Graham Nash Looks Back in Memoir, Ahead to More CSN (and Maybe Y)
Nash talks about his candid new tell-all and what's ahead for CSNY, including a box set focusing on the band's legendary 1974 tour
Graham Nash has just one concern about his frank and revealing autobiography "Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life," which publishes on Sept. 17.
"The one person I was most worried about the reaction was (David) Crosby," Nash tells Billboard. He credits Crosby with "saving my life" by encouraging him to leave the Hollies in 1968 to work with Crosby and Stephen Stills, and "Wild Tales" doesn't pull any punches in talking about their friendship -- including Crosby's long and debilitating battle with drugs.
"I really didn't care to think about all the shit that Crosby put me through," Nash says. "You just have to deal with it and let it go. But it's all still in my mind, sharp as a needle. So I was concerned about what he thought, but he called me and said, 'I read it. Everything is true, everything you said is how it was. I did that. I did put you guys through all that madness.' So Crosby was totally fine with it, which pleased me. I care deeply about he thinks."
Nash is equally open about other relationships in his life -- including with Stills, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass Elliott and a father who was jailed for theft when Nash was young -- but he hopes that "Wild Tales'" tone doesn't come off as kiss-and-tell.
"I'm a positive man, and though there's some awful things that have happened to me and I had to talk about them, I don't want to piss anybody off anymore," Nash explains. "I just tried to put it in my voice, just tell people what the fuck happened to me."
And when he finished, Nash adds, "I got to the end of the manuscript and I looked down and I thought, 'Fuck! I wish I was him. You know me; I don't look backwards. I don't rest on my laurels. I don't give a shit about stuff I did 30 years ago. What's the point? But in looking back over my life in one piece, it was stunning to even me what I've done in my life. And, you know, there's a thousand more stories. I didn't want a 700-page book, y'know? So I had to leave a lot of stuff out."
So "Wild Tales, Vol. 2?" "From your mouth to God's ear," Nash says with a chuckle.
Meanwhile, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is moving forward on a number of other creative fronts. He's in the midst of a solo tour and also has photographic exhibitions opening in London, New Jersey and Boston. He has 36 new songs written and hopes to make a new Crosby, Stills & Nash album happen soon, although he notes that "we simply don't have time to get in the fucking studio!" The trio will reunite with Young, however, for the 27th annual Bridge School Benefit concerts on Oct. 26-27 in Mountain View, Calif., which Nash hopes will lead to something even more extensive.
"It's not been spoken, but it's certainly in the air," he says. "When Neil goes, 'Hey Willy, you guys want to do the Bridge?,' I know what he means. He wants to hear us. He wants to know if we're singing good. Why? Just for the six songs at the Bridge? No, I think Neil is thinking (about) next year -- but that's only my opinion."
Meanwhile, Nash is still immersed in preparing a live box set from CSNY's legendary 1974 tour, which he says will be ready for March release. It's compiled from tapes of all 31 shows, nine of which were recorded to multi-track, and will come with 128-page booklet.
"I think it's gonna fucking stump people," Nash says. "We were a really good band. Wait 'til you hear it. It's fucking stupendous! Each show was about three and a half, four hours long," he says. "I listened to every f***ing note that we did, chose what I considered to be the best delivery of the song and the best grooves, and those are the ones that are on there."