Colleague Matt Coker recently tipped me off to a cameo appearance I kinda-sorta make in Deja Vu, the new documentary flick about Crosby, Stills, Nash N Young's 2006 Freedom of Speech tour of America, when the foursome hit the road in support of Neil Young's politically pointed Living With War album.
I'm not actually seen in the movie (god forbid), but I'm heard, which is where the kinda-sorta comes in. About 22 minutes into it, as you watch sweeping helicopter shots of downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign, a voice-over reads a few lines from my review of the show (which actually went down in Irvine, not LA), that I penned on a freelance gig for the LA Times (you can watch the excerpt below, shot directly off the TV because I have lousy DVD editing software):
“Freedom isn’t free, the slogan goes, and no kidding—speech alone can set you back $251.50 . . . the famed quartet wasn’t advocating complete freedom of speech, though—just the kind they agreed with.”
The narrator puts a strong, snarly emphasis on the word “they”, making me totally seem like I hated the show, the tour, the album, and everything about it. Which I didn't. I liked the show, mostly, as evidenced by this paragraph that appeared a couple grafs later (You can read the full review right here):
“It was quite a kick during “Wooden Ships,” for example, to see the normally staid Nash caught up in the foreboding whirl of one of Young’s song-ending feedback orgies, the kind that he perfected with his sometime backing band Crazy Horse—and then Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young together, jamming in a tight circle, guitars screeching, wailing and shredding as if they were in a Sonic Youth tribute band. Young usually puts a lot of work into his shows, and this night was no exception, but his three cohorts haven’t been made to sweat this much on a stage in years—decades, maybe.”
But it's that first mean pullquote which gets all the cinematic love and makes me sound like a total hippie-hating dickhead Republican asshole, which, as a proud veteran of 27 Grateful Dead shows, I feign great offense in. Who can I punish for this slander upon my good name, sputter-sputter?!?!?
Neil Young himself, turns out, since he directed the doc under his Bernard Shakey nom de plume. Wow—that's actually pretty cool! I envision Neil (I can call him Neil; he knows me) putting Deja Vu together, wrestling in an editing bay over where exactly to put “the Rich Kane blurb,” my name rolling out past his wrinkly lips (just beneath his nose, where the cocaine booger was excised out of in The Last Waltz!). Rock critics tend to have an inflated sense of importance already, since they get to interview their heroes, but not all of them can piss one of their heroes off so much that they respond by taking a critic's words and spinning them out of context. I rule!
This makes me forgive Neil for getting sick back in 1991 during the Ragged Glory tour, which caused postponement of his LA Sports Arena show, which (long story short) was partially responsible for me getting beaten up and robbed at a Fullerton gas station . . .
Anyway, the clip: