David Crosby: “I am losing my ability to play guitar"

David Crosby has always been a straight shooter when it comes to speaking his mind, and his recent interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM show is no exception. The 79-year-old Crosby, Stills & Nash icon revealed that tendonitis in both hands was severely impacting his ability to play guitar and that expected to be have to give up performing in around a year’s time.

 “I am losing my ability to play guitar – that’s kinda tough,” Crosby told Stern in the interview you can watch a snippet of above. Crosby demonstrated to Stern the limited movement he had in certain fingers; "They have trouble doing the picking thing that's my thing," the musician added.  "I've got another year or so of being able to play. And I can teach my parts to somebody else if I really wanna play that bad … but I don’t know if I’m gonna play anymore. You think I ought to?”

David Crosby

David Crosby onstage in 2019 (Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

It’s what you do with the time that you do have

Stern encouraged Crosby to continue performing, describing him as a "storyteller". The Californian songwriter was clearly in a reflective mood but he's determined to enjoy the present, and his latest album For Free continues a strong run of material in recent years.  

"I am [at] the end of my life … and it’s a very strange thing,” Crosby told Stern. “And here’s what I’ve come to [think] about it: It’s not how much time you got, because we really don’t know. I could have two weeks, I could have 10 years. It’s what you do with the time that you do have. And so I’m trying to really spend it well.”

On the upsides, Crosby said his health in general apart from the tendentious was "surprisingly good" and he's already got two more records planned. Elsewhere in the interview, Crosby explained to Stern the reasons behind his decision to sell the publishing rights to his songs. Though he admitted that the sale was difficult ("emotionally it sucks"), it was also necessary. 

"Well here's what happened; no money from streaming so no money from records, so I was trying to be grateful that I could still go out and work, pay the rent and take care of my family," Crosby said. "Then along comes Covid and I can't go out and work. So what I did was I sold my publishing to our pal Irving [Azoff]. He's been my friend for a long time, he gave me a ton of money. I paid off the house – you should have seen my wife's smile when I told her I paid off the house."

Read more: David Crosby talks Crosby, Stills & Nash's debut album track-by-track

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.