Ever since the early ’70s, when Young’s star ascended rapidly past those of Crosby, Stills and Nash, he’s called the shots.
Whenever there’s been a “reunion” album, tour or one-off benefit performance, it’s been because Neil wanted it, and wanted it on his terms only. When he says jump, they ask how high.
That’s got to suck.
Nash: Yeah, but you either walk away from it and never play that music again, or you just deal with it. Neil is, by far, the most selfish person — in certain aspects — that I’ve ever known. He is a complete slave to the muse of music, and I have great admiration for him for doing that.
However… He can be seen by some people as being so selfish that he doesn’t give a f**k about anybody else’s feelings. For example, he’ll say to Crazy Horse, “Yeah, we’re going to England in six weeks.” Then the week before he’ll say, “No man, I just don’t feel like it. The music’s not talking to me.”
When you’re a musician, and you have finances and kids to send to school and bills to pay, and you make a certain amount of money because you’re in Neil Young’s band, and then it gets canceled the week before, with no compensation, that sucks. And that has happened a lot in Neil’s life.
And he only calls us when he needs us for something. He has very rarely called me as a friend.
It’s not a friendship. I have great, unending admiration and respect for Neil Young, and I think he respects the hell out of me, too.
After Crosby got out of prison, clean and sober, the four of you made the album American Dream. As the saying goes, the world waited with bated breath.
It’s just an awful record, Graham. Nobody I know likes it.
Nash: Neither do we. I think it didn’t work for a couple of reasons. We actually had a great time making it. They were some good songs on it. We may have over-harmonized some of them. We kind of over-compensated.
My feeling — and I think David agrees with me — is that Neil over-indulged Stephen on that record. He put a couple of Stephen tracks on there that should not have been on there at all. And left out a version of CSN doing “Climber,” that was written by David, that was just stunningly beautiful.
It was decided to take that off and put on “Driving Thunder,” which, to me, is a piece of shit. In an effort to please Stephen, I think Neil made some wrong choices.
There’s a small story you should know about this. The shot on the album cover was actually a shot of me, David and Stephen, with Neil Photoshop-ed in. There were two versions — in one, Neil’s wearing a white hat, and in the other he’s wearing a black hat.
And that is exactly why American Dream didn’t work.
Young did another “Come to Jesus” in 2006. He’d done his anti-George W. Bush Living With War album, and, realizing that the songs would play to more people if Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were singing them, he organized another “reunion” tour. It’s chronicled in the 2008 film “CSNY: Déjà vu,” which Young himself directed.
Nash: It was a great idea. Neil did a brilliant job of staying on message. He realized that some of the songs we’d written in the past — “Military Madness” “Déjà vu,” “For What It’s Worth” — were hits but were