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TCA 2011: Cameron Crowe puts Pearl Jam in group therapy

July 30, 2011 |  1:48 pm
TCA 2011: Cameron Crowe puts Pearl Jam in group therapy

There were a few nervous moments when the members of Pearl Jam screened the new PBS documentary about the band, the film's director says.

Cameron Crowe, the Oscar winner behind "Jerry Maguire" and "Almost Famous," told reporters Saturday that "Pearl Jam Twenty" covers such touchy topics as the grunge band's tortured feelings about Seattle rivals Nirvana, their battles with Ticketmaster and their slow shift from being led by guitarist Stone Gossard to vocalist Eddie Vedder. Vedder has told journalists the film was difficult to watch.

"That's a measure of success, that you're able to get under people's skin a little bit," Crowe told reporters at the TV media tour in Beverly Hills.

Crowe, a former music journalist, has known the band members since their beginnings 20 years ago and spent three years assembling footage, he said. "It was our labor of love, our hobby," he said of the project, which will premiere Oct. 21 under PBS' "American Masters" banner.

During filmmaking, band members compared the experience to group therapy.

Over the years, Pearl Jam has gradually moved from laboring in obscurity to becoming an international sensation, and now enduring as a grassroots touring band with enduring appeal.

"There was no rulebook for what they did," Crowe said. "They've become a little bit like the Grateful Dead."


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Photo: Pearl Jam (with frontman Eddie Vedder, second from right) is the subject of a new PBS documentary. Credit: Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times