David Crosby, the outspoken founding member of CSNY and The Byrds, turns his wry and unstinting eye to a fascinating, prickly subject: himself.
Known to millions as the trickster poster boy for folkrock utopia and the inspiration for Dennis Hopper's wild-eyed antihero in the film Easy Rider, David Crosby is every bit the quintessential American icon of the counterculture today that he was in the sixties and seventies. Legendary, controversial, beloved, he is never far from the headlines, as the upcoming (Summer 2006) 50-city reunion tour of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young will demonstrate once again.
Since Then is both a self-skewering look at the twists and turns of an impossibly rich life, and Crosby's confident declaration that it's far too soon for him to don the robe and slippers of Generational Elder. As a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he has an unparalleled legacy as a singer, songwriter, and musician-and few would object if he were to rest on his laurels. Yet despite Crosby's history of extravagant excess, he's never forgotten his great good fortune, and has never stopped using his enormous gifts in service of both his art and social causes to which he is committed.
This memoir shows the contradictory aspects to a personality whose truth-to-power outspokenness, exuberance, and creativity have made him a great and inspirational artist, yet whose struggles with private demons have resulted in arrests, chronic health issues, and ruined friendships. It discusses frankly the people and events that have drastically altered his definition of "family": raising ten-year-old son Django, with lover/wife/partner, Jan; reuniting with his adult son, musician James Raymond, while Crosby waited in the hospital for a life-saving liver transplant; becoming sperm donor to Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher. Above all, it illuminates how, despite a staggering series of personal setbacks-including hepatitis C, liver failure, diabetes, heart attacks, and a crippling motorcycle accident-the music, and the people he loves, keep him young at heart.
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David Crosby, the legendary singer/songwriter/ rock-and-roll bandleader from The Byrds (Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and the psychedelic classic "Eight Miles High") and the "first initial" of the legendary Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Throughout his career, from its beginnings in the socially conscious burgeoning California folk scene in the early sixties, his surprising views on gun control, his recovery from drug abuse and deteriorating health, and his influence on a whole new generation of folk-oriented singer/songwriters, Crosby has remained an icon of counterculture, an advocate for social responsibility, and a thorn in the side of hypocrites of all stripes.
Carl Gottlieb wrote the screenplay for Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg; directed the Steve Martin short film The Absent-Minded Waiter, which was nominated for an Academy Award; won an Emmy Award for his work on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; and coauthored Long Time Gone with David Crosby, a New York Times bestseller. Other writing credits include such classic TV sitcoms as All in the Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Bob Newhart Show.
It's been 18 years since Crosby and Gottlieb's first tome on the former's lurid rock-star life, Long Time Gone (1988), and the Croz hasn't stopped making news. He survived an earthquake and near-death experiences involving a motorcycle, hepatic failure, and arterial disease. He has done exemplary service as a major, major substance abuser who cleaned up; returned to recording and performing with Nash, Stills, and sometimes even Young; been arrested in New York City for possessing a gun and some weed; endured the recovered drug-abuser community's tut-tutting over his "fall" after 16 years' sobriety; and become a celebrity political activist. Less known but well reported here, Crosby lost all his money (his manager-accountant had an investing jones that he slaked with his clients' cash) just as the earthquake hit and a liver transplant loomed. He met a son given up for adoption as an infant in 1961--and formed a new band with him--and then a daughter from another relationship. He and his fellow ex-abuser wife, Jan, finally succeeded in having a child, now 11. His estranged and hermetic older brother died a suicide. He joined a fight (still not over) against a land deal that would put a casino in his backyard. All that, and personal assessments of the popular music biz (interesting) and the political situation (standard so-called lefty ranting, not well informed), with the whole shebang presented in movielike achronology and bolstered by plenty of Crosby acquaintances' interpolated testimonies, makes for a packed but absorbing book. Ray Olson
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