On Tuesday, David Crosby declared to Howard Stern’s listeners that filmmaker Robert Zemeckis would be directing a documentary on Crosby, Stills & Nash, making possible use of “10,000 hours” of existing footage as well as fresh interviews. On Wednesday, that announcement got walked back a bit, with word that the tantalizing prospect of a full-on CSN doc is still only under discussion.
“They’re gonna do a huge documentary on CSN. You know about that, right?” Crosby asked Stern during their extensive SiriusXM interview, after the host had asked a number of questions about strained relations in the currently off-again supergroup. Crosby elaborated that the doc would be directed by Zemeckis and produced by Nigel Sinclair and Tim Sexton.
Asked Stern, “David, how can they do that without the three of you guys getting in the same room together?” — the near-impossibility of that having been just established.
“They’re gonna have to,” said Crosby, who went on to explain: “There’s 10,000 hours of footage, man. No lack of stuff to work with. And we’ll do interviews for it. I had a really good talk with the director. Zemeckis is a very, very, very smart guy, and he understands the situation and the lay of the land quite well. And we’ll see how it all plays out.”
But it won’t play out for a while, if it does. Asked for confirmation, Zemeckis’ longtime reps at Rogers & Cowan PMK said, “Mr. Crosby’s conversation with Mr. Stern regarding the project — although undoubtedly enthusiastic — was premature. While there is interest from all parties, there is no official deal in place.”
Crosby’s own rep confirmed the discussion was “premature” and the project is still in the talking phase. “There have been discussions, but there’s nothing concrete in place. It was a bit too early to speak about it publicly.”
While Crosby may have been letting the cat out of the bag before there was a cat in the bag, he was right about at least one thing: The unlikelihood of his appearing in the same interview setting any time soon with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash (and Neil Young, should it become a CSNY documentary) wouldn’t be any serious impediment to a documentary being produced. Crosby, Stills and Nash all sat for interviews — separate interviews — to promote last month’s release of a “Deja Vu” boxed set, including a much talked about, well-received segment on “CBS Sunday Morning,” as well as for Cameron Crowe’s extensive liner notes for the deluxe package.
There’s a long history of CSN and CSNY being represented on film, which may lead some to question whether an additional project is needed, although the case could definitely be made that a top-drawer documentary focused exclusively on the band remains yet to be made. Given the entanglements of the oft-contentious band members amongst themselves and with tangential personalities like Joni Mitchell, a feature film could clearly be made about just the making of “Deja Vu,” let alone the entire mercurial history of the trio/occasional quartet.
Crosby was the subject of his own well-reviewed 2019 documentary, “Remember My Name,” directed by A.J. Eaton with Crowe as a producer and interviewer. Crosby, Stills and Nash were also heavily highlighted individually or collectively in two Laurel Canyon-themed documentaries within the last three years, Andrew Slater’s theatrical “Echo in the Canyon” in 2018 and Alison Eastwood’s Epix two-parter “Lauren Canyon: A Place in Time” last year.
Earlier, the nearly three-hour “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — Fifty by Four” focused on the band in 2014. Neil Young produced his own CSNY documentary, “CSNY/Deja Bu,” under his filmic pseudonym, Bernard Shakey, in 2008, at a time when he had briefly rejoined the band for a new album and tour.
Stern questioned Crosby about the status of his relationships with the three others, which have not, for the most part, defrosted in the dissension of the last few years.
“It would be really sad if one of you went and there wasn’t some sort of reconciliation,” Stern said.
“I don’t think it’s in the cards. I haven’t sensed it from either of those guys,” Crosby flatly stated — referring to Nash and Young, with whom he’s had the most strained and perhaps permanently estranged relations. “Truthfully, man, my head is in today. My head is in what I’m doing.”
Crosby has a new album, “For Free,” coming out July 23 with contributions from Donald Fagen Michael McDonald and Sarah Jarosz, who duets with Crosby on the title track, a cover of a Joni Mitchell classic.
Detailing where he’s at with the three, Crosby told Stern, “Neil said — and it was kind of snotty — he said, ‘Well, we talk to each other, but none of us talk to him.’ Which is not true. I do talk to Stephen. Neil’s got a legitimate beef because I dissed his girlfriend (Daryl Hannah). I get it. I apologized for it with you — you helped me do that, that was very kind of you,” Crosby said, referring to an earlier Stern interview in which he tried to make public amends with Young. “Nash seems to think that I’m responsible for everything wrong since the Korean War, which is weird, but that’s OK. Whatever makes him happy.
“I’ve got a lot of hero worship for Stills, man. He was the best guy in the band. He is the best guitar player, the best singer, wrote all the hits and was stunning on stage… Every time the guy touches a guitar, everything swings right away. … I have no beef with any of them, man. I hope they’re all OK. I want them to be happy. I am a little surprised that they’re not putting out music, but I dunno, whatever they’re doing, I hope they’re happy.”
“All of that drama stuff, man, it’s a pain in the butt, and it doesn’t make music,” Crosby said.