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Crosby, Stills and Nash on 40 Years of Music, Working With Rick Rubin

July 1, 2009 5:32 PM ET

David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash are certainly aware they've been working together for a long time, but when Rolling Stone spelled out a number — 40 years — the figure still stunned the trio. "It certainly seems to have gone very quickly," Nash told RS during a recent trip to our offices. "In my memory it's like yesterday," he said. "We love each other," Stills added. Which is clearly what's helped keep Crosby, Stills and Nash on the road and in the studio together for so long despite some major hiccups along the way.

The other major factor: creative synergy. "For me, it has to do with the music," Crosby said. "I love both of them as human beings, but they keep coming to me with music that is absolute magic to me. It's a completely different chemistry. Each human being has a completely different vibe, and the four of us [including Neil Young] is a completely different chemistry than the three of us or two of us or solo, and that's fascinating and it keeps it fresh."

The trio have been trying something kind of new during studio sessions with Rick Rubin for their upcoming covers album. "Stephen has been doing it on his solo tour and it really worked for him, and he said, let's do it," Crosby said. "It's kind of a brave step, but it has been working." Nash revealed the answer to the question, "What would be the audience's reaction to Crosby, Stills and Nash doing other people's stuff?" has been fantastic. And he says Rubin is a more "traditional producer" than people think. "He only concentrates on the music," Nash said, describing how Rubin would insist on tinkering with chorus placement. And he listens "like nobody I ever saw," noted Stills.

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Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

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