BRIAN LAMB, HOST: David Crosby, "Teach Your Children" was recorded when?
Mr. DAVID CROSBY (Author, "Stand and Be Counted"): "Teach Your Children" was--you're asking me hard stuff right away. "Teach Your Children" was recorded in about 1969--1970 I think-- '69.
LAMB: Where'd you get the idea for the song?
Mr. CROSBY: It's Nash's song, and he got the idea for it from something quite natural that all of us have, which is wanting to pass along, you know, truth to our kids, not lie to them and the hope, you know, that if we give them good information, they may do a better job than we did. I think it's one of the best of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young songs that ever came out. You know, I wish I had been the author, but I'm proud to sing it.
LAMB: You talk about that and a lot of other songs and concerts in the book "Stand and Be Counted." Why did you write the book?
Mr. CROSBY: I wrote the book for several reasons. One, because we found--David Bender, my co-author, and I found that no one else had written anything about it. I have always been, you know, sort of an activist at least since--well, quite a ways back there, and I've always been fascinated with, you know, human courage, with people having the guts to stick up for what they believe in. And when it occurred to me to maybe try to write something about, you know, benefits, peace marches, civil rights demonstrations and the use of music as a focal point for those, I said, `David, you know, has anybody written anything about this?' And he came back and he said, `No.' I said, `Come on.' He said, `No, there isn't anything. Not a word.'
So then we looked at it, and, you know, here's--the two major, you know, phenomena of the last 50 years in the United States are probably the--in some people's view anyway, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Well, the civil rights movement was activism entirely. That's what fueled it, that's what Martin Luther King was, you know. And the Vietnam War was strongly affected by activism. And nobody had looked at it from the point of view of: How does music affect--you know, how was music used, you know, to gather people in these causes? And we started looking at it further, and it just fascinated us, so we couldn't help write it.
LAMB: When's the first time you ever did a concert for a benefit that had something to do with politics?
Mr. CROSBY: Politics...
LAMB: Or something affected by it.
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah, something--you know, politics is-different issue.
Mr. CROSBY: We have to get into that one. That's where it really gets tricky. The first time that I remember doing a benefit was--I think the first one might have been one that Nash and I did for Jane Fonda for a thing called the Winter Soldier Investigation, which was fueling the exposure of the My Lai massacre. It was either that one or one that we did in San Francisco, where we split the proceeds between a whale-saving organization and the United Farm Workers.
LAMB: Over the years, what have you felt the strongest about when it comes to issues?
Mr. CROSBY: I feel pretty strongly about all of the ones that I get involved in. I think it was--I think we were all very passionate about the war. The war in Vietnam was such a divisive issue. The country was so polarized. You either were really, really strongly against it, or you were, you know, Richard Nixon. And we--I think probably that was the strongest fuel, although, after Kent State, you know, it was pretty hard not have that be paramount, you know, in our minds. When a country starts shooting its own children, you know, that's something that's not right.
LAMB: How long have you been playing music?
Mr. CROSBY: Let me think now. Since I was about six.
LAMB: What year was that?
Mr. CROSBY: Right after the Civil War.
LAMB: About 1947?
Mr. CROSBY: How accurate. How accurate you are, sir. Yes, about that.
LAMB: Why did you get into music?
Mr. CROSBY: My parents played music. My mom sang in choirs. My father played the mandolin. My brother played guitar. We used to sing folk songs around the fire at night. You know, we were just a musical family.
LAMB: Where did you grow up?
Mr. CROSBY: I grew up in Los Angeles, up until about fifth grade, and then went to--moved to Santa Barbara, which is a wonderful place and I still live near there.
LAMB: What did your parents do?
Mr. CROSBY: My father was a cinematographer; that's a cameraman in film. He won one of the first Academy Awards they ever gave out for a film called "Tabu." Did you ever see "High Noon?" My father shot "High Noon." He was a very, very good cinematographer.
LAMB: How about your mom?
Mr. CROSBY: My mom was a mom. She came from the days when moms were moms and that was all moms got to do. And she was a very sweet lady, very artistic. I think she could have been a good poet or a good painter, either one.
LAMB: Did you go to college?
Mr. CROSBY: One year, but they threw me out. I have to confess that I was thrown out of almost every school I was ever in.
LAMB: Do you know why?
Mr. CROSBY: Oh, yes, I know why. The question is: Will I tell you? I was somewhat of a disciplinary problem. I think they used to say I was a disruptive influence.
LAMB: Do you know why you were a disciplinary problem? Where'd it come from?
Mr. CROSBY: I think I didn't feel well with authority. Of course, now that I'm grown up, I mean, it's all completely different. No, not really. That character's still there.
LAMB: On page 67 in your book, there's a couple of paragraphs. Take me a minute or so to read it. It seemed to touch on a lot of different things, including your home life. If you don't mind, I'll read it and then ask you to break it down for us.
You say, `At the risk of calling into question my own current choice of staying straight, I still believe we were right about acid and we were right about pot. They did blow us loose from the past, and they did give us a new perspective, a way of setting ourselves apart from the rest of straight society. There's a kind of knowledge that acid gives you on a cellular level about what's really going on with birth and growth and death and everything else. Like it or not, it's true that psychedelics are a way--not the only way, but clearly an effective way--of gaining tremendous insight into life.
The government lied to us about so many things that we just assumed that everything it said was a lie.' Quote, "If you take that acid, you'll stare at the sun and burn out your eyes," unquote. You say, `Wrong.' Quote, "If you take that acid, you'll have bad babies," unquote. You say, `Wrong.' Quote, "If you take that acid, you'll immediately think you can fly and jump off a building." You say, `Wrong. So when they said that marijuana was a gateway drug and would lead to harder drugs, we just went, "Right, just like all the other stuff you told us that wasn't true."'
Mr. CROSBY: That's definitely me.
LAMB: What's all that about?
Mr. CROSBY: I think, you know, it speaks for itself. I, you know, of course, as you well know, got involved with much harder drugs and had to make a choice to not do anything in order to get away from those drugs. I found out that I was one of those people who's sort of built with no brakes, and so it doesn't serve me well to do anything. I don't even drink a beer. But I have found that, in ignorance and in an overzealous attempt, you know, to be anti-drug, that people in the straight world, particularly governmental sorts, tend to lump it all together, `Drugs, bad. Get away.'
Well, drugs are all different. They're all completely different. Their effect is different. Their source is different. Their level of involvement in your life is different. I have said this many times and I will say it again, even though I personally make the choice to not do anything: If my child came to me and said, you know, `Dad, I'm gonna go out and buy a quart of Jack Daniels or a quarter pound of pot. What should I do?' I'd say, `Hang on, I'll get you the pot,' because I think booze is far more damaging to you, you know.
So I think, you know, drugs are a complex issue, you know, and I personally think that the best way to go about it is to not have to do any at all, to just tune yourself to the kind of consciousness you want and stay there, which you can do. It doesn't have any side effect and you don't have to pay for it. I like that way.
But I don't approve of a lot of the way it's being dealt with in this country. You know, not that it has much to do with this book or activism, but no, I don't approve of how it's being dealt with. I think overzealous people, you know, have put in mandatory sentencing laws that take the--that make it so a judge can't be a judge. They're sentencing people, you know, to 10 years for two joints down in Texas still, and that's--it's a joke. It's a joke. You know, it's a bad joke.
I don't know, you know, when and if we'll be able to--you know, to straighten it out and get sane laws, you know, that separate out the various issues. You know, obviously, I think you should come down on coke and heroin as hard as you can. But then I think you should come down on drunk drivers as hard as you can, too. It's-you know, it's a complex issue.
LAMB: When did you stop?
Mr. CROSBY: 1985, December 10th.
LAMB: What was the reason?
Mr. CROSBY: They put me in prison.
LAMB: For what?
Mr. CROSBY: Dope and a gun, in Texas.
LAMB: And how did they-- what were the circumstances?
Mr. CROSBY: I got busted.
LAMB: Were you playing music at the time?
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah. I got busted repeatedly and, you know, one time I finally got busted and it wasn't, you know, something I could get out of and I wound up doing a year in prison. Again, not that it has much to do with this book, but it was--it served me well in terms of, you know, experience.
LAMB: What did you do during that year?
Mr. CROSBY: I read a great deal and I had the time to, you know, figure out who I was again.
LAMB: What did you find?
Mr. CROSBY: Found somebody I liked that I had lost.
LAMB: And what do you like about what you found? And give us...
Mr. CROSBY: Well, you know, I found a guy that's actually a pretty happy guy, that's pretty creative and has a lot of fun with life and can move forward and learn new things and grow and change and accomplish things. I'd pretty much lost track of that.
LAMB: Go back to the other part of this where you talk about the government lying. Where did you first feel the government lied to you?
Mr. CROSBY: I think government and lying is sort of synonymous almost. Don't think they mean to be, but the first case in my life where I knew the government had lied was--I remembered back when Radio Free Europe used to say, `Throw off your Communist masters and we will come to your aid.' And Budapest did, and we sat there and twiddled our thumbs and said, `Oh my, oh heavens, oh dear.' And then they sent in the tanks and crushed Budapest. And I said, `But wait a minute. We lied to these people. We told them we were going to save them if they'--that was the first time. There were many others.
LAMB: You have a chapter on political activism in which you talk-and by the way, how did you and David Bender do this together? Who is he, by the way?
Mr. CROSBY: David Bender has been my dear friend for many, many, many years, and he is one of the brightest human beings I know, and he's an accomplished writer and has been my political mentor for many years. He has worked in politics on a number of different levels, you know, aiding a number of people, and he knows more about it than I do by a very great deal. And so when I try to figure out why something happened or how something happened or who voted which way, he's the guy that I ask. And we became very close friends, and he's somebody that I enjoy writing with. I'm pretty sure we will write a number of books together.
LAMB: So how did you do the book together? What were the circumstances?
Mr. CROSBY: Excuse me for clearing my throat so much. He did all the research. We would do interview sessions where, you know, he would tape me. Then we would get those transcribed. Then we would find the cogent or lucid parts of those tapes, and we would take them and match them with sections that he would write, you know, and intersperse them, you know, so that it became a--you know, a single voice as nearly as we could do it, you know. And I think we succeeded.
LAMB: Let me read some of what you're saying in the book. `They'll tell you whatever you want to hear to get your help for whatever project is at hand, which is usually getting themselves re-elected. They want money for their campaigns, and they want you standing next to them if you're big enough. I've done it only rarely. It's a very dicey proposition. A few candidates--Ted Kennedy is one who comes to mind immediately--have stood up for principle, at least the principles that matter to me, and I've never regretted supporting someone like that. Others, like Bill Clinton, talk a pretty good game, but when push comes to shove, they find some way to wiggle out of the commitments they've made.'
Mr. CROSBY: Mm-hmm. That's true.
LAMB: Explain more of this. Have you been asked often by politicians to stand by them?
Mr. CROSBY: Entertainers get asked all the time. There's a thing that you may not know, which is that when an entertainer does a benefit concert for a politician, each ticket is an individual contribution. That's probably what you call a loophole because it means that we can give more than most people can. So we get approached a great deal. We get approached also for our visibility, you know.
My opinion of politicians, you know, varies from day to day, you know, and it depends on which one I'm talking about, too, because there are, you know--like any group of people, they have all kinds. There are guys in there that I think we should run out of town on a rail, you know, and there are people who are pretty much, you know, of good conscience but caught up in a bad system.
I feel very strongly about campaign finance reform because I think that the way it works right now--you know, a senator has to spend more than half his time, you know, out--whoring himself out to get money. And, of course, there are all those guys in the $2,000 suits just standing around dying to stuff it in his pockets, you know, from the corporations, because they want to buy a senator, they want to buy a congressman, they want that contract, and that takes our representative democracy out of your hands and my hand. It means it disenfranchises us, and I don't feel that that's the way it's supposed to work.
The guy with the most TV money isn't supposed to automatically get the election. The people who framed the Constitution did so in the Gutenberg age, and they did not envision the power of television, the power of mass media. And until we correct for that, until we make it so that there is a system--and I'm not smart enough to design the system; I don't know what it is. But until we can make a system that makes it so you can't just get $100 million by promising all kinds of unscrupulous behavior and take that $100 million over here and buy TV time and win the presidency (snaps fingers) like that, the system's out of whack. I mean, that's what's going on right now. That's what's going on right now in this election right now, both sides. You know, a plague on both their houses. They're both doing it.
And I know that's not how it's supposed to work, and I think most of the people in the United States know that's not how it's supposed to work. Everyone that I've ever talked to about it says, `Nah, why should I vote,' you know, `for Christ sakes? They're in there just buying it with--you know, throwing million-dollar bills at it. What can my--what the hell good is my vote gonna do?' Well, that vote is the key. The single vote of the informed electorate, in its mass, in its totality, is how this government is supposed to work, and it isn't working that way. And until we fix it, we got a mess.
LAMB: As we tape this interview, you are coming off of a 34-city tour?
Mr. CROSBY: Seems like about 134, but, yeah, something like that.
LAMB: When did it start?
Mr. CROSBY: Jeez, right after the Civil War. A long time ago. I don't remember.
LAMB: Like the first of the year.
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah, something like that.
LAMB: And who--what group is now--as you went around, who was the group? Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?
Mr. CROSBY: It was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which is why it was so big, because Neil was involved.
LAMB: How was the tour?
Mr. CROSBY: Unbelievable.
Mr. CROSBY: Very intense, very artistically satisfying, as much fun as I could possibly have. It was a delight.
LAMB: When did you come together first as Crosby, Stills & Nash?
Mr. CROSBY: '67, something like that.
LAMB: How long were you together?
Mr. CROSBY: We've always been together. The only year that we didn't play was the year I was in prison.
LAMB: When did Young join you?
Mr. CROSBY: The second record, "Déjà Vu." Matter of fact, he joined right after we made the first record.
LAMB: How many years of those have you played together? I mean, have you done concerts every one of those years, since '67?
Mr. CROSBY: Crosby, Stills & Nash, yes. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, no. Neil's--you know, went off on his own a long time ago and is a huge star. And having him with us was very exciting because he's a very exciting musician.
LAMB: How many albums have you made?
Mr. CROSBY: Don't know.
Mr. CROSBY: Many.
LAMB: You have a favorite album, a favorite song that you get asked about all the time?
Mr. CROSBY: Asking a guy what his favorite song is sort of like saying, `What's your favorite child?' You know, it's very tough to pick one.
LAMB: Well, let me ask you the other side of that question, one that you're always asked. I mean, do you say, `Oh, here we go again'?
Mr. CROSBY: It's too many. We have dozens, you know, of songs that were the soundtrack to people's lives. And that--I think that's why the tour was so strong, you know.
LAMB: Soundtrack to people's lives. Let me run a bit of a song that you made--you referred to it earlier on to Kent State--called "Ohio." And we'll listen a little bit and then ask you about this song.
(Excerpt from "Ohio")
LAMB: Circumstances. "Ohio," where'd you write that?
Mr. CROSBY: Neil wrote it in a place called Butano Canyon, and the circumstances were that somebody brought that magazine with the picture of the girl kneeling over the kid dead on the ground, and Neil looked at the picture and thought for a little while, and then he wrote that song. And we went immediately into the studio and recorded it, and we felt so strongly about it that we put it out right away. As a matter of fact, Nash did an incredible thing. We had "Teach Your Children" going up the charts like a rocket as a hit, and Nash took it off the market so that "Eight Miles"--I mean, so that "Ohio" could go on in its place because we felt it was that important. It's part of the function of a--you know, of who we are is to be troubadours, too, I think, and that was us doing that.
LAMB: How much do you think of what you did over the years, the Vietnam War, all the other issues you've been involved in, have had a direct effect?
Mr. CROSBY: Well, I don't know how much I did.
LAMB: With the group, music and concerts and...
Mr. CROSBY: You know, I don't know how much the group did. I know how much the overall effect of all of the people trying to affect things had. There isn't any question but what--we affected the Vietnam War. We made people, you know, choose. We made people look. We made people investigate. We made people question. And that affected the course of the war. There isn't any question about it. Even the government admits that it affected the course of the war. In the case of civil rights movement or the environmental movement or the, you know, the--any number of other movements, you know, we've had a definite effect.
Things don't change as fast as we would like them to because societies have inertia. There is societal inertia. And we thought we could stop that war in a year and it took us 10, you know. But at a certain point, some farmer in Iowa said, `I don't think this is right. I don't think I want my boy to go.' That was the day we won.
LAMB: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young--any of you serve in the military?
Mr. CROSBY: No.
LAMB: Did you ever--were you ever faced with the draft?
Mr. CROSBY: Yes, I was.
LAMB: What happened?
Mr. CROSBY: I told them I was a Commie, pinko, bedwetter, murderer, rapist, you know, firebug, everything else I could think of.
LAMB: Did it work?
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah.
LAMB: Did you really tell them that you were...
Mr. CROSBY: No, I had already been a convicted felon, and that's probably what got me out.
LAMB: You mean back in the '60s?
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah.
LAMB: What was that felony?
Mr. CROSBY: That one was for burglary. Naughty boy. Childhood prank.
LAMB: Page 13 of your book you say, `I think he scared them.' You're talking about JFK. This is right after the assassination.
Mr. CROSBY: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: `I think he scared them. I think the establishment was terrified that he was going to cave in and give the country away to the niggers,' and `niggers' is in italics.
Mr. CROSBY: Don't like the word. However, it's sort of a quote. I've heard people say that.
LAMB: `These were bigots and bad guys, but they weren't stupid. They saw what King was doing and that Kennedy was basically on his side. And both of them were dead within five years. Accident, you say? Crazy lone gunman? Yeah, right. Why were they dead? Because they were dangerous to the power structure of the country, King in particular. King patterned himself after Gandhi, a single man who non-violently ended British rule in India. King and Kennedy were dangerous men because they believed what we believed, that you could stand on principle and affect change for the better. They weren't saints. We know that now and it doesn't matter. What matters is that they were right.'
Mr. CROSBY: I think that's all true and I think--see, the thing about Kennedy was that the normal procedure, as we've already discussed here, is that a man running for president goes out and makes deals to get the money. He says, `If you give me, you know, 10million bucks, I guarantee you that that B-2 bomber will be built in your town.' And that's how they get the money.
Well, Jack Kennedy didn't have to do that. He already had the money. Uncle Joe had already made all the money, bootlegging, and he had plenty of money. That made him a very dangerous man. He did not have to make the normal sorts of deals that every other president has had to make. And that gave him an independence. And then he got his brother in there as attorney general, and it was starting to look pretty dynastic and pretty tough. He was starting to mess with things that were established patterns in this country, established power bases, and he didn't have to go to them hat in hand. So I think they did view him as a very dangerous man.
LAMB: You've screamed out at a concert or two, `The Warren report is a lie.'
Mr. CROSBY: I firmly believe the Warren report was a lie. Don't you?
LAMB: What happened?
Mr. CROSBY: What happened? Good question. I believe some very wonderful people--Dalton Trumbo directed it, and Robert Ryan and Will Geer acted in it--as a matter of fact, got out of their deathbeds with cancer to act in it. There was a movie called "Executive Action," and I believe it told pretty much an accurate story of what happened. It was a--you know, a hit, and it certainly was no lone gunman. You know, if you watch the Zapruder film, the guy got hit from two directions, there's no question about it. Also, I've been there and stood in Dealey Plaza behind the fence, and I could've hit him with a handgun. It's not very far.
LAMB: How'd you get interested in Tibet?
Mr. CROSBY: The same way most people do, man. It's beautiful. It's one of the oldest, most beautiful cultures on Earth, one of the world's great religions, Tibetan Buddhism. And I think, you know, I feel the way a lot of people do; that we're watching it be stamped out by, you know, the people who are running China--successfully stamped out of existence.
LAMB: You say in the book you're married to Jan, a Buddhist.
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah, she does practice Buddhism.
LAMB: Is this all tied together, your interest in that and...
Mr. CROSBY: No, I've always loved Tibet.
LAMB: What does it mean to be a Buddhist?
Mr. CROSBY: I'm not qualified to answer that.
LAMB: But go back to Tibet. I mean, Tibet has about six million people. I think it's two million inside and six-four million or five million around the edges, and it's inside China. Why is it you choose Tibet, say, over Rwanda?
Mr. CROSBY: I didn't choose it. And it's inside China because China took it. It was its own country, a beautiful country of its own, with its own culture and its own religion, and it doesn't deserve to simply be absorbed by the Chinese because they're big. Nor do we-nor should we allow them, you know, favored nation trading status and everything else just for, you know, big bucks and say, `Oh, it's OK if you trample your own people and steal a country or two. It's all right. Just buy enough of these TVs and everything's fine.' And I don't approve of that, and I don't have to and I'm not gonna. I think it stinks.
I was at a rally on the Capitol steps about it, and some aggressive woman reporter came up to me and said, `What do you think you're doing here? You're not gonna get China out of Tibet. Get real.' And I said, `You know, you're probably right.' I said, `But I am not able to sit idly by and just let it happen any more than I would have sat idly by in 1939 and said, "Oh, they're just Jews."' It's not
LAMB: How do you decide what concerts you'll be involved in for what causes?
Mr. CROSBY: It's very difficult. You have to prioritize. We get asked--people who are known to do benefits get asked, you know, to do 100 a year easily, and you sort of wind up picking areas, you know, that particularly, you know, appeal to you, things that are of particular concern to you. I like to do stuff that involves--that affects kids. I put on a benefit every year where I live to try and put music into the public school system.
But, you know, I do a lot. I've done a number of things for Voters for Choice. I do ones that affect the environment. I do, you know, most areas that--the one where I'm most careful is politics, you know, for reasons that we've discussed.
LAMB: One of the things you talk about in the book is Motor Voter. Did you all have something to do with that?
Mr. CROSBY: It's something that we strongly approve of. You know, registering people to vote any way you can do it--I don't care if they do it at McDonald's, if you can get people registered to vote, do it, you know. We need--this country is based upon--and it says in the papers there--an informed electorate that are willing to be involved, that are willing to go out and vote. That requires, A, that they be registered; B, that they be informed; and C, that they believe in the system. Right now they don't believe in the system.
LAMB: What's your reaction to the fact that reports on Motor Voter after it was passed says that they registered more Republicans than they did Democrats?
Mr. CROSBY: I don't care.
LAMB: Are you a member of a party?
Mr. CROSBY: Not really. I'm a constitutionalist. I strongly, strongly believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. I have voted Democratic more than I've voted Republican, let's put it that way. But I'm deeply disturbed by stuff that I see going on in both parties.
LAMB: Also involved in Rock the Vote, started in 1990 you say.
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah, we think that's a good one.
LAMB: It was, according to you, to fight right-wing attempts to censor music?
Mr. CROSBY: Don't like fight--don't like right-wing attempts--don't like any-wing attempts to censor music or anything else, but we do like Rock the Vote, because Rock the Vote tends to get younger people involved, you know. The younger voter getting involved in the system lends it credibility in a way that we need very badly.
LAMB: How many children do you have?
Mr. CROSBY: Well, three that I am raising and two that another family are raising.
LAMB: Explain that.
Mr. CROSBY: I don't think that's really what we came to talk about.
LAMB: But it's in the book. I mean, you write about your son in the book that you hadn't seen for a lot of years.
Mr. CROSBY: Well, I have a son, Django, my youngest, who is the light of my life. I have a daughter, Donovan...
LAMB: How old is your youngest son?
Mr. CROSBY: He's four and a half. I have a daughter, Donovan Ann, who is 23, who is an animator and illustrator, brilliant. Very proud of her. I have a son, James Raymond, who was given up for adoption by his mom at birth, whom I only came in contact with about four years ago, five years ago, who, without knowing that I was his father, became a musician. He's a brilliant musician. He's a better musician than I am, and he and I have a band called CPR. That's a great deal of joy to me. And then I am the genetic father of both of Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher's kids, but I'm not their parent. I'm simply the genetic donor and very proud of it. They're very great kids, and they have a great family.
LAMB: Now back to Raymond?
Mr. CROSBY: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: What do you tell somebody like Raymond or even your younger kids about all the things you've learned through life, that are--it's in this book, all these different experiences? Do you try to give them advice about politics, about drugs, about...
Mr. CROSBY: My grown children have very strong opinions about it of their own and don't need much, you know, in terms of me telling them, you know, what I think. They pretty much know what I think; that I'm a fairly outspoken person. What I'm going to tell Django as he grows up, you know, I'd rather show him than tell him. I'd rather that he watched how I live my life and what choices I make and that he, you know, either emulate those or not, as he sees fit.
LAMB: You had a liver transplant.
Mr. CROSBY: I did.
Mr. CROSBY: November 18th, 1994.
LAMB: And what was the reason?
Mr. CROSBY: Hepatitis C. It's an amazing plague upon the land now. There's, I think--well, the National Institute of Health came out and said they thought there were probably 2.7 million cases inside the United States. The World Health Organization puts it closer to five million cases inside the United States, probably 80 percent of whom don't know they have it, and they're merrily passing it along.
LAMB: How do you get it?
Mr. CROSBY: Blood transfer, primarily, but it got all through the blood supply and all through the population before we realized that it existed. And, you know, blood transfer can just be, you know, the same toothbrush. It doesn't take a lot of blood. In the rest of the world, they think there's probably 120 million cases, almost all of whom don't know they have it, and only in Western Europe and in North America can they even test for it, and they have no treatment for it whatsoever, you know, really, that is--I mean, that's not true. They have treatments for it, but they're effective only in a small percentage of the cases, maybe 30.
LAMB: How long did you have to wait?
Mr. CROSBY: I had to wait a long time. I was 71 days in the hospital, and I came within days of dying before we got a matchup.
LAMB: How are you doing now?
Mr. CROSBY: I am very healthy.
LAMB: Couple things in the book I wanted to ask you about. You mention a number of performers like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and Phil Ochs and others that, in the middle of their performances, were either drunk or high on drugs or whatever, and it just--as I kept reading, I kept asking, `If you're having such a good time at this business, why were people using so much substance when they're entertaining?'
Mr. CROSBY: You got me on that. I really don't know why we felt that we should or could, you know, but we did. It was just how you did things, and I wish the heck we hadn't. Personally, myself, I know I can do a better job when I'm straight. I can remember the words better, and I'm much more focused and I'm much more in tune with the audience if I'm not stoned.
LAMB: The other thing you reveal is the temperament of some of your fellow musicians. I mean, the stories like--I'm remembering one of them--Madonna was coming into some event, and her bodyguard--I can't remember the person--forced some well-known entertainer to look the other way when she walked by. Do you remember the story?
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah, I do.
LAMB: Who was it?
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah. It was a friend of mine. Teddy Mac Holbert was told to avert his eyes, which I think may well have just been, you know, an excess of zeal on the part of the security people, but if it came from the star in question, it certainly shows something about how they feel about themselves.
LAMB: And you quote in here Bob Dylan--at one point, somebody's talking to him in the middle of a concert, saying, `I hope we can play "Blowin' in the Wind" and get the heck out of here,' and he looks very temperamental throughout your whole book. What's the story?
Mr. CROSBY: Bob isn't--no, temperamental's too light a word to describe Bob. Bob is extremely complex, and he's also very much his own man, and he makes his own decisions about what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. He's not easily manipulatable. That was an aside that he made to Joan Baez that he didn't know anybody heard, but the microphone was on, and we got the tape.
LAMB: Are you at all worried about some of these stories, that they're being told for the first time here, or...
Mr. CROSBY: No, not really. It's not a tell-all kind of book, you know. What it is mainly, more than anything else, is it's a primer, a way to get a glimpse at the idea that you can make a difference; that one person can stick up for what they believe in and make a difference. And it shows you how various people have done that. It traces also this line that we see, anyway, from, you know, Thoreau to Gandhi to King to us. You know, there's a line there, there's a connection there, you know.
And even when the connection isn't there, this seems to occur quite naturally in people of good conscience. There seems to be an ethic that spontaneously combusts in people, where they say, `Gee, you know, that's not right. I can't just sit here and watch this go on and not say something.' Or they say, `Gee, you know, I could make that better. I could help here. I think I will.' And what we've found is that that's the case, and we're very happy with it. When we see that in human beings, it elevates human beings.
I think one of the things we found is that not only does, you know, being an activist and doing benefits and doing, you know, good work help in whatever you're trying to help, that it helps you. It elevates your life. It without question has, you know, helped my life, and every single person that I've talked to about it says that it has elevated theirs, that it's quite possibly their favorite part of the whole thing.
LAMB: Tell us a little bit about each of your fellow band members. Stephen Stills, what's he like?
Mr. CROSBY: Fiery, strong, bright, immensely creative, stubborn. Good man.
LAMB: You're 58. How old is he?
Mr. CROSBY: A year younger.
LAMB: Graham Nash.
Mr. CROSBY: A gentleman, a man who came out of one of the toughest industrial cities in Europe and educated himself, made himself, read himself, learned himself into being a world-class authority on art, a collector of art whose collection tours museums, brilliant photographer, a mensch. One of the nicest men I've ever met.
LAMB: You all think alike?
Mr. CROSBY: Not at all.
LAMB: On politics?
Mr. CROSBY: Not even in politics, no. We're not similar people. I think that's one of the reasons that the chemistry works as well as it does.
LAMB: Neil Young.
Mr. CROSBY: Canadian, brilliant, very, very much of an individual. I've never met anybody like him--focused, tremendously focused human being. Has it worked out very clearly what's important to him and what's not; spends his time only on that which is.
LAMB: You say he has two kids with cerebral palsy.
Mr. CROSBY: He has two kids. I don't think both of them have cerebral palsy. He has one kid who has cerebral palsy very seriously, yes.
LAMB: And you do concerts called The Bridge School Concert. What is that?
Mr. CROSBY: The Bridge School is a wonderful school that Neil and Pegi--mostly Pegi Young--have started to aid kids who are unable to communicate with their own voice, to enable them to communicate with the world. There are a great many kids who have CP or other kinds of nerve, you know, impairment, who are still home in there. They're in there, you know. And they have tried to find a way to bridge that gap--hence `Bridge'--through the use of computers, through other kinds of ways, to allow these kids to communicate with their outside world. And it's a very brave effort and one that we support very strongly.
LAMB: What's the Seva Foundation?
Mr. CROSBY: Seva Foundation is wonderful group of people who try to do good all over the world. They became famous for a mobile eye clinic that went into areas of the world like Nepal and Bhutan and Tibet and northern India, and saved people's sight who otherwise simply would have gone blind from things that, in this country, nobody would be blind from: you know, glaucoma and stuff that we can operate on here, nothing, no problem. There, no surgeon, no lab. So they flew one in.
LAMB: When you do these concerts--you talk about a lot of the money that's being raised. How do you assure yourself that somebody's not ripping people off?
Mr. CROSBY: We do the homework.
LAMB: In what way?
Mr. CROSBY: Well, we either run it ourselves, which I do in the case of the one that I do every year in Santa Ynez, where I live, or we get somebody that we trust. There's a guy that many of us use named Tom Campbell. He runs an outfit called Guacamole. Tom's a pretty amazing individual. He is currently out there planning the Earth Day celebration tomorrow, where I'm going to play. And he has done stuff from as few as 50 people up to the MUSE concerts, where we filled Battery Park with a quarter of a million people after doing five nights at Madison Square Garden. He's a very honest man. He's pretty much of a curmudgeon, but definitely an honest man.
LAMB: Isn't he the one that threw Paul Simon off the stage once?
Mr. CROSBY: Might be.
LAMB: You tell that in the book.
Mr. CROSBY: Might be.
LAMB: What happened?
Mr. CROSBY: I don't know. I wasn't watching.
LAMB: Yeah, but you say in the book that you--that's never been told before.
Mr. CROSBY: I don't think it has been. I don't think he knew it was Paul.
LAMB: You don't think to this day he knew it was Paul Simon?
Mr. CROSBY: I think he found out later, you know.
LAMB: Why did he throw him off the stage?
Mr. CROSBY: Oh, he probably didn't have a pass. We tend to do that, you know. If you think you're very recognizable, you don't wear your pass. You know, you assume that your face is your pass. I do that all the time.
LAMB: Why is it so many--and I'm taking it from your book--so many stars are so temperamental?
Mr. CROSBY: I don't know if we're temperamental. I think it's more complex than that. We're--you know, we tend to be strongly opinionated. We tend to be intelligent. We tend to be fiercely emotional, and that could be read as temperamental. But I don't think it's as lightweight as temperamental. I don't think it's just a fit of a pique and `Oh, I can't stand this suit. Just throw it away.' I think it's that we're strongly emotional people and we feel things very strongly, and I think, you know, people see that.
LAMB: Well, there's another reference in here, correct me if I'm wrong--there's a Whitney Houston story about--was it her bodyguards moving Whoopi Goldberg out of the way someplace in one of these concerts?
Mr. CROSBY: Yeah. Dumb move.
Mr. CROSBY: Whoopi's one of the smartest, toughest, best people on Earth. You don't want to be on Whoop's bad side.
LAMB: John Mellencamp is quoted in here as saying, "I don't want any part of any of this stuff."
Mr. CROSBY: John's a very independent guy, but a good-hearted guy. Even though he says he doesn't want any part of any of this stuff, he does Farm Aid every year, because he--you know, Farm Aid's a very clean machine. There are benefit organizations, I mean, very well-known ones--we'll pick United Crusades simply because it's there--that take, you know, 60 percent of the money for administration (holds nose). Then there are places like Farm Aid that kick 83 percent--82 percent, 83 percent of the money out the door. Farm Aid's a clean machine. Farm Aid has the support of everybody that I know of in the entire entertainment industry. Any of us would do it any time.
LAMB: What was the fund-raiser that took 11 years to get the money to UNICEF?
Mr. CROSBY: That was Bangladesh.
LAMB: When did that happen?
Mr. CROSBY: That happened early on. I'm not sure of the exact year, but the problem was lawyers, lawyers. Shakespeare was right about the lawyers.
LAMB: You raised $13 million.
Mr. CROSBY: Well, I didn't, but it did, yeah.
LAMB: And it took 11 years to get that money free?
Mr. CROSBY: Like I said, Shakespeare was right about the lawyers.
LAMB: How many concerts a year do you do now?
Mr. CROSBY: It varies from year to year, but probably 20, you know, sometimes 10, sometimes more, you know. I do as many as I can fit into my life. Having nearly died, I've realized, you know, that I have a very limited span here and that time is the final currency-not money, not power; it's time--and so I try to use every second of my time as wisely as I can, and that means spending a great deal of it with my kids and my wife. And--but I--you know, I believe in trying to, you know, do good where you can. I think it's a good thing to do.
LAMB: Looking back after all the experiences you've had, what do you think of the country?
Mr. CROSBY: This country?
LAMB: This country.
Mr. CROSBY: I think it's the finest defense of personal freedom that exists on the face of the planet. Certainly the best country there is.
LAMB: What would you change right now, if you could?
Mr. CROSBY: I would change the political system insomuch as I would unquestionably change, as I said, campaign finance reform. The elections are not supposed to be for sale. It's that simple. That's not how it's supposed to work. Short of that, I think the country's working pretty well. We're doing--you know, certainly lots of things are still wrong, you know, here, but we're working on them.
LAMB: Now you also indicate in the book that you've done a documentary.
Mr. CROSBY: We did a documentary as we were doing this book. When I went to Whoopi, who's one of the people who--that I asked, as a friend, you know, to participate, she said, `Sure, but you have to bring your camera.' And I said, `Why?' And she said, `Because it's supposed to be a documentary, fool.' And I said, `Oh.' And I was taken a little aback because my father made documentaries, and I know how hard it is to make a documentary.
Documentaries are very tough to get the money for. Nothing blows up, there's no car chases, nobody takes their clothes off, so it's very tough. But we did--a very kind, very good man named Norm Waitt gave us--you know, heard about the project and gave us the money to make the documentary, and the documentary is going to be on The Learning Channel on August 22nd and 23rd, two hours a night for two nights.
LAMB: And how much of what you have in the book is in the documentary?
Mr. CROSBY: Way more.
LAMB: What'd you think of all this experience of doing a book?
Mr. CROSBY: I thought the experience of doing this one was wonderful. It made me look at something that I have always loved, I have always--as I said at the beginning of this conversation, loved the courage, you know, for--the people that stand up for what they believe in. Doing the book let me take a close look at that.
LAMB: We're going to close with another one of your tunes, "Judy Blue Eyes." When'd you do this first?
Mr. CROSBY: That was one of the first songs we recorded. That's what, 1967?
LAMB: What's the story behind it?
Mr. CROSBY: Well, Stills says it's about him falling in love with a very beautiful, blue-eyed girl named Judy.
LAMB: Who's Judy?
Mr. CROSBY: Collins.
LAMB: Who wrote the song?
Mr. CROSBY: Stephen Stills.
LAMB: Our guest, David Crosby, with David Bender for this book, "Stand and Be Counted." Thank you.
Mr. CROSBY: Thank you.
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