Stephen Stills Interview: Sounding Out - 1971
A rare vintage interview with Stephen Stills from the 1971 TV program "Sounding Out".
Thought folks would enjoy this as we anticipate the upcoming CSNY 1974 Tour Box Set and celebrate the release of CSN 2012 tour video.
Also, see Stephen Stills: As I Come of Age by Bill DeYoung:
Stills in 1972 began assembling another band, something bigger, more ambitious.
"I basically wanted a partner," he said. "I wanted a running buddy besides Dallas. Somebody that had a sense of songs. Chris Hillman invented the phrase 'the lyric police' and was a tremendous help.
"But I was still on that real powerful, energetic, 'let's go I know what I'm doing' kind of thing. Chris realized it was my band, and it was OK for him." Hillman, another former Byrd, had been one of Buffalo Springfield's staunchest supporters.
Stills dubbed the seven–member aggregate Manassas. "Manassas was, if not the first, the best version of what Nashville rock is now," he said. "We had a steel guitar, and Al Perkins could make spectacular slide guitar soloing on his steel. And Fuzzy Samuels, being from the Third World, added a different thing to the mix. Joe Lala provided me the ability to reach into my real Latin roots."
The Manassas album covered plenty of stylistic ground, with Stills' sandpaper voice and distinctive guitarwork always to the fore.
"Everybody said 'Why are you doing a double album?'," said Stills. "I listen to it now—it overreached a little bit. It didn't quite get there, but it was sure damn close. Live, we were just great."
The two–record album sold nearly one million copies, "which with a double album is quadruple platinum."
The band toured and toured, and had spectacular success in Europe, but Stills clashed frequently with manager Geffen over Manassas' relative failure. "Somehow, it sort of died on the vine," he recalled. "I said, I really would like to have what I'm trying to do focused upon, rather than just being a sort of respite from the mothership, that group.
"We did work a lot, but it was never a big deal, you know? If you're really paying attention you make your entrances a big deal. Which David Geffen was always serious about. It kind of just got sloughed off, so I fired him."
More on the complicated relationship between Stephen Stills and Neil Young.