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Graham Nash Still Really Gives a S#!*
Posted on Aug 5, 2012
By Mr. Fish
Fish: You’re 70 now and have been doing what you do for almost 50 years. Does the longevity of your own career ever overwhelm you?
GN: Nope. I’m not interested in looking back. I’m interested in getting up, being alive and getting on with the job.
Fish: Speaking of looking back, when was the last time you watched the BBC broadcast you did in 1971?
GN: (Laughs) With me and David [Crosby]—I saw it about a year ago.
Fish: What do you think when you look at something like that?
GN: Well, first of all I think it’s an incredible piece of history, in a musical sense. Second, I loved our courage. “What do you want to do?”—we’re on fucking live television on the BBC—“What do you mean ‘what do you want to do’? What do you want to do?” We didn’t rehearse anything before we went on, but that’s who we were and who we are. [We’re about] what do you want to do right now? I have to tell you, though, we were so fucking high. We had smoked a big one and that’s hard to do at the BBC.
Fish: OK, while we’re talking about music, let’s talk about some other people from your musical generation. I’m always curious to find out what old guys like you think about your peers.
GN: (Laughing) Old guys? Fuck you.
Fish: So, are there any voices from your musical generation that you really miss?
Fish: Somebody like Joni Mitchell, for example. I really miss her poetic insights and her particular sort of honesty in popular music.
GN: I miss Joni too. I talked to her a couple months ago. She’s had a hard last four or five years with a disease [Morgellons syndrome] that she thinks she has and that many people know she has and that doctors don’t think she has. So she hasn’t put pen to paper or brush to paint in a long time, but she’s coming out of it. When I talked to her she said that she’s over [Morgellons]. She thinks it’s a negative part of her life and she wants to turn more positive. I’ve seen a couple pictures of her lately with Bonnie [Raitt] and Jane Fonda where she looked fucking stunning. I can feel her getting angry about life again and not just concentrating on this one thing that’s pissing her off about personal stuff. There’s no way that Joni Mitchell won’t write again and there’s no way in hell that when she does write again that she won’t fucking knock us on our ass. She’s a brilliant, brilliant writer.
Fish: What about Bob Dylan’s most recent work?
GN: Personally, I think Bob is our best writer and our best singer. There are people who say to me, “Are you fucking kidding me? [His voice] is worse than Neil’s!” But, no, Bob is it for me. I love what he does.
Fish: Well, speaking of Neil—what about Neil?
GN: I have a little difficulty with Neil right now and here’s why. I think we all need a balancing voice in our life. There has been no one in Neil’s life since David Briggs died and since Larry Johnson died who can tell him, “No, no, no—that’s fucked! You can do better than that.” We all need those people in our lives and Neil, to me, doesn’t have anybody in his life like that. So to have a Canadian do all these American folk songs with Crazy Horse [“Americana”], it just leaves me cold. And the movie that he made for “Americana” is not very good. It’s actually kind of boring. The best thing about it is Shepard Fairey’s art. But, still, you can’t count Neil out. He’s a tremendous musician and a fantastic writer and who knows what’s going to come out tomorrow. But I was not happy with Neil’s latest record.
Fish: Did you have much interaction with John Lennon?
GN: Sure. John was an interesting man. He always had, in my experience, this underlying anger that was only the thickness of a coat of paint away. I don’t think he took his father leaving him very well. I don’t think he took his mother dying in front of him in a car accident very well. Of course, one of the saddest things to think about is wondering what the fuck was in John’s mind when he was killed. What songs were in John Lennon’s mind that could possibly change the world for the better? It’s so, so sad to me.
Fish: David Crosby said this in 1970: “On one side you got a set of values that’s doom, death, degradation and despair being dealt out like cards off the bottom of the deck by a gray-faced man who hates you. And on the other side you got a girl running through a field of flowers, half-naked and high and laughing in the sunshine. And you offer those two [alternatives] to a child—a child is too smart to make [a] mistake. [A child] is not going to go for that gray-faced dude with the cards.”
GN: That’s right.
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