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Excerpt: "There are people who I just can't resist taking a shot at. You know, like Trump. I called him a walking intelligence-free zone."

David Crosby. (photo: Rolling Stone)
David Crosby. (photo: Rolling Stone)

David Crosby: Trump Is a "Walking Intelligence-Free Zone"

By Jeff Slate, Esquire

30 December 16


The rock legend sounds off on Kanye, Trump, and using Twitter as a medium to connect with fans—and enemies.

ast summer, Esquire's own Matt Miller wrote a great piece about rock legend David Crosby's Twitter feed, chronicling Crosby's no-holds-barred takes on electronic music, unfiltered responses to fans, and even his brutal assessment of an aspiring musician seeking his imprimatur. Summing it up, Miller wrote, "David Crosby is the asshole Twitter deserves."

When I heard that Crosby was rehearsing for his current tour in Brooklyn, I asked if I could swing by and chat with him about Miller's piece and what it is about Twitter that he finds so engaging. But when we met at the recording studio owned by Snarky Puppy's Michael League, who produced Crosby's excellent new album Lighthouse, he launched into a roundabout explanation involving mercenary autograph hounds.

"They used to be people who were fans," Crosby began, clearly exasperated. "We did a signing at Barnes and Nobles, and I figured that all of the people there were total fans, and that they'd never sell the albums. But there were nine of them I'd signed for sale on eBay that night, before we even got back to the hotel. Nine of them. Nine! So, what's happened with me is I'm sick of it, because they're outside the hotel, and the same guys are probably waiting outside this studio right now. So I just stopped doing it."

ESQ: Yeah, well Ringo doesn't sign anything anymore either…

David Crosby: His are worth a lot more than mine, I can tell you that!

So what you're saying is that Twitter has become your conduit to people that are your actual fans?

Yeah. It just bugged me that they're so dishonest about it. You know, and they say, "No! You can sign it and you can put my name!" Man, like that changes anything, you dim bulb.

How did you discover Twitter? And what is it about it that resonates for you?

OK, let's back up. I love to communicate with people. I love to talk to people. I'm fascinated by other humans.

When we first met a few years back, and I walked into your hotel room, within five minutes it was like we were friends. You're very relaxed around people, considering all you've been through.

Well, you're good at communicating, and you like it, too, and so I like that. People fascinate me. Anyway, so somebody showed me Twitter. I don't even remember who. It might have been Steve Silberman, who's on there a lot. He's a brilliant guy. Wrote for Wired. Wrote an unbelievably good book about autism. But as soon as I started doing it, I developed my own way of communicating. I don't do that hashtag this. I'm not like Questlove, who's got something like three million people following him.

Do you even know how many you have?

Well, the last time I checked, it's like 60,000.

And they're real people. That's the cool thing. You didn't buy them.

Well, no.

Unlike Donald Trump…

Yeah… [Squints eyes and rubs hands together]

We'll get there. Don't worry.

Blagh! Just let me crack him across… I would run that guy over with a garbage truck! Anyway, so I got on there and I started fooling around and, yeah, some of the questions are dumb. "What was it really like at Woodstock?" Well, fuck I can't remember. I was stoned!

But that's an answer, and one that your followers would love.

I'm tired of having it asked, you know? Woodstock? Come on, I've been asked about it 100,000 times.

Well, there are people who are just discovering it. You've gotta give them some love, too.

Yeah, but you know, it's a legend that they want to participate in, but it gets bigger with time. And I am tired of being asked that. But I'm also one of the last people that's alive that played there, so I get what you're saying.

The last man standing gets to tell the tale.

Often, though, I'll get somebody who asks me something that's really intelligent. Really good. Not "which comes first, the words or the music?"—which I get a lot—but something insightful and good, and, fuck, that's great. And then there are people who I just can't resist taking a shot at. You know, like Trump. I called him a walking intelligence-free zone. And you know, man, I lit such a tweetstorm! There were people responding, clearly very upset, "HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT ABOUT A GREAT AMERICAN?" and just trying to chew pieces off me.

Then there was the Kanye thing. What happened there was that he was at Galstonbury, and some radio guy took that song, "Bohemian Rhapsody," and showed how Freddie Mercury sang it and then he cut to Kanye trying to do it. And Kanye can't sing his way out of a paper bag. And he doesn't know shit about Freddie. So he sounded terrible. Terrible. And so then he comes out and says "I'm the greatest living rockstar in the world." So I wrote, "Would somebody please drive him over to Stevie Wonder's house." 'Cause man, I'm sorry buddy, you're not. And then I said, "Would somebody please buy him a collection of Ray Charles' records, so he can learn how to sing." Because Ray's my favorite singer. You know, he's just an easy target. I wouldn't have gone off on him if he hadn't been such a pompous asshole about saying how fucking cool he was. Because he's not.

Well, that's the thing about your Twitter: It's either taking down pompous assholes, or answering interesting questions, or just interacting with random people. I find that kind of wonderful. I told the guy who wrote the piece about your Twitter account for Esquire about how I was in your hotel room and you were on Twitter—I was watching you do it—and it was really entertaining! Because you had something you just had to say. I remember you greeted me at the door and said, "I gotta get this in. Hang on a second!"

"I can't believe he said that!" Yeah, I have fun with it. I'm trying to learn how to work Facebook, but Facebook is not as good as Twitter to me. It's much more limited, because you can't respond quite the same way.

Well, for someone like you, it's much more broadcasting than interactive.

It's more suited to the other kind of communication where your PR people are doing it. And I have one of those. And, you know, it's a professional Facebook page with like a half million people. You know, it's a lot. But it's not as good for me, in terms of the interplay. I don't get the same kind of buzz.

Your Facebook seems much more promotional, broadcasting—not really trying to offend anybody.

Well, you've got to watch out for the trolls.

Well, in that regard, Twitter seems much more dangerous.

Twitter, Facebook—you still have to watch out for the trolls. Somebody will troll you. But I just try to turn it around. "I could vote for Trump… or I could eat a live porcupine. Let me think. I'll go with the porcupine." But no, they don't leave you alone.

Are there people that you've met or interacted with in real life as a result of interacting with them on Twitter?

The very guy I mentioned earlier, Steve Silberman, who is one of the guys who turned me on to the Net in the first place. I was in UCLA hospital waiting to die—they were trying to find me a liver transfer, and it was getting pretty grim—and in the middle of the night one night I was lying there terrified, and lonely. And one of the first online communities was started by the guys who did the Whole Earth catalogs, a long time ago, even before there was a Twitter or a Facebook, and Steve said, "Come on here, this is how you do it." And he was very gentle and very nice. And super bright. So he turned me on to being online in the first place. He is such an insightful guy. So Twitter and all these things that I use now are a natural extension of coming out of that well. It was an interesting place then, because there wasn't anything else around like that, and there were a lot of fascinating people on there.

It's interesting how there's such a divide in the artistic community. There are people like yourself and Pete Townshend and David Bowie who embraced technology right away. "I'm checking this out! I'm in!" Though it wasn't a loud thing, it was a quiet thing.

Well, they're both really bright guys. They were pushing digital technology and the Internet to make records really early on. That technology has improved, now to the point where you could do it live, all at once. You could hook up a network and have four different people in four different countries playing a song together at the same…and it sounds amazing. your social media marketing partner


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-88 # markovchhaney 2016-12-30 15:06
Oh, for the love o' Pete: who seriously gives a flying fig what David Crosby thinks about Trump, politics, or the like? When I need him to rate the intelligence of other people, I'll check myself into the loony bin.
+31 # DongiC 2016-12-30 21:08
Marko, I think you are long overdue for a check up and check in.
-16 # librarian1984 2016-12-31 00:12
I wanna know what Martha Stewart thinks. That could be very important.

I'll let you know what my brother-in-law thinks. He always has an opinion and he's right almost thirty percent of the time.

I do not know why you are getting down votes. Maybe TrumpWorld really IS Bizarro World.

Who cares what Crosby thinks about anything? Truly, I don't understand the relevance of this at all. Is he known as a great political mind, or a great judge of people?
+21 # kalpal 2016-12-31 09:16
He has longevity and he is not a con artist like Trump. So sad you fail to realize it.
-4 # librarian1984 2017-01-01 15:02
Well then let's ask Bernie Madoff. He's an old con man. Will that tell you what to believe?
-1 # kalpal 2016-12-31 09:15
You need him to rate your lack of intelligence. If he won't do it, I will.
-2 # librarian1984 2017-01-01 15:02
Says the guy who is taking political advice from David Crosby! lololol
+47 # Dale 2016-12-30 15:26
Donald Shrill Trumpet has a penchant for off-key shockers; This Donald blasts more quackery than Donald Duck. In 2015-16 Donald Shrill Trumpet was the Alpha Male of the Wolf pack. On TV for all to see the mouth that roars moons his bare ass. This serial racist says Mexicans are serial rapists. Wants to build a wall as high as his New York skyscrapers, "We are going to be looking at that”--meaning getting rid of Muslims. “Would I approve waterbording, you bet your ass I would…” Trump is a real Stand Up Cat, Walks around with a four inch hardon. Thinks his star status gives him the privilege to “grab women by the pussy.” an a serial groper and tit gazer, He is a school yard bully with the USA and now the world as his turf.
Trump likes to give the finger to women as well as to the Republican Establishment,H is policy on the rape of nature—fuck the environment. The haters within the white population loved the whole show. Smiled, we finally got our Man, a real stud,
-82 # MidwestTom 2016-12-30 16:02
So you found another person ti insult the incoming President. Anyone notice the difference between how Republicans acted when Obama was elected, and how Democrats are reacting to the President Elect?

Obama, a pot smoking student with a C average at Occidental College, somehow got into an Ivy League university; I have always wondered how that happened; but Obama had no outstanding achievements prior to being elected; at least Trump has been a business success, which is more than can be said about Obama.
+57 # ericlipps 2016-12-30 16:11
At least no one's accusing the Rump of being a Communist secret Muslim whose election was illegal because he was really born in a foreign country. Republicans just don't stoop to such things.
+11 # Cassandra2012 2016-12-30 17:39
Quoting ericlipps:
At least no one's accusing the Rump of being a Communist secret Muslim whose election was illegal because he was really born in a foreign country. Republicans just don't stoop to such things.

+41 # MidwestDick 2016-12-30 16:25
Why are you lying to us. What did we do to deserve being subjected to this mendacious drivel.
There is no evidence available concerning Obama's grades except that he was accepted to Columbia and Harvard. Both of those known facts suggest that he was an outstanding student.
+22 # Cassandra2012 2016-12-30 17:40
Quoting MidwestDick:
Why are you lying to us. What did we do to deserve being subjected to this mendacious drivel.
There is no evidence available concerning Obama's grades except that he was accepted to Columbia and Harvard. Both of those known facts suggest that he was an outstanding student.

And Occidental College is hard to get into, fyi
-7 # John S. Browne 2016-12-31 15:27

Not for somebody like "Odrona" who "al CIAduh(!)" gets in to those colleges, when it is all for creating a false and fraudulent persona like "Odrona's", so previously almost completely unknown "al CIAduh(!)"- brainwashed and groomed idiots like him and "'Bubba' Clinton", who also was almost completely unknown prior to that, and turn them into so-called "presidential material", "winnable [Manchurian(ize d)] candidates" and "rapidly became well known", idolized complete phonies in order to further the "Fourth Reich" global(ist) agenda and actualization of turning the U.S., the West and the world into one great big, "very-much-'198 4'-like" corporate-fasci st totalitarian militarized police state, enslaving us all under the exact opposite of any and all true liberty and freedom, without any outward rights for the 98%.

Yah, I know most of you don't realize how extremely evil "al CIAduh(!)" is, and that they ARE doing stuff like this, preferring instead to continue to live undisturbed in your la-la-land fantasy world and artificial reality "matrix", where you fantasize that you're supposedly not part of a mass-insanity control grid while you continue to live in that "matrix", completely blind to the fact, and totally unwilling to face, that you are part of that mass-brainwashi ng control grid.

(Continued below)
-4 # John S. Browne 2016-12-31 15:28


Is the veil off your eyes yet? Do you now finally face that there are, OF COURSE(!), huge and monstrous conspiracies going on, and that they're not just "theories", but facts? THERE IS a monstrous global evil, deep state shadow government taking over and enslaving the entire world, doing away with all of our outward liberties, freedoms and rights, constantly violating our privacy, endlessly making us all out to be "suspects", presuming us guilty of something, anything, if we don't completely bow down without question; and, if we aren't nothing but good little slaves, criminalizing us, with much worse very soon coming down the pike!

(Continued below)
-5 # John S. Browne 2016-12-31 15:29

Only a week ago "Odrona" signed another draconian, completely-unco nstitutional and therefore illegal, "law" into place that makes "1984's" "Ministry of 'Truth' (Really Lies)" a reality, and criminalizes freedom of speech and independent journalism and journalists, calling all of that which presents the truth, so-called "fake news" and "false propaganda"; which, as a result of these "laws", will soon be cracked down on and completely shut down, and people won't be able to legally tell it like it is on the internet anymore at all.* IT TRULY IS "1984" being made a total reality, relegating all true freedom and liberty to the "memory hole" so that we even forget that we ever even had any semblance of true freedom at one time. Most "Amerikans" already don't remember it, if they ever really knew it.

It's (long past?) time to completely wake up and come entirely out of the matrix control grid people, totally face the totalitarian fascism that is taking over completely, and for all of us to stand up against it and seek to prevent it from enslaving us all and the entire world, or die trying! That is the duty of every single last one of us! Otherwise, as I've said many times before, the U.S., the West and the world won't be places worth living in whatsoever anyway! So, again, what have we got to lose? Do you want to die on your knees in abject slavery, or do you truly want to live and die TRULY FREE?!

(Continued below)
-6 # John S. Browne 2016-12-31 15:30

It should be nothing but a no-brainer which way we should all choose!! And it starts with coming entirely our of living in avoidance and denial of what's really going on, and just how monstrous and pervasive it is, and coming totally out of their colossal matrix brainwashing, control and "mass-insanity- thought-to-be-' sanity'" grid!! Completely come out of it, people!! Wake up and face all of the madness, and stand up against it!! The truth sets us totally free to do so!!


+58 # Texas Aggie 2016-12-30 16:32
What does it say about someone who is so aghast at smoking pot, but has absolutely no problem with some guy who sexually abuses women?
+47 # neis 2016-12-30 16:36
"Anyone notice the difference between how Republicans acted when Obama was elected, and how Democrats are reacting to the President Elect?"
Well Tom, now that you mention it, I DID notice! The Repugs all lined up, for 8 years no less, and said their sole purpose and agenda was to make sure nothing Obama proposed succeeded; and they did their consistent best to do just that. We're still awaiting a critical Supreme Court nominee confirmation, among other things, thanks to the petty pre-adolescent viciousness of the likes of Mitch McConnell et al.
I have not seen the same continuous vitriol or unpatriotic obstructionism and abdication of Congressional responsibility coming from the Dems. YET.
+50 # neis 2016-12-30 16:39
"at least Trump has been a business success, which is more than can be said about Obama."

With 4 bankruptcies under his belt, that's one more than a trifecta. Takes talent to achieve that kind of business record! Will the U.S. be #5?
+19 # DongiC 2016-12-30 21:19
neis---Is that why American banks won't lend Trump any money and for construction loans he had to go to Deutsche Bank in Germany to borrow $300 million dollars? Also, he has been in over 3,000 lawsuits. Seems like he has mucho difficulties with his suppliers and vendors as to what he owes them. Some businessman, indeed.
+6 # mozartssister 2016-12-31 09:40
No. The entire planet will be #5.
+12 # opinionaire 2016-12-31 08:46
Has any Democrat yelled "You lie!" at a president during a major speech? Have the Democrats refused to do their jobs to consider a Supreme Court nominee? Have Democrats held waaaaay too many votes to remove ACA, try to find fault with the actions of a Secretary of State (even when deserved--I am looking at you, Condi) or stonewalled as much as possible any progress the President of the United States tries to promote? There are many others; this is only a small sample. How on earth did you come up with the C grade mess for a professor of Constitutional Law? Get your head out of whatever dark place you seem to prefer and look at the real world. Drumpf is not, and has not been, a "business success," (as if that was a valid criteria for running a democracy). He has repeatedly said he "loves debt" and is in great debt to a number of other nations. That truly frightens me.
+9 # kalpal 2016-12-31 09:19
I love the argument that a man who lost $916 million in a single year is a great business success. Surely you can name a few dozen other business successes who lost that much of investors money but did not start as poor little rich kid who borrowed a tiny million dollar loan from Daddy Freddie.
+46 # Kiwikid 2016-12-30 16:05
A business success? Really? You haven't been following very closely have you, Tom.
+57 # 2016-12-30 16:11
David Crosby: Trump Is a "Walking Intelligence-Fr ee Zone"

This comment justified the entire piece And AMEN to that!!
+17 # DongiC 2016-12-30 21:33
I don't quite agree. I think Trumpster is intelligent but in an evil way. It always seems to be how much he can get away with. Not even president and getting involved in negotiations over the recent Security Council vote on Palestine and Israel like trying to get Egypt to change its vote. He is so far off base. Or his staff trying to discover what areas of research certain federal workers were involved in. Again way off base.
+16 # heartofnests 2016-12-31 08:25
Kanye and Trump share a lot in common: a childish personality, incoherent speech, bizarre behavior, questionable talent. I start to have compassion for the naïveté and fragile egos, but then I remember all despots have the same characteristics . My friend in California, a sound engineer, built Kanye a custom acoustic system worth $500,000. Kanye said he wouldn't pay for it til he tried it out. Effectively, within 2 hours, he had destroyed the entire system, then refused to pay for it. That's why both end of the candles have gone out for him. Poor bastard.

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