“I don’t filter my opinions. I filter whether I’m being kind or not”: how David Crosby turned into a master of the Twitter putdown in his final years

David Crosby in 2018
(Image credit: Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

David Crosby was one of the finest singer-songwriters of all time, a driving force in The Byrds and CSNY who also left behind a catalogue of genius solo records when he died at the beginning of 2023. Towards the end of his life, though, Crosby added some new strings to his bow, gaining a reputation as a masterful and prolific Twitter user, sharp, funny and full of magnificent putdowns. Speaking to this writer in 2018, the icon known affectionately as “Croz” said that he wasn’t very good at censoring himself on the site.

“I tend to shoot my mouth off,” he explained. “If I say something, that’s actually me.” He was getting better at holding back, though, he said, and had recently stopped himself posting something that he thought went too far. “I do shoot my mouth off on there but I did think about something I was gonna say and thought it was too unkind, so I didn’t say it. I don’t mind being pretty out-front about most of the things I think. I’m a very opinionated guy and people know that, so I don’t mind it. It’s been quite a while since I tweeted something I regretted. I try to be careful. I don’t filter my opinions. I filter whether I’m being kind of not. I try not to be deliberately unkind, unless I’m talking about somebody that deserves it, like the President [Trump], he totally deserves it, or Ted Nugent deserves it, or Kanye West deserves it. I’m perfectly happy to be unkind to them. They deserve it.”

Crosby had kinder words for another former US President, though, describing Barack Obama as a “wonderful man”. “I met him several times, I like him, I’ve spoken with him, he’s a great man,” he recounted. “You walk into it and you think, ‘it’s the President Of The United States’ and you are in awe of him because of the office and then he is so real and so completely down-to-earth and so intelligent and so good at communicating that you forget all of that stuff and you’re immediately friendly and immediately want to talk to him. If I could have spent another 20 hours just talking to the guy, I would’ve happily done it. He’s a brilliant man and has a great sense of humour.”

Croz knew how to read the room just right, although if he was still with us now, there would be enough time in the day to dish out putdowns to all the people on Twitter/X who deserve it right now…

Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.