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Friday, June 20, 2014

The Oral History of CSNY's Infamous 1974 'Doom Tour' | Rolling Stone

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - 1974
The Ranch Rehearsals
Photo by Joel Bernstein
(Click photo to enlarge)

Some pretty amazing stories from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1974 tour are beginning to surface as a prelude to the upcoming "CSNY 74" box set release.

So much for what happens on the road, stays on the road.

From The Oral History of CSNY's Infamous 1974 'Doom Tour' | Rolling Stone by Andy Greene:
Tim Drummond (bass): "We had a shitload of songs. Neil was the greatest. He'd just pull one of out his ass or his hat and the rest of them would grab and hang on. That's what made it so fresh and exciting. It wasn't rehearsed or any of that shit."

Russ Kunkel (drums): "Sometimes there was a set list, but it changed a lot. There weren't many soundchecks. What you have to remember about these guys is that they're magicians and music is magic. We had arrangements for songs and we knew how they went, but when it came to solos there was no telling how long Neil would play. He would turn around to me while soloing and I'd see his eyes over the top of his mirrored sunglasses. It was like he was saying, 'I could die doing this solo. I'm going to give it everything I have, so you'd better go with me.' It was an incredible experience."

Crosby: "The advantage of having four writers is that you've got this enormously wide palate to work with. We were writing new songs every night. There must have been a dozen times where one of us would come in and say, 'Hey, I've got a new song. Here's how it goes. What do you think?' Take 'Time After Time.' At the end, of it, Neil and Stephen just walked on and started singing with me. Stephen was holding his little son Christopher. They didn't know the song, but they joined in. And then Neil… My God. 'Pushed It Over The End,' 'Don't Be Denied,' 'Mellow My Mind.' He knocked it out of the park over and over and over. He set the bar very, very high."

Nash: One of the reasons that Neil wound up having more songs on this box set them the rest of us is that he hit a writing spell that was unbelievable. He wrote 'On The Beach,' 'Don't Be Denied,' 'Pushed It Over the End,' 'Hawaiian Sunrise.' He'd hit it. As a band, we only want to present the best face, which is why he's got the most songs. David and Stephen haven't complained yet, and it's too late now."

CSNY 1974 comes with a DVD containing footage shot at Maryland's Capital Center and London's Wembley Stadium.

Joel Bernstein: "I found footage from the Capital Center in Graham's Vault. I was very surprised to find it and I have no idea how it got there. They were the first venue in the US to feature an in-house life, real time video system that projected beams - which were too small by today's standards - to screens hung up near where the scoreboard is in today's arena. There was a director, but it was semi-pro at best. It was recorded to open reel, one-inch tape. It's a format that wasn't used for very long. The show they taped happened to be one they audio recorded.' Since the format was so archaic, it took a lot of work to get the footage together."

Nash: "The footage is funky and not lit right and sometimes it's too blue or too red, but I think that people would be very interested to see live footage of us from that time."

Bernstein: "The cameras had tubes in them and the tubes were shaking with the bass. You can see the picture vibrate with the bass. It's quite remarkable. With the case of Wembley, we were using the MPSC transfer from the original PAL Master. We have no idea where the master is."
As noted, all of the surviving band members participated in the article -- except one. Guess who declined to be interviewed?

More at The Oral History of CSNY's Infamous 1974 'Doom Tour' | Rolling Stone.

Also, see Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "CSNY 74" box set release .

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At 6/20/2014 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

If JB has no idea where the master video is of the Wembley show, then how was it transferred in the 1st place?

So glad to hear that NY has the most songs on this box set. He's the only reason I'm buying it, so it makes me more than happy!

At 6/20/2014 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

Besides Neil's songs we will get to hear him play on the other stuff. I always enjoy hearing Neil play in other contexts, besides his own songs. He does different stuff.

At 6/20/2014 01:01:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

I assume most of the tuning issues Nash talks about are Stills related He was coked out and over singing a lot in those days. No surprise there wasn't a decent Carry On. He couldn't do it in 1970 or 2000 or .... Deja Vu was the only time Stills was able to sing that tune.

At 6/20/2014 03:02:00 PM, Blogger setlistthief said...

Bernstein's stadium photo of the acoustic set from behind the drum kit is phenomenal. Great, great shot.

At 6/21/2014 09:32:00 AM, Blogger Richard Bay said...

It's absolutely great we are finally getting an official release from this tour.Having said that,you have to wonder,at the current price why more wasn't included. The list of Neil songs not included is rather large.For instance the tour version of "Cowgirl in the Sand" was amazing and def should have been part of this! It's not necessary but it sure is great! It's one of Neil's old songs that the band def added too. Why not another disc or two?
Also these sets were over three hours long,why only eight songs on video? What about the rest of the show? Now they will just sit in a vault and rot,what's the point in that?
I'm wondering if all three nights of Maryland are on video.If so,it's even more disappointing more video wasn't included. This will probably be our only shot at this material and it's a shame they didn't take it all the way!
Bands are always the worst judges of their own archive material.What they couldn't care less about,is what we are all looking for!
What about the abandoned studio material,the ranch rehearsals? Knowing Neil,these exist!
Sigh,maybe on the tour's 50th anniversary. If I'm not to old to enjoy it!

At 6/21/2014 09:39:00 AM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Cowgirl In The Sand wasn't recorded.

At 6/23/2014 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Harm said...

Crosby: "The advantage of having four writers is that you've got this enormously wide palate to work with. We were writing new songs every night.

Not quite true. If you have a look at the setlists at Sugar Mountain you'll see that Neil played 15 new songs (unreleased, or released on On the Beach or subsequent albums) and CSN only 5. One of the main reasons Human Highway or a live album from the tour failed.

At 6/23/2014 03:21:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Neil Young was incredibly prolific, at least until the 90 s. CSN weren't comparable with him.


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