“The minute you do have an idea, you have to go for it”: David Crosby on creativity during quarantine

He also commented on Neil Young’s recent live streams, as well as the trend in general.

David Crosby

Image: Scott Dudelson / Getty

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David Crosby has shared his thoughts on creativity during the current quarantine, as many musicians find themselves stuck inside – perhaps feeling some pressure to be productive.

When asked about whether quarantine has been a particular creative time for him, Crosby said: “I want it to be, but you can’t legislate it. When it happens, it’s some sort of internal chemistry that’s unpredictable. The minute you do have an idea, though, you have to go for it. Don’t go out to lunch or something. My son James is on an absolute tear. He’s been writing like a maniac the last month. Just hotter than shit. You don’t know how the stress will affect people. But a lot of us see it as a challenge, to surf it, to get on top of it, and control our destiny. But it’s difficult, man, these are hard times for everybody.”

There has been a fair amount of discussion about the approach musicians should have to quarantine – while it may mean more time to write and record, as Crosby notes above the economic uncertainty and general anxiety that comes with a global pandemic can mean being as freely creative as you would be normally can be difficult. But, conversely, music can be incredibly cathartic, and provide release and escape for many – as we’ve seen with the myriad live-streamed concerts being broadcast.

Crosby made the comments in an interview with Rolling Stone, where he also praised musicians keeping live music alive with these live streams, saying: “People sitting in their living rooms on an iPhone, playing you songs – it’s so fucking real. I like all my friends who are doing it, particularly Jason Isbell.”

When asked for his thoughts on former bandmate Neil Young’s online concerts, he said, “No, I didn’t [watch them]. Well, he’s usually really good. What can I say? I haven’t liked his writing lately so much. I keep waiting for a song that really makes me feel something. He set the bar very high, man: Helpless; Country Girl; Old Man; A Man Needs a Maid; Cortez. It’s Neil. He wrote a lot of great songs. So it’s tough for him. Everybody is always going to compare his work now to his work in the past.”

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