Crosby's 2nd memoir chronicles fatherhood


NEW YORK - Songwriter David Crosby is famed as a leading light of the 1960s counterculture movement but his second memoir finds him showing a gentler side as a father of six children.

The title of the memoir -- "Since Then: How I Survived Everything and Lived to Tell About It" -- hints at the perennial Crosby question: How did he survive his various drug addictions, prison stint and stage highs with former band The Byrds and the still-touring Crosby, Stills and Nash?

But Crosby, 65, says events from the last two decades detailed in his new book, including a life-saving liver transplant, becoming a sperm donor to musician Melissa Etheridge and her partner and embracing fatherhood, are more interesting than any hollow party tales or drug escapades.

"Yes, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are a part of my life and have been but this (memoir) goes way beyond that," Crosby told Reuters in an interview. "It (the memoir) is about nearly dying but at the same time having a new son born.

"If I was writing about a life like Paris Hilton's, I wouldn't want to read it, it would bore me to tears. But this is real stuff, life and death."

Interest in his former days addicted to cocaine and heroin is "tawdry and pretty simple," he said, compared to receiving a new liver in late 1994 and coming back from the brink of death.

Then early in 1995, Crosby met an adult son who had been given up for adoption years ago. Crosby's meeting with James Raymond, who is also a musician and sometimes plays with Crosby, came just a few months before his wife gave birth to their first son.

But while Crosby transformed into his role as a father and stopped using heavy drugs, the autobiography shows how he continued to push social boundaries.

Crosby, who also has two adult daughters, donated sperm to Melissa Etheridge and her then-partner Julie Cypher, who gave birth to two children, in the late 1990s. Crosby, who regularly visits the children, wrote it was "discouraging" that rock singer Etheridge and Cypher have since split up, and does not know if he would do it again.

"Do I wish they had stayed together? Yes, but not if they are not in love with each other," he said. "I am not out there volunteering myself. I have enough kids."

The book was published in November with the release of a career-spanning triple-disc CD set. His first memoir, "Long Time Gone," was published in 1998.

The new book tells of Crosby's 2004 arrest in New York for marijuana and gun possession while on tour -- an incident he calls "stupid, one of several mistakes that were very dumb."

After years of staying away from drink and drugs, Crosby and his wife Jan started again to use marijuana, which he says should be legal: "It is certainly better for you than booze."

Crosby saves his biggest gripe for the large companies which he says have ruined the music industry, resulting "in people like Britney Spears, who cannot write, sing or play."

"It hasn't produced any Bob Dylans, it is not going to produce a James Taylor or a Joni Mitchell," he said. "It produces crap."

He still tours with Neil Young and Crosby, Stills and Nash, and has not lost his social conscience, but knows some things have changed since the sixties.

"I am a hell of a lot older and more beat up," he said. "And I've got more scars."