Sunday, July 30, 2006

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG VS BUSH, CHENEY, RUMSFELD & ROVE

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In 1999 I was still president of Reprise when a quartet of college faves of mine, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunited to record, release and tour behind LOOKING FORWARD. So long ago... remember what it was like in the world before George Bush? The new CSN&Y tour, Freedom of Speech Your '06, is very different from the LOOKING FORWARD Tour.

Ben Werner of the Orange County Register doesn't want to mince words. "The quartet of 60-somethings has rallied around a decidedly strident work, Young's LIVING WITH WAR, easily the most bluntly outspoken response to the president and the Iraq war yet recorded. Slammed out in a six-day rage, the disc's nine straightforward anthems (and choir rendition of "America the Beautiful") scream for CS&N's harmonies and willingness to take a similar stand... Trust me, these won't be your grandfather's CSN&Y shows. Yeah, across 30-plus songs in two sets, they typically toss in 'Our House' and 'Helplessly Hoping' to temper the attack. But with the majority of Young's fed-up firebombs alternating with Vietnam-era staples like 'Ohio' and 'Chicago' and 'For What It's Worth,' this throwback to change-the-world rock will surely be the most protest-heavy series of shows since 2004's Vote for Change.

Crosby was interviewed by Werner and he pointed out that "part of our job is just to rock you, and part of our job is to be like troubadours, carrying the news from one town to another, like town criers. And that part of our job this time is much stronger because Neil came with an entire album of immensely strong songs. And they're very direct songs, man. They're not complex and wispy and out there. They're not 'Guinnevere.' They are right in your face. You know, Neil's (angry). He doesn't think this is a just war, and neither do we. A lot of people in this country feel like they've been hoodwinked. If they're Democrats, they feel that the elections were stolen. If they're Republicans, they feel like their party got swiped and dragged off to the extreme right. There are a lot of people who are unhappy about the lies that have been told. There's a huge mistake going on there, man. It's war for profit rather than principal, and that's really, really a gross thing. The way we feel-- we think that the young people who go to war are some of the best ones we've got. They're the ones who believe in this country enough to put their lives on the line. And to send them over there so Haliburton and Bechtel and Exxon can make a profit, man? That's just not good enough. This administration has been disrespectful to those soldiers all along-- unless they're behind them on the TV cameras. To them, they're just cannon fodder. But to us they're human beings, and every one of them has a mother."

Werner points put the Republican bastion of Orange County is (finally) receptive to and ready for this message but he asks Crosby how the mood of their audiences compare to how it was during the Vietnam era.

It's very similar, man. The country is very, very polarized. There are two distinct sides, and they have very strong feelings. And the administration that is in power is doing a lot of the very same things that were going on during the Nixon years. What people seem to dislike most is having this administration try to marginalize them, tell them that if they don't agree with their politics, then they are being un-American.

Which is just nonsense. We don't agree with this administration, but we love the country. And the people in our audience seem to feel the same way. They believe in this country, in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence. They love this place, and they don't like having it swiped away. We don't either... I guarantee you we will make some people leave. And I'm fine with that. I'm very happy to see that sort of dissent. I heard, actually, that there were going to be people picketing us at some of the places. I think that'd be great, but I haven't seen it yet.


Watch this awesome 9 minute documentary about the tour and the why its relevant to the war and the Bush Regime:



After you watch, if you feel like helping Patrick Murphy's campaign... here you go.

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25 Comments:

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Marc said...

out of curiosity, were you president of reprise when wilco's yankee hotel foxtrot was purchsed? if so, my kudos to you!

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't get me wrong, i love neil and have loved neil since his very first album (thus, i am dated), but i find it a stretch to consider this tour populist when the lowest ticket price is almost $100.00. they are coming to a venue not 8 miles from my house, but i have no plans to attend because i find that pricing simply outrageous. again, probably dating myself...

 
At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not think for a moment that things have gotten so bad that there's no way that the Republicans and their hard right base will retain power in the upcoming November elections. Work to throw them out. Work hard as if your life depended on it.

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I saw them in Fresno a week ago tonite..actually it started in 15 minutes. It was good..very good. And all the songs are sadly so relevent today. Their voices were in pretty good shape too, which surprized me. Crosby's was the best voice.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

When they played "cost of freedom" I cried and so did alot of others..

great video, I am going to put it up on my blog.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger TSop said...

These guys were put on this Earth to spread this message. Livin' with War is a great record. Caught an old video of Neil singing "Down by the River" the other night...been singing that one all weekend...

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger El Bicho said...

"i find it a stretch to consider this tour populist when the lowest ticket price is almost $100.00."

I'm not sure what soodi is talking about. I just saw them in Irvine for less than $50 for lawn seats.

when they sang "let's impeach the president", some republican had his feelings hurt and left.

 
At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This brought back a flood of good memories from when I was invited to join the "La Carovana del Mediterraneo" tour for a few days (I accepted, and we went from Nyon in Switzerland to Rimini in Italy, and then to Munich in Germany, in the summer of 1980, with Angelo Branduardi, Steve Stills, Graham Nash and Ritchie Havens. Thanks! :)

 
At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howie-

Off to see CSNY at the Bowl tonight. Fully expect it to be fantastic. If you still live in LA are you going to be there? BTW if I get to have any kind of serious talk with Neil afterward, I'll blog it on FDL.

 
At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young is a f****** hero as far as I'm concerned.

 
At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the 60's and 70's, there were literally scores of young, then-current, chart-topping artists putting out great, meaningful, politically-oriented, and socially-conscious music.

Today, however, when you look at the current musical landscape, virtually nothing is being said by the current and supposedly "relevant" young artists of today (with the possible exception of Green Day's "American Idiot").

Instead, it has been the stars of yesteryear, the so-called "dinosaurs" who get virtually no airplay or MTV exposure, who have spoken out musically about what is going on in this country and this administration: CSNY, The Stones, John Fogerty, Barbra Streisand, Rickie Lee Jones, etc. Good for them! I only wish that some of today's artists would follow their example (and the example set by so many of their predecessors back in the 60's and 70's) and actually say something that means something.

 
At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw them in Portland Or on the 28th, under 50.00 a ticket on the grass in the amphitheater. Hey somebody needs to speak the truth out loud and up front....the media sure as hell aint going to do it. I just find it a bit sad that these guys have to come up and do this all over again these many years after all the damned Vietman bullshit and death. I saw people get up and leave the show pissed... I think they came for a nostalgic oldies thing.
Rockin in the free world was AWESOME as by the end Neil had broken every string on his guitar and seemingly pushed the rest of the band to their very limits. Enjoy that Hollywood Bowl show, I think it`s going be historical!

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't recall a CSNY song called "Chicago." Can someone jog my memory? Thanks.

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the show at Red Rocks outside Denver. Nearly 4 hours long and the best rock show I have ever seen (at 53 years old, I;ve seen a few). 10,000 people singing "let's impeahc the president", 10,000 people crying during "families" and "the cost of freedom". when you add in the eerily prescient "Ohio" and "wooden Ships" it added up to one very peowerful, very anti-war/anti-bush event. We need more like it.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger dday said...

Today, however, when you look at the current musical landscape, virtually nothing is being said by the current and supposedly "relevant" young artists of today (with the possible exception of Green Day's "American Idiot").

That's actually not true. In addition to Green Day, Pink, Bright Eyes, NOFX, Spearhead, Pearl Jam, The Flaming Lips, Dilated Peoples, and Lil' Wayne have all put out anti-war, anti-Bush songs in just the past year. The pop landscape is so fragmented and segmentized now that it's hard for these to bubble through the fog. But they're unquestionable out there.

Ann Powers of the LA Times wrote about it just a few weeks ago.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-ca-criticswar2jul02,1,6676925.story

This quote captured my belief:

When Young recently stated that he made the album "Living With War" because no younger artists were picking up the countercultural torch, he unfortunately associated his efforts with a generational attitude that drives Generations X and Y crazy. "It's a clich├ęd Rolling Stone boomer-idea, that pop culture managed to stop a war, that musicians once had power as galvanizing figures," wrote twentysomething blogger Tom Breihan in a May 17 Village Voice column decrying such views.

 
At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin--

"Chicago" is about the 1968 democratic convention and the trial that followed. I think its on a Grahm Nash album. Its also on the really great live album, Four Corners. Which also has that great Steven Stills piano version of For What Its Worth/49 reasons.


So your brother's bound and gagged
And they've chained him to a chair
Won't you please come to Chicago
Just to sing

In a land that's known as freedom
How can such a thing be fair
Won't you please come to Chicago
For the help that we can bring

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... to get better

Politicians sit yourselves down
There's nothing for you here
Won't you please come to Chicago
For a ride

Don't ask Jack to help you
'Cause he'll turn the other ear
Won't you please come to Chicago
Or else join the other side

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... if you believe in justice
It's dying ... and if you believe in freedom
It's dying ... let a man live his own life
It's dying ... rules and regulations, who needs them
Throw them out the door

Somehow people must be free
I hope the day comes soon
Won't you please come to Chicago
Show your face

From the bottum of the ocean
To the mountains on the moon
Won't you please come to Chicago
No one else can take your place

Yes, we can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... if you believe in justice
It's dying ... and if you believe in freedom
It's dying ... let a man live his own life
It's dying ... rules and regulations, who needs them
Throw them out the door

 
At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>""Chicago" is about the 1968 democratic convention and the trial that followed. I think its on a Grahm Nash album. Its also on the really great live album, Four Corners. Which also has that great Steven Stills piano version of For What Its Worth/49 reasons.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The album, their Best Ever IMHO, was "Four Way Street", not "Four Corners". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Way_Street

 
At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"today, however, when you look at the musical landscape, virtually nothing is being said....."

Please listen to Steve Earle's "The Revolution Starts Now"
2004!! His song "poor boy off to fight a rich man's war" sums it up!

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

anonymous:

today, however, when you look at the current musical landscape, virtually nothing is being said by the current and supposedly "relevant" young artists of today

both d-day and the most recent anonymous beat me to the punch naming current artists taking up the mantle of song protest.

today the only other thing i would rebut about what you said is using the same word at the beginning and the end of your sentense today.

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger BillyBoobs said...

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

James Madison

 
At 5:54 PM, Blogger BillyBoobs said...

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

James madison

 
At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just caught the show in orange county last night and it was an EVENT. wow. no doubt they're on a mission and i was very glad to see the audience be receptive to it especially singing along to "Let's Impeach the President"
although a few people booed at song's end. what did they expect at a CSNY show? really inspired, focused setlist tho. more of us need to be pissed off. this country has strayed far from its constitutional roots.

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger John Eje Thelin said...

So, pointing out the deep musical conservatism of Young et. al. and how it's artistically at odds with a progressive message gets you censored here? Wow, that's just weird.

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waited for 3 months for the big day. Paid 180.00 plus parking for 2 tickets to see CSNY at the Palace in Detroit. It was the biggest disappointment I could never imagine and I feel that I was cheated out of my hard earned dollars.

Instead of hearing the songs that made this group so popular I had to endure the groups political rhetoric. It became so nauseating that my wife and I could no longer endure and left after 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Why must these people use their celebrity to preach their own beliefs? If I want to hear politics I go to CNN. When I go to a concert I expect to hear music.I play guitar and have vowed to never play another CSNY again.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Nick Rodea said...

I just caught wind of an event that just happened last night in DC. This "Pray for Peace" included performances by Graham Nash, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and others. A local radio station has pics, video and audio from the event. Check it out at www.idigbig.com.

 

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