NEW YORK – Graham Nash has never been one to hold his tongue, musically expressing opinions about some of the most pivotal events of the past 40 years with his band Crosby, Stills and Nash – and occasionally Neil Young.
During that time, the introspective singer-songwriter has written his share of songs with a political spark. But he doesn’t consider his music political, instead saying it’s inspired by what he sees happening in front of him.
The 70-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will be at Northern Quest on Saturday with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. He spoke to the Associated Press on topics including the band’s newest live album and DVD, “CSN 2012,” captured earlier this year, a project that includes Young and the band’s take on political songs. He also spoke of their “40-odd-year bond” and tumultuous journey.
AP: You guys have been together since 1968. What’s the secret?
Nash: I think there’s two things that are very obvious when you look at the DVD, and the first thing is, you know that we love each other. That in spite of all the madness that we’ve been through, all the back-stabbing, the ‘I’m not talking to you for another 10 years’ kind of stuff that went on, it’s meaningless. It’s obvious from the DVD that we want to be there and that we want to love each other because we do. It’s been a long time. I’ve never been with anybody in my life for 40-odd years. I’ve been married to my wife for 35, but that’s not 40-odd.
AP: Any plans for a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young project?
Nash: Very, very possible. And I say that with tongue in cheek because I’m in the middle of mixing it right now – 1974 live tour of baseball stadiums and basketball arenas. The first tour of its kind in history. We recorded nine of the 35 shows. I’ve been through with my friend Joel Bernstein, who’s producing it with me, every single note that we played on the nine entire shows. We chose the best songs. I made a rough mix of it. I took it up to Neil’s ranch. He loved it. And that’s unusual for Neil because you know he’s picky, you know? He’s Neil.
AP: You guys have always been a socially conscious band. Did you intend to be political?
Nash: We don’t think it’s politics. I think it’s humanity. When you chain and bind and gag a man and put him on trial like they did with Bobby Seal in 1968 in Chicago, when they disrupted the Chicago Democratic National Convention, is that politics or is that something happening to a human being? When you slaughter four children because of their God-given right to protest what their government is doing at Kent State in 1970, is that politics? I don’t think so. That’s humanity. We don’t think we’re a political band. We think we’re a human band.
AP: CSN played Red Rocks (in Colorado) in July right before the Aurora shooting. What’s your take on the tragedy?
Nash: My take on that is that in probably less than 100 years the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby and the pharmaceutical lobby and the tobacco industry and the liquor lobby will all be seen as major criminals. Tobacco companies know that their cigarettes are killing people by the hundreds of thousands every year. They knew. They covered it up. That was that great whistle-blowing thing, you know? We know how many people die because of drink. Not because of drink of accidents and car accidents because people are impaired. We know that the pharmaceutical companies are ripping us off. We know all this. There’s a tremendous amount of power that those financial companies have, and it will take a long time and a great deal of effort to bring it to the attention of people, but I still maintain that within 100 years they’ll all be seen as major criminals.
AP: What’s the solution to the senseless violence as seen in Aurora?
Nash: And what was it Mitt Romney said? We don’t need to change the gun laws because of Colorado, wow. If those were any of his kids it would be in the Constitution by now.
AP: Do you feel people don’t speak up?
Nash: That’s right. Bread and circuses, baby. Give them something to watch like Kim Kardashian’s (expletive). Give them something to eat, lie down and be sheep. Let us just rob them.