David Crosby and Cameron Crowe, 'Remember My Name'
Hi everybody I M Peter Travers this popcorn where I tell you what's happening at the movies and there's a movie now called David Crosby remember. My name like that was ever an issue really only for me that I don't think that is the whole power behind. This movie is my friend Cameron Crowe here who basically isn't the director but he is the producer and he did you see the back of his head in this movie a lot. You know asking this guy questions and I want to really find out the abuse that you were handed by him to really happen. We see a little of it but really there had been born and himself. David the crisis was thrilled to have you here. Things like this is really great leaving. We're both honored to be here. We wanted all that honor has now disappear. Don't does the biggest pain in the ass in the making not me I am probably I have a p._H._d.. In pain in the ass I think you certainly give yourself one. I did give them some tough. You know because that's kind of my nature. I'm a little feisty you know but I don't think anybody really was a pain in the ass and making the film A._J.. was persistent. He's really determined guy and he really will get it done. He's very determined to get it done. That's one of the things we like most about him. We'll see when we say that he's going to get done what's happening. You're you're there. You're not giving him him what they want. Oh no I've given him everything the whole time. I'm seeing the qualities that made it actually happened. He's known me since he's fifteen. He knows where he sold for Cameron. He was there. He's already been in the business for for five years. So he knew upfront he what he brought to this is a he's a consummate foam maker and be he knew me left right and center. He knows where all the bones are buried. He was in the WHO's in the dressing room. When we had that argument whatever went on he was then okay so the two of them and I had what you call a unity of purpose we we completely agreed about the level that we wanted to approach the thing which is rare in any project music or yeah? We did agree completely. We wanted to not do shine job. We didn't want to just say oh he kit because it's I'm not I'm not cute. I'm there are some people that might go in innocently to this movie thinking that you are well. God blessed to that when we didn't WANNA do it. We wanted to show you the truth about a human being as closely as we possibly could without any reservations association's on it at all no no. We'll just cover that we we all felt like that yeah union unit unanimity just complete. We all agreed to level because we didn't want to do the kind kind of shine job that most of the documentaries are well even within if you did even if it was just you going over the highlights of your career. That would still be some movie. The fact is there's no. <music> buttering anybody jokes at all thinking if this was me and it was remember my name I think we have to have that moment you notice. He used my phrase butter. He's in the I've heard to use that was you that was me I thought issue turn on the candidate. I have no right to do that. I really thrilled not here. You use my phrase because I think that's a great way to see didn't didn't tell me what he thought. I wanted to hear. He wasn't you know polishing. My apple makes him angrier. If somebody is trying to do that that would if they were saying. Maybe maybe don't don't generally like it. I like it. If you talk to me. Straight yeah which is one of the things that we have is he like I said he was there. He knows and when he doesn't pull his punches at all neither this A._J.. And that that was that degree of honesty made me fully confident about do the two of you get together on this particular project because he do in two A._J.. Eaten and David and just went into them as you will. It was J.J Abrams office because we were doing our hit showtime series roadies and we ran into to Iran's David in in our friendship and and H._a.. And they were talking about doing a documentary and immediately you know they were like Oh. Come on board with us the my again. We're doing this thing and everything but and I saw David's is that he was ready talk like he wanted to go there in this film and I said first of all as a fan when I watched this thing. I don't want to see a lot of talking heads. Forgive me but like you don't need a lot of people just put the him and you get them. Mike Him Warmly have him look like pretty much into the camera and cut out all middlemen <hes> David tells you about his life the way he would if you knew him for a while and it was a late night and you just ask them all the questions he wanted to ask him and so I said well I'll just do the first interview and have it enjoy it. You know he's the best interview ever and and I just kept interviewing him until I had to be in the show with them and that was a great day but when was the first time that you interviewed him it it had to be seventy four. I got an assignment from craw Daddy magazine to write about crosby stills Nash and young and they were opening their big tour and I've been dreaming of interviewing David as a young journalist and I interviewed him at our friend Joe Bernstein's house which was also Graham Nash next door and he just was so gracious and I had so many questions and he sat for every one of them. I'm like fifteen and he's he's saying. What else do you want to know? What else do you WanNa know he was? I was grieving over. My girlfriend's death like I'm fifteen going. David Crosby is telling me the most intensely personal trust me and I just always interviewed reviewed him every possible chance since and up until now that's all he asked of me was that I'd be honest but all taking him to Laurel Canyon he didn't want to go come on. We're not we're GONNA do that. Are you and wound up really well. Meanwhile everybody's talking about Laurel Canyon like we had to go to Laurel Canyon. He's like Oh. You're not GonNa make me stand on the steps of the country store. Thank Linda fries started. Started the eagles my God you have to Oh plea and this is what we put in the film when he those moments where he says things like there's no cinematic value in this whatsoever and he turns his back on the camera to save certainly yes he came in grump and he got me totally caught me being a grump absolutely then we get him to go in the Laurel Canyon country store which is really the citadel of that whole period as it exists Nessie. I see this is what you get so he walks in and he's looking kind of poetic and I go cross you know what did this place represent to you and he goes. You should see in the movie he goes. What did it represents the place where we came to get the grocery walks off camera and deal harasses the per poor person behind the counter but then he turns and he starts seeing these pictures including the doors which he has a little thing to say about the doors but Peter he goes outside and sits at the table and says the most intimate stuff of the entire interview series but that's because you asked me those question you you're just proud of it because you managed to produce at the store that's right 'cause he could've asked it? Somewhere wouldn't have been picture wouldn't have been a good shot at all so it had to get asked in the right place. I guess so for you to respond to tell me he knows what he's doing. I I am saying that it can learn the hard way because see he has kind of a baby face and you kind of trust and that could really read you up the wrong road but no it didn't because well can we show a little cook. There's there's a clip of you because what I love when you get into what you're doing whether you're excited by somebody or not excited that is there's something in you that gets kind of possessed by what it is in here in this clip slipped we have you're talking about culture fantastic. I looked pretty silly but it's funny. You look excited by what what you're talking about the movie we didn't know how to start the movie and we just decided decided one day that we were going to start at ninety miles an hour the story right all right well. Let's take a little peek at this and then inducted in the men's room. I got my head against his Pew Green Tile. I can still remember the color of the tile okay. It's going to be right now to get it together. Now going to be okay. Somebody kicks the door Bam. It's train. He's kicked the door open because he's in playing at the most intense level you could ever imagine in your life. He never stopped soloing he still soloing and he's hitting the thousand mark. You know he's like burning. I never heard anybody it'd be more intense would be than in my life in that little bathroom tile I see yeah. That's a guy who loves music. I do love music. I hope so because you keep doing well what you see. There is the effect the John Coltrane me one of the greatest musicians of our time right and he had at that time is quintessential band unbelievably fine to bass player's probably the one of the greatest keyboard players who ever lived on McCoy tyner and I just stunningly good right and the effect that they had on me was like that it was I was very high. Yeah I'll admit but they were the consummate champion they were unbelievably good and and I was wide open to it I walked in wide open and they laid me they'd just yeah I wasn't that impressed and yes it went down like that. He did walk into the bathroom and he absolutely scared me to death. I didn't know what I completely lost my mind for a minute there. My brain ran out of puddle on the floor. Did you ever meet him. Did you ever get to meet him. No never did wish I had a metre miles yeah but will you did kind of Meat Coltrane. I in this woman the moment the tile the weights describe see that's everything that's like two short story writing as well as the two movie and it's everything else that's happening that you don't see very often a lot of talking ahead movies and then I wrote this and then basically they do the talking heads thing so they can use everybody's name in the advertising I spoke energy but we see that it affected you in a way as of yet or what it was that she saw and experienced and that everything that's learning. That's anything in no matter how long you've been doing this. I think it's a pretty match on film. Yeah it really is this is the gift that he can tell a story like that and we we take take a little time to stay with him and not cut to somebody else and you see his thought process. We'll talk about like you're not here and he he listens and reveals the story that he's just told you so if you keep the camera on him and we end the movie on a moment like this he's he's thinking about what he just said and going back and he doesn't dwell in the past that much this is kind of thing where we got him to actually go back there and think about all this again and you see him reliving. Did you resist any of it because it's very you're very very frank about everything that went on in that alienating basically every musician he worked with the that happened if I was gonna if I was going to resist it would have resisted in front when I when I told A._J.. And Cameron I'm committed to this at that point I in my heart I committed myself to being completely honest and drawing no lines anywhere because if they're willing to take their time and and give it to me. I'm not going to give them less than one hundred percent and and I think and I think it works you know. I think we were lucky as hell but I I think the result on film is really unusual to see on film. You don't normally see that degree of reality. There has to be a degree of pain in remember. There is basis. It's it's hard to be naked in public it. Is You know especially you're not real good looking but when you talk about what's painful in in a lot of not just rock documentaries but any kind of story of somebody that does it. It becomes glamorous yeah and with you. It's not you know the the years in jail the drugs the things that almost kill you. I you say this was I screwed up this is how could you read it any other way. I wasted years of time times the final currency man it's your it's what you have here is a little bit of time and for me to waste the amount of time. Rounded I wasted just getting smashed yeah. I got to be able to look at that and say no. That was a total mistake. I'm put here to make music. That's obvious with the myth. Is that that period where you know you're carried away by whatever of a drug you happen to favor at that moment that that's when you do your best work. That's what people believe now and it's not true drugs hard drugs absolutely get in the way of the creative process do not help at all and the mortar hard drugs. I did the less I wrote until I stopped writing completely than a stop. The drugs by going in prison woke up and started writing again. Now I can only draw one computers conclusion from that. The drugs were inhibiting being because the more drugs I did so. Let's I wrote. The drug. Use Curve went up like this. The writing curve went right down at the same rate. I stop writing. I stopped doing drugs reading comes right back up. What can you draw from that that the drugs were hurting the writing they were getting in the way of the writing and that they do get in the way of the writing and don't help it at all? They didn't help at all pot helps. psychedelics probably helped hard drugs absolutely not their destroyers of creativity in music and art in every way they do nothing good at all. What was the moment that really hit for you where you said? I'm not doing this anymore. I they had fled the law. I was already. I was already a fugitive. I failed to show up and I'd fled WH- gone back to touchstone the boat really loved that boat and I was laying on the Decca that boat and thinking and it was <hes> straight you know didn't have any money and had to look at everything. I finally just gave up. I just there's a you know if you go to a meeting so tell you there's a you have a moment the clarity that's what they call it and there is a moment and you do surrender and I went and I surrender and in that surrender you were able to say to yourself okay no more although being in jail now it's kind of helping in therapies made it possible yeah they didn't help me at all but they absolutely made where there was no drugs and I had to sober up and so I woke up in jail cell in Texas in prison in a serious honest to God real actual balls machine guns barbed wire prison and you know the truth. If I had to choose between going back to being a junkie or going back and spend an end of the year in prison I go back to prison. Junkie is prison. You carry around with you. You don't get to get out junkie only ends one of four ways you die. You go crazy you go to jail or you quit. The only those four possibilities reverse order the dying would be ending everything. I was a very good candidate for that very close. I had read something you had said about running into David Yeah at a period where it was a low point for him. Yeah what was that circumstance. He was playing a benefit. offit with Annan Nancy Wilson at the Santa Monica High School right and it's a great thing that they did every year where where they played with the high school musicians and <hes> <hes> cross played a set that was fantastic with high school musicians and I was so anxious to see him in seen him in a while. I went backstage after he was depleted. Wasn't there was not present. He'd given everything in this performance barely recognized me it kind of tore my heart out because the last thing he said to me was safe travels my friend and I watched him walk away and I thought would various this other. People have thought along the path of crosses life. That's the last time I see him. I won't see him again and as he turned that corner that's the last image I'm never have of this guy. That's meant so much to me. Next time I saw him. He was the energizer <music> bunny he was back and and and I've never seen that kind of turnaround <hes> and and that was happening what was happening. I think part of it if I may answer for you for a moment because this was a turning point in the film was his marriage he's got one of the greatest love stories in his life with his wife Jen and those two together are powerhouse and think I think that's how you turn that stuff around one of the main parts I I did you have to go through the pain of quitting and I did have to get locked up to do it. I'd tried I think five times and treatment failed so it did have I did have to do do do time in prison to do it but I don't think I'd be alive without Chandy. Jam Is my best friend and that comes across and we've been together forty two years that doesn't that by accident. You got to really work at it. You gotTa really care about the thinking she can call you. When you're when she has to absolutely yeah didn't want to do an interview for us and then one day you she's always you? She just trust you. Mentioned doesn't trust people. She Bluer mind every moment in the editing room when we when we had her. She's a good soul and you can see you. Could you could definitely did she make your hat. She did make heard that she's famous for those and look at that. That's a work of art what she's really famous famous for itself so she makes the best south on the planet. We'll see I didn't have the hope for that but if you come to feed you some of that had salsa we'll summertime though because that's when we gets a tomato well then I don't want it when it's horrible hothouse thing that nobody wants to eat. No you have to try it. It's the best you'll ever this show always ends in song and you know here is David Crosby and then he should actually be doing some little snippet of a song that he feels represents you to him in music but I could see his face and what it was. It's really the most perfect thing you can do for him. But you have to give me some semblance of a song to end this show I do you do who are the men who who really run this land and why do they run in with such a thoughtless hand what are their names and on what streets do who then live on like two right right over the S- afternoon and give them a piece of Burma about peace for mankind.