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Monday, January 19, 2015

Dallas Taylor: 1948 - 2015

Dallas Taylor, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Bruce Palmer, Neil Young, Graham Nash
Shady Oak Drive in Studio City.
Photo Henry Diltz, 1969

Dallas Taylor, the drummer with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young has passed away. He was age 66.

Taylor played at Woodstock with CSN&Y for the band's second live performance. After retiring from music, he became a counselor specializing in addiction treatment.

Dallas Taylor, was the drummer on Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s Deja Vu album, and played drums for Stephen Stills’ group Manassas.

Music Scene - 1970
Photo by Jeff Allen

In a 1994 Los Angeles Times essay, he wrote about Kurt Cobain, the 27-year-old lead singer of the rock band Nirvana who killed himself in his Seattle home after checking out of a drug rehab facility:
"I understand what it is like to be an angry, depressed addict who needs so badly to be liked that he gets on stage and sweats and bleeds and hopes that people will somehow connect," he wrote.

"But as addicts whose only real happiness is being high — whether it's on dope or music, writing, acting or painting — success becomes our worst enemy. When self-hatred runs so deep, it is never alleviated by fame or wealth."

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ''Down By The River'' [Music Scene - Live - 1970]

Also, see Dallas Taylor Interview.

Dallas Taylor
Photo by Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times


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At 1/20/2015 12:27:00 PM, Blogger timothy fontenot said...

How strange is it that most of NY's side men are almost all dead (only Crazy Horse are all alive and kicking) . Stranger yet CSNY is still around. Who would of thought.

At 1/20/2015 12:46:00 PM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

According to Sugar Mountain, of the 20 people who have played 100 or more shows with Neil, four are gone (Ben, Rick, Drummond, Duck Dunn).

At 1/20/2015 05:41:00 PM, Blogger dickie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/20/2015 05:43:00 PM, Blogger dickie said...

Poor guy, 67 is still too young to go.
Dallas and Neil had a rough time back in the day, going on the literature ("Either Dallas goes or I go" - angry Neil once shouted in CSNY). Neil, always one for downsizing his drummers, apparently did n't think Taylor played simple and strong enough..
I also seem to remember Dallas wrote a memoir, some time ago, after his friends collected money for a live saving organ transplant.. Any facts on that?
Has Neil shared any thoughts on the recent deaths of Drummond and Taylor?
Shame that Neil's musical history is starting to read like the obituary page...

At 1/20/2015 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@timothy fontenot - strange indeed with more strange to come undoubtedly...

@ Babbo B. - thanks for mentioning Sugar Mountain. Just did a post on the stats @

@ dickie - is the literature "Shakey"? No word from Neil that we've heard as of yet.

At 1/20/2015 09:03:00 PM, Blogger Soldier Steve said...

Neil has something here for Tim Drummond.

At 1/23/2015 11:43:00 AM, Blogger dickie said...

Yep Thrash, the quote is in "Shakey", page 343...

At 2/07/2015 12:48:00 PM, Blogger Moonmaid said...

Dallas' sound was so unique - it really was at the heart of that band's rhythm. He partnered with Stills at the creation of CSN and apparently was opposed to Neil Young joining the band, believing (correctly as it turned out) that given Stills and Young's past acrimonious history, egos would flare and overtake the music, which up to then had been sort of a hippie feel-good lovefest. Young and Stills again battled, and apparently Young wanted to quit the band mid-tour in 1970, but the record company execs convinced him to stay. However, Neil insisted that Stills fire Dallas Taylor (although Stills rehired him for Manassas shortly afterward)and he did.

Dallas went on to play very well for a few years with Manassas and Bill Wyman and even Van Morrison at Montreaux 1974 (check out the YouTube video of song "Bulbs" to see some amazing drumming and a great song), but his addiction spiraled out of control, and he became a total mess for several years, culminating in a 1985 suicide attempt, which triggered his sobriety and new career as an addiction counselor and interventionist.

CSNY rallied to Dallas' benefit in 1990 when he needed an expensive liver transplant, and they played together at a benefit concert in Santa Monica, and talked like they all had rediscovered their deep friendship. But then Dallas wrote a brutal memoir in 1994, pulling no punches in describing not only his own behavior, but the depravity of the late 60s and early 70s rock scene, including the whole CSNY tale from his point of view. It apparently so pissed off CSNY that he became persona non grata, and they even erased his back screen door image from the box set CSN album photo.

As a longtime fan, it's a shame that none of the CSNY members have seen fit to comment on Dallas' passing. That band had such an amazing chemistry when he was drumming; he and Stills really sparked each other. It was not the same music afterward. I saw how David Crosby referred to Dallas a few years back as "a drummer who played on some early albums", which seems nearly criminal, considering that those two albums are what makes the band important in rock history. Addicts in recovery usually pull no punches in talking about their past behavior, and after reading that book, I understand why CSNY were pissed off (he talks about them sharing girlfriends and doing boatloads of drugs and the whole dissolute LA 1970s rock star lifestyle), but to try to erase this bandmember's accomplishments and not even mention him upon his passing seems wrong to me.


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