Graham Nash suspects that David Crosby knew he was dying and wanted to make amends before it was too late. Nash said the former Crosby, Stills & Nash bandmates — who were famously estranged for years before Crosby passed last month at 81 — were in the midst of a rapprochement just before Crosby died of unknown causes on January 18.
“The fact is that we were getting a little closer at the end. He had sent me a voicemail saying that he wanted to talk to apologize, and could we set up a time to talk,” Nash told AARP magazine. “I emailed him back and said, ‘Okay, call me at eleven o’clock tomorrow your time, which is two o’clock on the East Coast.’ He never called, and then he was gone.”
It was a painful ending to a half century friendship and musical partnership that produced some of the indelible folk rock of the 20th century. But Nash said he is trying to focus on the love, and music, they shared. “I think one of the only things that we can do, particularly me, is only try to remember the good times,” Nash said. “Try to remember the great music that we made. I’m only going to be interested in the good times, because if I concentrate on the bad times, it gets too weird for me.”
Nash said Crosby reached out to him shortly before he died and he suspects the singer may have known the end was near. “Since his liver transplant and all his stents. He had seven stents. His body was really failing,” Nash said of Crosby, who was open about his long struggle with drug addiction. “But once again, I can only try to remember the good times, because we had many of them.”
Comparing his friend’s passing to an “earthquake,” Nash described the death setting off a series of smaller temblors, saying it took several days for the reality to really set in. “Crosby was my dear friend, my best friend for over 50 years. I can only concentrate on the good stuff,” he said, brushing aside the rifts that had grown between them over the years due to Crosby’s sometimes pointed comments about his former CSN (and CSN&Y) bandmates; in 2021, Crosby said in a scathing interview that he hadn’t spoken to Nash, or Neil Young, in years and didn’t plan to anytime soon.
“But if he was willing to call me and apologize for what he had done and how he had hurt me, it made his death a little easier for me to accept,” Nash said.
Asked what made Crosby’s musical style so singular Nash pointed to the singer’s “unbelievable uniqueness” as a musician, pointing to a jazz influence in David’s early days and “very strange” tunings he played in that made for a one-of-a-kind sound. “He really was in many ways the heartbeat of this band,” Nash said. “I mean, he was incredibly talented and unique as a musician. That’s what he brought… I have never heard anybody with the same brilliant sense of music and harmony that David had.”
Read the full interview here (requires log-in).