David Crosby arrives at the MusiCares Person of the Year...

David Crosby arrives at the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Lionel Richie at the Los Angeles Convention Center on  Feb. 13, 2016. Credit: Invision/AP/Jordan Strauss

To everything, there is a season, as The Byrds sang in 1965. Few people know this better than the band’s co-founder, David Crosby, who went on to the seminal American supergroups Crosby, Stills & Nash, and later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. For decades he was seen as a cautionary tale about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but Crosby, 77, has emerged a venerable survivor.

The subject of producer-interviewer Cameron Crowe's documentary "David Crosby: Remember My Name," which opens  in New York on  Friday, July 19, and opens wide on July 26, the folk-rocker acknowledges that his temper and unfiltered comments helped create permanent rifts with his old bandmates. But the talent and the sweetly harmonic voice from such classics as "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Teach Your Children," "Ohio" and other songs remains remarkably unchanged as Crosby segues into a reflective autumn of life -- the film offering what one critic contemplates may be the singer-songwriter's "wrenching final statements."

He sounds pretty lively and vigorous, however, calling from his ranch in Santa Ynez, California, where he and his wife of 42 years, Jan Dance, make their home. Crosby — who resumes his current tour Aug. 11 with a free show at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park — spoke with Newsday contributor Frank Lovece.

 When did David Crosby, the poster boy for how-is-he-not-dead-yet, become so grandfatherly?

(chuckles) Yes, yes, exactly. What happens is, this stuff simplifies itself. I used to be concerned with all kinds of (expletive) all over the map. And I realized that I've got to narrow it down to the stuff that's really important to me — my family, first and foremost, and the gift that I've been given, the music. And so that's what I concentrate all my time and energy on. … You know, you get sort of distracted by trying to succeed and by trying to achieve and by trying to make a name for yourself that you get really pretty scattered in the middle part of your life. And I think [perspective comes] to most of us as we get older. We don't have a lot of time.

Domesticity is very different, obviously, from the distracted, rock-star-sex, hanging-out-with-the-Beatles life. 

That stuff is really, really fun at first taste, kind of like sugar, but after a while it actually turns out to be shallow fun compared to loving somebody for 40 years. That's a deep one.

The documentary recounts your famous firing from The Byrds, when Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman drove up to your house in separate Porsches to tell you. Did they at least call up beforehand to say they were coming?

 Yeah. Yeah, they did. No, I knew it was happening. They got fired up by a manager, a bad manager. 'Fire a member of the band and then you get all the money.' But it was dumb. You know, you start a band and you're really in love with each other and you love the music and it's exciting and it's wonderful. But after a while, you grate on each other's nerves. And I was young kid and I wanted more. I was probably not easy to deal with. And, you know, those chemistries are fragile, man.

Since filming the documentary last year, has anything changed with Stephen Stills, Graham Nash or Neil Young [who in various degrees of anger all have ended contact with Crosby]?

Not that I know of, man. They all three seem very stuck. Neil in particular. He refused to give us permission to use "Ohio" in the movie. … It was pretty creepy. I pretty much helped that song happen in the first place [with Young in an archival interview in the film acknowledging Crosby brought the Kent State Massacre that inspired the song "into focus" for him] and I've always let him use everything. I've always let all three of them use anything they wanted in any film or documentary or anything. And so for them to turn around and be jerks to me.… It's like high school, almost. [Note: The film uses about 45 seconds of "Ohio," which  may have been added belatedly.]

The truth is, man, that we've all been awful to each other all the whole relationship. We've all done awful (expletive) to each other over and over again. Neil left Stephen twice in the middle of a tour. Twice! It's not like we've been really good to each other.

This is getting me depressed.

Don't get depressed.

 I'll try. Let's end with something pleasant. In the movie you visit the "Our House" house that Joni Mitchell owned in [Los Angeles'] Laurel Canyon, though there are new owners now and you and director A.J. Eaton and everyone stayed outside the gate.

Well, y'know, it was a centerpiece of our lives right there [and the place where CSN was born]. We used to spend a lot of time there. I mean, Graham and Joni both lived there and so, of course, I was over there all the time.

And of course I have to ask: At your ranch in the documentary, I saw four dogs and a couple of horses. Do you have "two cats in the yard?"

(laughs) Yes! We do! Actually, they're not in the yard. We've got one house cat and one barn cat.

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