David Crosby on two of the most legendary women in rock
David Crosby - Is one of the most charming people in music. His life and career has had so many ups and downs that it begs to be made into a biographical film! As a musician, he's done iconic work with The Byrds, as well as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and CPR. Ah, yes: he's also famous as a solo artist. In addition, he produced the first vinyl record Joni Mitchell, "Song To A Seagull" from 1968, and he's also an avid sailor!
As far as artistic production goes, Crosby is one of the major figures of the counterculture movement. Playing in one original band is impressive, and playing in two sounds amazing! His songwriting ability is also relatively unrivalled with the exception of his CSNY bandmates, The Beatles and Bob Dylan. He's done and seen it all, and experienced a fair share of it of personal tragedyto make the listener feel...
"Why won't people talk to me anymore?"
The strangest thing about Crosby is that he seems to have burned bridges with many of his old bandmates and mates. He and Neil Young, for example, did not speak for quite some time after David called Young's wife, actress Daryl Hannah, a "purely venomous predator."
"Crosby should write an introspective book called 'Why People Won't Talk to Me Anymore,'" Young once said.
Crosby seems to be a man full of opinions who has pissed off quite a few people over the years. However, he's a burnout. rock 'n' roll titanand therefore some of his beliefs and fervent views on certain things are golden. He was at the heart of music and counterculture in the 1960s and early 70s and that makes his views on his contemporaries invaluable, even if, again, you have to take them with a degree of scepticism.
Over the years, Crosby has shared his bold thoughts with the world about everyone from former colleagues to some of the most legendary idols of the last century. And so, in 2003, he offered his version of two of the biggest female names in rock music..
The two biggest queens in rock - according to Crosby.
In conversation with the biographer Jefferson Airplane by Jeff Tamarkin for the book "Got a Revolution!" Crosby tells how incredible their former frontwoman was Grace Slick. He said:
"At the time, Slick was reigning with Janis Joplin. They were the real queens of rock! As for Grace, the power of her voice and her personality made her a stunning counterculture icon and role model. When they got Grace in the band, it was just unbelievable... She was amazing. She had a strength in her veins and a power on stage that Stevie Nicks could only dream of."
A potential "third queen."
After Crosby was kicked out of The Byrds, he came across a young Joni MitchellCrosby, who performed at the Coconut Grove Club in Florida, was immediately smitten. They then had a brief and volatile affair, which Crosby described as "falling into a cement mixer".
"She's a troubled woman and very, very crazy!"
The year they spent together was, to put it mildly, dysfunctional. Unsurprisingly, their relationship didn't last long, but they remain good friends even today. Still, Crosby brought Joni to the bright lights of Los Angeles and helped her launch her career. But she, in turn, taught him a thing or two. In the same interview, Crosby called Mitchell "the best songwriter alive, as good as Bob Dylan, and ten times a better musician than himself." Looking back on that relationship, David emphasises:
"I wouldn't say it was fun, but it was pretty darn instructive. I loved all the complicated chord conversions you hear in jazz, but I wasn't good enough to play them, and then Joni showed me how to retune my guitar..."
Despite the fact that he spoke admiringly of the Grace Slick and Janis Joplin., and at the same time managed to disparage the Stevie Nicks, Crosby's understanding seems entirely correct.
Slick's voice and personality were really only comparable to Joplin, and it was together that they showed that women could summit in a male-dominated music industry.