Teach Your Children

I’m listening to Crosby, Stills & Nash, and their album’s art has pulled me in. It’s the three of them, long-haired and ankle-high pointy-tipped boots. It’s a classic shot, like the Beatles walking on Abby Road. 

Nash is up the couch’s back with elbows resting on his knees. Stills’ ankle is propped on his knee with the most severe look of the trio. Crosby has a leg heeled against a couch cushion, and with his handle-bar mustache and frizzy hair and an “I don’t give a damn look,” he’s the most accurate representation of counter-culture of the time.   

I know the band’s story a bit; they harmonized like angels but eventually broke up and worked on their individual projects, but still, even today, there is beef between the members. 

Dave and I saw David Crosby at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle three years ago and purchased his latest album. Crosby had a band of youthful and skilled instrumentalists and vocalists with him, and for the entire hour-plus long show, they all kicked butt. It was magical. 

And yet, I’ve felt unnerved at how one of the most prodigious and notable folk groups that may have ever been struggle to bridge a chasm created decades ago.

Isn’t this the travesty of life: That the perfect moments we share together – living, loving, growing, and becoming – are capable of ceasing and never being again? 

Not yet, anyway. 

I’m going to go, but if you’re so inclined, here’s the up-to-date thoughts from the group’s members, as told by Wikipedia. The Cliff Notes version? They still love each other!)

-In the summer of 2016, Young told Rolling Stone that he wouldn’t “rule out” future collaborations with the trio; according to Nash in a follow-up interview, “Well, he’s right, you never know. There have been times when I’ve been so pissed at us all for wasting time and not getting on with the job that I wouldn’t talk to any of them. But if Crosby came and played me four songs that knocked me on my ass, what the fuck am I supposed to do as a musician, no matter how pissed we are at each other?”

-Young echoed these sentiments in a January 2017 interview: “I think CSNY has every chance of getting together again. I’m not against it. There’s been a lot of bad things happen[ing] among us, and a lot of things have to be settled. But that’s what brothers and families are all about. We’ll see what happens. I’m open. I don’t think I’m a major obstacle.”

-Crosby said that Young is “a hugely talented guy” and a prospective reunion would be “fine with me.”

-In April 2017, Nash framed the potential reunion in the context of the group’s tradition of political activism, “I believe that the issues that are keeping us apart pale in comparison to the good that we can do if we get out there and start talking about what’s happening. So I’d be totally up for it even though I’m not talking to David, and neither is Neil. But I think that we’re smart people in the end, and I think we realize the good that we can do.” 

-In a May 2021 interview for CBS News Sunday Morning, Nash said, “when that silver thread that connects a band gets broken, it’s very difficult to glue the ends together”. He suggested reuniting with Crosby and the others would be preferable “because of the loss of the music.”

Love ya!


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