David Crosby on Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and The Byrds

The Croz lifts the lid on the ups and downs of his life and career

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“Ask me anything you want…” In this feature from Uncut’s February 2014 issue (Take 201), David Crosby discusses the shooting skills of Crosby, Stills And Nash, why Joni Mitchell is better than Bob Dylan, and the dangers of being a “wake-and-bake”… Interview: Andy Gill

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Let’s set some ground-rules,” says David Crosby when we meet. Then, without missing a beat: “There aren’t any! Ask me anything you want.” His eyes twinkle infectiously as his face breaks into a smile, the lips barely visible behind that legendary walrus moustache. In the UK for some CSN shows, he’s dressed today in black trousers and the kind of loose dark top favoured by gents of a certain age and size. Later on, comparing dietary regimens (“Remember this: white flour in bread starts turning to sugar in your mouth, in the saliva, before it even gets to your oesophagus”), he admits, “I was quite large myself, and I went from 240 to 200 so far, and I’ve got another 15 to go.” A good few ounces of that could be shaved off by a barber, by the looks of things, as Croz’s freak-flag still flies proudly, if a little more thinly, round his shoulders.

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He’s understandably looking a bit more venerable than the last time I interviewed him, eight years ago, but there’s no mistaking the youthful spirit that still courses through him – the sly wit, the urge to subvert, the righteous opinions. But this spirit is tempered by the wry self-deprecation of the chastened hedonist, who took things to the edge and barely made it back before toppling over. At one point, as we compare surgery experiences, Croz pulls up his shirt to reveal an L-shaped scar traversing his entire torso, occasioned by the liver transplant that rescued him from the depredations of self-abuse. It’s heartening to report that this man famed for having the best drugs, the hottest women, the fastest cars and the sweetest harmonies, should now possess the best scar.

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The Velvet Underground, The Black Crowes, Bunny Wailer, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson, Blake Mills, Postcard Records, Mogwai and The Selecter
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