Saturday night, Buffalo Springfield will wrap up their seven-date reunion tour with a headlining slot at Bonnaroo. According to the group's singer and guitarist Richie Furay, fans who missed out on seeing them this time around will have plenty of chances later in the year. "The plan is to do 30 dates this fall," he tells Rolling Stone. "The anchors will be Los Angeles and New York. What the other cities are, I can't tell you right now – but we're almost certainly doing Red Rocks."
The plan is to play mostly large theaters, as opposed to arenas and amphitheaters. "We want to keep it a little more intimate," he says. "Rather than going out and playing a huge something . . . There have been people from Florida, Chicago and Texas saying to me, 'Hey, you gonna come my way?' I have to say that with 30 shows, we're gonna hit those cities."
Furay became a born-again Christian in the mid-1970s, and since 1983 he's worked as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Church in Broomfield, Colorado. "The church has been very supportive of this tour," he says. "I have an assistant pastor that's doing some of the Sundays and we have a guest speaker come in too. Everybody's taken care of."
Hours before taking the stage with Buffalo Springfield at the Santa Barbara Bowl tonight, Furay called into Rolling Stone to chat about the tour.
Let's start at the beginning. Where were you and what you were doing when Neil Young first contacted you last year about a Buffalo Springfield reunion?
I think I was probably just in my home studio office, probably working on some church stuff. This thing was not on my radar. I got one of those calls that Neil was calling me, so I got on the phone and we just started the conversation. He said that he'd been talking to Stephen [Stills] and they thought it would be really fun to do the Bridge School Benefit. They wanted to know if I was into it. It's kind of funny, 'cause Neil said, 'Well, you know, we don't have to do it this year if this is too soon. We can do it next year or the next year…" And I'm thinking, "Neil, I mean we're not 20 years old again. We better do this while we still can!"
I think a day later we all got on the phone – Stephen, Neil and myself. We all agreed to do it. I was on my way to Israel in a couple of weeks, so right after I came back I had four days and then I went out to Northern California. We just kind of started rehearsing and it led to this.
How long after the two Bridge School shows did you start talking about doing more shows this year?
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year it was decided. I don't know how it all got done. The three of us and our managers just kind of agreed to go ahead and take it to the next step.
I imagine that Bonnaroo was the anchor for these six California shows this month.
Absolutely. They all build up to it. It started in Oakland, which is a little obscure and out of the way. Then we went to Los Angeles and there was a little more tension and publicly visible. Now here we are at a smaller outdoor venue. It's given us a feel building up to being outdoors at Bonnaroo.
How many days did you guys rehearse?
A solid week. It was to our advantage that we had played in October, so we had at least an hour's worth of music that we'd already started to rehearse. And then we just moved on from there. One of the neat things about what we're doing is that we're doing it ourselves. We don't have 10 musicians and singers. We got five guys and what you hear is what you get. I think that is something really unique for what we're doing right now.
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