from a Review of Graham Nash's WILD TALES -
But when he arrives in dappled, drug-soaked California the book slots into fifth gear. Insider details about the primary characters of Stills, Crosby and, particularly, Neil Young make this essential reading, not just for CSNY fans but also for anyone with an interest in the Laurel Canyon songwriter scene of the 1960s.
Crosby receives much consideration, coming across like a spoilt if likeable figure with an apparently insatiable desire for sex and drugs (preferably at the same time), yet who is, underneath all the bravado, a lonely man nursing deep psychological wounds. Nash characterises Stills as an intensely insecure, incredibly competitive person whose intake of cocaine was mind-boggling (and who, quite viciously, responded to Nash not being able to hit the notes on a song he was working on by slicing the master tapes). The villain of the piece, however, is Young, whom Nash likens to a live grenade being lobbed into a vacuum. “Neil was a guy,” he writes, “with immense talent who was utterly self-centred. Bands for him were merely stepping- stones, way stations to a personal goal.”
Nash’s story continues thus: the break-up with Mitchell and the formation of the money-loving hippy supergroup that laid the foundations for the kind of singer-songwriter who would lay bare their soul – as well as the perilous state of the nation – for the benefit of the listener.
Nash is a solid storyteller, even-handed throughout. From his expansive home in Hawaii – a long way from the coal-gathering days of Salford – he remains something of a hippy at heart and, even at this point in his life, is still ever so slightly wary of Neil Young.
Wild tales, wise man.Continue reading at The Irish Times