WITH HIS FIRST SOLO ALBUM in 20 years set for release on January 27, hippy Head head and all round master songwriter David Crosby has spoken to MOJO about his Greenwich Village beginnings, The Byrds, Dylan, The Beatles, CSNY, guns, cocaine and chasing the hippy dream to the brink of self-destruction before returning with remarkable music still pumping through his veins.
Fresh off CSN’s recent European tour, we find The Cros on candid form: “I feel terrific”, he tells MOJO, “but I have three fatal diseases” (see the magazine feature for details). Despite this, he remains a talismanic figure, his walrus facial furniture and mane of hair (albeit now of the silver variety) a throwback to the days when the L.A. canyons resembled the counter-culture’s own Garden of Eden.
“Being a hippy was the most natural thing in the world to me,” he says. “I liked having long hair. I liked smoking pot, and hippies treasured music, so that put me in a good place. And it was fun.” Prior to this particular episode of “fun”, Crosby had cut his teeth as a folkie in New York (“The Village was rich territory”), before meeting fellow Byrds Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark in Los Angeles (“We saw A Hard Day’s Night and it blew our minds”).
Following adventures with CSN/CSNY and the tragic death of his girlfriend Christine Hinton, Crosby recorded his solo masterpiece If I Could Only Remember My Name. “I started doing heroin,” he remembers. “I was in a very strange state… [but] I had good songs”. It was a record that would ultimately pull him from the darkness. “I could dive into making that music and it would elevate me out the hole I was in. It saved me.”
As for his old compadres in The Byrds, Crosby isn’t shy about revealing his hopes for the future: “I would do a Byrds tour or a Byrds record in a minute. I miss that band now. I’ve tried to convince Roger over and over to do it but he’s not interested. Music isn’t something you can legislate into being.”
To read the full interview with David Crosby and our preview of his new album Croz, check out the new issue of MOJO – on sale now.
PHOTO: Piper Ferguson