Considering his drug addiction, prison stint and health issues — diabetes, a couple heart attacks and a liver transplant Crosby should have been a long time gone.
David Crosby said he may not be able to play guitar ever again after attempts to treat a finger injury failed. But he remained positive about the album he recently finished, which features collaborations with Michael McDonald and Donald Fagen.
In a far-reaching interview with Rolling Stone, Crosby listed his injury as just one of the issues he was facing. The recent death of his biological son, the financial challenges caused by the coronavirus, the police killing of George Floyd, his concerns about America’s future under Donald Trump and the world’s future amid environmental alerts were all weighing on him.
“I get trigger-finger tendinitis in my hands,” he explained. “I went in to get it fixed, and it didn’t work. Now I’m in a tremendous amount of pain in my right hand. It’s entirely possible that I may never play guitar again.”
Crosby noted that “my democracy that I love so much and that I believe in so much and I’ve believed all my life is failing and being abused to death, just being raped, shot and strangled. And then I don’t think we are addressing climate change because these assholes don’t see a profit in it. They have no way to even conceive that it’s real. That’s disturbing me tremendously because I have children and I want them to have a world.”
The 78-year-old admitted that, even though he’s a “pretty positive guy,” he had “more on my plate then I can handle, and I have been crying. I’ll admit it.” Asked about the perception that he couldn’t be having financial problems after the enduring success of Crosby, Stills & Nash he replied, “Can you spell cocaine?”
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As David Crosby has proven time and time again this year with his Ask Croz column, he’s down to answer any question that readers pose to him. Nothing is too bizarre, risqué or just downright nuts for him to tackle. He’s seen it all, done it all and he loves nothing more than telling the tale. In this newest round of Ask Croz questions, he deals with a husband that prefers porn over sex with his wife, a guy that is curious to try heroin just one time, a musician that’s having trouble getting along with his bandmates and a dejected hippie that feels his generation failed.(Rolling Stone)
One of the most sacred musical places in the baby boomer bible sits just above the Sunset Strip in the once-ramshackle Laurel Canyon neighborhood.
The Eagles owe a lot to Linda Rondstadt, as their original line-up of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon were first assembled as her backing band. Linda was generous enough to let Glenn take the mike on tour and sing lead on one of his own original songs. That ultimately lead to the birth of The Eagles. Glenn and Don decided they wanted to leave and form their own band. She was good to them, and they parted ways with no ill will, so the story goes. Frey and Henley always seemed to quickly move along to the next stepping stone, leaving sentimentality as a vehicle for their songs, not their lives.
The era’s own Garden of Eden, the labyrinthine neighborhood became a tangled nest of creativity that housed rising artists including Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Frank Zappa, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Doors, the Mamas & the Papas, the Monkees, Love, the Eagles and dozens of other soon-to-be-famous artists.2401 Laurel Canyon Boulevard – Today it’s a grassy field (after having burnt to the ground in 1981) but in the late 1960s it was the site of Frank Zappa’s famous log cabin. The rustic home, built originally by Hollywood cowboy star Tom Mix, is where Zappa called home in 1968. It was also a veritable revolving door of rock and roll history. Zappa held all-night bacchanals with groupies such as the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) and Pamela Des Barres, once threw Mick Jagger out of his house for being an obnoxious drunk, Alice Cooper auditioned for Zappa’s record label there and got himself signed, and Mama Cass introduced Graham Nash to David Crosby and Stephen Stills there too. via
Virtually every plugged-in American over 18 has been indoctrinated into understanding that musical history was made in the hills. Histories, memoirs, art books, a few documentaries and a fictional film — it would seem that the story of how a relatively isolated L.A. ZIP code helped connect artists with one another, who then connected with millions of fans, has been told.
“Really, we need another one?” Alison Ellwood, the director of “Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time,” a two-part, 3½-hour limited series that premieres Sunday on Epix, says with a laugh. “We did think a lot about that. But it was this truly magical bubble that gurgled up.”
More than most, Ellwood understands this. She also directed the 2013 documentary “The History of the Eagles.” Like that film, “Laurel Canyon” was produced Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Pictures. Another of her L.A. music projects, “The Go-Go’s,” will premiere on Showtime in August.
Bits and pieces of the Laurel Canyon story have certainly been told, Ellwood adds, but none had offered a grand look at the connections and relationships that fertilized the creativity, told entirely from the perspective of the participants. Fewer still have had the budget to afford the music licenses required to properly soundtrack the story. The Andrew Slater-directed, Jakob Dylan-guided “Echo in the Canyon,” which came out in 2019, mines similar terrain but is missing the volume of footage and music required for the kind of film Ellwood wanted to make. (“Echo…” is also missing any mention of Joni Mitchell.)
Ellwood’s “Laurel Canyon” corrects that. The most comprehensive and musically satisfying document of a notably insular scene, the limited series combines sublime performance footage, home movies, artist interviews, choice music and a host of images by two photographers present at the time, Nurit Wilde and Henry Diltz, to tell a vivid story of a period that took place roughly from 1966 to 1972.
A music scene that has been idealized to the point of redundancy, it’s represented in this film as akin to Paris in the 1920s, when the stars aligned to connect writers Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kay Boyle and Ernest Hemingway.
From an aesthetic perspective, it’s hard to deny. Mitchell wrote all of her album “Blue” while living with Graham Nash in the canyon. Nash composed “Our House” about their place. Stephen Stills wrote “For What It’s Worth” about the scene down below on the Sunset Strip, and the foundations of his and bandmate Young’s band Buffalo Springfield were laid in that soil. Nash, Stills and Crosby figured out that they could do three-part harmonies here. While living in the Hills, Arthur Lee and his band Love crafted “Forever Changes.”
This music suggested that the new decade might be a little more settled and bucolic than the one they’d all just lived through, like the sparkling afterglow of a particularly great acid trip. It also portended an easing into adulthood, and a desire to create music minus the “yeah-yeah-yeah” screaming and shouting, or the Jimi Hendrix-driven freakouts.
Guided by photographers Diltz and Wilde, whose presence at regular intervals across the series helps anchor the structure, Ellwood’s narrators include David Crosby, Linda Ronstadt, Alice Cooper, Michelle Phillips, the Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz and Mike Nesmith and the Doors’ Robbie Krieger. Woven in are archival recollections from dead musicians including Love’s Arthur Lee, Zappa, Cass Elliot and Jim Morrison. Though neither Mitchell nor Young agreed to be interviewed for the film, Ellwood’s research team found illuminating archival interviews with both.
The first time Mitchell arrives in “Laurel Canyon,” she’s sitting on a stool preparing to be interviewed. Out of the frame, someone asks her to look into the camera and say who she is.
She looks a little surprised by the question. “Who I am?” Pondering for an uncomfortable moment, she says with a laugh, “That’s a hard departure point. A synopsis?” He means her name.
“She struggles with that for 35 seconds, and we let that run for that long,” Ellwood says. “To me, that’s who Joni Mitchell is. She always goes to the deepest possible place.”
“Laurel Canyon” lays it all out, combining narrative through-lines that in one way or another entangle Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash, Gram Parsons, Ronstadt, David Geffen and his business partner Elliot Roberts, , John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Michelle Phillips and Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas, Gene Clark and various other members of the Byrds.
For example, Crosby used to lure friends to backyard concerts with what he calls “the best pot in town,” which would get them “completely stoned out of their gourds.” Crosby adds, “And then I’d say, ‘Hey Joni, why don’t you sing a song?’ They’d listen to her sing and their brains would run out their noses in a puddle, and that would be that.”