David Crosby: Remember My Name
Here's one of the most famous American pop musicians of all time, and he's looking back on a life filled with many ups and downs, and we can't help but like the guy. Even if he's been his own worst enemy.
Yes, he played Woodstock. Crosby, Stills, and Nash represented one of the most iconic performances of that remarkable lineup. The harmonies were exquisite, and the setting was magical.
David Crosby, now 76, takes us back to the Kent State shooting, and the song he wrote commemorating it. He takes us to the house in Laurel Canyon, where the carefree band members, in the early days, hung out with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, Cass Elliott, and Janis Joplin.
And yet the idyllic Camelot soon turned sour, as drug use became rampant, and Crosby shares his harsh reality unblinkingly. He spiraled down on cocaine and heroin, walked out of whatever treatment center his friends tried to put him in, and only kicked the drugs after he was arrested and sent to prison. He says he was in solitary confinement, and he also claims the other inmates would mock him, as in “Look at the big star now!” But the main point was that he kicked the habit while incarcerated.
After his release, though now middle-aged and the musical scene having wandered off elsewhere, David Crosby began making music again, which helped complete his emotional rehabilitation. He says he can live without anything except music. He says that his music is the one contribution he has to make. Even though none of his former bandmates (including Neil Young) will have anything to do with him any more. He makes music with younger musicians now, and plays his new stuff, songs which aren't exactly rocketing to the top of the pop charts. But he still has that golden voice. And he still loves to perform on stage.
Director A.J. Eaton puts together an impressive montage of file footage, not only of live performances in the glory days, but also interviews with other band members from previous years. He even shows them at their worst: when CSN sang “Silent Night” during the White House Christmas tree lighting in 2014. They were awful. They were all off-key, like they weren't even listening to each other. And all the spectators, including the Obamas, could only watch in embarrassment.
Interviewer Cameron Crowe manages to bring out many emotions in David Crosby, including regrets, but also warmth, nostalgia, humor, and a winsome kind of self-deprecation that makes us root for this Rock 'N Roll Hall of Famer who may sleep with his guitar, but he's not yet ready to hang it up.
Yes, David Crosby, we will remember your name. Because your music is indelibly imprinted in the memories of your generation.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association