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David Crosby Explains How He Became the ‘A–hole Twitter Deserves’

Imeh Akpanudosen, Getty Images
Imeh Akpanudosen, Getty Images

Veteran artist David Crosby has recalled how he discovered social media on his deathbed – and how he came to be labeled as “the a–hole Twitter deserves.”

The 75-year-old singer-songwriter has learned to take controversy in stride over the decades, with his most recent outbursts having extended the rifts between former colleagues Neil Young and Graham Nash.

But his 70,000 Twitter followers know that’s part of daily business. They know about his slamming of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and about his bashing of Kanye West for calling himself “the greatest living rock star in the world.” They’re prepared for one-word put-downs if they ask for reviews of their own music, short shrift if they want to work with him and curt shut-downs if they ask him to discuss things he doesn’t want to talk about.

Esquire last year branded him “the a–hole Twitter deserves” – but he doesn’t seem too bothered. Asked in a follow-up interview about his reaction, Crosby said, “I love to communicate with people. I’m fascinated by other humans. Some of the questions are dumb. ‘What was it really like at Woodstock?’ Well, f–, I can’t remember. I was stoned! I’m tired of having it asked. ‘Which comes first, the words or the music?’ I get a lot. Often, though, I’ll get something that’s really intelligent. I have fun with it. I love to talk to people.”

He was in the hospital in 1994 when he was introduced to an early digital communication channel created by the publishers of ’60s counter-culture magazine Whole Earth Catalog via American author Steve Silberman. “I was … waiting to die,” he recalled. “They were trying to find me a liver and it was getting pretty grim.

“I was lying there terrified and lonely,” he continued. “Steve said, ‘Come on here, this is how you do it.’ He turned me onto being online in the first place. Twitter and all these things I use now are a natural extension of coming out of that well. I’ll get something insightful and good, and that’s great. Then there are people who I just can’t resist taking a shot at. I’m trying to learn to work Facebook but it’s much more limited – you can’t respond quite the same way. I don’t get the same kind of buzz.”

Crosby has three U.S. dates lined up in February, to support the release of fifth solo album, Lighthouse, which arrived last year. Meanwhile, he’s just confirmed his next record is likely to be entitled Sky Tails, and that he’s recently completed recording vocals for the project.

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