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David Crosby On 'Remember My Name': "It's An Opportunity To Tell The Truth"
In the brand-new Cameron Crowe-produced documentary, the classic-rock figurehead reflects on his place in music history—and the bridges he's burned along the way
David Crosby is one of the most well-known figures in what we colloquially call "classic rock." Watching the A.J. Eaton-directed, Cameron Crowe-produced documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name, one is reminded of just how there he was for rock's most transformative years: rubbing elbows with The Beatles as he came up in his own pioneering '60s band, The Byrds; performing at Woodstock and leading early '70s counterculture with protest anthem "Ohio" with Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young, among many other things.
As often is the case, with such monumental success came major obstacles for the 77-year-old Crosby: drug addiction, health setbacks, arrests and jailtime, professional bridges burned beyond repair. As Remember My Name points out a cringeworthy number of times, none of his former bandmates—Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Roger McGuinn—will speak to him anymore.
Through it all, Crosby's upper-register vocals remain uncannily unchanged. He still prolifically writes and records music, releasing four studio albums in the last five years: Croz (2014), Lighthouse (2016), Sky Trails (2017) and Here If You Listen (2018). He tours constantly—to the point where his wife of 32 years, Jan Dance, worries out loud that the next time he hits the road will be the last time she sees him alive. But Crosby is compelled by a force greater than himself to keep going. "My job in this life is to make music. It's the one contribution I can make," he tells the Recording Academy in an exclusive sit-down interview.
Below, Crosby opens up further about the documentary, which he says makes him feel "naked in public," working with his good friend Crowe once again and why this movie does not serve as an olive branch to his former bandmates.
The documentary is quite moving, and it’s not always flattering. How is it for you, watching yourself speak and relive these less-than-complimentary moments of your life and career?
I've seen it a number of times. It’s odd, being the subject of it. You have two points of view. One is as a stranger just looking in at this piece of work because I grew up in films. My dad was a cinematographer, same as him. So, there's a part of me that's watching it as a [consumer]. As a person, it's hard being naked in public. Try it.
We went into it wanting to make a documentary about a person. Let's skip who it is. If you want to make a documentary about a person, let's say it's you, I want to know what matters to you. I want to know who you love. I want to know what you're afraid of. I want to know what your dream is. That's the stuff I want to know. Now, that's not common currency. You don't see that in most documentaries. They are two shallow to do that. We went into this once fully agreeing that that was the only level we would really approach it at. It has to be a real picture, otherwise we're really not interested in painting it.
And it seems like Cameron Crowe was the right person to tell this story, because of your long-term friendship.
We had history.
But so many of the long-term relationships in your life have become tense and splintered. How is it that you and Cameron have maintained such a successful one?
You know what, I'm not sure. I think it’s the difference in the person. I think if you're in a band with somebody, you're confronted with them every day and that can wear thin over a period of time. Cameron and I have not been confronted with each other every day, but we do have a lot of respect for each other. It’s hard not to. I see his work. I know who he is from his work, and you got to love that guy. And he sees who I am from my work. It’s pretty good.
In the film, you're so self-aware. You seem to have gained a real ability to look back with a clear eye and accurate hindsight. What did it take for you to get to that place, where you could unflinchingly reevaluate some not-so-pretty events in your life?
It’s an ongoing process. It’s something that I mostly learned in 12-step programs. You have to be able to look at your life. Take an event, let's say a place where you made a mistake. You have to be able to look at it honestly. Look at it. Learn from it. How did I get here? What choice did I make that lead me here? And then set it down and walk on. Catharsis, it works. It's a really good thing. It's a good process. That's how I got to here. I think you can't really learn from yourself unless you're willing to look at it. And in the process of looking at it, if you can communicate to it, it's not easy but if you can do it, it’s good.
Do you hope or expect that any of your former bandmates will see this film?
I do hope they see it because it's honest and they'll know that. They know me really well. It's not an apology to them and it's not a flag saying, “Oh, please [forgive me].” It's not. It’s an opportunity to tell the truth, which is rare in this life, and it's a really decent piece of work. And on that level, I'm really proud of it and really happy with it.
The film explores your various health setbacks and simultaneously shows you going back on the road, which your wife, Jan, says worries her. She even says at one point that every time you go out on tour, she’s not sure if she’ll ever see you again. How does that sit for you?
What I think is different from what I feel. I think I have to go. What I feel is pain because I love my wife and I love my son and I love my home and I don't want to leave. If you saw it, you'd understand. If you spent a day with us, you'd think I would never leave. I guess it's good. My job in this life is to make music. It's the one contribution I can make. You heard me say that in the film and it's the truth. It's the one place I can lift. I do have to do it...it is necessary that I do it, but it is also my chief desire. It's a place I can contribute.
In the film you also talk about how CSNY and CSN are totally different bands. I'd love it if you would elaborate on why that is.
Adding Neil [Young] to a band like that is like adding nitroglycerin to the mix. He's an explosion waiting to happen and that's why I like working with him. He's always pushing the envelope. He's always pushing it to go further and I love that.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.