David Crosby: Remember My Name - B+
Rated R, 95 minutes
The new warts-and-all rock music documentary "David Crosby: Remember My Name" brims with compelling moments, rock nostalgia, loads of fun behind-the-scenes stories and best of all, some classic rock tunes. The documentary's title, which is a play on one of Crosby's album, "If I Could Only Remember My Name," is an unforgettable portrait of a rock icon whose hard living made aging gracefully a challenge and is easily a must-see for classic rock enthusiasts.
Directed by A.J. Eaton and produced by "Almost Famous'" director and writer Cameron Crowe, "David Crosby: Remember My Name" is a rock bio with unflinching honesty, self-examination, regret, fear, exuberance and an unshakable belief in family and the transformative nature of music. Legendary Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer and singer-songwriter David Crosby shares his often challenging journey that often proves that being a celebrity can be wonderful, or an incredibly difficult experience.
"Remember My Name" explores the life and travails of Crosby, who grew up the son of a hard-nosed but brilliant, Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby. His love of attention made music a natural fit for Crosby and would eventually form the '60's rock band The Byrds, whose cover of a Bob Dylan tune, "Mr. Tambourine Man," would give them a number one hit and international fame.
After being fired from The Byrds, he would go on to form another iconic rock band, Crosby, Stills & Nash, which would later become Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young when Neil Young would join up with them. The first act is interesting but plodding, yet becomes far more interesting when Crosby joins up to form a trio and later foursome that would produce one of rock's first supergroups, though their tumultuous behind-the-scenes relationships would create some rocky roads for Crosby.
"Remember My Name" becomes fascinating when it focuses on the the music, as well as Crosby's uneasy journey, especially his substance abuse problems, which are just as legendary as the music. "It was wonderful," he says of the first time he did drugs, "after that it was playing catch up." His struggles with drugs, compounded by loss of a loved one, led to some dark times before finally cleaning up his act and settling down with his current wife, Jan.
It's evident from "Remember My Name" that Crosby is a legend, but also a tremendously gifted singer who is having a late comeback of sorts in his '70s. What is unfortunate, though, is how his relationships with Neil Young, Stephen Stills and (especially) Graham Nash still today remain rocky (the other three haven't been on speaking terms in years with Crosby), which is obvious given that there are no current interviews from the other three members.
Filled with some glorious archival footage, music clips and interviews, as well as some nifty stories involving Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Jim Morrison and many others, "David Crosby: Remember My Name" is a treat for rock enthusiasts and even non-musicians alike, who'll come to appreciate the music, but also the man behind the music and the often rough journey he's had.