System Status: Mail server SSL certificate updated; some older mail clients (e.g., Eudora) are having problems. See welltech.374 for more info.


inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #0 of 376: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 12 Jun 02 14:14
    
 Our next guest is Dave Zimmer, author of _Crosby, Stills and Nash, the 
 Biography_.  He tells us a little bit about himself and the book:
 
 "Baseball was my first love. Music and writing came next, further down 
 the  line, during my freshman year as an English major at UC Davis in 
 central California. The music of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, and Joni 
 Mitchell grabbed me by the soul in the early '70s. During my 13 years as 
 a music journalist, I wrote about 500 articles, became friends with Crosby, 
 Stills &  Nash, and authored the text of the group's only biography. 
 Henry Diltz provided the photos for my book. While I've worked as a writer 
 and editor in  Corporate Communications for a global entertainment company 
 since 1990, my musical heart and journalistic soul still reside in 
 Laurel Canyon, California, circa 1969, even though I now live in New Jersey.
 
 "Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
 
 "Back in 1981, photographer Henry Diltz and I approached Crosby, Stills & 
 Nash about working together on their biography. I had earned CSN's trust as a 
 journalist after interviewing each of them individually. Henry Diltz had been 
 their friend since the mid '60s, taken the photographs for their first album 
 in 1969, and chronicled their musical lives ever since. The group agreed to 
 cooperate and opened up full access for the next two years. In addition to 
 CSN, I interviewed Joni Mitchell, Grace Slick, John Sebastian and a host of 
 other friends, associates and family members. The resultant book, "Crosby, 
 Stills & Nash: The Authorized Biography," was published by St. Martin's Press 
 in 1984.  Da Capo Press published an updated and expanded edition in the 
 spring of 2000 (as "Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography"), coinciding with 
 the release of a new Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album and concert tour of 
 North America.  It remains the only book written on the band."

 Leading the discussion with Dave is Mary Eisenhart, long-time WELL member 
 and host. Back in the days when Dave Zimmer was editor at BAM and working on
 this book, Mary Eisenhart was the proofreader and much given to arcane
 stylistic fixes at the last possible minute. It is a testament to
 the saintly patience of the said Zimmer that she lived to tell the tale.
 Mary also co-founded the Well's first Grateful Dead conferences, was
 the editor of MicroTimes magazine for 14 years, and is now a freelance
 writer/editor in Oakland, CA.
 
 Please join me in welcoming Dave and Mary to inkwell.vue!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #1 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Wed 12 Jun 02 14:35
    
So Dave, my first question is--why this particular music? You say
in your bio that CSN, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell all had a profound
impact on you when they first burst on the scene--what was so different
and/or compelling about them? What else was going on at the time that
made them so impressive?
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #2 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Wed 12 Jun 02 17:19
    
Well Mary, the truth is I didn't really experience CSN, Neil and Joni
when they first burst onto the scene in the late '60s. Baseball was my
life then. Music was in the background, although I played clarinet in
my high school orchestra and took music lessons at Dana Morgan's Music
Shop in Palo Alto. (Several years later I learned that Jerry Garcia
used to teach guitar there.)

When I started college at UC Davis in 1971, my record collection was a
motley mix of albums by Burt Bacharach, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana
Brass, the Beach Boys and the Ventures, some original Broadway Cast
Recordings, and a few classical records (Dvorak, Rimsky-Korsikoff,
Mussorgsky).  I was introduced to the music of Crosby, Stills & Nash,
Neil Young and Joni Mitchell by a college dorm friend. Their songs were
like a lifeline to a 19-year-old kid finding his way out of the
"straight world." I was immediately taken by the blend of honesty,
sensitivity, strength and power in such songs as "Wooden Ships," "Long
Time Gone," "4 + 20," "Ohio," "The Lee Shore," "Right Between the
Eyes," "Woodstock" and "For Free." 

To my ears, CSN(&Y) sounded like musical realists. They weren't hiding
their feelings. They were turning them into passionate music. I
listened to their personal tales, sparked by feelings of love, pain and
wonder, enveloped by this magical vocal harmony. I would later see
that they helped define an era. Initially, CSN's music just helped me
define me, to be honest. 

When I began immersing myself in the first CSN album, Deja Vu, 4-Way
Street, Ladies of the Canyon and After the Goldrush, I found my voice
as a writer, stopped cutting my hair and grew a full beard. I also took
my clarinet back to Dana Morgan's in Palo Alto and traded it in for a
steel-string acoustic guitar. So '71 - '72, with the help of CSN & Co.,
was a pivotal axis turn in my life. At that point, I had no idea that
I would one day become a journalist and write a book about their music
and lives.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #3 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Wed 12 Jun 02 18:24
    
So how did that happen, the becoming a journalist and writing a
book about these guys? (I ask having essentially turned myself
into a journalist because I couldn't see how else I'd ever
get to have a decent conversation with Jerry Garcia...)

And also, what is your view of the sage advice "don't make friends
with the rock stars"?
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #4 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Thu 13 Jun 02 08:55
    
My career in music journalism certainly didn’t happen by design. A
little providence was involved. In the summer of 1977, I was living in
a $140-a-month studio apartment in Mountain View, CA and working as
director of editorial services for an ad agency in Palo Alto. I was
also going to several local concerts and club shows each week. One in
particular was a bar date in Santa Cruz featuring The Ducks (the local
band Neil Young played with that summer). I happened to sit down at the
same table as BAM Magazine publisher Dennis Erokan and BAM editor
Blair Jackson. We struck up a conversation, by the end of which Blair
had invited me to stop by the BAM offices to talk about writing a
review or two. I did just that about a month later. My first piece for
BAM was a short item on the by then Young-less Ducks. My first major
BAM feature was on Neil Young’s band, Crazy Horse. My first BAM cover
story was on Stephen Stills. 

Flying down to L.A. to interview Stills at his old Bel Air home in
early 1979, I thought about how I lucky I was -- on the verge of
meeting one of my musical heroes, with a legitimate, professional
reason to do so. I thought, “This is a job?” My first interview with
Stills spanned about two hours and four different rooms in his house.
It was hard for him to sit still for long, and I just moved when he
moved. It was a magical afternoon. Stills paused at the door as I was
leaving and said, “You did your home work. I like that.”

A year later, I was able to interview Graham Nash for BAM. We met at
Crossroads of the World in Hollywood. Instantly warm and inviting, Nash
told me one amazing story after another – about his early days with
the Hollies, CSN in Laurel Canyon, meeting Joni Mitchell, the Woodstock
experience … I was enchanted and mesmerized. The resulting Nash
article ran in two parts. A month after Part II was published, I got a
phone message from the BAM receptionist: “David Crosby just called
looking for your phone number. Is it OK if I give it to him?” Of course
I said, “Yes!” Two minutes later I was on the phone with Croz, who
just wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed reading the Nash article and
that I was welcome to interview him any time I wanted. I took Crosby
up on his offer and visited him at his old house in Mill Valley a
number of times and filled up about a half dozen 90-minute cassettes.
Since he had no product out at the time, no article resulted, but much
of the content of those conversations would end up in my CSN book.

Having met photographer Henry Diltz in 1979 after interviewing Stills,
we kept in touch. Henry frequently invited me to his charming little
house in Laurel Canyon that was filled with boxes of proof sheets,
prints and slides -- many of them of CSN, CSN&Y, Stills, Joni, Neil. It
was a photographic paradise. One night we talked about working
together on a book on CSN. No one had ever done one. We talked of
making the book a fluid tale, a marriage of words and photos. Crosby is
the first one we approached. He was enthusiastically supportive. Nash
and Stills soon gave also gave their consent, and we were off. After
penning a sample chapter and boxing it up with a dozen of Henry’s
photos of CSN, our agent in New York soon landed a deal with St.
Martin’s Press. I’ll get more into the book research and writing
process later.

In answer to your second question about “don’t make friends with rock
stars” … 

Before I became a music journalist, my favorite rock writer was
Cameron Crowe. I loved his articles in Rolling Stone and Creem. He
usually wrote these long, expansive pieces on my favorite artists with
such warmth and caring. He painted real portraits – filled with
insight, candor and humor. It felt like he was writing about his
friends, people he genuinely liked. My own style evolved out of an
appreciation for this approach. So I don’t agree with Lester Bangs, who
(according to Crowe’s almost “Almost Famous”) offered that “sage
advice.” I know, from experience, that it’s possible for a journalist
to be an artist’s friend without becoming a sycophant. 

By the time I committed to writing the biography of Crosby, Stills and
Nash, I had interviewed each of them enough times to the point where
there was a relaxed honesty to our conversations. They sensed I wasn’t
there to probe for dirty laundry. I was just looking to present their
lives honestly and comprehensively. So, from my perspective, I never
viewed my friendship with Croz, Nash or Stills as a hindrance. It only
helped me get deeper into their music and their lives.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #5 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Thu 13 Jun 02 09:58
    
Still, that's a tough balancing act. In this particular case, there
was often some pretty dark stuff going on with all the transcendent
experiences (this is not news, as your subjects are pretty
candid about it). On the one hand, you don't want to go all
Geraldo on them, betraying people who trust you, and on the other,
you have a somewhat different role from their publicist.

So what do you think about in trying to achieve that balance, and
how do you work it out with your subjects, short- and long-term?
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #6 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Thu 13 Jun 02 11:26
    
Ah, yes, "the dark stuff." David was in the middle of his severe drug
addiction when I first met him and he made no attempt to hide it from
me. The impact this had on his life and music are in the book. And
David did not edit that out. He wanted the truth. Nash, too, was intent
on this book not coming off like a sanitized version of the CSN story.
And Stills ... he was intent on making sure his side of things was
always clear and not white washed.

While I may not have focused on the dark sides of CSN, I didn't ignore
them. I was never afraid to ask the tough questions out of fear that
the guys might not want to talk to me again. And I would not consider
my role as a biographer anything close to that of a publicist.

So, I never I had to work anything out with the guys when it came to
tone and coverage. The balance evolved naturally.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #7 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Thu 13 Jun 02 11:37
    
In one of our offline conversations, you mentioned the fact that
for a lot of the rock-critic establishment, CSN aren't taken seriously.
(This also comes up in the book from time to time!) Being a Deadhead
and all, I am not wholly unfamiliar with this phenomenon, but...

what are these guys missing??
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #8 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Thu 13 Jun 02 17:04
    
What are they missing? 

The Mars to Venus Crosby and Nash jazzy scat harmony blends in
"Guinnevere" (Miles Davis is no fool; he recorded a 20-plus minute
version of the song) ... Stills' heart on the cutting board cries
(vocals and guitar) in "I Give, You Give Blind" ... Nash's raging "Wild
Tales" live ... the number of time changes and melodic U-turns in
Croz's "Deja Vu" ... three voices, one acoustic guitar, "Blackbird" ...
Stills' guitar solos in "Wooden Ships" and "Dark Star" ... Crosby and
Nash's magical "Taken At All" ... the chordal beauty of "Triad" ... I
could go on and on.

My fantasy would be to lock the so-called "rock critic establishment"
in a room and pipe in some of the above tracks through a
state-of-the-art sound system. Because my sense is that these men and
women just haven't taken the time to listen. The guy who referred to
CSN as "limpid adult bubble gum rockers" has not heard "Almost Cut My
Hair" live. I would stake my life on that.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #9 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Thu 13 Jun 02 18:41
    
One more thing before we open the doors--most of the CSN fans I know,
who may not be entirely representative, are relative geezers like
ourselves, i.e. more or less contemporary with C, S, and N.

And that's fine, of course. But is there also something going on
there that would speak to today's young audiences, maybe not the
Britney generation but people who like newer stuff? Say you were talking
to a Wilco fan who for some reason had never heard these guys--what 
would you play for them to get them to check it out? How would you
explain that this is worth their while? 

Or, if not Wilco, Modest Mouse! Gorillaz!:-)
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #10 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Fri 14 Jun 02 08:09
    
If someone was already a fan of artists like Wilco and Ryan Adams but
had never really checked out CSN, I would start them out with CSNY's
4-Way Street. It's all there -- great Martin guitar-driven wooden
music, emotional vocals, and rumbling electric jams. Most of the newer
folk/rock bands are passionately lo-fi, so listening to CSN(&Y)live
would be a way for a like-minded fan to immediately get the strength of
Stephen, David and Graham's musicianship. Then I would put on the
first CSN album.

I would also provide a little history lesson centered around the bands
CSN came from, selecting some key tracks ... Buffalo Springfield's
"Bluebird," "Rock and Roll Woman," and "Four Days Gone," The Byrds'
"Everybody's Been Burned," "Renaissance Fair," and "Eight Miles High,"
and, perhaps, the Hollies' "Bus Stop" and "King Midas In Reverse."
These roots are deep and powerful. Younger fans should know that Neil
Young isn't the only "godfather."

They should also check out some key solo projects ... Crosby's "If I
Could Only Remember My Name" (particularly "Cowboy Movie," "Laughing"
and "Music Is Love"), Stills' Manassas double album ("So Begins the
Task," "The Treasure," "Blues Man")and Nash's "Wild Tales" ("And So It
Goes," "On the Line" and "Another Sleep Song"). A must listen would
also be Crosby & Nash live -- the acoustic Another Stoney Evening and
the ABC live album with The Mighty Jitters (David Lindley, Danny
Kortchmar, etc.).

Of further importance would be to illustrate what Croz, Nash and
Stills are doing today. The CPR albums would be front and center. I've
not met anyone yet who has not been completely blown away by Croz's
work with Pevar, Raymond & Co. The messages are contemporary and the
performances are stunning. Nash's new Songs For Survivors solo album
would also be a must play. Again, the relevance is there. As for Stills
... if he wasn't playing live somewhere, demonstrating his current
state would be tougher. To be honest, I don't think Stephen has
recorded a truly great song since the early '80s. But he can still burn
it up on stage -- most recently on the CSNY 2K2 tour. A live recording
from a May 2002 CSNY show would attest to that fact.

Finally, if a person was still skeptical about taking the time to
explore the music of CSN, I would explain that all music has roots and
the payoff for exploring those roots is a greater appreciation for the
"sprouts" that stem from them. In addition, they just might discover
that the genuine articles are best of all.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #11 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 14 Jun 02 09:06
    
An excellent response!

And now, since the doors are about to open--welcome, folks, and
feel free to ask Dave your own questions!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #12 of 376: tambourine verde (barb-albq) Fri 14 Jun 02 11:48
    
Hi folks:

I was wondering what Dave thinks about the new bio of Neil Young
written by Jimmy McDonough. Mr. McDonough often injects his personal
views on CSN music and they are very dismissive for the most part. In
contrast, he is almost idolic (is that a word?) about Neil's work with
Crazy Horse. How does this play into the idea of writing a bio as a
friend or fan of the subject(s)? And on the view critics about CSN
music? (PS Loved your book, Dave.)
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #13 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Fri 14 Jun 02 11:59
    

From Ernie Osborne:


Hi D. Ernest!
I hope everything is going super for you!
Your pal, Ernest O.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #14 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Fri 14 Jun 02 14:35
    
Hi Barb ... thanks for joining the discussion, and I'm happy you
enjoyed my book.

Regarding Jimmy McDonough's book Shakey ... Jimmy is a friend, and I
was in touch with him periodically during the years he spent conducting
interviews, doing research, and writing the text. He literally poured
his life into this thing, and it shows. That Jimmy praised everything
David Briggs and Crazy Horse touched and dismissed anything connected
to CSN was not a surprise. Jimmy never made a secret about his musical
prejudices. Even though I often didn't agree with his critial slant, I
still enjoyed reading his book. Neil's speaking voice and views on
everything from his parents to his career moves shined through pretty
well -- along side Jimmy's off-beat running commentary.

Regarding the treatment of CSN and Stills in Shakey, Neil himself
offered some very personal, mostly affectionate comments (particularly
about Stills). Jimmy frequently set up quotes from others (including
Joel Bernstein and Graham Nash) to talk down Stills. CSN, as you said,
was mostly treated with disdain throughout. Early in the book, Neil
told Jimmy he didn't want to hurt anyone in the course of telling the
tale of his life. In the end, a number of people were bruised in
Shakey's pages. It's been suggested that perhaps that is why this book
almost wasn't published.

Earlier in this Inkwell conversation, in response to a question from
Mary, I talked about how being a friend and fan of an artist can only
help a biographer in his or her quest to present an honest and complete
portrait. This also allowed me to gain access to such band friends as
Joni Mitchell, John Sebastian, Grace Slick, Elliot Roberts, Paul
Rothchild ... people who were able to personalize and add perspective
to the story behind CSN. That said, my book did not shy away from the
conflicts and ups and downs that Croz, Nash and Stills have
experienced. As a biographer, I also never lost sight of the magic.
People who read my book I hope get the full-screen picture; that was my
goal. 

Mary earlier asked me what critics of CSN are missing. To reprise that
response, I'm convinced most of them haven't taken the time to really
listen. If they do listen and still don't like the music ... fine. CSN
have never tried to adapt their music to the critical winds that come
and go. And I'm thankful they haven't.

P.S. It's nice to get a personal note from my online bro, Ernest O. 
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #15 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 14 Jun 02 16:35
    
So tell us a little about your collaborator, Henry Diltz, and how the
process of choosing the right words and text came about.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #16 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 14 Jun 02 17:15
    
That should be right pictures and words.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #17 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 14 Jun 02 17:16
    
And also, if you were starting this book today, what would you do 
differently?
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #18 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Fri 14 Jun 02 18:03
    
Henry Diltz is talented photographer/musician/singer. He started in
the music business as part of the Modern Folk Quartet and met both
Stills and Crosby in the mid '60s when he was in that seminal group.
His hobby of taking photos of friends became a profession when friends
such as John Sebastian, Stills and Crosby became successful musicians
and needed album cover shots. 

In addition to the first Crosby, Stills & Nash cover, Henry's
photography has graced albums by the likes of Jackson Browne, The
Lovin' Spoonful, The Eagles, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, America and the
Souther Hillman Furay Band. His photos have usually been part of album
covers designed by Gary Burden. A new DVD called "Under the Covers"
chronicles Henry and Gary's adventures as a team and reveals the
stories behind the creation of many of their album covers.

I was fortunate to meet Henry in 1979 the same day that I interviewed
Stephen Stills for the first time. We became good friends and our
decision to collaborate on the biography of Crosby, Stills & Nash came 
about over beers at the Cat & the Fiddle in Los Angeles in 1981. As
related in an earlier post, CSN was supportive and we quickly landed a
publishing deal.

In addition to his candid and personal photos -- from his "fly on the
wall" perspective -- Henry also opened his personal phone book to me,
leading to, most significantly, my interview with Joni Mitchell. She
was rehearsing at A&M Studios in L.A. and consented to chat for 15
minutes. Every word Joni spoke was golden and most were used in the
book.

Two years of interviews and research, all transcribed onto 4 x 6 note
cards, were in piles on the floor of my old apartment in L.A. in the
Spring of 1983. By June of that year, I'd organized everything into an
order and outline that seemed to flow together and featured as many
anecdotes as possible. Six weeks later, a complete first draft was
finished -- in long-hand. I still have the binder containing that first
draft. Finding the right words was not hard when I had such rich
material and a fascinating story to work with -- filled with love,
tragedy, conflict and, ultimately, triumph and survival.

Henry took the first typed draft and made notes in the margin such as
"Stills in Hawaii," "Joni and Graham on the way to Big Bear," "Crosby
rolling joints." I helped him with the final selection -- which ended
up being more than 275 photographs. We wanted to tell the tale as
dramatically as possible. When Graham talks about Joni writing the song
"Willy" about him, there is photo adjacent to that paragraph that
shows Joni writing a draft of the song. When Stills talks about his
1971 Madison Square Garden concert, three shots of Stephen on stage
playing guitar are in view. 

To be able to have Henry's photos flow throughout the text I wrote was
a dream come true for me.

Mary, in answer to your last question ... I can't think of anything I
would have done differently. The text flowed so quickly, it was like
all of the pieces were there and I just had to fit them together.
That's the truth.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #19 of 376: something named (stdale) Sat 15 Jun 02 03:58
    
It's way past my bedtime, so I'll weigh in later with a clearer mind, but
I'm excited to find this topic underway and want to thank you, Dave, for
writing the book.  It was a treat to read and it's a treat to get your
further insights here.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #20 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Sat 15 Jun 02 06:20
    
Thanks very much for your kind words "st." Feel free to fire away with
any questions, at any time ... just waking up here in the Eastern U.S.
time zone. Will check in again later.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #21 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Sat 15 Jun 02 11:37
    
Meanwhile, apropos of Henry, I've got to say that the photos in the
book, especially the ones from the Laurel Canyon period, are a hell
of an argument for a trusted relationship with your subject. They
are just lovely.

Can you talk about the Laurel Canyon period a bit--from the descriptions
in the book, it sounds like this incredibly rich, golden, intense time--
that came and went in the blink of an eye. From what you've learned
in your travels, what was going on at the time that made the whole scene
happen, and why didn't it last?
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #22 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Sat 15 Jun 02 12:28
    

> Stills paused at the door as I was leaving and said, You did your home
> work. I like that.

That is such a great feeling!  I had a smilar moment n my first interview
with Phil Lesh in 1981.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #23 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Sat 15 Jun 02 12:29
    

> I know, from experience, that its possible for a journalist to be an art-
> ists friend without becoming a sycophant.

It is possible, but sometimes difficult.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #24 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Sat 15 Jun 02 13:37
    
I agree on both counts, David. It feels good to know the artists
appreciate and understand the preparation involved before the interview
starts. As for your other point ... when you get caught up in the
magic ... 

Speaking of magic ... yes, Mary, the Laurel Canyon scene was rich and
golden -- particularly in 1968 and 1969. Even though I didn't
experience it first hand, I felt like I was there after talking to
Joni, Nash, Croz, Stills, Henry, Sebastian, Elliot Roberts and Ron
Stone -- who was living in Joni's old house when I interviewed him in
1982. I actually got to walk through Joni's old house on Lookout
Mountain Road and see, with my own eyes, what she had described as
being "like a treehouse ... it had a kind of soulfulness and was full
of knotty pine, which was kind of our interior anthem at the time. That
was hippie heaven, with a rustic fire place and a good feeling ...
Sometimes people would drop in singularly, or sometimes a group would
congregate. There would be nights when everyone sat up and played
acoustic music and swapped songs. Everyone was particularly fertile."

With its hill homes, flowing green foliage and "free agent" musicians
at the peak of their creative powers, Laurel Canyon was like a mecca
for everyone looking to experience the blossoming spirit of folk-rock.
Glenn Frey once told me, "The first day I was in California, I saw
David Crosby on the porch of the Canyon Store in Laurel Canyon. He had
on his brimmed hat and cape. I was struck by how small he was. Because
in my mind, David Crosby was this giant!"

I still get chills remembering the first time Nash told me how CSN,
acoustic guitars in hand, went from house and house in Laurel Canyon in
early 1969: "We would sit people down and say, 'Listen.' And we would
sit right down and play 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' right in front of them,
great. And we would follow it with 'Helplessly Hoping,' 'You Don't
Have to Cry,' 'Marrakesh Express,' 'Right Between the Eyes,'
'Guinnevere,' 'Long Time Gone.' By the time they'd sat down and
listened to this hour of music, they were on the floor! We used to play
deliberately to blow people away."

Why didn't the Laurel Canyon scene last? Success, for one thing. A lot
of the musicians moved out, into bigger houses. The communal spirit
didn't sustain. Nash once told me, "When competition and ego moved in,
it was over." Also, from what I learned in talking to people, the
Manson murders sent a lingering chill through the area. By 1970, Laurel
Canyon was a different place. But strong memories, Henry Diltz's
magical photographs, and the music hatched there live on.     
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #25 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Sat 15 Jun 02 13:59
    
My God, to have CS&N troop in and perform in your living room like that.
Amazing!!
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook