The Oral background of CSNY’s infamous ‘Doom Tour’

The band and crucial associates revisit a wild 1974 run of drug-fueled and also ego-ridden gigs



In the summer of 1974, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunited after a four-year break to launch one of the greatest rock tours ever before attempted in ~ that point in time. “There was simply so much money top top the table,” says David Crosby, “and there were sharks every around.” over there were also drug dealers, groupies ready to execute anything to gain close come the band and wounds native CSNY’s an initial go-round that hadn’t fairly healed.

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Neil Young, who was coming off the back-to-back commercial failure of his albums Journey through the Past and Time Fades Away, choose to steer clean of the madness and also travel top top a convert bus through his young son, Zeke. The other three live like majesties on the road, remaining in the ideal hotels, dining at the fanciest restaurants and snorting little mountains that cocaine backstage, totally oblivious to the fact they were getting robbed remote by assorted managers and also promoters.

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Despite every the tension and debauchery, the quartet controlled to take the phase every night and deliver marathon concerts that mixed classics like “Our House” and also “Ohio” with more recent cuts prefer “Don’t it is in Denied,” “Revolution Blues” and “Hawaiian Sunrise.” on July 8th, nearly 40 years to the work from the tour’s kickoff, the tape is lastly releasing CSNY 1974, a 40-track box set taken from nine reflects they professionally recorded.

To commemorate the release, we spoke come every enduring performer native the tourism besides a specific shaggy Canadian who’s never been one to dwell top top the past. We additionally talked to road manager chris O’Dell and also Joel Bernstein, a photographer on the tour and also co-producer that CSNY 1974. This is their story:


Chris O’Dell (Road manager): “When I got to san Francisco prior to the tourism a bunch of civilization were sitting around a table. Lock were opening Marlboro packs, acquisition out every the tobacco, pour it until it is full them up with pot and also putting them ago into the packets. We’re talking about very detailed work since we had to get them v customs and have castle look choose they were never opened. Climate they take it Vitamin C capsules, filled lock up through cocaine and we put them in a bottle. Us carried about these things in a trunk and also the band took stuff whenever they essential it. It was simply a yes, really druggy tour. Ns remember Stephen come in once and he to be holding the best ball of cocaine I’d ever before seen in mine life. I simply couldn’t believe it.”

Graham Nash: “We actually had actually a guy that to be employed just to provide us through cocaine. We needed an tremendous amount of energy to traction off the tour and I’m sure it assisted in a way, however it is a very subtly terrible drug and also there was a most it around. We were rock and also roll stars in ~ the height of ours power and the height of our commerciality and also the height of our capacity to put asses top top seats. We had it all. And sometimes you have to break the tension. Drugs and also women were a component of that whole process.”

Tim Drummond (Bassist): “The promoters offered us v cocaine if we wanted it. I was like, ‘I’m not placing this shit up my nose.’ ns was into cocaine back then, yet I gained my own. Climate they all came to me wanting several of mine! I had to send somebody out to assist these males out. There was an ample amount. You might find the anywhere. I did mine share, and also I’m quiet here. It’s all a matter of exactly how smart girlfriend were. Over there wasn’t any heroin, though. That took girlfriend the various other way.”


David Crosby: “Cocaine came into the snapshot right once we started to do the couch album The people who very first gave it come us claimed it wasn’t addictive. we were idiots. We didn’t have actually a clue. Music is one elevating force. Cocaine and other difficult drugs take every little thing down: the level that consciousness, the level of conception, the level of performance, the level that humanity, your capacity to it is in empathetic, her energy, your spirit. All that shit gets dragged down. It’s a dreadful drug and also it has a damaging effect on your psyche and your work. The an ext we walk it, the worse things got. I hate the stuff. I dislike the years ns wasted doing it.”

O’Dell: “One time they flood cocaine top top the carpet. Lock just gained down top top the floor and also sniffed it turn off the carpet. I just went, ‘Oh mine God, this is for this reason weird.’ I’d never seen anything choose it. They probably don’t remember that.”

Nash: “I started taking Percocet and also Percodan, too. I call them ‘I Don’t provide A Shit’ pills. Someone could have claimed to me, ‘Hey, your leg’s ~ above fire.’ ns would have been like, ‘I don’t care, man.’ us were simply up all night. It was insane. I wouldn’t introduce it come anybody since the cocaine/quaalude ride have to be in the ride of horrors in the circus.”

Stephen Stills: “As negative as things got, i don’t even think it to be the craziest tour I ever before did. I had some too many lubricated solo tours later on on, and also then Manassas… because that a few years of mine solo career the bourbon king proved up and it was just messy. I don’t operation from it. I own it. That left my voice shot. It’s cool now because I’ve gotten it back. I’m hitting the high notes again. The current for me is fine.”

Crosby: “I don’t think any kind of of the reasons we espoused to be wrong except for the drugs, specifically hard drugs. We were right about everything else: civil rights, women’s rights, anti-war, anti-nuke…”


Stills: “Rehearsing outdoors in ~ Neil’s ranch to be my idea. Ns said, ‘Neil, we’re coming to your ranch and also we’re walking to develop a stage across the roadway from her studio due to the fact that we’ve gained to learn exactly how to play outdoors.’ the didn’t want all those human being in his house, however it in reality worked.

Bernstein: “Word obtained out around the rehearsals. They had actually a PA set up and they’d rehearse Monday through Friday. The sound took trip for miles, transparent the hills. I started seeing human being who to be walking down the road from all over. I picked up a hitchhiker that had actually flown up that morning native Burbank airplane to shot and listen. They’d walk under the road and also get to a door barring the road. They simply climbed the hills, obtained high and also listened to everything. It to be wild.”

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Stills: “I had actually just come back from coral diving in Hawaii. I was tan and also really cut. There’s one album cover of a solo album <1975’s Stills> shot in ~ those rehearsals. Ns look at it now and go, ‘I desire that body back!”I wore football jerseys prior to it to be cool. Human being like Jann Wenner would constantly ask me, ‘What’s with the football uniform?’ I’d say, ‘We’re in a football stadium and they’re loud and also colorful. And also I prefer football.’ The next year Mick Jagger shows up v a Philadelphia Eagles uniform at a show.”



Nash: “The Beatles had actually done Shea Stadium and the Stones had actually done a pair of Hyde Park gigs where there to be a 100,000 plus, yet these to be the first tour the this magnitude.”

Russ Kunkel (Drummer): “Playing venues that huge created a type of circus atmosphere. There were just so countless people. You have to remember, the wasn’t simply CSNY. Over there were opened acts favor Joni Mitchell, Santana, the coast Boys, the Band. It to be an remarkable bill. Deserve to you imagine anything prefer that today?”

Drummond: “The guitar duels in between Stephen and Neil gained really loud. I’d simply wander in between the amplifiers and do my thing so I might hear myself. Ns was happy I made it through that tourism without ruining my ears.”

Joel Bernstein (Photographer): “I wish the communication in between them to be such that they could have sorted the end the volume worries onstage instead of letting it be. There to be this monster troglodyte notion, and also this wasn’t simply a CSNY problem, the you’ve obtained to turn it up to eleven. That’s not the case at all. You need to trust her PA mixer. As soon as the volume did come down they were play wonderfully. Lock didn’t must make it the loud.”

Crosby: “We had an excellent monitors, however Stephen and also Neil to be punching fine over 100 db from their fifty percent stacks. Graham and I just couldn’t carry out the harmonies once we couldn’t hear ourselves. Also, as soon as you beat a stadium you nearly have to execute a Mick Jagger whereby you wave a sash around and prance about. Ns can’t quite execute that. Us did what us could, however I don’t know how many people in the audience really obtained it. A most them were there because that the tunes. Once we’d start them, they’d hear the records.”

Nash: “We’re an excellent at what us do, however when friend can’t listen it’s easy to gain out of tune. It was tough playing stadiums, but we’d committed. What could we do? it was amazing to walk out in Wembley Stadium, because that instance, and see something prefer 90,000 people. We just had actually to suck it up and also rely top top the music. They’re not coming to watch Brad Pitt. We’re not heart throbs. It was the music that us depended on and we consistently played genuine music.”

Stills: “They didn’t have video screens ago then. Ns remember see the Beatles in ~ Dodger Stadium. I thought to myself, ‘There should be drive-in movie screens. What’s wrong v these people?’ years later, i went to brand-new York and also tried to sell these nice heavy-duty men on exactly how to carry out concerts. I stated to them, ‘You should have drive-in screens with a closed circuit feeding of the show if you’re doing points this big.’ lock looked in ~ me favor I was from Mars. Who knew that would become the conventional for the industry? ns was a very inventive twenty-three year old punk.”


Drummond: “We had a shitload the songs. Neil to be the greatest. He’d just pull one of out his ass or his hat and the rest of them would certainly grab and hang on. That’s what made it so fresh and also exciting. The wasn’t rehearsed or any type of of the shit.”

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Kunkel: “Sometimes there was a set list, however it changed a lot. Over there weren’t numerous soundchecks. What you have to remember around these males is the they’re magicians and music is magic. We had actually arrangements for songs and we knew just how they went, but when it pertained to solos there was no telling just how long Neil would certainly play. He would turn roughly to me when soloing and I’d view his eyes over the optimal of his copy sunglasses. It was prefer he to be saying, ‘I can die act this solo. I’m walk to offer it whatever I have, therefore you’d far better go with me.’ It was an incredible experience.”

Crosby: “The benefit of having four writers is the you’ve got this enormously large paletteto occupational with. Us were writing brand-new songs every night. There must have been a dozen time where among us would come in and say, ‘Hey, I’ve obtained a brand-new song. Here’s how it goes. What perform you think?’ take ‘Time ~ Time.’ at the end, the it, Neil and Stephen just walked on and also started singing v me. Stephen was holding his small son Christopher. They didn’t recognize the song, but they joined in. And then Neil… mine God. ‘Pushed It end The End,’ ‘Don’t be Denied,’ ‘Mellow mine Mind.’ the knocked it out of the park over and also over and over. He collection the bar very, an extremely high.”


Stills: “‘Old Man’ was simply beautiful after ~ we put our harmonies top top it. I just listened come a piano solo from the tour. I can have sworn we didn’t have a piano player top top the stage and was i was like, ‘What? Who? i can’t beat piano choose that.’ transforms out ns can.”

Nash: “We’d all composed so many songs the it was difficult to do a collection list. Us were continually writing. Throughout that tourism I created a song called ‘It’s all Right.’ I made decision to go onstage and do it also though the rest of the guys had never heard it. ~ above the tape you can hear Stephen going, ‘What space the chords?’ ns said, ‘Well, it’s kind of a D to a G and you go under to the A.’ I’m talking them with it and also showing castle the chords while us were performing. It was insane.

One that the reasons that Neil wound increase having more songs top top this box collection than the rest of united state is the he fight a writing spell the was unbelievable. He wrote ‘On The Beach,’ ‘Don’t it is in Denied,’ ‘Pushed It end the End,’ ‘Hawaiian Sunrise.’ He’d hit it. Together a band, we only want to present the ideal face, which is why he’s got the many songs. David and also Stephen haven’t complained yet, and also it’s as well late now.”


Nash (From his 2013 publication Wild Tales):“Crosby took 2 beautiful women with him top top tour… regularly I would certainly knock on his hotel door, i m sorry he maintained propped open up with a security jamb, and he’d be getting blown through both of these girls, every while he to be talking and doing business on the phone and also rolling joints and also smoking and also having a drink.”

Crosby: “That might have happened. However Nash’s book focuses completely too much on me. That doesn’t typical I don’t love Graham, ns do. He’s to be an tremendous friend come me.”


Nash: “Somewhere in the Midwest, ns think in Minneapolis, we were in ~ the hotel after the show and Bob Dylan come by. Stephen and also Tim Drummond immediately corralled him into a various room and also shut the door. That wasn’t nice.”

Drummond: “He played us all the song from Blood ~ above the Trackson acoustic guitar. We were on twin beds, throughout from each other. Oh God, ns can’t tell you how an excellent it was. In ~ one suggest Stephen said something to him around the songs not being good. I was so Goddamn embarrassed. He was most likely coked out. Dylan, being the arrogant guy that he to be said, ‘Well, Stephen, beat me one of your songs.’ the was the finish of it. Stephen couldn’t even uncover one wire from one more at the point.”

Nash: “Stephen walked the end of the room and said to me, ‘Bob’s no musician.’ In the earlier of mine mind, I also remember Stephen to buy a Precision base for Paul McCartney and telling him it to be time to begin playing a ‘real’ instrument and also not his old Höfner. He’s speak this to among the greatest bass football player in the world.”

Kunkel: “My sister-in-law, Mama Cass, died in August during the tour. Ns was married to her sister Leah. Ns think us were in Houston in ~ the Whitehall Hotel. Ns remember Graham sit me down and telling me she happen away. She had a big role in your lives. She presented Graham come Stephen. It was a very daunting day because that us once she died. Say thanks to God we were in the middle of act something us couldn’t stop. The display that night is most likely what got us all with it.”


Nash: “I think the tourism made simply over eleven million dollars, i m sorry of course was a lot of money in those days. Us all obtained less than a fifty percent million each. The was noticeable that between Bill Graham, the promoters and a bunch that others, they all had a an excellent time. Let’s simply put it that way. However I’m really not blaming anybody. It was fourty years ago. What the fuck deserve to I do?”

Crosby: “The key thing i learned about business indigenous that tourism is to constantly pay attention. Even when you’re making countless dollars, someone else might be do the same numerous dollars completely illegally in ~ your price while you weren’t watching. If there’s that lot money involved, there room going to be sharks circling. That’s why we signed up v David Geffen. We got our own shark.”

Nash: “Everything was simply so excessive. The CSNY logo design that Joni did was branded onto wooden plates and also to the pillowcase in ours hotel suites. There to be leather luggage tags. There were exclusive jets and also helicopters. We didn’t realize we were paying for every one of it.”

Stills: “Let’s just say the a lot of people had a many fun. Mick Jagger and also Prince Rupert Loewenstein had a lot tighter grip on how to perform things at that time. Our entirety tour was definitely lavish and people to be being paid off the gross. There were so many human being involved. I wish I could say i learned indigenous it, but I’m quite stubborn.”


Nash: “I more than likely spent 80 percent of my complimentary time on that tour watching the Watergate hearings. I would have all 3 networks up on 3 televisions and watch constantly. Comes from England, ns was simply fascinated by it. I actually took an excellent hope native it. I mean, it’s one incredible thing for the nation to guide its president. I was very hopefully that the country would be able to steer itself earlier to common living, everything the hell the is.”

Crosby: “I mental Nash and also I the town hall the hearings every solitary day. We hoped they to be going to lead the nation into a far better era, yet we’d already seen the cover-up ~ above Kennedy’s execution and also the second Kennedy’s execution. We did hope that somebody would rip the lid off this one due to the fact that it was pretty blatant. There to be so lot evidence and also it to be so totally damning. Us hated Nixon. He wanted to widen the war. We want to end it. We were elated once he resigned. Us played at Roosevelt stadion in Jersey City the night. You can hear the elation in our voices. The child of a bitch to be gone. That course, another one followed him.”


Stills: “I observed the cards every lining up because that Nixon to resign prior to they might impeach him. I had actually friends in Washington. They told me that Barry Goldwater and also Alexander Haig went as much as Nixon and said, ‘Sorry dude, you’ve got to go.’ that knows exactly how close Oliver Stone’s movie was, but emotionally Nixon was pretty much out there. However his ego was such that he was going to fight till the end and also then leave on particular terms so the you won’t have actually Nixon to kick around anymore.”

Hours prior to they take it the phase at the Roosevelt Speedway because that the last American show of the tour, chairman Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon of every crimes related to Watergate.

Nash: “It was noticeable from that minute that political deals had taken place. That was an extremely disappointing to us all. We want Nixon to it is in responsible because that his crimes. And, of course, when Kissinger was provided the Nobel tranquility Prize, that was prefer a slap in the face. The whole Ford pardon just stunk. It yes, really did smell of political corruption and also wheeling and also dealing.”

Crosby: “Having Gerard Ford sworn in was not a blessing top top the country. The guy had trouble detect a fork on the table. He played too lot football without a helmet. The pardon was just company as usual. What do you do? role over and also put up her paws and say, ‘Nothing I think in matters?’ you don’t. You say, ‘This is a tougher task than I thought it was.’ We continued to be activists and we maintained fighting.”


Nine reflects on the tourism were taped for a possible live album, however band connections hit an all-time low soon after the tour when Neil erased Nash and also Crosby indigenous a planned reunion album. A few years ago, Nash and also Bernstein began the painstaking process of producing CSNY 1974.

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Nash: “Our key feeling at the finish of the tourism was that us weren’t as an excellent as we can have been. But when you yes, really delve into the music, it’s there. Joel and also I make the efforts to i found it the gems. The was mainly David that dubbed it ‘The doom Tour.’ In a way, he was right. However it wasn’t the all the music was negative all the time. Over there were some brilliant, brilliant musical moments the I wanted to uncover.”

Crosby: “People have actually said come me, ‘How can you speak to it the Doom tourism if it to be so good?’ ns was talking about stuff outside the music once I labelled the that. I’ll admit it, we’re a little shocked at how good this music is. A lot of what us remember is stuff that went on around the tour, not what occurred onstage. However when you’re challenged with the tapes and also with the video you need to say, ‘Jesus, these men were yes, really kicking it here and also pushing the envelope.’ ns love that we had actually all these good songs. Ns love that us treasured them and treated them respectfully.”

Nash: “Joel and I listened to every single minute that music native every videotaped show. I wanted the album to be the best representation the the endure of the show. Points were loud. Few of the vocals were out of tune, for this reason I had to track them. I did whatever I can to make it sound together acceptable as possible. If I uncovered one line the was flatly out of tune, I’d walk to a different night, find the line in tune and also put the there. Us did a the majority of work to make it feel prefer it was totally spontaneous and that you were witness to perfect show.”


Bernstein: “If there was a mic popular music or a wildly the end of tune keep in mind or who sings the wrong word or something that us can’t fix, we had to go find it somewhere else. We commonly tried to uncover it within the performance we’re functioning with because everything is nominally the very same in regards to leakage and also whatnot. Yet sometimes we’d have to take vocals from various other shows. That’s tricky and we did very small of that. The bulk of the performances were videotaped in one place. I don’t want world listening and trying to differentiate where the modify points are. We’re hope that people will feel prefer we weren’t there.”

Nash: “We couldn’t uncover a great version the ‘Carry On’ and I didn’t want to placed an inferior piece of music in there. If you think me, we tried five times to uncover a ‘Carry On.’ us mixed 5 versions. Us tuned 5 versions, yet in the end it wasn’t there. With all other takes ~ above the forty tracks, you recognize the finest take when you hear it. Us never discovered one through ‘Carry On’ and also I tried my best because it’s one of our most essential tracks and also it would have showcased Stephen brilliantly.”

Bernstein: “We didn’t have a ‘Guinevere’ and also Crosby remained in shock. Ns said, ‘Well, David, you didn’t play the at any kind of of the nine shows that were recorded.’ we wound up acquisition one from a Crosby-Nash concert in December of that year. That’s the only song we used that wasn’t from the 1974 CSNY tour.”

Stills: “A the majority of stuff got left off due to the fact that it was just garbage. And besides, how numerous times have actually we provided ‘Carry On’ anyway?"”

CSNY 1974 comes v a DVD containing clip shot in ~ Maryland’s capital Center and London’s Wembley Stadium.

Bernstein: “I uncovered footage from the capital Center in Graham’s Vault. I was very surprised to discover it and I have actually no idea how it acquired there. They to be the first venue in the united state to feature an in-house live, actual time video system that projected beams – which to be too tiny by today’s standards – to display screens hung up near where the scoreboard is in today’s arena. There to be a director, but it to be semi-pro at best. That was tape-recorded to open reel, one-inch tape. It’s a style that wasn’t used for very long. The display they taped happened to be one they audio recorded.’ because the format was therefore archaic, it took a many work to gain the footage together.”

Nash: “The footage is funky and not lit right and also sometimes it’s as well blue or also red, but I think that people would be an extremely interested to see live footage of united state from that time.”

Bernstein: “The cameras had tubes in them and the tubes were shaking v the bass. You deserve to see the photo vibrate with the bass. It’s quite remarkable. Through the case of Wembley, we were making use of the MPSC transport from the original PAL Master. We have no idea where the grasp is.”

Crosby: “I want to speak to it What can Possibly go Wrong?You can’t say it there is no laughing. It would have actually been amazing, yet I don’t think the everybody has actually as much of a feeling of humor around themselves together I do.”