David Crosby Talks Jerry Garcia, Neil Young & More On ‘Freak Flag Flying’ Podcast
David Crosby discusses his musical and personal relationships with Jerry Garcia and Neil Young as part of the penultimate episode of Osiris’ podcast Freak Flag Flying. The latest installment features the end of Crosby’s two days worth of conversations with journalist/author Steve Silberman that yielded the limited series podcast.
Episode 4 starts with talk of Crosby’s parents and his musical upbringing. He then discusses Judy Collins and shares his take on what’s become of her career. Next, David recalls how hard drugs came into the scene in the late-1960s and early-1970s. “Heroin and cocaine destroyed my life,” Crosby notes and goes into how he dealt with the repercussions of his addiction. He feels he really went down the tubes “as soon as I hit the pipe” and that drugs didn’t help his creativity. “They nearly killed me but more importantly they absolutely right in front of everybody destroyed my ability to create art,” David tells Steve. “Destroyed it. Piece by piece until I was not making any art at all. So much for the ‘drugs are an inspiration,’ bullshit … they’re poison.”
Steve brings up David’s musical relationship with Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash and says he really wishes they’d make music together again. “I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Crosby responds. “The thing to do is be grateful for what there was. There was a period of time there when we really did make some very good music together and I’m grateful for it. I think everybody has to deal with their life as it comes to them and if those guys are stuck where they are, they’re stuck where they are. I’m trying real hard not to be.”
“The thing about Jerry, which you know, is that there was serious magic there. Garcia was a consummate musician. He worshiped music. He ate it for breakfast. He rubbed it in his hair. He fucked it. It fucked him. He loved it with his whole entire being,” Crosby explains when Silberman brings up the late Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist. Steve then plays a previously unreleased track of David jamming with the Dead in the studio. Crosby discusses how hard it was to play with the band and how each lineup change made such a huge impact on their music. David also shares praise for Dead & Company. “It’s fun to see the story continue to evolve and each time that they keep going on, you think ‘oh well, that was it!’ and then it’s not yet. They go for another healthy chemistry of its own and it makes a new it. I love that!”
At the end, Steve and David get deep in talking about Crosby’s mortality. The Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer explains that it took until he was in his 50s to truly understand himself and that he is sad he’s running out of time on the planet. Crosby also discussed how important it is to use his music to protest political figures and decisions he detests. “If Neil (Young) calls me up and says ‘listen, we’ve got to do some gigs … now that Elizabeth Warren is our candidate we’ve got to do some gigs for her in battleground states, what do you think?’ I’d say ‘what time does the bus leave?,'” David notes. “I’d work it out, I don’t care if [Graham] Nash likes me or not. The purpose would exceed all of that.”
Up next is the final episode of the series in which Osiris’ Tom Marshall will talk with Silberman about his experience. Listen to Episode 4 of Freak Flag Flying below:
JamBase is the media partner of Osiris.