Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Friday, October 10, 2008

CROSBY, STILLS & NASH: The Biography


Just finished up reading the last chapter of CROSBY, STILLS & NASH: The Biography by David Zimmer with photographs by Henry
Diltz and it made for some mighty fine reading and viewing that any CSN fan -- and even Neil Young fans -- could appreciate.

CSN left an indelible mark on the American psyche with their music and the book is the 40th Anniversary Edition of when CSN first sang together in California in 1968. The original edition was published in 1984 and the new edition covers all the ground since then up to CSNY's 2006 Freedom Of Speech tour.

Author Dave Zimmer has worked with photographer Henry Diltz to present a historic overview of the group's long careers both individually and collectively. The latest edition contains over forty previously unpublished photos by Henry Diltz and a new final chapter, "CSN&Y: From Here to Eternity," which delves into CSN&Y's spiritual beliefs and their thoughts about family. Zimmer's writing gives us some interesting insights into the fragile chemistry that still exists within CSN and CSN&Y. Stills also provides more detail about his relationship with Neil Young. There is also new material from both Young and Judy Collins.

Judy Collins provides impressions of Stephen Stills, her thoughts about the songs he wrote about her, and Judy’s enduring friendship with the Stills. I must admit, I had not thought about how Judy fit into "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" in quite some time which prompted me to dust off the old turntable and give CSN's first album a spin.


Many episodes through the years are covered in great detail. For example, I found the detail of the events surrounding the historic Woodstock concert ("that helicopter day") to be quite detailed and fascinating. At one point, Elliot Roberts, Young's manager, is driving a pickup truck with Jimi Hendrix on the hood. Or as Elliot says: "Jimi Hendrix was a hood ornament! It was insane."

Neil Young at Stephen Stills' Studio City house
1969 CSN&Y rehearsal
PHOTO: Henry Diltz

Here are a few excerpts:

Neil Young on CSN&Y:
"The worst kind of nostalgia is when musicians stand up there and are a shadow of their former selves. And all of the people that loved them so much start to think that they are only a shadow of their former selves. And the whole audience goes home with this feeling like their life is over, as if they’re just marking time until they die, like the guys they just saw on stage. I don’t want to do that to people. I mean, people believe in CSN&Y. When they see CSN&Y, even if it is a nostalgia trip, I want them to believe that life is worth living, and that the rest of their life is going to be better than the first part. I want people to feel an energy from the band that makes you feel great.”

David Crosby w/ CSN&Y - Balboa Stadium, December 1969
PHOTO: Henry Diltz

Crosby and Nash on Living with War songs:
Crosby admits, “Neil told me, ‘I wasn’t going to waste my best [chord] changes on George [Bush].” Nash adds, “Neil, God bless his cotton socks, has tremendous passion. When you wake up in the morning and you’re Neil Young and you’ve got ten songs going through your head and they all have to be finished by 3:00 and recorded by 6:00 … that’s the process of getting it out for him. It was such an immediate process, he didn’t have time to think, ‘Well, is this the best melody, or the best words with this melody.’ It was just Neil vomiting his music and getting it out of his system.”

Stills on Living with War and CSNY/Deja Vu:

“Living With War, ‘Freedom of Speech’ … I was very ambivalent about that tour and it comes through in the movie, thanks to Neil’s honesty ... Neil really honored me by how much attention he paid to my little political trips. It was really nice. And it’s nice that he’s got that perspective and will put himself aside and tell the truth. So we still have our thing. He still understands me better than anybody. And I understand him better than anybody. Like my wife, we’re lucky to have found each other, because no one else would have worked. And he’s tried …
Neil’s never stopped trying and neither have I.”

Graham Nash on Neil Young joining CSN in June 1969:
"I was against Neil joining at first. I felt a little threatened, because the three of us had made this thing of CSN, this album, this image, this sound, and I felt afraid that it was going to change."

Reading the details of all the breakups and reunions helps us better understand how it was this turmoil which provided the catalyst for all the great music.

Zimmer explores in great detail the stormy friendship of Stills and Young. It becomes clear that it was their egos which were a source of much of their dueling guitar brilliance. And one comes away appreciating the complexity of the relationship that in the end has made them feel as if they are brothers.

Joni Mitchell on Stills and Young on stage in CSN&Y:
"At their best, Neil and Stephen had a beautiful stag-like duel going on stage; and it was quite pretty to watch. It was like watching two very good long distance runners pair up and pace each other."

Stephen Stills on CSN&Y's first split in July 1970:

"I just wish we could have held it together a little longer. But there were petty ego jealousies going on. Nash and I weren't talking. Neil wanted to be on his own. I had my solo album to finish. But we still could have done that and kept CSN&Y going.

But we threw it all away for very fallacious reasons, I can see now. I mean, we were standing on the verge. And all of the freedom we wanted for our own personal careers would have still been available to us. But we couldn't put the trivial going on between us.

If a voice of reason could have cleared that fog, we could have realized our full potential and CSN&Y would be mentioned in the same breath with the Beatles and the Stones. We also could have become rich enough to be creative. But I was the biggest fool. I thought the managers would come up with some strength. They didn't. So we lost it all, right there, that day, to indulgence. We lost it all."

David Crosby on Neil Young:
"He's like a river man -- sometimes he wanders close to you, sometimes he wanders away from you. And that's how it is ... CSN&Y is seven pounds of stuff in a three pound bag, [so] you have to make room.

It's a lot of give and take. It's a different thing ... Stephen is more comfortable with Neil there, because Neil and Stephen are deep buddies. With Neil there, it strengthens Stephen. He doesn't feel threatened and he's more open and giving."


One comes away from CROSBY, STILLS & NASH: The Biography with the clear impression that while Zimmer is a long time fan of the musicians, he doesn't sugarcoat the band's often messy relationships or tell it in a gossipy, tell-all fashion but instead paints a realistic portrait of the artists in all of their human foibles.

Definitely a must read for all C or S or N and even Y fans.

CROSBY, STILLS & NASH: The Biography is available on (Your purchase will help support Thrasher's Wheat. Thanks!)


At 10/10/2008 07:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post. thanks for making the effort to put this one together.

At 10/11/2008 04:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farm Out Man...

I will get this Asap, This is a Rightous Web Site. It make's me want to put on my old Fringe Leather from TJ. If It fit only...

Peace and Hope, Roger

At 10/13/2008 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody noticing that Neil seems to be getting fat? Kind of getting a beer gut. This is not a rap on him - I'm about his vintage and it's happening to me, too. Just was watching a YouTube from 2003 and it struck me that he was still rail-thin then. Did the anurism in his brain cause him to scale back his excercise? Man, he was really thin in the way-back (result of polio?) but beefed a little in the late 80's-early 90's.

At 10/14/2008 08:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure, BUT, many brain injuries and post brain surgical treatments include the use of steroids to speed and aid the healing. Could be the case. If anyone is familiar with Lou Gramm of Foreigner this was certainly the case. I have done some work directly with Lou in the past during recovery and he also showed extreme gains in weight/body mass due to steroid treatments. Often difficult to restore to original 'size'.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat