Q&A: David Crosby: "Songs Are Always the Key to the Whole Thing"

The singer and songwriter comes to town with Graham Nash.

Last year, when I chatted with Graham Nash before the opening of the photo exhibit he curated at EMP, the singer/songwriter talked about the "very interesting" role that super-producer Rick Rubin was playing in the creation of Crosby, Stills, and Nash's covers record. By the time Nash and longtime partner David Crosby hit the WaMu Theater on Wednesday, the band will have been divorced from both Rubin—the producer behind acclaimed albums from artists like the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Johnny Cash—and Columbia Records for several months. Crosby tells me that we should still expect a covers record from CSN, but without Rubin's fingerprints. For more of what he had to say about Bob Dylan, Fleet Foxes, and Eddie Vedder, visit seattleweekly.com/reverb. SW: What are you up to today? Crosby: I just finished a good omelet, and am now doing my homework. Nervous about the first show of the tour tonight? Not at all. You ever get nervous when you perform? I have sometimes. But usually it's for something really huge like opening for Paul McCartney or something like that where you're being compared, and you know you're going to come off as second-best. What's it like working with Rick Rubin? It wasn't any fun at all. It didn't work. We tried to make a record with him for two years and got nothing that I would put out with my name on it, and then went into the studio and did it ourselves—which is how we made all the good records, we produced them ourselves—and got four things in five days. Even a guitar player can do the math on that one. Have you been writing any music? I've been writing a ton. It's very unusual for somebody my age to be writing this much. It might well be some of the best stuff I've ever done in my life. Why is that? Well, 'cause the songs are good. Songs are always the key to the whole thing. Too much of pop music is just sort of manufactured crud that they then polish a whole lot, and it's still crud. If you don't start out with a song that makes you feel something in the first place, you're just not really doing it. What's sparked the sudden burst of inspiration? Is it what you're putting in your omelets in the morning? I wish it was. If it were something we could control, writers of all kinds—songwriters and book writers and poets—we'd all be cranking out stuff every day. We all have to be patient, make a space for it, and wait for the muse to come. ckornelis@seattleweekly.com

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