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David Crosby: A Certified, Anti-war, Folk/Rock Icon

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 26/10/2015 Bill_Robinson

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David Crosby is ensconced with a very elite group of musicians who used their songs and harmonies to end a war, discrimination and government wrongdoing. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez are others in this small group of troubadours that made a difference in the 1960's and 70's.
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As a part of the legendary, politically critical, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSN&Y) (CSNY), Crosby was also an integral member of The Byrds.
2015-10-19-1445266076-1774765-The_Byrds_in_1965.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-19-1445266076-1774765-The_Byrds_in_1965.jpg David Crosby, (far left) with his Byrds' colleagues in 1965Photo Credit: Unknown
Angering his Byrds bandmates with lengthy political polemics in concerts, Crosby also famously sat-in with Stephen Stills and Buffalo Springfield at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival for a missing Neil Young.
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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young before and after 50 years of harmonies and political agitation.
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David Crosby has been through the wars, literally and figuratively.
While I think it's safe to say that we all are against the idea of war conceptually, few have staked as much or orated as much against the underlying idea of war as David Crosby.
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A two-time Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame inductee (for The Byrds and CSN), Crosby is now 74 and showing no signs of relenting. He's just as political as ever from the stage and with me in our conversation. David Crosby doesn't shy away from conflict or political discourse. In fact, he seems to draw energy from it.
2015-09-08-1441741942-9030359-DSC_0035800x570.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-09-08-1441741942-9030359-DSC_0035800x570.jpg THE MUSICIANS
This concert was all David Crosby ... and David Crosby alone.
THE INSTRUMENTS
Crosby played a Martin guitar for most of the show.
2015-09-04-1441379957-8907796-DSC_0010469x800.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-09-04-1441379957-8907796-DSC_0010469x800.jpg David Crosby's 1969 Martin D45 guitar, one of two he uses in his solo acoustic performancesTHE VENUE
The Town Hall in NYC is an anachronistic beauty and I had never attended a concert there; never been there at all. It didn't take long for me to appreciate it.

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The Town Hall was an elegant yet intimate concert venue that gave me the fleeting initial impression of the Paris Opera.

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A better place to hear a Folk-Rock artist play acoustic guitar and harmonize with his voice could not be found.
THE ARTIST COMMENTARY 2015-09-08-1441742280-4792397-DSC_0039584x800.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-09-08-1441742280-4792397-DSC_0039584x800.jpg

As an unwavering, unrepentant Conservative, I must say that I wasn't looking forward to a long session biting my tongue while talking to David Crosby. I didn't agree with him on much of anything, or so I thought.
And more annoyingly, I couldn't get out of my mind that my conversation with David Crosby would be the political antithesis of the conversation I had with Ted Nugent. Two, disparate, conflicting ends of the political spectrum in an undying battle of wits. But at the end of the day, both are artists, musicians, songwriters and performers with an intense interest in the politics of our times.
When the Vietnam War--one of Crosby's main axes to grind, it seemed--ended, I was almost 17. Now, I would have gone had I been drafted because I felt it my duty to fight for this country as a long line of Robinson's have through history. My choice.
Now, here was David Crosby who had been one of the most outspoken opponents of the war and a Liberal icon sitting across from me. I wasn't sure what might ensue but thought to myself, "This can't be good."
And somehow, I had gotten the distinct impression from the newsmedia that Crosby was a curmudgeon.
I'd imagined that Crosby would want to avoid Politics entirely during our conversation.
Finally, I had been conditioned by the same press attention to Crosby's myriad legal troubles with guns and drugs, that I'd be dealing with a real wild-man out of control.
What I discovered in my wide-ranging conversation with Mr. Crosby, was an ever-intrigued and intriguing person, calm, rational and measured, who had an insatiable desire to talk, hear others out and most of all, learn.
Crosby had just come from a long conversation with Neil deGrass Tyson, the astrophysicist and cosmologist and was truly amped up. His learning chromosome had been awakened and put into fifth gear by Tyson.
He was very friendly, which I appreciated greatly and it wasn't the kind of friendliness a celeb shows a journo but truly genuine. Nice guy. Couldn't have been nicer or more fun to sit with and just conversationally ramble.
No curmudgeon there.
I also found a man who was more than willing--very eager to in fact--to listen to other people's opinions. I was shocked. But very pleasantly so.
Crosby told me affably before the chat started, "If you want to discuss Politics, we'll discuss Politics!"
All of this proves to me the old maxim: "Don't judge a book by it's cover."
"I am at a terrific point in my life! I'm writing a ton of music; I'm performing in a way that's very challenging and very, very rewarding. You saw how much fun I had last night," David Crosby started off ebulliently. "That's a blast. I'm knocking down the fourth wall. I'm talking to the people. They're talking to me. It's communication and I have the opportunity to take them on a little voyage. And that's what I was put here to do; that's what I love doing."
"I like rockin' in a band. You know, I like making you boogie. But I like this more. Words count. I like it that you can put across ideas."
Q: And it's much different when it's just you, and an acoustic guitar, Persian rug and a microphone, isn't it? Directly relating with the audience correct? Very different than with The Byrds, CSN or CSNY where you got the occasional direct connection with the audience but most of the time your messages were filtered by McGuinn or Stills or whomever?
A: "You know, the other personalities were trying to do the same thing I was. It was a concerted effort. It wasn't like they were in the way. But it was a different aim. When you're in a band, the bigger the band, the bigger the venue, the less you can work in fine brush strokes. The more you're headed for Mick Jagger waving a scarf. He has to, because the people in the cheap seats can barely see him. They certainly can't tell how he feels about what he's doing. Not as well as my audience could tell last night. If I felt something, I could communicate that to them. And they knew how I felt about it. That's a different ballgame."
Q: None of us can go back and rewrite history for ourselves. But it occurs to me that with how much fun you're having now, have you ever thought as you experience this solo Renaissance, that if you hadn't been a member of The Byrds and been an asshole and got yourself kicked out (Crosby laughs at my use of his previous quote) or been part of the smoldering cauldron that was CSNY, that you could've been a Ramblin' Jack Elliott, a Pete Seeger or a Bob Dylan on your own?
A: "I don't have regrets about the path I've gone down because Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young is a singer-songwriter band. And so it's always been tilted to the stuff I like. Admittedly we do Rock. That's not a bad thing (I laugh). I wouldn't change the path because it's those bands that gave me the audience that I have. They're the reason people know about me. Yeah, if I would've gone a different path and been a solo artist the whole time, that might've been good too. But you know, I would've wound up with my own band, you can count on it because I like being in a band. I like playing Rock 'n Roll. I like it a lot. I like it particularly if I can push it out on the edge with a little Jazz flavor and head towards Steely Dan. That's home territory for me.
I think the very idea we had in the first place; the reason we used our own names, is because we could do all these different methods and that would allow us to do singer-songwriter performance like you saw last night. And, let us do stadium shows ... both. I don't think you should do just one."
Q: Which is more fun: The Byrds or CSNY?
A: "In their era ... both. Both broke ground and that was a truly wonderful thing to do. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or Crosby, Stills, Nash, I wouldn't try to say one was more fun than the other. In the time/context that they were in, they were equally wonderful."
Q: I've gotten to know Roger McGuinn a little bit and he strikes me as a quirky, almost hard-to-deal with kind of character. ("Hmm ... " Crosby laughs.) Who was more of a challenge to deal with, Neil or Roger?
A: "Both. They're both very intense personalities, and you can see that plainly. Both immensely talented. Roger's ability to translate Bob Dylan into a song, a pop record was genius. He did something nobody else could do, better than anybody else ever did it. And everybody tried to do it. After we did it, everybody tried to do it and Roger did it better. No contest. He's a great writer too, a great player, great singer, a great storyteller."
"And Neil Young, whoo! Lord! You know when we had Crosby, Stills, Nash we had a very talented, wide palette of writing, and we could sing great harmony. You had Neil come in and it was like adding nitro- glycerin. All of a sudden it gets explosive."
Q: Regarding songwriting, I wanted to ask you to talk a bit about how songs come about in your imagination. There's a story not many people know about Robbie Robertson (The Band) struggling to write a song up at Big Pink in Woodstock and he was really have a hard time, laying on the couch and floundering. He was spinning his pre-war Martin acoustic guitar around and around and he serendipitously looked inside the hole and sees that it said inside the guitar, "C.F. Martin & Sons, Nazareth, Pennsylvania." From this we got, "I pulled into Nazareth ... was feelin' bout half past dead ..." So how often is it that you're writing a song and you see something that is kistmet?
A: "Very often. Yes, a single phrase will come to you, either externally like that or out of the blue, and you say, 'Wait a minute ... that's part of a song, I know it is.' And you follow it. You say, 'the muse just landed on the roof; I'm going to pay attention now. And you take that thing that just got you excited and you extend off of it. 'Where does it lead? Where does it take you?' Very often. Very often."
Q: Can you tell me if that kismet played any role in the writing of "Eight Miles High" by The Byrds? How that song evolved, what role you played in it and how it came together?

A: "That was a really wonderful chemistry. That was Gene Clark and Roger and myself. You know Gene had a sort of innate genius in that he didn't know the rules, at all. The kid off the farm. He had no musical knowledge whatsoever, he just picked up a guitar and started strumming away on that thing. He'd listened to The Beatles, so that's where he went. But he had a really good talent.
What happened with that song was we'd been to England and eight miles high is 40,000 feet, that's where airliners fly. So that was the primary ... "Eight Miles High" is a double-entendre, obviously. It got us in a lot of trouble because there was a 'tip-sheet' that went out to radio at that time saying, 'This is a drug song.' This and that Bob Dylan, 'Everybody must get stoned.' Well, they knocked 'em together and said, 'Don't play these; this is subversive.'"
Q: That might've even helped sales, right?
A: "It might've helped sales, but it didn't help us on the radio, I can tell you that. We got knocked off radio because of that. Overall though, it probably helped us."
Q: Were you guys high when you wrote it?
A: "No."
Q: I'm interested in your renaissance now--being sober--and the idea that pot helps with artists creativity.
A: "Sometimes it does. And I think that's a fair thing. You know, pot is not a bad drug. Pot is not our problem. I think if you do it, in the morning; you're crazy (laughs), you're not gonna get anything done. Bad idea. That's not how I did it. But, is it something that can help creativity? Hmm ... that could go either way. If you smoke a little bit, just a little bit and sit with a guitar, sometimes it'll help you noodle around with the guitar and that's interesting. Just because it disconnects you from the rest of the world a bit and you get into that guitar or that tuning you've found or spark words. Now, for me, for me, I do better work live on stage if I'm not stoned. No question. I'm able to concentrate and work in a more organized fashion on writing and on developing material if I'm not stoned. I'm not trying to say what anybody else should do. I think it's helping me to not be stoned."
Q: You could be a powerful force for good in terms of getting younger musicians to not to get involved with drugs, couldn't you?
A: "I wouldn't advise them. I think they should go and do what feels good for them. I'm obviously not the right person to ask: I'm the one that wound up in prison. OK? I'm not the person who should be giving advice to anybody. I only will say what's good for me. And what's good for me right now, is to keep my head clear and be as focused as I can because the muse is stopping by the house and I want the lights on. I want the doors open. I want to be paying attention and have that guitar in my hands."
Q: That's so exciting that the muse is stopping by all the time.
A: "No shit! Well you heard those new songs, man. Those were good new songs. If it's gonna be like that, I'm damn well gonna pay attention."
Q: I used to have hair down to my waist. I used to be a Rock 'n Roll roadie. Then, I experienced a radical shift in my thinking, my worldview and change in my life when I had children. And I noticed some element of that in your comments about your song "Django" (written to Crosby's son of the same name) which was very poignant. Was there a transformation in David Crosby when you had kids?
A: "Yes. Absolutely. Which happened repeatedly. But Django's the first kid I've raised. There's a huge difference in raising a child. Because they teach you about yourself, about the world, about what you think is valuable. You start looking at the world through their eyes and it changes yours. It's been one of the greatest things that ever happened to me."
Q: You have a habit of turning up in the unlikeliest of places. You were on a Jerry Garcia album or a Grateful Dead album, a Jefferson Airplane album, did I even see you on a Hot Tuna album? Was it when you started moving northward from LA to Santa Barbara to San Francisco, is that when you started getting involved with the Dead scene, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Janis thing?
A: "The truth is that when we were doing The Byrds, we ran head-on into Hollywood. And it was not a pleasant thing. We were iconoclasts; we were lookin' for new. We were not Hollywood, at all. We didn't want to be. They wanted to put us in outfits. They wanted us to get matching haircuts. They wanted us to be Paul Revere and the Raiders. You know, any marketable property. Not my spirit, at all.
I went to San Francisco. I had been living with Paul Kantner, who started Jefferson Airplane. When I was a Folkie I had lived in Sausalito. When I was up there I met Garcia and Lesh and the other guys in the Dead; David Freiberg was an old friend from Quicksilver Messenger Service (later Jefferson Starship) and these were friends of mine. I met the guys who played with and then met Carlos (Santana)."
Q: Have you jammed with Santana?
A: "Nah. He's too good. I'm not good enough to jam with Carlos."
Q: Really? He is transcendental, isn't he?
A: "Amazing player, amazing."
Q: What would happen if those two worlds collided?
A: "It would be good. If he and I sat down with a couple of guitars, we'd have a great time."
Q: Oh my God, I can't even imagine Carlos and you with acoustic guitars.

A: "He's a very sweet man. A good guy. He's a very spiritual cat."
Q: Who else? Did you run into Jorma Kaukonen, Janis, Papa John Creach?
A: (Crosby laughs heartily at my mention of Papa John.) "He was more of a freak of nature (in a very special way). But Janis, she was a friend and I think she would now be the greatest living singer. You have to wonder how well she'd be singing by now. How well would Hendrix be playing by now? It's a shame we lost people of that quality."
Q: Drugs. The 'Biz' right? It's kind of like Valley of the Dolls, isn't it? Like Judy Garland or Marilyn. In Hollywood they chew you up and spit you out. Is there a parallel there to the music industry?
A: "Hard drugs. You can't blame the hard drugs on the industry, nobody forced that stuff down our throats."
Q: But in Hollywood they did do it to their people. First the uppers to get up for acting, then the downers to sleep and start all over again.
A: In the musician world, we did it to ourselves. Ignorance did it. We told ourselves, 'Well, it's not addictive, man. I can stop anytime.' We got ourselves in trouble. We were sybaritic, self-obsessed, we were irresponsible and we were hooked. And it destroyed a whole lot of us. I don't know why I'm alive but I'm grateful that I am. We lost a lot of great people."
Q: Can you expand on when you said last night onstage that you were a "real asshole" and got yourself "kicked out" of The Byrds? Were you joking or serious?
A: "I was half joking. I was a young kid with a big ego. That leads you to asshole-dom pretty well. You know, we butted heads a lot; I wanted a bigger piece of the pie. Roger was the undisputed leader of that group. He came into it knowing how to play. None of the rest of us knew how to play when we started. And we had a very creepy manager, who was very controlling and a bully. And I didn't like any of that. I wanted to be more important."
Q: When you moved from LA to SF, did you leave The Byrds or did you travel back and forth?
A: "I would go back and forth at first. When I moved up there was when we (CSNY) did 'Deja Vu.'"
From "Deja Vu," Crosby's iconic song, "Almost Cut My Hair" performed by CSNY with Crosby on Strat, Young on Les Paul and Stills on Firebird ... my favorite CSNY song that stills sends a chill up my spine to this day
A: (Continued) "And I had moved up to Novato (Marin County, California). And my girl got killed. My girlfriend got killed in a car wreck."
Q: I'm so sorry. (What does one, what can one say when confronted with such pain?)
A: (Obviously shaken, a long pause by Crosby ensues as he collects himself) "Then we, (long pause again) we were in the studio trying to do 'Deja Vu,' and I didn't have any equipment to handle that at all. So the safe place I knew was the studio. So I stayed there. I stayed in that studio and kept going. Where I couldn't even remember my name. That period. Garcia and Phil and Paul and Grace (Slick) and Nash and Joanie (Mitchell) and other people who I loved all visited me there. The only thing I had to do was sing and play. That's all I had left."
Q: "Graham had bought a house in the Haight (Ashbury) and I was living on my boat in Sausalito. We made some good music. I had met Graham years before through Cass (Elliott of the Mamas & The Papas) but when I first met him I didn't know who he was. All I knew was I got him stoned a lot and we laughed a lot together. But when I found out who he was, he was this fantastic harmony singer and I knew how to spot a harmony singer; that's what I did. I introduced him to Stephen (Stills) and we sang together. We all knew immediately, all three of us knew right away what that was."
Q: I recently met Richie Furay and part of his story is being called up by Stills and invited out to California to join a band, then arriving to find out it was just him and Stills. Well Neil Young came blazing into the picture fairly quickly and Buffalo Springfield was born. Was it similar with CSN turning into CSNY?
A: "Stephen and Neil had been in the Springfield together and it had come apart at the seams. Stephen wanted to invite Neil in because we knew we were going to have to go out and play--we had a Number One record. And Stephen had played the guitar and the keyboards, so when he was going to play keys, we needed another guitar player. Plus he knew how good Neil was.
I didn't want Neil in. Neither did Graham. I was sitting in Joanie's (Mitchell's) driveway in Laurel Canyon (part of LA), and Neil drives by, he sees me and turns around and comes back. He gets his guitar out of the trunk and we sit on the trunk of my car. He plays me "Helpless," "Country Girl" and three or fours songs that just knocked my brain out of my head. C'mon! The guy's really good. And that's when I wanted him in the band. The songs ... the songs the guy had. The songs are the 'jacks or better.' If you have a real song ... he had real songs."
Q: Give me a quick profile of the guys. For instance, it's obvious to anybody with eyes that you and Graham are like soulmates, joined at the hip. Can you tell me about the personal dynamics in CSNY?
A: "Well, it changed as it went along. But we're all very different; we're all very different guys. Graham, we are both harmony singers and we're both very good at it. So there was a natural bond there. Always has been. Right from the get-go. He's a very funny cat; a very bright cat.
Stephen, tremendous talent."
Q: Introvert?
A: "I think he's more complex than that. But a tremendous talent. Not a comfortable guy. Sometimes blustering, sometimes not. Sometimes lonely. Very talented.
Neil? Very deep. Very mysterious. Very unpredictable. The thing I love about him? Neil is never satisfied. Neil always wants to go further; always wants to push the envelope. He doesn't care what he did. He wants to do something new; he wants to go forward. I like that ... a lot. That speaks to me. I don't mind playing his older stuff. If he wants to play "Ohio," I'll play that but if he has a newer song, I want to play that. And I think he feels the same way, and that's what I love about Neil."
Q: And how would you characterize yourself?
A: "A dedicated musician. I've given my life to it. I love it. I love singing. I'm feisty. I'm opinionated. I'm interested in the world. I'm interested in people."
Q: Are you angry?
A: "Rarely. Anymore. I used to be all the time."
Q: When you talk about politics are you angry?
A: "Yeah, I don't like politics. I mean, there are always a couple. I like Bernie Sanders; I think he's a good guy. He's sincere and a good guy. I like a couple of people."
Q: I think you mentioned Elizabeth Warren from the stage last night and were searching for the name of a New York Senator, a woman. Kirsten Gillibrand?
A: "Yes I like her. I think she's a good soul. I think she's an exception to the general rule of politicians. But that's three people out of a thousand!"
Q: Your comment about taking politicians and "putting them in a container and sinking them to the bottom of the sea" last night reminded me of Shakespeare's writing "First thing we do; let's kill all the lawyers."
A: "Shakespeare had it right! Totally right. Who do they think they are?"
Q: I think I've got an idea on where you line up on the important issues (I really didn't) but please just give me a short commentary on these issues. War?
A: "War is the ultimate expression of competitive effort. It is a totally destructive force. It's a total downer for humanity. It's a downward force on humankind. It has never solved anything. It has never done anything good for anything. And I don't like it."
Q: And you can never imagine a time when war might be truly necessary?
A: "I can imagine a time when it would be necessary, absolutely! C'mon, second World War II; I would've volunteered. Are you kidding me? Wars for profit are an entirely different thing."
Q: Immigration?
A: "I think immigration is fine. I think people walking across the border for free, isn't. Nobody else loves that, not even Mexico."
Q: Now that surprises me, that opinion surprises me.
A: "Look, immigration is fine. Every country in the world has immigration processes and you have to go through that, that's fine. I don't have a problem with that. But having people just walk in? No, uh-uh. I don't think that's OK at all. I understand why they want to; I don't fault them for that. I think anybody going into any country in the world has to go through the process, they have to be vetted."
Q: Do you have an opinion on abortion and birth control?
A: "Nobody has any right to tell a woman what to do. Particularly not in that circumstance. Women are the mothers of the human race. And what they do with their womb and their babies is their business and not the goddamn government's ever. Ever. We got a bunch of Bible-thumpers trying to impose their prejudices and that's what they are, on women and it's wrong."
Q: How do you feel about Religion?
A: "I think it's absolute nonsense. It's fairy-tales."
Q: So would you call yourself an Atheist?
A: "Yeah, certainly an agnostic. I just don't like it because even when it starts out as a good idea, 'Love thy neighbor' for example, not a bad idea, when it winds up as the Inquisition or the Crusades, it's gotten out of hand. What happens with religion seriously, starts out as a great thing and then winds up a way for a few to manipulate the many."
Q: What about gun control?
A: "I think you have to look at the reality. There are guns in two-thirds of the houses in America. You're not gonna get them outta there. So dealing with the real world, the problem is not the piece of metal, the problem is the nut behind the wheel. Guns are a tool. And you can use a tool like a buzz-saw, wrench or a crowbar to hurt someone too. It's the nut behind the wheel. Do you have any kind of way of ensuring that the person behind the gun is stable enough or educated enough to have that gun? That's the problem."
Q: Let's talk about something less serious OR more serious depending on your perspective. What can you tell me about your conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson?
A: "I absolutely loved the guy, man. My interest comes from reading Science-Fiction all my life."
Q: Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury?
A: "Robert Heinlein. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Bradbury, van Vogt, Asimov. Clarke, a brilliant guy, wonderful guy. Those people affected my life, drastically. Because it's an unlimited view, a place where there's no limits on your imagination at all. I love it because you can imagine anything. I love it because it stimulates me to do that very thing. I'm a 'Trekkie.' Of course I am. Django (Crosby's son) and I have watched, I think, every episode. Django certainly has. We like Star Trek particularly because it's not about the war thing. It's about exploration.
Here's a question for you: If you were an artificial intelligence, the most powerful computer in the world and you woke up and became self-aware, all of a sudden you're a sentient being, well in the first five seconds you're connected to the Internet and immediately absorb all of human history in the first five seconds, will you let anybody know you're awake? The answer is likely, 'no.'"
Crosby's son Django pipes up at this point saying, "It might be just the natural course in evolution; the next step in 'humanity.' I think AI is a 50-50 shot. Either they destroy us; or they will uplift our civilization past anything we've ever seen before."
Father Crosby then said, "We both love a writer named Ian Banks and we have read a tremendous amount of this guy's work, we've read all his books. Banks envisions benevolent AIs running things. Which is the way we prefer things to happen; we think this might happen."
Crosby senior continued, "I asked Neil (deGrasse Tyson) every hard question I could think of. I asked him about FTL (Faster than Light) drive and that led us right into alternate dimensions where the speed of light is not the same, where you can exceed it. Wormholes. And other ways we can go to the stars. Because he wants to go just as badly as I do. I want the human race to stop beating each other over the head with a club, grow up and go out into the neighborhood to find out what's going on and who's out there. Cuz you know they are out there. That's what I think our destiny is, if we can survive."
Q: Since we're wrapping up now, is there anything you want to share with your fans or any charities you support and would like to mention?
A: "I think most people know about the ones that are important to us. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), those people are so brave. Amnesty International, righteous. I work for Human Rights Watch and have done benefits for them because I think they do good work. Pick one and help!"
As it turned out, David Crosby and Ted Nugent had a lot more in common than I thought. Isn't life funny?
THE SETLIST 2015-09-08-1441731944-2100648-DSC_0020606x800.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-09-08-1441731944-2100648-DSC_0020606x800.jpg 2015-09-08-1441732334-4573492-DSC_0021753x800.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-09-08-1441732334-4573492-DSC_0021753x800.jpg THE AUDIENCE
The audience for David Crosby was eclectic and all over the place. Somewhat like Crosby himself. There were the very affluent, hedge-fund manager looking execs (not like Crosby in any way, shape or form). And the worker-bee middle managers (somewhat more like Crosby). There were the long, gray-haired,1960's burn-outs looking like they were still protesting a war, any war (Crosby clones). I would put the median age at 55.
Especially impacting to me: You know that electrifying 'buzz' that some audiences have for some performers? Well that buzz was present especially before Crosby's show but carried right on through the encore and milling about at the end.
No matter what the profile of the fan that evening, we were all way into the music, guitar-playing and most of all, the vocal harmonies of David Crosby.
THE SHOW
Do you remember buying vinyl records? Then you'll undoubtedly remember buying 45 RPM records in order to avoid buying a whole album with many songs not your cup of tea, just to get the one song you loved. Eventually, record companies caught onto this workaround and began selling only the entire album to get the one desired song.
Then, the Internet changed everything. But I digress.
David Crosby's show at the Town Hall in NYC used this strategy in that he played his big hits from years long past, but it was so that his fans could listen, hear and really appreciate his new music. And they did.
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Opening the show with "Tracks in the Dust," Crosby led a spellbound, if older crowd, down a very pleasant, harmonic memory lane.
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From his latest album, pseudo-eponymously named "Croz," he launched into "Time I Have."
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David Crosby looked in fine fettle on this particular evening. He was energized and politically active--boy was he political.
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Right from the outset of Crosby's show this evening, it became readily apparent to all that Crosby's harmonic exquisiteness had not diminished with age. It was still there, shining for all to see and hear.
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Crosby then treated the crowd to his song "Triad" from his Byrds' days; the song allegedly being about a plus one sex act usually referred to in French.


The CSNY classic "Carry Me" was a real highlight of the first set.
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A strong, proud second set was closed with "Deja Vu" and "Guinnevere." These two songs might be called Crosby's finest acoustic and harmonic moments.

When Crosby removes his hands from his guitar however, it's an ominous sign for our political elites because all the sweet harmonies stop and they're about to get hammered.
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"I don't know if any of you have noticed but our world is pretty fucked up," Crosby began from the stage that night to a small roar from a large part of the audience. "I hate fucking politicians," he riffed verbally. "What I'd like to do is put them all--except for three or four--into a big dumpster, padlock it and drop it to the bottom of the ocean." The audience, to my surprise seemed to agree with him. And, he liked that.
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I spent the rest of the evening and right up until now wondering who those three or four politicians he might save were and why in the world they might be any different from any other politician. I'm sure Crosby arranged his diatribe to create this enduring uncertainty in his listeners' minds.
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Mr. Crosby closed his show that evening with a stirring, emotional "Cowboy Movie."
As the fans shuffled out of the theater that evening, I noticed the buzz continue up the aisles and right out onto the street. Then, onward and upward into the listeners' lives.
All Photo Credits are Bill Robinson except as otherwise noted

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