inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #51 of 231: Uncle Jax (jax) Sun 9 May 04 11:23
    
I was making a broad and impressionistic generalization. Less epigrammatic
would have been to say something prosey like:

        Probably most middle-class teenagers of the 1960's were more influenced
        by image than content in their pop music buys. The level of
        musicianship in mainstream white American electric pop, with the
        exception of a few vocal acts such as Simon and Garfunkel, remained
        quite middling.

        Little or nothing had been seen in that arena to match the technical
        excellence and compositional merit of CSN's first offering, which took
        its maturing listening audience by storm on sheer merit.

Better?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #52 of 231: Peter Meuleners (pjm) Sun 9 May 04 12:01
    
>Probably most middle-class teenagers of the 1960's were more
influenced >by image than content in their pop music buys.

And forever it has been thus.  It really proves nothing to make that
assertion, Jack.

>The level of musicianship in mainstream white American electric pop,
>with the exception of a few vocal acts such as Simon and Garfunkel,
>remained quite middling.

I have to disagree strongly with that.  There was an awful lot of
great musicianship displayed in the 60's, to the point that it is
almost a statistical anomaly.  The 60's were wide open with dozens of
new sounds.  (I would love to here one new sound today.)  The variety
and quality was profound.  There were a lot of hacks and copy-cats. 
There always are.  But look at the members of any accomplished 60's
group.  It is a who's who of the hitmakers of the 70's and 80's.  The
current crop of pop stars going back twenty or so years does not
compare. 
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #53 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Sun 9 May 04 12:09
    
Dave...

Of all the stories you read to get to the final selection, is there
one you wish you'd written? You know, one story just so fitting that
you sit back and say "Damn, I wish I had written that?"
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #54 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Sun 9 May 04 17:08
    
Sorry for being MIA for most of the day, folks.  Mothers Day, ya know.

Thanks very much for stopping in and the kind words, Croz

And I'll jump into the debate between Gary, Peter and Jack when I have
more time tomorrow.

Before running to dinner ... Tony ... to be honest, there were many,
many articles where I wish I had been there ... in the room ... talking
to the guys.  But I have such high regard for all of the writers in
the collection, I never stopped and thought, "I wish I had written
that."  That said, the once piece that I marvel at the most, in terms
of the content, style and *feel,* placing it slightly above the rest is
Cameron Crowe's 1977 Rolling Stone article, "The Actual, Honest-to-God
Reunion of Crosby, Stills & Nash."  I will get into why tomorrow ...
mom dinner and homework with my son awaits ... sorry ...
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #55 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Mon 10 May 04 06:49
    
As I was saying ... Cameron Crowe wrote what I consider a
close-to-perfect portrait with his 1977 article, "The Actual,
Honest-to-God
Reunion of Crosby, Stills & Nash." It's filled with fresh, personal
anecdotes, historical details and conversational quotes. 

A sample ...

<<Just as the driver is about to shut off the ignition, a familiar
song -- "Woodstock" -- by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young -- comes on the
radio.  The driver cranks it up, and all three sing along.

"What a rush," whoops Graham Nash. He remembers his harmony line
perfectly.

Stephen Stills is grinning broadly. His missing tooth is in full view.

David Crosby, the driver, stares straight ahead. "Yeah, we were
definitely hot," he says turning off the ignition at the song's end.
"That love, peace and granola shit went over real big, didn't it?"

They laugh, grab their guitars out of the trunk and head inside. After
five weeks of recording and living together in this spacious house,
life has taken on a cuckoo-clock domesticity: up at 5 p.m., dinner at
6, Walter Cronkite at 6:30, recording studio at 8, then home for a
sunrise breakfast.>>

Crowe then pulls together all of the details of CSN and CSNY, past and
present (circa 1968 to 1977), concluding with a wonderful anecdote:

<<{Producer/engineer] Howard Albert had stumbled across someone
pissing in the bushes outside as he walked into the studio that night. 
A few minutes later Albert found out who he was when a wiry, bearded
man in Levi's and checked shirt wandered in the front door.

"Was that you out there?" Albert asked.

"Sure, man," he said with a crooked smirk. "Jus' out there takin' a
leak on a warm evening."

Neil Young had come to see Crosby, Stills & Nash.  He walked into the
control room unannounced and four men lunged to hug one another. "Big
problem with CSNY," Young cracked.  "Too much hugging."  To see them
all together in one dimly lit room was an incredible sight -- like
watching four big old gray timber wolves circling.>>

Like my favorite CSNY music, I never get tired of reading those and
other words penned by Cameron in this piece and his other works in 4
Way Street. There's a visual, lyricism to his prose that takes the
reader right to a great scene (one after another) and captures feelings
of a moment forever. 
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #56 of 231: Gary Lambert (almanac) Mon 10 May 04 07:13
    

And Cameron was all of what - 19? - when he wrote that. What a scarily
prodigious talent he was. And his grownup self hasn't done too badly,
either!
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #57 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Mon 10 May 04 07:34
    
I know Diga probably has an answer for this, and I'm interested in
hearing it, but if we could let Dave go first :-) ...

Why do we love David Crosby so much?

In my couple of years in fan mode I feel like I get the following
general responses... I know this is probably overly generic, but just
go with me.

People respect Graham Nash... and he's often referred to as the classy
gentleman.

People admire Stephen Stills for his guitar playing and will rave
about his talent.

When it comes to Neil Young... well seems like folks are just "fans".

But when it comes to David Crosby... it seems to know him, even from
afar, is to do so with great, and very often genuine affection.

From your perspective and experience why is this?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #58 of 231: Uncle Jax (jax) Mon 10 May 04 08:24
    
He's politically psychologically brilliant, a master manipulator of
the perceptions of those around him. Knows when to hold 'em, knows
when to fold 'em. If he'd been straight he'd be a U.S.  Senator today,
a popular one.
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #59 of 231: Bart, Lisa, and Maddy (tinymonster) Mon 10 May 04 10:12
    
(<49> -- Wow!  You never know who's on the Well!)
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #60 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Mon 10 May 04 11:27
    
Dave... this came to me from Bill Evans on The Shore (The Shore is
listserve hosted through Yahoogroups that is dedicated to all things
CSN(Y) )

To: Dave Zimmer
From: Bill Evans
 
Dave:
 
Sorry to jump in here late, but have been on the road since Friday.  I
loved reading those articles, many of which I had not read since they
were first published and some I had never read at all.  There is
something about CSNY and all its subparts that evokes a musical emotion
in me that is hard to express.  Their music is timeless.  As for the
"black hole" songs, I'd hate to be sucked away without listening to
Crosby's "Traction In The Rain" one more time.  Barncard really out did
himself recording that one.
 
I, along with many others, wish CSN(Y) would record an all acoustic
album produced along the lines of IICORMN and Taken At All [box set]. 
Just the guitars and vocals blending together producing what they do
best.  I can't help but feel that this would be well received.  Why do
you feel that this will never happen?  ....Or do you?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #61 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Mon 10 May 04 11:44
    
For me personally, David Crosby has always represented genuine soul,
incisive intelligence and consistent, unflagging loyalty -- through
good times and not-so-good times.  He has also represented the best and
truest elements of the counterculture generation for those of us who
came of age in the late '60s. 

Further, David is a patient listener, great storyteller and ... of
course ... an excellent musician -- on his own and in partnership with
others. His voice ("like the low note on a flute," Jim Dickson once
said), his words (painterly poetry that can be warmly sensous, deeply
emotional and personally political) and his music (with his guitar
tunings and chords that chime until dawn; his harmonies that blend so
well with others, they're almost impossible to isolate; and his
melodies, that go down folk-rock-jazz roads with a mountain of
influences folded in). 

I'm happy that many of the 4 Way Street pieces capture exactly what
I'm talking about -- from the long 1970 Q & A interview with Ben
Fong-Torres(in which David speaks brilliantly off-the-cuff about
everything from the Byrds to CSNY to Easy Rider to *outrageous* ticket
prices circa 1970 -- "$6.60, $7.50, $10 top"  -- to himself) to the
1985 Mark Christensen piece (in which David shows that even when he was
almost down-for-the-count, his soul was still alive and shining as
bright as it could at that time) to Ian D'Giff's book closing chat (in
which David admits "I think we know what the cost of freedom is. It's
commitment, sacrifice and hard work.")

Lastly, David is just great guy to be around -- he makes me laugh, he
makes me think, and his whole being throws off celestial sparks. As
Joni Mitchell once said upon first meeting him in 1968, "His eyes
always looked like star sapphires and they always had fire comin' out
of 'em."  You could make the same statement today.
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #62 of 231: David Gans (tnf) Mon 10 May 04 11:58
    


Off-WELL readers are invited to send questions or comments to inkwell-
hosts@well.com
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #63 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Mon 10 May 04 12:21
    
Thanks for this question, Bill (fyi: Bill Evans plays a mean guitar in
M-Dock Band, who are able to deliver an explosive version of
"Bluebird" and a host of other Springfield and CSNY-related songs
alonside originals.)

<<I, along with many others, wish CSN(Y) would record an all acoustic
album produced along the lines of IICORMN and Taken At All [box set]. 
Just the guitars and vocals blending together producing what they do
best.  I can't help but feel that this would be well received.  Why do
you feel that this will never happen?  ....Or do you?>>

This concept ... of recording an all-acoustic CSN or CSNY record ...
has been tossed around for so many years now.  I, too, would love to
see it happen.  But I'm not counting on it.  The primary reason it
probably won't happen ... I think ... is the obvious one ... money. 

That said, what I think *could* happen is another all-acoustic CSN
tour at some point (with Neil walking on now and then), with DAT
recordings of these shows made available at the venues and via the Web.
 I'm surprised this hasn't happened already for previous recent tours.
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #64 of 231: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 10 May 04 12:21
    
(Just to be super-clear, that's all one line: one address with a hyphen in 
the middle of it)
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #65 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Mon 10 May 04 17:59
    
You've said that your intro to the band really came through the music
of Stephen Stills and that what he was saying through his music at  the
time met well with struggles you were going through.

How was it when you finally met him... did it mesh with what you had
expected? And what's your take on SS today...?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #66 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Mon 10 May 04 19:03
    
After having felt like I *knew* Stills after having listened to so
many of his songs so intensely for about eight years -- with Manassas
eventually becoming my favorite *Stills period*, I had the opportunity
to interview him for a BAM Magazine cover feature in early 1979. And it
was, as it happens, my first major interview. But I wasn't really
nervous, prepared with a binder filled with about fifty questions that
I went over on the flight from SF to LA.  

When I knocked on the door of Stephen's old Bel Air home, Susan St.
James greeted me, with Stills, wearing a Lance Alworth San Diego
Chargers football jersey and jeans, close behind. "Gotta work now," he
told her, then he shook my hand and led me into his den/library. We
passed down a hallway with framed platinum and gold records and concert
photographs -- including a classic Manassas era shot of Stephen about
three feet off the ground, playing a white Gibson Firebird. There was
was a beautiful sterling sivlver platter leaning against a bookcase
with the words 'BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD' embossed in the middle. When
Stephen sank into a plush leather arm chair, he asked about San
Francisco, said he *loved* Herb Caen, and mentioned that he missed
Sausalito. Then he said, "So, whatta you wanna know?" 

We chatted for about two hours, with the interview ultimately taking
place all over his house -- from his den to his dining room to The Pub
(his basement studio).  He was direct and cordial throughout.  He only
seemed to flinch after I asked him about Jimi Hendrix, to which he
responded, "He was just as confused as the rest of us," and walked out
of the dining room.  The interview continued about 30 minutes later.

After I'd asked my last question and he was seeing me to the door, he
said, "You did your homework ... I like that." Then the door closed and
I was off to my hotel. It would be the first of about 50 conversations
I would have with the man over the next 20-something years.

The Stills I had gotten to know through his music was sensitive,
strong-willed and emotional.  He exhibited all of those traits the
first time I met him. Over the years, when I would come upon him
backstage, he'd sometimes pass me by like he had no idea who I was.  I
never took it personally and, in talking to others around the CSNY
camp, learned: "that's just Stephen." When I got married, out of the
blue, he sent a beautiful Southwestern floral display. Completely
unexpected, but appreciated.

Getting to know and spend time with Stills has only deepened my
appreciation for his music -- which, I must admit, is not at the level
it once was. He can still play guitar with great passion and verve. 
But his singing has not been consistently great since the early '80s
and his songwriting has fallen off to the point where I've not heard a
truly great song come out of him in years. I'm hoping that his solo
album, which may be finally finished, will surprise me.

Meanwhile, the Stills of today is ... while music still drives him, I
don't think it consumes him like it once did ... he's very committed to
his family, his friends and doing everything within his power to get
John Kerry into the White House.  

 

  
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #67 of 231: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 10 May 04 19:20
    
I've been hearing a Stills song occasionally on the radio here called
Treetop Flyer -- how long ago did that come out?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #68 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Tue 11 May 04 06:58
    
Dave --

Were there any issues or challenges in getting materials for this
book?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #69 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Tue 11 May 04 08:39
    
Re: Sharon's question ... <<I've been hearing a Stills song
occasionally on the radio here called Treetop Flyer -- how long ago did
that come out?>>

Stills has been performing the song in concert (initially on dobro)
since the mid '70s.  He eventually released a recording of the song in
1991 on an independently released solo album called Stills Alone. IMHO:
the version he released is not as strong or passionate as some of the
live performances of the song 15 years or so earlier.

On recent solo tours, Stills has also been performing a full-band
version of "Treetop Flyer," which I actually like quite a lot.  It
really jumps!  

The only other version of the song I've heard is by Jimmy Buffett.
It's a bonus track on his 1996 album, Banana Wind. Has more of an
island flavor than Stills' versions.

On to the next ... Tony ...

As for there being any "issues or challenges" during the process of
getting materials together for 4 Way Street ... there were a few.  As
discussed toward the top of this topic, the primary challenge was
determining which pieces to use from among the huge reservoir of
choices.  Once that hurdle was passed, the permissions clearance
process for individual pieces caused some heart palpitations. Most
writers and publications were pleased to be included in the collection
and happily complied with rights terms.

One publication, however, before granting clearance, asked that
Stephen Stills or David Crosby personally send in a note vouching for
me and voicing support of the project. When I discussed this request
with David ... even though he was on the road, just beginning a CSN
tour and had a lot of other things swirling around in his world, he
took the time to pen a personal letter and fax it to the publication.
Upon receipt, clearance for use of the requested articles was granted. 
I will be forever grateful to David for this kind gesture of support. 
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #70 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Tue 11 May 04 08:50
    
The book clearly speaks to the history of the band and these men and
serves as a retrospective to them... but in reatlity, in terms of
literature, there's really a much bigger picture here, isn't there?
Each of these articles serves as a time capsule of sorts, don't they?

Can you talk about his and how intentional it may or may not have
been?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #71 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Tue 11 May 04 09:31
    
Well, the way I viewed 4 Way Street from the start was that the
individual selections in the book would be presented as "moments in
time" across the 30-something year arc of the complete history of CSNY.
 I wanted readers to be able to read about what was happening in the
band and with the artists *when* it was happening.  Rather than a book
of reflections, looking back (though some of the pieces certainly
include many remembrances), I wanted *the now* to be present as much as
possible and the scenes to be painted that truly captured the essence
of the era as it was unfolding.  

One example comes to mind ... the opening of Ben Fong-Torres' 1969
Rolling Stone article on CSNY ... 

<<Behind them, a crew is setting up the curtains that'll hide their
electric gear until their acoustic "wooden music" is finished.  The
curtains are black; there'll be no light show behind Crosby, Stills,
Nash & Young.  It's Thursday, 5 p.m., rehearsal time at the Winterland
Auditorium in San Francisco.  Four hours before showtime, a guard is
already stationed at the old Ice Capades auditorium's doors, brusquely
challenging any visitors. Outside, in brisk autumn weather, a line has
already begun, a sidewalk full of hair and rimless glasses and leather
and boutique colors.  These people know Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
won't go on until 11:30, maybe midnight. No matter.  They'll grab good
places, on the hardwood floor at the foot of the stage. And they'll
wait.>>

Ahhhh ... literary magic ... I could not imagine a better description
of a scene outside a CSNY concert circa the fall of 1969.  My hats off
to Mr. Fong-Torres. *That* is why this piece and most of the others in
the volume were selected, as they do have *time capsule value,* I hope.
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #72 of 231: from BILL EVANS (tnf) Tue 11 May 04 14:27
    


Bill Evans writes:



Dave:  I was listening to a recent CPR show where Crosby was promoting the
new Crosby/Nash CD due out this fall.  He also referenced a new 3 CD Crosby
Box Set.  Have you heard anything about this?  I wonder what Crosby's
approach to this is?  Hey, that would be a great interview, huh? <wink>
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #73 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Tue 11 May 04 18:44
    
Bill ... thanks for checking in ... yes, I have knowledge of the
Crosby box set (and I'm looking forward to it!) but I don't have any
firsthand insights.  The person who would be able to provide the most
details at this point is David himself <croz> or Steve Silberman
<digaman>, who is writing the liner notes and essay for the set. Steve?
 You out there tonight? 
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #74 of 231: look, it's all right there in front of you... (cmf) Wed 12 May 04 07:53
    
Dave...

You've praised Ben Fong-Torres and Cameron Crowe a couple of times...
what is it about them that separates them from the pack... and what, if
anything, have you borrowed from them and their writings. How much of
what you admire in their work have you tried to apply to your own
writing?
  
inkwell.vue.213 : Dave Zimmer - "4 Way Street: The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Reader"
permalink #75 of 231: Dave Zimmer (waterbrother) Wed 12 May 04 08:58
    
The thing that both Ben and Cameron manage to do in their writing is
to really tell the tale and bring the reader inside the lives (and the
worlds) of the artists they profile with a remarkable flair for just
the right amount of detail, insight and revelation. It's like they take
readers along for these wonderful rides.   

I also get the sense that they genuinely *like* the artists they're
writing about. They're not just *on the job,* churning out articles. A
lot of care and time goes into every piece of theirs I've ever read.
I'm honored to be able to present some of the best of Ben and Cameron's
writings in 4 Way Street. 

As I started to write my own profiles for BAM, Creem and other rock
publications in the late '70s, I absolutely looked to Ben and Cameron
as guides, so to speak. But I never felt like I "borrowed" anything
from them other than a commitment to create articles that captured as
much of the artist's lives as possible with a certain patina that made
readers feel like they were being drawn into natural conversations and
scenes as they really are. I hoped to be able to do that and worked
hard to try and maintain that level of commitment ... even when I was
writing about artists or bands I didn't personally care for. 

In Cameron's autobiographical film Almost Famous, the line ... "I will
quote you warmly and accurately" ... says it all for me.  

  
  
  

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