David Crosby: Remember My Name
It’s a little strange to be reviewing a movie about someone we know. Croz is a friend of ours (his friends all call him Croz, ahem, ahem …). Not a close friend, we have only been with him a few times, and exchanged emails. But good enough friends that we have visited him and his wife Jan in their charming home in the Santa Ynez Valley. He comped us to CSN&Y concerts at the Greek Theater and the Hollywood Bowl! We got to go backstage after the Bowl gig and mix with the celebrities there. (Bill Walton was leaving just as we arrived. He’s 6’11”. I felt short for one of the few times in my life.) One of the better nights in my memory. Our friends Spider and Jeanne Robinson were there, too, as if we needed more fun. One of the last times we saw Jeanne.
This movie is a retrospective on his life, and on the times he (and I) lived through, a time of the biggest explosion of innovation in pop music that the world has ever seen, or is ever likely to see again. For decades he was part of one of the seminal groups of that era, which gave us other musicians like the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Supremes, the Doors, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, the Band, the Velvet Underground, and Frank Zappa. In short, the Woodstock generation.
But this is a warts-and-all movie. Croz managed to piss off, alienate, insult, or betray just about everyone in his life at one time or another. Much of the time it was the cocaine acting, the insane amount of free-basing. But sometimes it’s because he can be just plain ornery. He freely admits this, in the many intimate and open moments he shares with the filmmaker. He takes us on a tour of his triumphs and his missteps, visiting places from the past, homes where he and his friends lived and partied … and sometimes died. He goes to the Laurel Canyon Country Store, a place where I frequently shopped with my dear friend Peter Brocco, an actor who had a great house just three doors up the Laurel Canyon road. I never saw any famous rock stars there, but I’m not sure I would have known many of them from the other ragged hippies, like me, who were always there.
This is one of the best rock documentaries ever. The part that stuck with me the most was the rather plaintive question: Why me? Why have I survived when so many didn’t? He abused his body to the point that he had to have a liver transplant. When he checked into Huntsville Prison in Texas he looked like Death’s little brother. But he bounced back. He is still around, still making music, still touring.
About the touring … he points out that he has to tour, he needs the money. He is the CSNY member who never wrote a hit, so he can’t sit back and live off the royalties rolling in. I know he won’t read this, but I’m sending all my good vibrations to you, Croz. Keep on truckin’.