He was central to the Laurel Canyon scene of the 1960s, created some of the most resonant music of his era, fell in love with Joni Mitchell, became addicted to heroin and cocaine, and—after a weapons and drug conviction—became a fugitive from the law.
But it wasn’t until after his eventual arrest, getting clean in prison, and restarting his musical life with old bandmates that David Crosby managed to alienate every important person he made music with—Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young.
Such is the intractable nature of the subject of the essential new documentary DAVID CROSBY—REMEMBER MY NAME, directed by A. J. Eaton and produced by Cameron Crowe, who has known Crosby since Crowe was a teenage reporter for Rolling Stone. In Eaton’s film, Crosby praises the artist “who was the best of all of us”:
“When [Joni] found she was going over people’s heads, she went further.”
But no one is harder on Crosby than Crosby himself:
“I was a difficult cat. Big ego, no brains… What you do to yourself isn’t really a moral thing. But what you do to others? That counts… Were those girls addicted? Yes. And I addicted them.”
But there is another sticking point:
“I have to tour to buy groceries and pay the mortgage…. I’m under some pressure. I’m the only member of CSN&Y who’s never had a [solo] hit.”
A fitting companion piece to Martin Scorsese’s new Bob Dylan doc Rolling Thunder Revue—in REMEMBER MY NAME, Crosby claims it was The Byrds’ cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” that inspired Dylan to go electric—what echoes up and down the canyon are the sounds of a lost sixties dream:
” ‘Ohio’ was the best job of being troubadours or town criers we ever did… Belief is good. It didn’t work out. Yet. But we’re trying.” — David Crosby
At the Film Independent Presents screening this week in Hollywood, Crowe characterized the film as “notes from the eye of the hurricane” which ends “on a precipice, where CSN&Y don’t reconcile.” On Sunday afternoon, Eaton and Crowe will return to the ArcLight and join David Crosby for a post-screening Q & A.
Sunday, July 21, after the 2:45 pm show.
6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.
From top: Henry Diltz, David Crosby, Flag Gun, 1970; Henry Diltz, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Los Angeles, CA, 1969; Henry Diltz, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, and Eric Clapton, Laurel Canyon, 1968, photographs © Henry Diltz. Director A. J. Eaton and producer Cameron Crowe at the Film Independent Presents David Crosby—Remember My Name event at the ArcLight Hollywood on July 18, 2019, photographs (2) by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images. John Lennon (left), Crosby, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison in London during the Sgt. Pepper recording sessions, 1967, photograph by Leslie Bryce. Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Cass Elliot, David Geffen, Ned Doheny and others at John Van Hamersveld’s studio in Venice Beach for Boyd Elder’s opening, 1972.