Rock legend David Crosby says he didn’t celebrate his recent 78th birthday.
“I never thought I’d live past 30,” he explains. “I never really looked much into the future.”
Crosby isn’t focused much on celebrating his own birthday or the 50th anniversary of Crosby Stills and Nash’s masterful debut record, their first tour or the addition of Neil Young to the band. But he acknowledges the importance of the music made then and now.
Weekly: What are your thoughts on the recent documentary film, David Crosby: Remember My Name?
Crosby: The documentary is really a gift. The guys who did it, Cameron Crowe and A.J Eaton, did a really good job – an amazingly honest piece of work.
Most of the documentaries are just shine jobs. They’re basically just bullshit. They don’t really tell you anything about what’s going on inside that person, what they care about, what matters to them. This one does. It’s a little rough because we didn’t deny anything. We decided we were going to be completely honest. It’s a choice you make and we made that choice. I’m happy about it. Everybody who has seen it has come away moved by it and said that we probably made the right choice.
I only have two things in the rest of my life: I have my family and I have my music. With my music I have the Lighthouse band and the Sky Trails band. Sky Trails is electric, Lighthouse is acoustic. I’m touring with Sky Trails now and we are just tearing it up.
You have such an amazing chemistry with these players.
You have to understand that it’s not just how they play, but who they are. It’s like a marriage. If you want to involve yourself on this level, creating art with another human being, it has to be a human being you want to be involved with. Some people think, “I want that person because they’re really good-looking.” But they don’t think about what it’s like to live with them on a bus.
I have been immensely lucky. The people in both bands are the very best ones I could find. They’re absolutely good human beings, they love music and they did not come for the money. They feel the same way about [music] that I do. They think it’s a gift that we were given and it’s the most important thing in their lives and we just commit to it totally.
And one of the band members is your son James Raymond.
He’s an amazing musician. A much better musician than I am, which was a shock. I was amazed that he was a musician, though I’ve always known that it’s a genetic thing. But he’s a stunning musician. He’s the best writing partner that I’ve ever had. We’re halfway through another record.
I’m making as much art as I can while I can. For the moment, my voice is still working, so I’m singing all the time as much as I can while I still can.
You have played in Big Sur before.
We played at Esalen, we played there before when I was a little folkie. My brother used to live [in Big Sur], so I have friends there and have spent enormous amounts of time there. It’s a magical place and [we are playing] a tiny little gig [at the Henry Miller Memorial Library]. Probably only 300 people.
It’s going to be a very special night. We are going to rip it up. We don’t overblow the thing too loud. The people who do that don’t have songs, but we have songs. We have really good songs, which we depend on rather than volume or costumes or fireworks or any other crap.
Will the setlist span your entire career?
Yes. It goes all the way from The Byrds to stuff we wrote last week. Every night of this tour so far has been a mind-blowing experience. The band has grown enormously from where we were last year.
What are your thoughts on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock not happening?
It made me look good because I told all the managers and agents, “Listen, I know it looks like a really good thing, and certainly I’ll agree to play it, but you have to get money ahead of time and put it in an escrow account because I don’t trust these people at all.”
I said it would fail and come unglued and I was right.
Could a Woodstock ever happen again?
You can’t re-create anything. People treated each other well for about three minutes. It was so goddamn unusual, but you can’t legislate that into being. You can’t make it happen. It happened and we saw it. What it tells us is that it can happen and we like when human beings are decent to each other.
But you can’t make that gig happen. People took care of each other. There was no rape, no murder and no robberies. That’s never happened at a gig that size. Even religious gatherings that size, someone gets killed. It was an exceptional moment in history and that’s what was important, not the size. The important part was how people treated each other.
DAVID CROSBY and SKY TRAILS 7pm (5pm gates) Sunday, Sept. 8. Henry Miller Memorial Library (shuttle pickup/drop off: Loma Vista Gardens, 47540 Highway 1, Big Sur). Sold out. folkyeah.com.