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George on Pearl Jam and U2: Best Bands Ever
September 7, 2011
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Because there are two huge music docs at TIFF this year - the Film Festival's opening night gala film is the U2 doc From The Sky Down; Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty premieres Saturday - we corralled George for a few moments and asked him to weigh in on the films.

But he hasn't seen them yet. He plans to, though, and offered up a passionate argument about why Pearl Jam and U2 are groups who are more than worthy of the doc treatment:


"Who's better than those two bands?

"Think about it in context. Who's been able to have a great record in each decade of existence? The 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s? Great songs, anyway. That's U2. U2's sort of, they're so big now that people just hate them BECAUSE they're U2. Missing the point that they've written some of the great songs, that they were artists about something in an era when artists weren't about something. And then Bono gets criticized for trying to make the world better for other people. So they're the gods. U2 are the gods.

"Pearl Jam, what's so interesting about their story is that they won. They proper won the game. They walked away at their peak, they stopped making videos, they completely unplugged from the system. They tried to fight Ticketmaster on behalf of their fans, and got criticized. They lost that battle, but they quietly went away and did their thing and now they've been vindicated.

"They still sell out all their shows, people still care deeply about them. I went to see Eddie Vedder play live this summer at the Wiltern, and the audience was devotional. They were devotional.

"Out of all those [90s] bands, Pearl Jam did not implode - none of those bands survived - STP imploded, Nirvana imploded, Soundgarden imploded. All those bands have reunions and comebacks and new singers and all that other stuff, dead guys, but not Pearl Jam. Somehow they managed all that stress around them and didn't implode. What band, who were the biggest band in the world, can manage to not implode? And 20 years later still be going?

"It's the same thing with U2. The most fascinating thing about U2 is that it's the same four guys. Same four guys from the 70s, and their manager. Five guys! Imagine being the biggest band in the world, the whole time that you exist, and the same five guys still do it.

"Even if you don't like the music vibe of those bands, it's worth it to see [their films] and be a part of their story just for the remarkable accomplishment of friendship and perseverance and relationships. That, to me, is their greatest success."


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