Crosby, Stills & Nash haven’t altered what they sing about much over the past 39 years, but they’ve seen that the audience’s appetite for it changes from year to year.
“We always sing anti-war stuff. That’s a strong part of our set no matter what year it is,” notes David Crosby, 66, the former Byrd who joined forces with Graham Nash of the Hollies and Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield in 1968. The repertoire, he says, still includes protest songs such as “For What It’s Worth,” “Chicago” and “Wooden Ships,” and these days the trio is finding a “very approving” audience for those sentiments.
“It’s cyclical,” Crosby explains. “Sometimes it’s, ‘How dare they get up there and try to tell us what’s going on! They’re a bunch of hippies!’ But now they seem very approving of our stance about the war and about this (presidential) administration. When we take a shot at the administration, we get a roar out of the audience. They’re really unhappy.”
Crosby says CSN is planning to hit the studio this winter to make its first new album since 1994. The trio is also part of “CSNY: Deja Vu,” a documentary about their strongly anti-war 2006 tour with occasional partner Neil Young, which Young directed and which opens in theaters on July 25.
“A large part of our job is just to make you boogie,” Crosby notes, “but another part of it is to be the troubadour, the town crier, the ‘It’s 11:30 and all’s well’ or ‘It’s 12:30 and there’s a chimpanzee loose in the White House and things aren’t too good.’ That’s part of our job, has been for thousands of years.
“This is probably one of the most crucial (presidential) elections that’s happened, and to whatever degree we can influence it, yes, it’s important that we be out there doing that now.”
Crosby, Stills & Nash perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (July 19) at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills. Tickets are $75 and $45 pavilion, $20 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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