Why David Crosby Says He Won’t Play Guitar on Stage Anymore
During a conversation with UCR, however he left the door open: A residency is "possible," he confirms, or something similar that wouldn't involve long stretches on the road.
Fans can fill the void with Live at the Capitol Theatre, which arrives on Dec. 9. Filmed and recorded at the Port Chester, N.Y. venue in 2018, the project highlights Crosby's collaborations with his Lighthouse band, featuring Michael League, Becca Stevens and Michelle Willis. "More than half of the [show] is new stuff, which I think is healthy," he says, detailing the set list. "I think that's a very healthy trip."
He shared his memories of the evening while offering an update on new music he's recently completed.
I know you've wanted to put this album out for a while, so you must be pretty happy.
You know, in your lifetime, man, you could try a lot of times to put a group of people together in a room and make music. Every once in a while, it will be magical. That's when there's a chemistry going on in there. This one was definitely one of those. It was like the last night of a tour and we had done really well. We'd polished ourselves up to where we were very confident and very happy. You can hear it in our voices. We're just extremely joyful and really into it. It's rare that you get that kind of thing recorded, but we did and we're lucky.
You're often finishing another album when we speak. So considering that these performances go back a few years, are you able to maintain a connection with them? Artists sometimes move on.
[I'm] very, very connected, because it's good and I'm proud of it. It shows you what the chemistry was that made me fall in love with those guys in that band. You're right, we do move on. I have another Lighthouse band studio record finished, mixed and mastered. It's ready to release already. And I'm two songs into another Sky Trails band record with my son, James [Raymond]. I'm three songs into another Lighthouse record after this one, but I have an entire one that you haven't heard. [Laughs.]
Watch David Crosby and the Lighthouse Band Perform 'Guinnevere'
How would you describe each of those records presently, since we haven't heard them?
Well, they're [each a] different process. Fortunately, the music comes out quite differently. One is my son James, who is an extremely talented guy. He's a way better musician than I am. I would say he's my equal as a writer. That's one stream. Now, we call it the Sky Trails band, but it's really just me and James and whoever the heck we want to use on any given song. He lives in Los Angeles and there's all these great players. The other one, with [Michael] League, Becca and Michelle, there's that chemistry. It just popped up into my life and I recognized it for what it was. I said, "Hey, you guys, let's try writing the next record together." The results are "Things We Do for Love" and stuff like that.
One of the things that you've said, seemingly pretty definitively, is that you're done touring. Do you still feel that way?
Yeah, I think so. I can't guarantee that. It's possible that I could teach my guitar parts to somebody else. I can't play well enough anymore. I've got tendonitis in both hands. I can't play well enough for my standards on stage. I could probably get away with it and you'd probably like it, but it’s not good enough for me. It's possible I might do a residency some place. We'll see.
Knowing how passionate you are about the music you've been recording, I can guess you'd want to document it live.
Oh no, I want to. I miss it really badly. I love playing live.
What's driving your writing these days?
The real thing that drives me is the partnerships that I've got with these other people now. It's allowing me to extend my working life as a writer by probably 10 years. I can write with other people and successfully generate good stuff. That's a rare thing. I don't know why people get so hung up [with] "it has to be all me. Me, me." Us is a lot of fun too! [Laughs.]
You have spent a good portion of your career writing these songs that helped to give voice to the issues of the time. How do you view where we are today?
I think we're in trouble. There's a lot of people involved in politics in the United States who don't really give a shit about democracy. They give a shit about power and money. That's not democracy. That's not the thing that gives the little guy a shot. It's not the way that I believe it should go.
I imagine you have thoughts about Elon Musk.
[Laughs.] It's so much fun man. He's so crazy. It’s so much fun watching him.
26 Rock Stars Inducted Into the Hall of Fame More Than Once
The Best Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Fight Stories