A David Crosby Connection
It was my father who introduced me to Crosby, Stills and Nash. And I remember a boy who could play Suite for Judy Blue Eyes. I was mesmerized. And I couldn't figure out how to get beyond the chords on the first three frets.
This was "hippie" music to me when I was a child. Scary, because somewhere I got this notion in my small mind that every guy with long hair was secretly looking for some way to drop a drug in a child's glass of juice, resulting in some weird trip that was impossible to return from.
I didn't understand "free love" and I didn't like the smell of patchouli, though I remember smelling it wafting through the living room, when friends of my dad would visit.
The harmonies were haunting and other worldly. Later, when I was in my teens, I discovered "If I Could Only Remember My Name" and this record became associated with my first kisses and other things. I was going way beyond myself, and I didn't understand it, but I wanted more of it.
And this is my David Crosby feeling. Adventures you feel but never had, and maybe would never want to have. Croz went places and they were not always nice, holy spiritual ones. He got into trouble in many ways, and was often seen as difficult and stubborn and impossible. Yet, women chose him as their surrogate dad. And with all of the roughness and impishness, there was a creativity, an approach to harmony that took you to the middle ages, to the middle east, to lands you might never visit. David Crosby was heady in many ways.
He had ideas. He had politics. He had a sense of justice. He connected to a world, a universe. Maybe drugs were a way to get out of his head and into those bigger places. Maybe they were an escape from what we all know to be the not fun parts of life.
From childhood into where I am now, I have loved David Crosby, and put up with all of the stuff about him that wasn't too savory. Frankly, I don't care about that.
I connected with David Crosby at The Arclight Cinemas when I went to see his documentary and was able to ask him a question, afterwards.
David Crosby responded to me, and I will never forget that moment. He took time to answer my question, which was: "Should we as songwriters write music that helps to politically change the world? Can we do it? Does it matter?"
And Croz told me this was an important thing to ask. He said "I have been trying to write the right protest song for years now. I think we need those kinds of songs more now than ever. Everyone who writes songs should think about the world and do what they can to bring people together with songs they can sing to frame a better world. But it is harder than it seems. And I wish you good luck with that. Don't give up!"
Croz said that he felt lucky to be alive, and that his life might be taken from him any day. He honestly couldn't believe all that he had survived.
I remember David Crosby. He is forever linked to my life with his songs ,his harmonies, his approach to music, and his humility in accepting his frailties yet fighting on.
I really miss David Crosby. I had always hoped I would see him again. I know I am not alone in this feeling. David Crosby was not just a person. He was part of the Zeitgeist of a time. A time of hippies, yes, but a time in which people who made music connected to the larger world and tried to sing about it, to bring people together and to make change.
"Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground. Mother Earth will swallow you. Lay your body down."
Croz is gone, but who he was continues to move in the air, waiting for someone else to catch a breath, and carry on. And perhaps, "let a freak flag fly."