Eddie Vedder’s prickly and lonesome guitar soundtracks the mountain climbing training regimen of tour manager and grunge scene legend, Bobby Whittaker, in a new clip from Return to Mount Kennedy.
Whittaker worked for years with bands like R.E.M., the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Mudhoney, but the film centers around his desire to climb Mount Kennedy in Yukon, Canada. Mount Kennedy holds a particular importance for Bobby: The mountain was named for John F. Kennedy after his assassination, and, in 1965, Bobby’s father Jim — a legendary mountaineer who became the first American to top Mount Everest — helped JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy, become the first person to scale Mount Kennedy. Jim later named his son, Bobby, for his friend RFK, who was also assassinated in 1968.
Return to Mount Kennedy chronicles Bobby Whitaker’s expedition, and the new clip finds him training alongside his brother, Leif, an experienced alpanist in his own right. As Vedder’s steely score plays, the two trek up a sprawling, snow-covered peak while Leif discusses his relationship with Bobby in a voiceover. “Reconnecting with him, I think he’s definitely mellowed out a little bit and grown up, and I think he’s also kind of grown more connected to the outdoors,” Leif says.
Joining the Whitakers’ on their climb will be RFK’s son, Christopher Kennedy. Return to Mount Kennedy will also feature interviews with Vedder, Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt and Mudhoney’s Matt Lukin. As for the film’s score, while Vedder did not record the music specifically for Return to Mount Kennedy, all the compositions are previously unreleased and exclusive to the film.
Return to Mount Kennedy is available digitally Tuesday, while it will also be screened in select theaters. Complete information is available on the film’s website.