March 7, 2004

Celebrity with a handgun and a high, beautiful voice. I see Nina's blogging about the David Crosby arrest. I was going to blog about him yesterday, but then it just seemed too sad. How out of it must you be to abandon a bag with a gun and drugs in it so that the hotel employees feel compelled to open it to try to identify the owner? Is that a cry for help or just utter oblivion? I don't know, I lost a new Pelikan fountain pen a couple months ago and then a burnt velvet scarf, so I know how it is. You can lose things.

I love David Crosby though. Not Crosby-Stills-&-Nash Crosby, but The Byrds Crosby. The first concert I ever saw was The Byrds. Folks, it was their first tour! That's how old I am, though I was pretty young at the time. I've said before that the first group I ever loved was The Four Seasons. That made me a bit resentful of The Beatles at first, and the whole British Invasion set of characters, at least until I discovered one of the groups on my own, listening to a distant radio station late at night. (The song was "I Can't Explain." I loved the early Who, and in fact was a member of The Who fan club before they had even released an album in the United States, purely on the strength of "I Can't Explain.")

But The Byrds were part of America's answer to the British Invasion, folk rock, which took the British sound and made it better because they began with Dylan songs or songs with lyrics that tried to be like Dylan's. So Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds was truly sublime. Crosby's voice was supremely beautiful then, and he was a sweet kid who always had a little smile, back in the days when Roger McGuinn was Jim McGuinn and David always wore that green suede poncho with brown suede laces in the front. (Is that thing in a Hard Rock Café somewhere now?)(Want to see how they looked in action then? Get this.)

I hope for the best for David. Part of me wants to say, don't some celebrities need to carry a handgun to protect themselves and why waste any public resources on a guy with a small amount of marijuana? But I can't appreciate a guy with a handgun who leaves it lying around in luggage he doesn't keep track of. I see he got arrested not long after giving a concert in Wayne, New Jersey. That's where I was living in the 1960s when I went to see him that first time. There were no concert halls in Wayne then. Where did I see him? Newark? I don't remember. They played a short set and we all screamed through the entire thing. It couldn't have been more thrilling. Good luck, David.

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