on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 8 Aug

„Remember My Name“ on ARTE

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off


THIS GRIPPING account of a singular rock’n’roll life – David Crosby’s half-century odyssey in classic records, lunatic success, near-fatal excess and stubborn resurrection – begins with an early memory: the singer recalling a transportive night at a club watching John Coltrane in unhinged-solo flight. Crosby’s frenzied imitation of the jazz titan wailing free is hilarious. But the lesson was enduring. “I never heard anybody be more intense with music than that,” Crosby says in awe. What follows in David Crosby: Remember My Name – directed by A.J. Eaton and produced by Oscar-winning rock writer Cameron Crowe – is the story of how Crosby repeatedly sought that passion and light as a singer and songwriter, at steep cost.

In a mix of richly anecdotal candid new interviews and rare archival footage, rock’s ultimate lion-in-winter – with that long, white mane and signature moustache punctuating his broad, weathered features – relives his extended seesaw of triumph and error: immediate fame with The Byrds, then in rock’s first supergroup with Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and (sometimes) Neil Young; the libertine streak and outspoken ego that tested romances and friendships; the drug addiction that put him in prison; the heart attacks and liver transplant that have left him in perilous health. Now 77, Crosby is in a solo-album renaissance. (Disclosure: My writing on that work is referenced in the opening frames.) But estranged from his old bandmates, with record sales falling, Crosby keeps touring to pay the bills since, as he drolly points out, he is the only member of CSNY “without a hit”. Crosby’s wife Jan soberly notes in turn that whenever her husband leaves home, with his battery of medicines, she knows he may not return.

Remember My Name is set on parallel road trips: one with the singer’s current, excellent Lighthouse band; the other a swing through ’60s and ’70s turning points in his hometown, Los Angeles. Cruising what’s left of the Sunset Strip’s old magic, Crosby – who was chubby and insecure as a child – is exuberant about his short ride with The Byrds and frank about the big mouth that got him fired. When he visits the Laurel Canyon home immortalised in Nash’s Deja Vú ballad Our House, Crosby points to the porch where he says the idea for CSN was hatched. That is followed by a 1969 reel of them arguing violently on that porch, on the eve of their first concert.

Eaton and Crowe named their film after Crosby’s despairing 1971 masterpiece, If I Could Only Remember My Name, made in the wake of a profound loss: the 1969 death of his girlfriend Christine Hinton in a car accident. Here, the title’s shift in tone, to emphatic request, catches a confessional and redemptive urgency running through the striving, glory and breakdown. Early in the movie, Crowe, off camera, offers Crosby a hypothetical trade: no music – with none of the rewards and sorrows he’s known – in exchange for an idyllic home and family life. “Me? No music? That’s no world for me,” Crosby replies. “It’s the only thing I got to offer.”


David Fricke, MOJO (posted here for two days)


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