.

Graham Nash Working On Massive Stephen Stills Box Set

'I can look at his music and his trajectory as an artist more than he can,' Nash says

September 13, 2011 12:20 PM ET
graham nash buddy holly
Graham Nash backstage at the Buddy Holly Tribute Concert
Lester Cohen/WireImage

Graham Nash and photographer Joel Bernstein have previously teamed up on box sets for Nash and his CSN band mate David Crosby. Now they've begun work on a set for the third member of CSN, Stephen Stills, Nash tells Rolling Stone.

"In a way Stephen is the wrong person to ask about Stephen," Nash says. "I’m lucky that I’m outside of Stephen so that I can look at his music and his trajectory as an artist more than he can."

Nash has started going through more than 40 years of archives from Stills' career, from Buffalo Springfield and his CSN days through his solo work and rarer works such as 1972's Manassas. "I’ve got a list of every single thing that Stephen ever recorded and there’s some wild stuff in there," Nash says. "You’ve got to listen to it all because you can’t in a year after the album comes out go, 'Shit, look what we missed – Stephen and Hendrix.' You have to listen to it all and then you go, 'Okay, what are the important milestones in Stephen’s career? What should we start it with? What’s the last thing that he recorded so what’s gonna finish it?' And then we start fleshing it out in between."

Given Stills' massive body of work, creating a completed discography is in itself a massive undertaking. If that's completed soon, Nash says the set could be out next year. Nash points out it took a year and a half for his set and two years for Crosby's – though Stills would love it faster.

"Stephen would like it out tomorrow and his manager would like it out yesterday, but we have to take our time because this is a piece of history," Nash says. "And I want to look at Stephen’s trajectory as a writer and a musician and a craftsman."

Nash is taking his role as curator very seriously. "I think I have a better objective point of view than maybe Stephen does, although I always listen to him because he’s gonna go, 'Hey, I remember a take of 'Blackbird' that I did,'" he says. "And you gotta listen to that because I want to please Stephen more than anybody, but I have this ability to step back and look at Stephen’s body of work and put it into a cohesive form."

Related 
• Video: Graham Nash and David Crosby Discuss New CSNY Live LP 
• Book Excerpt: Crosby, Stills and Nash Enchant a London Audience in 1970

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com