LOS ANGELES -- Before creating "Almost Famous" and "Jerry Maguire," Cameron Crowe was a young journalist gaining access into the inner circle of the rock industry's most ground-breaking rockers.
That included David Bowie.
Crowe, at the TV Critics Association press tour Tuesday to plug his new Showtime series, called the artist, who died earlier this week, the "most exciting and generous interview I was ever allowed to spend time with."
"I'd been profiling some friends of his during a period where Bowie himself had done no interviews, and I had told these musician friends of his, 'Boy, I would really like to interview David Bowie,'" said Crowe who was 16 at the time. "So they were like,'Yeah. We'll let David Bowie know you want to interview him.'
So I went back home. I was sitting in my bedroom in San Diego, and the phone rang one night, and it was David Bowie. And he said, 'I'm on a train, and I'm on my way from New York. I've just split with my manager. I don't know that many people in Los Angeles. I'll be getting in in a couple of days, and would you like to do an interview with me?' And I said, "Yes, I would. I really, really would." He says, "Well, I'll call you when I get to Los Angeles." I was ready for it to be over at that point."
Crowe ended up spending six months with the legend between the time he recorded "Young Americans" and "Station to Station."
"Over the last couple of days I've had a chance to really think about it," Crowe said. "David Bowie's impact is so huge in that he presents himself now as a role model to artists that may need to remember that it's not about branding. It's about a restless need to be creative and to continue being creative, and David Bowie was the antibranding artist, and for a young musician or artist of any kind, anybody coming up, it's great to look to Bowie and see that seismic effect he's had on people, not because he kept doing the same thing that worked again and again, but because he always shook it up and he always served the gods of creativity."
"Roadies," which will premiere later this year, follows the crew that supports a fictional rock band, the perfect excuse to talk about other musical inspirations. It didn't take long for a certain Minnesota legend to enter the conversation.
Star Luke Wilson credited Bob Dylan for leading him to discover Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers.
Co-producer Winnie Holzman, who created "My So-Called Life," gave a nine-star review to "Time Out of Mind," which came out in 1997.
"I'm like an older person now and supposed to be kind of over this kind of thing.," she said, referring to her obsession with the album that came out in 1997, well after what many consider to be Dylan's richest period. "And I just lost my mind."
The cast conducted interviews while passing out t-shirts behind the counter of a fake souvenir shop in a hotel lobby. Based on the pace of their service, the actors should stick to their day jobs.
In other TCA news: The next live musical for NBC will most likely be another revamp of "Hairspray." The network is also planning a prime-time tribute to legendary TV director James Burrows.