Graham Nash sorts through CSNY’s brilliant, fractured legacy: ‘Like juggling four bottles of nitroglycerin’

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Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) have certainly had their ups and downs, their reunions and splits, their huge hits and weird failures. Over four decades together, they’ve come to understand these ebbs and flows — and to understand their own roles in the cycle.

“I think [David] Crosby put it best,” Graham Nash tells The Nation’s Eric Alterman. “He said CSNY was like juggling four bottles of nitroglycerin — and everything’s fine as long as they’re all in the air. But drop one? Boom. I think that’s the best description of CSNY I’ve ever heard. Because he’s right.”

Graham Nash got an up close-and-personal look at Crosby Stills, Nash and Young’s high risk, high reward sensibilities while spending some four years sorting through in-concert performances, then sequencing and remixing them in order to create a new live document titled CSNY 1974. The alchemy of their quartet of distinct personalities combines with each individual’s dizzying, but quite different, skill set to create a unique experiment every time.

“It’s volatile; it’s unexpected,” adds Nash, who has just announced a 2015 U.S. tour. “It makes left turns every fucking second. We are great. We are shitty. We are real. That’s one of the things our audiences love about us: we’re fucking four human beings up there with weaknesses and strengths, and we’re them. And they know it.”

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