Nash Rambler



Graham Nash of the hoary rock behemoth Crosby, Stills & Nash (& sometimes Young) has written an autobiography called Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life. Here are some excerpts.


Acid really opened me up. It opened a door that was probably already there and put me in my place. An amazing drug. I think one of the reasons kids don’t do it so much today is because I’m not sure society wants to look at itself anymore.

Teach your children well.

On one-time paramour Joni Mitchell, who wrote these words: "Hey farmer farmer, put away the DDT, now. Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees":

She was a free spirit, a complicated woman, but it was an attractive complication. She was like an Escher drawing, with all its sharp angles, unexpected turns, and mysterious depths.

My love for you is like a really strained metaphor?

On ’60s singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, whom six people are aware of:

…and when she started playing Eli’s Coming, you just shut the hell up and experienced it for what it was.

It is what it is.

Of Neil Young:

Neil Young is a weird cat. I remember a bunch of us were playing poker in his living room one day. He came in, took a look around, and got so pissed that he didn’t know half the people there that he walked out the window. It was only four feet off the ground, but four feet is a long way to go when you walk out a window. He kind of stumbled when he landed and continued walking down the path toward his lake. Like I said, Neil is a weird cat, and he’s never changed. That’s the beauty of it, I suppose.

I…I suppose.

And how many scruffy, flannel-shirted, anti-establishment "blows against the empire" types own lakes? Save the planet by buying as much of it as possible?

The passive/aggressive pacifist on scarily pretentious, rage-filled, drug-addled boorish lout David Crosby, whose demon seed was used by Melissa Etheridge and her person-mate at the time (who’s since quit lesbianism, but let’s not let that stop us from equating being gay to being black) to spawn their little personlings. Did those dames ever hear “Almost Cut My Hair”?:

David was more than a mess. His health had deteriorated, which hardly seemed possible. He was freebasing around the clock. He was filthy, always sickly, irrational, covered in sores. And blisters—he and Jan would nod off while using a torch to light their pipe and were constantly burning their furniture and bodies. He had trouble speaking because his windpipe was coated.

Yet he waxes poetic:

I viewed him like one of those shiny metallic balls you put in a garden. It gets handprints all over it, then more handprints, and more—obscuring the reflection with each successive touch. But if you cleaned all that shit off, the shine was still there, which was very much how I viewed Crosby.

And what are we? Chopped liver? Are we not shiny lawn ornaments at heart, too?

The British expat on America, a country CSNY’s been slagging onstage since their inception and at least one of whose lakes at least one of them owns:

I have to admit that the America I live in today is not the country I set out to join, it’s not the country I fell in love with, and that’s a shocking thing for me to say. I fear America has become a police state, with a military that uses heat weapons against suspected enemies, a police force that pepper-sprays protesters exercising their inalienable rights, and a justice system that fails to treat its prisoners humanely. So I will continue to speak out against what I consider objectionable and to crusade for justice and equality, only now I do it as an American citizen. God help me—God help us all.

God help us with our melodramatic turgid prose and labored syntax. And England’s nice this time of year, mate, if America doesn’t freebase enough to suit you.

Anyone ever notice a direct correlation between the amount of drugs one ingests in their lifetime and the level of self-righteousness regarding how screwed-up the world and everyone in it is?

Graham seems like the genuinely nice guy he’s always seemed and he’s always been CSN’s saving grace personality-wise. Can you imagine if it was just those other two? Or that happy-go-lucky Neil Young?

There’s a remarkable sameness to the SoCal groups of the time, a brittle, humorless self-importance, from them to The Byrds to Eagles. Even the sun ‘n’ fun Beach Boys were known for anything but sunny dispositions.

It might have something to do with many of the bands’ drug of choice being cocaine near a decade before their audiences could afford it, but I suspect they were smug and insolent to begin with.

Much bitch-assness is revealed in the book, such as this one not speaking to that one for years at a time. Stephen Stills once took a razor blade to a master tape of Graham’s. One of them spit at him but missed.

Jibe deplorable behavior with professed altruism and No Nukes pretensions. Perhaps being nicely kempt and employing common courtesy might swing more people to your cause du jour. Tone down the potty-mouths. Invest in a comb. And how do they feel about supporting drug cartels?

Crosby’s even done time in prison. If you’re being patted down by bulls, it’s time to pause and reflect. And shut your big yap. But prepare to be harangued between songs with more false gods and sacred cows than you can shake a stick at.

The above quotes—save the last—are sweetly wackadoo and suggest his fame garnered him a book deal with the proviso, "Don’t be messin’ with me writin’, blokes. Bloody ‘ell! Tie me kangaroo down!

Writing pop songs might not necessarily translate into writing books. In a pop song you can get away with "I’ve been to the desert on a horse with no name" or "I had a dream there were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee."

And what rhymes with “police state?”

I’m thankful we live in a country with a police force that can protect us from David Crosby.

The anti-American passage is less a question of whether or not America is a police state than whether or not Graham Nash is a ditzy airhead living in a celeb’s vacuum of likeminded S-wordheads and who’s never been challenged in any way.

Is anyone more given to slippery, specious rhetoric and empty, treacly platitudes than politicians and the hippie "activists"-slash-entertainers of yore?

Joni Mitchell, herself loopy and Canadian, opened some dates for them in the early seventies and called Nash out on the America-bashing, saying that this country gave him and her great opportunities.

Try pitching a tent on Graham Nash’s lawn and see what happens to you. Try taking a dip in his lake.

That’s one instance of her not being like an Escher drawing.

One last astute observation regarding the wonders of LSD:

Acid can be good for perspective.

‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain. Good for perspective; not so much for writing.