inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #51 of 376: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sun 16 Jun 02 17:01
    
Great question, Adam!

About those covers -- I haven't heard about half of them, but yeah, I 
actually dig that Fareed Haque re-recording of Deja Vu in its entirety.
It became a cut-out almost immediately, so I assume no one bought it.
I've never even met anyone who had heard it until now!  That's too bad, 
because Haque (of Garaj Mahal and other cool bands) really did a spunky 
and spirited thing, recreating the "vibe" of the album with a completely 
different sound, even unto the little scraps of studio chatter a la 
Graham.

For me, Miles Davis' epic version of Guinnevere, with wailing tambouras
and all, is also an absolute peak of Croz coverage.  Sure, it's slow, but
it's like watching the ocean, majestic and eternal.  Is it true that Dave
hated it or something when he first heard it?  What a compliment from 
Miles!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #52 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Sun 16 Jun 02 18:50
    
>Miles Davis' epic version of Guinnevere, with wailing tambouras
and all, is also an absolute peak of Croz coverage.  Sure, it's slow,
but it's like watching the ocean, majestic and eternal.

I agree completely, Steve. Even though I mentioned it Friday as a
"must hear," I neglected to include it today. I had not heard about
Croz's reaction.

About Fareed Haque's  Deja Vu album -- it is great from beginning to
end. I played it first thing in the morning for about six months
straight. Wonderful folk-jazz arrangments.


>Do you think a journalist can in fact be an artist, and if
so, what does it take?

It's good to be here, Adam, thanks. With regard to your question ...
yes, I do believe it is possible for a journalist to be considered an
artist. But I'm not sure I'm the best person to set a basic criteria.

I'll take a stab here anyway ... first, regarding the distinction
between an artist and a journalist. In my opinion, an artist is a
person who creates a work of art (music, painting, writing, any medium)
that is truly original, that did not exist before he or she crafted
it. An exemplary journalist is someone who re-creates and interprets
(an event, art, music, history, a person's life, etc.) in a compelling,
comprehensive manner. 

I do believe that a journalist may be considered an artist if he or
she is able to capture the essence of an event, an era, persons (fill
in the blank) in a way that is powerful, honest and definitive.
Forgive me if I can't name specific examples right now. But I will
give your ideas some real thought. Thanks for raising them.

Now I must bow out for the night, as it is time (here in the Eastern
U.S.) to get my son to bed.

Thanks to all for making this Inkwell.vue stint such an amazing
experience so far ...    
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #53 of 376: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sun 16 Jun 02 20:12
    
I believe <croz's> reaction, quoted at the time, was something along the
lines of "Why did Miles even call it 'Guinnevere'?  It's cool, but he
should have called it something else."

To which I say:  I wonder if Rodgers and Hart felt the same way  :-)
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #54 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 17 Jun 02 06:52
    
Slightly different question when you get a chance--

In reading the book one of the things I'm struck by is the
sheer volatility that is forever doing things in. They go from
blissing out in Laurel Canyon to basically bashing each other over
the head within a year, and the pattern repeats fractal-wise for the
next several decades.

The notion that volatility and conflict a)are conducive to great
art and b)are so common among Rock Stars as to merit no comment
is certainly not news, but the highs and lows here seem really
extreme even by those standards.

From your conversations, is this just part of the deal? Or, in
hindsight, would any of your subjects have done anything
differently to keep things more harmonious?

And would that have been good or bad?:-)
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #55 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 17 Jun 02 06:56
    
If nothing else, the perspective would be useful to young bands starting
out!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #56 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Mon 17 Jun 02 08:32
    
>volatility and conflict ... is this just part of the deal? Or, in
hindsight, would any of your subjects have done anything
differently to keep things more harmonious?

>And would that have been good or bad?:-)

Good observation and questions, Mary.  With CSN and CSNY, the
volatility and conflict certainly have been "part of the deal" along
with the musical harmony and bursts of creativity. What people (fans,
journalists, associates) sometimes forget is that just because these
guys reached a level of musical magic and success together they didn't
suddenly leave behind emotions that every human being wrestles with
periodically (insecurity, jealously, impatience, etc.).  

Stills once admitted to me in 1982, speaking about CSNY's first
"separation" in 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 CSNY 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
personal careers would have still been available to us. But we
couldn't put the trivia going on between us aside and we became, I
believe, very cavalier with our careers."

Stills was able to make that observation with the passage of time. In
the heat of the moment, though, such perspective is not always
possible. 

I must admit that one of the interesting elements of the CSN and CSNY
equations is this element of uncertainty and unpredictability. Nash
once said, "I admit we've loved each other one day, and hated each
other the next, and that volatility comes out in the music."

In answer to your question ... do you think the guys could have done
anything differently over the years? Perhaps. But I don't presume to be
able to say what that could have been. Personal differences are just
that ... personal, even if they are played out on a public stage.

My major disappointment, I must admit, was CSNY's inability to
complete a new album in the mid '70s. As Croz has stated on a number of
occasions "it would have been the best one." I agree. Imagine, if you
will, this possible track order: "First Things First," "Carry Me,"
"Human Highway," "And So It Goes," "See the Changes," "Pushed It Over
the End," "Taken at All," "Homeward Through the Haze," "Guardian
Angel," "Through My Sails," "To The Last Whale/Wind On the Water."
If the guys had been able to create such a record, that would have
been wonderful. But I don't know could have happened to bring that
about.

As far as lessons that young bands may learn from observing the
inner-workings of CSN and CSNY ... I suppose Nash summed it up best, in
talking about his CSN song, "Wasted on the Way," ... "I was thinking
about CSN, about how many times we wasted chances to really make some
music that would not only bring joy to us, but to others as well ...
But as I've learned, you've got to just plunge ahead and take some
chances. Because some things don't come around twice, and there's only
so much time you can make up."
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #57 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 17 Jun 02 08:39
    
I've always loved that song. Particularly "You mut go for what
you wanted/Look at all my friends who did and got what they 
deserved."

Cracks me up every time I hear it, and yet it does sum up the whole
thing rather well!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #58 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 17 Jun 02 08:39
    
Er, "must go," but you knew that.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #59 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Mon 17 Jun 02 08:56
    
I did know that ... 

Nash further revealed to me that the song, "Wasted On the Way,"  "...
was also written from a feeling that I had as a teenager. I remember
going to dances and being envious of all of the guys who would just go
up to a girl and say, 'Wanna dance?' I could never do that. I was
always afraid of rejection .. that she wouldn't want to dance with and
that I'd be out there looking like a turkey."

Hard to imagine that Graham Nash, so relaxed, dancing barefoot on a
concert stage in front of 20,000 people, was ever this insecure. But,
as stated previously, he is only human, just like the rest of us ...
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #60 of 376: tambourine verde (barb-albq) Mon 17 Jun 02 09:18
    
And of course there were the drugs, exacerbating everything, not to
mention the general vibes in the world during those times. I sometimes
think of artists as sponges who soak up the vibes around them (earthly
and cosmic) and regurgitate them to the world (not a pretty image, but
you get the picture). I also believe artists like CSN-Y can function
almost as mirrors to the psyches active around them, whether in their
personal lives or in the larger world. And given the chaotic changes
and violence and enlightenment going on during those eras in terms of
mass movements and individuals, it seems almost inevitable that the
band would also function (or not function) in a similar manner. They
always seemed to mirror what was going on in the culture to me. Which
definitely increased my connectedness with them.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #61 of 376: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Mon 17 Jun 02 09:45
    
Mr. Zimmer

My first "literary" experience with any of the CSN amalgamations came
via Crosby's book, "Stand and Be Counted" which I quite literally
stumbled into a couple of years ago while waiting for my kids during
story time at the local library.

Up until that point I had always felt a distant draw to David Crosby,
but quite frankly owned none of his or "their" music and knew very
little regarding discographies or the musical history or partnerships.

In fact to be honest, having been something of a recent convert, I've
found some of the conversation here to be quite intimidating regarding
music, covers and releases etc.

I devoured Stand and Be Counted. And in retrospect I think the tenants
in the book were what had always drawn me to David Crosby.

I followed it with voracious readings of your book and then Crosby's
own retrospective, Long Time Gone.

And I have to admit, from a fans perspective, there was a part of me
afterwards that had kind of wished I hadn't read either.

I would never call Mr. Crosby (or any man for that matter) a hero, but
having admired him for so long, both books seemed to remove the outer
covering to reveal the tarnish beneath.

I came away with the sense that through most of his life he had been
either (forgive me) a self absorbed prick, or a guardian angel.

My questions:

From your perspective is this a fair assessment?

If not, could you rebut?

If so, could you share from your personal experiences your encounters
with the Ying and Yang of David Crosby?
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #62 of 376: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 17 Jun 02 10:17
    
cmf, when you find someone with no tarnish, alert the Pope, because the 
Church seems to be running low on saints these days <grin>.

I *loved* reading Long Time Gone, because of its honesty.  We are all Yin 
and Yang, and looking for hero figures who are only Yin or only Yang is 
the occupation of the young, which ends in either a bitter or wise 
acceptance of one's own tarnish, and the tarnish of others.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #63 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Mon 17 Jun 02 10:23
    
There is a valid question to be addressed about the nature of biographies
vis-a-vis the privacy of individuals.  Mary Eisenhart and I and some others
had a discussion about this elsewhere in the WELL not too long ago, actually.

I'm not sure why the world needs -- or is entitled -- to know all the gory
details of our heroes' private lives, but the inescapable fact is that we DO
want to know.

Every great artist has a dark side, because every human being has a dark
side.  In some cases, you're better off not knowing abut the creepy offstage
attitudes of someone whose work you admire, but I think it's also good to
know that greatness can come from people who are in some ways not admirable.
Greatness can come from ANYBODY.



(P.S.  Tony Bittick photographed me when I played in Royal Oak MI a few days
ago, and the reults are first-rate.  Thanks for doing that, Tony!)
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #64 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 17 Jun 02 10:30
    
Re the above, I personally tend to default to the None of Your Damn
Business school of thought, but I also think it's the subject's
right to make his own decisions about what to go public with.

So I find the level of candor here--which really seems hard-wired
in CSN--remarkable and interesting.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #65 of 376: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 17 Jun 02 10:49
    
Considering that <croz> was in a 12-step program, and that self-disclosure 
and attempting to make amends with those you harmed are considered to be 
key elements in the journey back to sanity and sobriety, I think the level 
of honesty in Long Time Gone, and in his interviews in general, 
transcends the "kiss and tell" genre, and is, in fact, an attempt to make 
the same kind of healing available to others.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #66 of 376: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 17 Jun 02 10:51
    
I agree completely. 
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #67 of 376: Gary Lambert (almanac) Mon 17 Jun 02 11:10
    

Far too many biographies are either, on one hand, insufferably
obsequious puff jobs or dull "and then they wrote" career chronologies
or, on the other, sensation-mongering tabloid fare that reveal little
about the subject except for the Very Bad Things they did. I find both
extremes wearying, sometimes infuriating and almost always unsatisfying.
The bios that wind up staying with me are the ones that reveal, in a
forthright and non-manipulative way, the complex life histories,
relationships and surrounding cultural currents that informed the art
(or politics, or crimes, or whatever) of the subject, and maintain a
sense of proportion about what was most important about that subject's
life. Joe Klein's "Woody Guthrie: A Life" remains, for me, one of the
greatest books about any American artist (or, for that matter, any
American), in part because it punctures the simplistically attractive
myth of Woody as the guileless hobo saint and replaces him with what
looks like a far more realistic portrait of a complicated, often
difficult, manipulative and irresponsible man, who also happened to be
one of the most important artists and social observers of the last
century. It's a great book also because it manages to be a remarkable
history not just of one life, but of the times in which that life was
lived, encompassing such subjects as the Great Depression and the plight
of migrant workers, the naive and doomed romance of American Communism,
the folk-music boom and much more.

Going back a few responses:

>To which I say:  I wonder if Rodgers and Hart felt the same way  :-)

Can't say about Hart, but it has been widely told that Richard Rodgers
*despised* any jazz interpretation of his songs, or any version that
deviated from his scores exactly as he wrote them. He even had a big
problem with Frank Sinatra's playing with the phrasing on his tunes (in
versions that have come to be accepted as definitive), so you can only
imagine what he might have thought of Miles' screwing with the time and
melody on, say, "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" or some of Trane's over-
the-top later versions of "My Favorite Things" (if he could bring
himself to listen to them at all, which I doubt).
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #68 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Mon 17 Jun 02 11:17
    
Great post, Gary, and thanks for the recommendation of the Guthrie book.
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #69 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Mon 17 Jun 02 11:18
    
Also:  Too bad for Dick Rodgers!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #70 of 376: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Mon 17 Jun 02 12:16
    
(digaman) RE: #62 While your answer is poetic, and even somewhat
insightful, it's not really what I was asking about. I wasn't asking
about Ying and Yang, people with or without tarnish, heros or even the
Pope for that matter. 

I was simply explaining a perception I'd gotten as a result of reading
Mr. Zimmer's work. As the author of this work I wanted to know if he
found my perception to be an accurate portrayal of the reality as he
lived it, or if I had missed the mark. Or at a minimum for him to
comment on the fact that I came away from his book with this
perception.

And with all due respect Mr. Silberman, I was asking Dave.
<wink><grin>
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #71 of 376: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 17 Jun 02 12:35
    
Point taken!
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #72 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Mon 17 Jun 02 12:56
    


Hi Dave

As you know, I'm a great fan of your book. JI've re-read it many times and it
brings back great memories of great music. When many fans talk about CSN and
the music they would like CSN to come back to, it's always acoustic guitar
driven vocal harmonies. I believe it would please many fans to see an
acoustic CSN album release, expecially without the overprocessing of Stills'
guitar on every song......I'm thinking in the vein of Another Stoney Evening.
JGet Barncard to set up the mics for a studio acoustic guitar record and
revive the excitement of the Couch album but with their new songs. JDo you
think that there is any desire on the part of CSN to do such a record,
disregarding the business issues of getting it produced?

Bill Evans
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #73 of 376: David Gans (tnf) Mon 17 Jun 02 13:09
    

(Stephen Barncard has been summoned, and I think he'll show up soon.)
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #74 of 376: Dave Zimmer (zimmerdave) Mon 17 Jun 02 13:11
    
>From <cmf>

>I came away with the sense that through most of his life he had been
either (forgive me) a self absorbed prick, or a guardian angel.

>From your perspective is this a fair assessment?

>If not, could you rebut?

>If so, could you share from your personal experiences your encounters
with the Ying and Yang of David Crosby?

Well, it looks like I'm jumping into a discussion that's already
flowed down the river a bit since your original post. I agree with some
of the comments made by Steve, David, Mary, et al. 

But I do not agree with your assessment, as stated, I'm surprised that
it was your "take away" impression after reading my book. While the
man certainly possesses a healthy ego and drive as well as an extremely
generous soul, I do not feel that, in the pages of my book, he came
off as you suggest. Both seem like extreme ends of the behavioral
spectrum. He's not a black and white kind of a guy (as I have
experienced him and know him). Croz has lot of grays, blues and greens
mixed in there.

As stated previously, David was not in the best of shape when I was
interviewing him for the book. In fact, his addiction was a dominant
force in his life then. Even in this condition, though, he ALWAYS went
out of his way to make time for me and exuded a warmth (that twinkle in
the eyes) and intelligence that kept reminding why I was devoting a
portion of my life to portray his life (with mssrs. Stills and Nahs) in
print.

I think I portrayed Crosby honestly and accurately in my book. If you
were left you with this lingering impression after reading it, all I
can tell you is that, again, my impressions of David Crosby do not jibe
with the extremes you presented.

>I will get to Bill Evans' comments and questions in a while ... my
apologies ... I do have a day job here ... 

 
  
inkwell.vue.152 : Dave Zimmer - Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography
permalink #75 of 376: Steve Silberman (digaman) Mon 17 Jun 02 13:17
    
> He's not a black and white kind of a guy (as I have
 experienced him and know him). Croz has lot of grays, blues and greens
 mixed in there.


Amen.
  

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