve written for years and I don’t know why. They had the Soundgarden music from Louder Than Love pulled out of Say Anything, so we used stuff from Ultramega OK!, a Sub Pop label Soundgarden release. They’ve had a nasty attitude towards us whenever we’ve wanted to use some of their music, and the truth is only with great jockeying from Susan Silver (Soundgarden’s manager) and Chris Cornell were we able to get a new Soundgarden song and Chris solo in this movie.”

In all, Crowe and co-producer Danny Bramson have compiled a collection of songs that truly captures the essence of Singles. Effectively sidestepping his idea of the current trend in soundtracks, which for him is like,

“What is this? is this some tangential sampler that has ‘something’ to do with the movie? Cos it’s not a soundtrack. It’s weird, the soundtrack has turned into a really crass marketing tool.”

Although there’s a ton of other music from John Coltrane to REM in the movie, every song is prominently used in the film. Most importantly, they deserve to be on the soundtrack and they effectively conjure up the appropriate images. This soundtrack exactly fulfills the aim of the director.

And hopefully it fulfills the listener as well.

Dr. Unknown, Red Platinum: Hot Flashes [City Heat – May 1992]

dr. Unknown and Red Platinum

Tonight I saw a groovy, sparsely attended show, and I’m not too shit-faced so I guess I’ll tell you about it.

I must’ve gotten to Pike Place Market’s Colourbox just after the opening band finished ’cause the Pearl Jam CD was playing and it seemed almost over (read: ungodly long break) by the time dr. Unknown took the tiny stage. New guitarist Matt Fox (from Bitter End) and vocalist Jeff Carrell were riffin’ into some tasty breaks while bassist Derek Peace joined them for some hair flying frenzy. Cool songs I caught titles on were Misery and Come Down To Love. I didn’t catch the name of a jazzy little number that truly blew socks.

News from the front is that they’ve accepted an offer and the deal’s in that red tape stage before they can actually announce the signing. Congrats guys.

Next up was an electrified set by Red Platinum. Almost 1:00 by the time they kicked in, they apparently had some serious voltage surging through their equipment as guitarist Eric Wunderlich commented, “Nothing like a little 110 to liven up a performance!” And lively it was, by the time they started the second tune, Doug, his hair looked like someone had rubbed him with a balloon.

They played the best older stuff like Shovin’, and some nifty new ones, Don’t Take It Away and Mother Nature. They probably saved the best new material for last but it was well past my bedtime so I snuck my ass out of the Central/Satyricon shaped club.

Walking to my car I flashed a ‘peace’ to Matt Fox as he turned the corner in front of me, then silently wished him luck as one of Seattle’s finest filed into traffic behind him.


Seattle Times Tempo Section: Word by Patrick McDonald

Remembered in RIPAndrew Wood of Mother Love Bone

November 2, 1992 Tempo Seattle Post-Intelligencer

November 2, 1990 Seattle Times Tempo Section: Word column by Patrick McDonald

is remembered in an interview in the December issue of Rip Magazine. Conducted by writer Michael Browning, the interview took place last March 15, one day before Wood was found unconscious from a heroin overdose. He died four days later when taken off life support systems.

Wood is open about his drug problems, saying “I’m lucky to be sitting here.”He talks about getting out of rehab and insists he is clean. “I was a druggy until I went into treatment,” he says, “I’m not doing it anymore.” He’s upbeat and positive about MLB’s future.

A companion piece includes an interview with Xana La Fuente, Wood’s girrIfriend, who found him unconscious. “It’s really cool and weird, ’cause he wrote so much religious stuff in the weeks prior to his death,” she is quoted as saying. “All these songs about heaven and dying.” Incidentally, the Seattle Times Tempo Word Patrick McDonald 11.2.90same issue has articles on Queensryche and Alice in Chains.

Word by Patrick McDonald

Mother Love Bone at The OZ Nightclub [City Heat – June 1989]

After months of writing concert reviews for local mag “Rumors and Rags” which the editor repeatedly failed to publish, I took the big step and submitted this review to the coolest magazine on the Seattle music scene (OK, most Seattle hipsters had already saddled alternative press primacy on The Rocket, but I was fresh from Oregon and still fully enmeshed in my hair metal butt rock mentality).

So my Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Styx reviews never hit print, but my brain was already moving in a new direction. Seattle’s next wave was coalescing right under foot.

MAY 4, 1989

We stepped into the Oz just as Love Bone stormed the tiny stage with the first song from their EP, “Thru Fade Away”.  Jeff’s bass intro filled the hall with as much power as any band who plays the Coliseum, and you can bet (your sweet ass) that these guys are arena-bound.

Looming larger than life, center stage was Dallas fan, Andrew Wood, sporting a Cowboy’s jersey and the ever present chartreuse green.  Bruce and Stone both were looking unusual
with their hair gathered up in a top-side tail.

They broke into a set of material I presume will be on the album currently being recorded down in California. Included were ”Come Bite the Apple”, “China”, and the surreal rocker ”This Is Shangri-La”, which, by the way, is just a killer song-it’s still runnin’ thru my skull.

When they played KISW’s hit single “Half-Ass Monkey Boy”, the crowd really got into it and the slam-dancers up front opened the pit, keeping the numerous fine skirts there on the outskirts. To settle things down a bit, they countered with a personal favorite, “Crown of Thorns”. Landrew the Love Child then introduced “Capricorn Sister” as ‘the bonus track’ (like it appears on the tape). Rounding out the set were a couple more unreleased tunes ”Holy Roller” and ”Stardog”.

Then it was Queen’s “I’m in Love With My Car” for a well-received, glitzy encore.  Tho they got loads of flash, they’re no flash in the pan, like Wood’s exiting words of wisdom, ”Love reigns Supreme!” As does Love Bone.

Watch for the LP later this summer, in the meantime, pick up Shine
and keep an eye out for Andy and the boys’ next local show. They are a must-see event!

Mother Love Bone are: Vocals; Andrew Wood, Guitars; Stone Gossard
and Bruce Fairweather, Bass; Jeff Ament, Percussion; Greg Gilmore.
# # #

1989.05.04 Mother Love Bone at Oz NightclubAt the OZ, I bought my first Seattle band shirt “Do What You Do” featuring the Shine EP cover art at the merch table. Wore that shirt out over the years (later, Ament gave me one of the “Air Love Bone” white long sleeves that became my absolute favorite shirt, alas, gone).

A few months later, I was so struck by Shine and the power coming from the scene (seeing Alice In Chains open for MLB both at The Central Tavern in Pioneer Square and down at The Satyricon in Portland) that when they played the big stage at Bumbershoot Labor Day weekend, I made a sign using the EP’s artwork and combining the titles of my favorite songs. In the following video you can see my orange painted “Chloe’s Crown” sign.

After I chucked it onstage Andy Wood picked it up and positioned it just before sitting down to the piano for the tracks. I was already deeply in love with the man and his message:

Love Rock awaits you people! Lo and behold.