Updated: Jan 11
BLU-RAY REVIEW /FRAME SHOTS
David Crosby is still writing songs, recording albums, and keeping a grueling concert schedule.
“DAVID CROSBY: REMEMBER MY NAME”
Blu-ray; 2019; R for profanity, drug material, brief nudity; streaming via
Amazon Prime/Video, Apple, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube
Best extra: Q&A with Crosby and co-producer Cameron Crowe
NOW AGED 78 and having defied death in more than one way, David Crosby is still writing songs, recording albums, and keeping a grueling concert schedule. He tells his story and bares his soul in this documentary directed by A.J. Eaton and co-produced by Crosby’s longtime friend, writer/filmmaker Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous,” “Jerry Maguire”).
We baby boomers remember Crosby as an essential member of such iconic ’60s and ’70s bands as The Byrds, and Crosby, Stills and Nash (and later, Young). Crosby was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once for each band. Thanks to archival photos and interviews, clips of performances, and recent conversations with Crosby, former Byrds members Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman; Jan Dance (Crosby’s wife of 32 years), and others, the film paints a picture of a selfish, self-destructive, often obnoxious, but extraordinarily gifted musician who gradually, and quite painfully, finds his way. Crosby was friends, and crossed paths, with the biggest names in rock music, and he shares many entertaining anecdotes about them.
Missing from the film are recent interviews with Crosby’s band-mates from CSNY, because they “all really dislike me, strongly,” he admits. A former alcohol, cocaine and heroin addict, Crosby was often easy not to like. He looks back on the time in 1986, when he turned himself in to the FBI after being convicted of drugs and weapons charges and fleeing the country. He spent five months in prison, quitting drugs cold turkey, and drastically turning his life around.
(1) David Crosby a member of The Byrds. (2) After leaving The Byrds, Crosby bought Mayan a 59-foot sailboat, where he often found sanctuary. (3) Members of Crosby, Stills & Nash. (4) Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Neil Young - band-mates from CSNY.
More life-threatening physical challenges were in store for him, such as in 1994, when he received a liver transplant. He’s diabetic and dependent on insulin and, in 2014, required several stents to treat his heart problems. Despite the multi-pronged threat of fatal illness, he insists he’s never been happier, his voice is still clear and sweet, and he appears to treasure his life, his wife and his children. They include a son who had been given up for adoption as a baby, whom he met for the first time about 20 years ago, and who now plays in one of his bands. In all, “David Crosby: Remember My Name” is a totally engaging cinematic memoir of a very, very lucky man.
This Sony Pictures Classics Blu-ray is state-of-the-art and all recent footage and interviews look and sound excellent. Archival material varies, as would be expected.
Extras include a generous and worthwhile “Deleted and Extended Scenes” section, as well as a couple of extended interviews. The conversation and Q&A with Crosby and Crowe at the Asbury Park Film Festival is quite interesting, despite Crosby’s tendency toward hyperbole: A singer in his band is “the best on the planet”; musicians he works with are “the greatest I ever heard in my life,” etc.
(1) Jan Dance (Crosby’s wife of 32 years) (2 & 3) During the early 1970s Crosby and Jodi Mitchell were very close during the Laurel Canyon music scene. Mitchell at her home on Mountain Avenue, in Laurel Canyon 1970. Crosby stops by the Los Angeles house during a recent music tour. (4) Crosby plays one of many guitars at his home north of Santa Barbara, California.
Crowe credits Crosby’s wife Jan as “the secret soul of this film,” and notes her initial reluctance to appear in it. Crosby confesses that watching the movie for the first time was tough, albeit cathartic: “It’s very strange to get naked in public, especially if you’re very old and not very attractive.” He says that Crowe asked him “the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked” during the course of the shoot. When revisiting the time he turned himself in to the Feds, Crosby calls it “a good kind of surrender – it gave me a tomorrow.” He notes that one of the dangers of show business is that it “wants you to buy your own b.s., your own press.”
In response to questions from the audience, Crosby says, “I love making records” even though it doesn’t pay. He’s made four in the last four years. He discusses his longtime friendship with Peter Fonda, who died this year. Crosby boasts that Dennis Hopper’s character in “Easy Rider” was loosely based on him, down to the hair and handlebar mustache.
— Peggy Earle
(1) Crosby visits Kent State University in Ohio, where four students were killed by Ohio Natural Guard during a Vietnam War protest. (2) Crosby on tour. (3) Crosby visits with photographer friend Henry Diltz, who made the photographs for the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album. (4) Crosby back home with his dogs and horses.