David Crosby is as Feisty as Ever

The singer talks about donating sperm, recording albums with his son, and why his last name was first in C.S.N.Y.

It’s the middle of the week and David Crosby is sitting in his home office in the Santa Ynez Valley, staring out his window.

“I’m looking out at a beautiful, green valley,” Crosby says. “The trees are just starting to bud out new leaves and the places is coming to life with spring. It really is beautiful.”

It’s a week before the singer and guitarist heads on a multi-week solo tour, where he’ll be making a stop at Great American Music Hall on Sunday, April 30 — a venue that Crosby has played ” a number of times,” either as a solo artist, with his band, or with The Byrds.

We chatted with the 75-year-old about his rampant  Twitter use, donating sperm to Melissa Etheridge, why Crosby, Stills, and Nash chose that order of last names, and his latest and upcoming albums.

David Crosby plays at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 29, at Great American Music Hall

SF Weekly: I’ve read that you don’t give a single fuck?
David Crosby: Hahaha. Take all of that with a grain of salt. I’ve been a fairly feisty person in my time, but I actually occasionally give partial fucks.

SFW: Partial fucks is good. Let’s talk about Twitter. You seem to be pretty active on it these days.
DC: Yeah, I have a lot of fun on there. I have always loved communicating with people. And although some of it is dumb, some of it is very smart. There are interesting people on there and interesting ideas being expressed. It’s a pretty fun thing for me. I wake up in the middle of the night — because I have trouble sleeping — and I just get on there and talk to people. I like answering questions.

SFW: Yeah, you seem to get a lot of them.
DC: Some of them are dumb and I just ignore them. But some of them are really bright and I have fun answering them. People have found out that if they put something on there and they ask me to listen to it, I will. So they send me their brother’s band or their new song or this thing that they found on the net, and ask me what I think of it. I try not to be cruel. But I’ve been pretty honest with people about what I thought. And occasionally I discover somebody new from that.

SFW: But apparently you’re not a fan of electronic music?
DC: It depends. I’m sure there’s probably some electronic music that I would like, but I haven’t heard it.

SFW: Something I’ve always wondered is how Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young) decided on the order of last names. Was it because yours came first in the alphabet?
DC: Try saying it another way. It doesn’t work. Try Stills, Nash, and Crosby or try another combination or order. It just doesn’t sound right. And I didn’t do it. I knew what they sounded like going in because I’d thought it through. So I just left the room and let them wrangle about it. Stills, of course, wanted his name first and that just doesn’t work. 

SFW: Recently, you’ve had some tiffs with Graham Nash. Has any of that changed?
DC: No, he seems to hate my guts and that’s OK. I don’t really care. We’re definitely on the outs with each other. It doesn’t mean we couldn’t work together, we could. But he’s not happy with me at all. But I don’t think he’s happy with hardly anything. That’s sort of where he is in his life right now. I don’t envy him at all.

SFW: I didn’t know that you were one of the pirates in the Robin Williams film Hook.
DC: Yeah. I tried out for the part and they said, “OK, you can do it.” It was fun. I had a lot of good friends there, like Bob Hoskins and Robin Williams, who was a very good friend of mine for a very long time.

SFW: But you haven’t acted in anything recently?
DC: No. It’s tough for me to act in anything because I’m too recognizable. You’re watching a movie and you’ll be like, “Wait a minute, who’s that guy? That’s Crosby!” and bang! You’re out of the movie and focused on recognizing somebody. So maybe that’s why they don’t put me in movies that often.

SFW: One interesting fact I learned about you is that you fathered a child through artificial insemination with Melissa Etheridge’s former partner, Julie Cypher.
DC: I’m actually the biological father of two of her children, Bailey and Becka. I was friends with Melissa and through her I met her partner, Julie Cypher. They saw our kid, Django, and they went, “Oh, my god, he’s a great kid. How do we get one like that?” My wife pointed at me. You know, they were in love with each other then and they were very happy and they’d been together for a long time. I didn’t see why they shouldn’t be able to have kids. And since my wife had volunteered me, I said, “Sure.”

SFW: Speaking of kids, is your next solo album still produced by your son James?
DC: Yeah, that one’s finished. It’s in the can. It’s going to come out this spring.

SFW: Is it still called Home Free?
DC: No, it’s called Sky Trails.

SFW: Did you try anything new or different with Sky Trails compared to Lighthouse?
DC: It’s very different form Lighthouse. Lighthouse is a mostly acoustic record. It was one of my favorite albums I’ve ever done. This is a record more like Croz, the record before Lighthouse, that James also produced. It’s a full band with a lot of horns. There’s a couple of acoustic things. I did Joni’s “Amelia,” which is a song I’ve always wanted to sing.

SFW: When you mentioned Croz, I thought of Phil Collins. I know he’s a good buddy of yours and even paid for your liver transplant, so I thinks it’s cool that I hear Phil Collins influences in Croz.
DC: I am sure that I’ve been influenced by him. I’ve been influenced by a number of people. James Taylor, for sure. Joni Mitchell, absolutely. I’ve probably been influenced by a lot of different singer-songwriters at one time or another.

View Comments