Communication is important to David Crosby. The legendary Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash and CPR singer/songwriter and musician apologies to me for the lateness of his transatlantic call. He's just checking in to a hotel in New York before setting sail for England on the Queen Mary 2 on September 4. CSN will play on board before shipping up in Hammersmith on September 12-13.

Im just checking into a hotel can I call you in five minutes that’s the reason i’m late calling. "Five minutes more then I’ll be back." Then there's a problem with the line. "That’s a singularly bad connection, there’s a faint ringing noise. Let me try it again."

Is that better I ask him?

"Much, much better," he says with a satisfied sigh. "And thank you for your patience,"

I had worried that our conversation might not be all that relaxed. On Twitter he favours one word answers and can be cuttingly direct.

"I don’t answer dumb questions, you know like what’s your favourite colour or that sort of thing but if somebody asks me something interesting on Twitter I try to respond with the shortest most precise answer I can," he tells me. "I like to be informative and honest, which they seem to like. It’s a rarity, mostly people don’t communicate with their fans they just make pronouncements to them. I like communicating. I think it’s fun. People fascinate me."

I have a lot of fun with it. I get to communicate with people. I answer questions which is something I’ve always loved doing.

Kanye West he doesn't have a lot of time for. Why is that?

"He has an enormous ego," says David. "He's a poser. I don’t think he has any talent at all."

On the subject of writing you’ve really embraced Twitter.

Got into it a couple of years ago.

Is that more prevalent in music today?

That’s a tough one. I seek out really good singer songwriters and I admire people who are quite good who are just starting out but I think there’s a lot of people who are just posers mostly with no real content.

Politics has always been on the CSN agenda. During his lifetime achievement acceptance speech at the MTV Music Video Awards this week, Kanye announced he is running for president in 2020. Who would David rather see as head of state? Kanye or Donald Trump?

"HA,HA, HA," says David. "A telephone booth would make a better president than Donald Trump. I think Kanye would, but I think he would make a terrible president mind you.

"It’s embarrassing," he says of the US electoral system, "But its what it is it’s an open thing. anyone can come right up there and play themselves as king. I haven’t seen anybody I'd vote for...but maybe this guy Bernie Sanders, he's said a number of things that I’ve really liked. I’m hoping he might turn out to be the guy."

Is he still writing political songs?

"Yeah, I’ve got a song right now that I’m working on that is about the Congress of the United States and how we should throw the whole lot of them in a box and drop them in the river."

A lifelong sailor, I ask David why he's chosen to come to the UK by boat.

Well it’s two different things, I pretty much I’ve been a sailor, you know of sailboats all my life. "I used to own a schooner for all about 50 years and I sailed it all over half the world anyway, all over the Pacific and all over the Caribbean and I very much love sailing. Doing a crossing on an ocean liner is of course a very different thing. I haven’t done it before and I’m looking forward to it but we're doing it as a different way to get ourselves, our families, our equipment, our band and our crew all over to Europe to do a tour all over the UK and all over the continent."

What is it about the sea that particularly appeals?

"When you’re sailing on it, it gives you an entirely different world view there’s no constant saturation of people and information that you have when you’re ashore and in a city.

"You get peace and quiet, you get sealife, you get all kinds of things and very often time to write. It’s a really peaceful existence unless you’re in the middle of a storm." Most of the time when you’re sailing, I don’t know how it is on an ocean liner when they’re trying to entertain you but when you’re sailing it’s quite beautiful and quite peaceful.

David lists London among his three top cities alongside New York and San Francisco He first travelled Britain in 1966 with the Byrds, which is where he first met Graham Nash.

I remember a whole lot. It was quite an amazing thing. We had a very bad promoter who worked us sometimes two jobs a day and took us to places that we absolutely should not have been but at the same time "The Beatles were extremely friendly to us they liked the Byrds. Smith was in the B and so "They came to our gigs, a number of them and they would invite us over for dinner and take us out and drive us home from a gig. They’d spend time with us and we’d get to talk to them and hang out with them and they were our heroes. They were the most important people in the world to us.

So at the same time it was pretty horrible and pretty wonderful. We were coexisting together, All told I think it was one of the best times in my life but it was very hard work.

And theweather?

You’ve heard the old joke. It was summer in England it was lovely, I missed it, I was in the bathroom. "It was wet and rainy and we didn’t care. We were in England and it was my first time there so I was completely thrilled being there."

CSN still come to play here every couple of years mixing in new material with the hits.

This time how important for you to play new material when you have expectant fans wanting all the hits?

Very. Well it’s v important to us and "I do know that there are many songs that they would feel cheated if we didn’t sing but it's very important for us to do new stuff and we will do quite a bit because that way we feel we’re still alive and kicking." and we’re still moving forward rather than just playing our hits. Its a tough balance to strike and we’ve changed the set pretty often but you’ve got to keep it alive otherwise you sleepwalk through it and that’s not good enough.

Which are his favourite CSN hits?

"Carry On - I love a lot. Wooden Ships - I love a lot. Deja Vu - I love a lot. Guinnevere - I love a lot

Cathedral - I love a lot. "We did a lot of material so we change it up pretty often. Bluebird, Stephen’s song I love. I like it when we do Joni’s Woodstock and I like playing some of the new stuff that we do very much. I think that's the advantage of having three writers that you have a ton of songs and we all write pretty differently, so that helps keep it alive also."

In 1969 Neil Young joined CSN and they played Woodstock Festival but by 1974 they had gone their separate ways. What would it take him if he gets some material where he thinks this could be good with those guys then he’ll just call us up and do itIn his 2012 autobiography, Neil Young who played with CSN at Woodstock in 1969 and up until 1974, says 'There’s no one I know who loves making music more than David Crosby'.

I ask David if that's a fact?

"He’s absolutely right. I love singing, I love writing. I love playing. It’s definitely what I was supposed to do and I have a blast doing it."

Any regrets?

"Gazillions of them. Yeah, I would not waste time. It turns out time is a limited thing and you are a fool if you waste it and I regret all the time that I wasted. I should have been working hard at my craft the entire time and not wasting any time doing anything else.

I’m writing on a bunch of songs right now writing for a new record. Already started a new solo album. the last one did really well and I was really happy with it so I’m working on a new one.

"I've just been recording and I've gotten three of my favourite vocal recordings in my life in the last couple of weeks, so I’m very happy."

Are any about politics?

"I mostly write about love, not politics. Either way I think you should call out the wrong and celebrate the right - it’s just part of who we are. I think we react to the world around us and I think that’s appropriate. I don’t think that’s wrong."

We need more of that than politics don’t we quite frankly, I say.

"Yes," says David. "Quite frankly we do."

CSN play the Evetim Apollo on September 12 and 13.


Where does it hit in any situation?

Two or three major places

1. Major thrill is when you write and you realise a song is falling together

2. Secondly when you go in the studio and you get a really good vocal and a really good track - there’s a real excitement because you know that thing is going to last longer than you are and you’ve got it, it’s now embedded, it’s carved in stone.

3. Thirdy the joy of playing life. Playing music is fun anyway just by yourself but when you play it to people and they react there’s a great joy there - it’s very exciting stuff.

What would have to happen for you to play with Neil again?

Well that would be up to Neil. When we made the 74 box set of CSNY if he had intended to do something he would have said something about that box set and he didnt say a word so I think he did not intend to play with us again. That can change hes a really moody guy and if it strike .

Graham’s book -drugs women always naked

Grace Slick said that the first time.

I think his book is entirely too much about me

I think it should have been more about him truthfully.

Maybe you’ll have to write one about him, well l’ve written two and they weren’t about him.

Are you still writing political material.

Do you feel creativity has to have an edge to it to keep them momentum going?

Not always I think it can and it certainly should if you see something that you think is wrong or right.

Somebody asked you if you could make a record me now

Right now I’m writing stuff that I really like some of it by myself some with other people think are really talented. Right now making the record I would most like to make completely on my own and happy about that.

At home try to write every day pick up a guitar every day and play. I try to write down a set of words that I like. Joni Mitchell taught me that - if you don’t write it down it didn’t happen. Anytime you get words write them down. Currently the muse has been very kind to me. I’m a very happy boy.

Pretty healthy right now and working at what I do helps that but being healthy helps what I do. I think happiness is good for your health and I’m very happy right now.

Ever look back and think what might have been if you hadn’t met Steven and Graham?

I don’t think I’d have been as successful but I think I’d have had pretty much the same path. I love being a musician, I love being a singer songwriter and I’m quite certain this is what I’d have wanted to do whether I’d met them or not. Mind you I think that it’s pretty good fortune that I did I mean they’re both very talented. I think I’ve been very lucky with the group of people I’ve been able to work with. If I’d never have partnered up with anybody I’d have been a singer songwriter it’s a joy to me.

Who would you have liked to collaborate with?

Ahh hmm I actually have coll with a lot, who maybe Paul. Maybe McCartney I think he’s a great writer. I would have liked to have worked more with a guy called Michael Hedges who was one of the greatest guitar players of our time but he’s gone and I wish I could have worked more with him and sung songs with him.

Back in the day pretty flamboyant

I’ve never been a creature of fashion at all. I do exactly as I please and most of the time I’m underdressed compared to everybody else. I dress for comfort and for fun. Don’t pay any attention to style or fashion.

What’s next

Back in the studio recording next record.

We do UK at least every two years. It’s a great part of our thing, playing in the Uk is a big part of our life musically.


San Francisco and New York. I love London - it’s pretty hard not to. It’s a fantastic place and I’ve lived there for short periods of time. I love it. If I could afford it I could end up living there.


Moustache in good shape hair certainly long don’t know how I got so old so fast. The white hair I’m still shocked by that I’m a pretty happy guy.

Recording gotten three of my favourite vocal recordings in my life in the last couple of weeks so I’m very happy. I just sing a lot and I warm it up before I use it.

What’s your way of relaxing?

I enjoy my life with my family never really completely not working always trying to write songs and always playing guitar and always thinking about it. I do go driving, I like that a lot. South Pacific. I still go sailing with other people. A quiet walk on the beach isn’t bad either.

In 1980 I travelled on a train because of a certain track by a certain band and it was exactly as billed.

Well good.