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- Posted on Jun 12th 2009 12:00PM by Dan Reilly
The demos exist because the group's songwriting process, which is similar to that of many bands, according to Crosby. "When you write a song, the first thing you want to do is to show it to somebody, because we're all approval-seekers," he says. "I'll even do it over the phone. I'll call Graham Nash up and go 'listen to this.' The next thing you want to do is record it some place so you don't forget it. These are those recordings -- the first time you sat down in front of a microphone and tried to see what the song was actually going to do."
Listening to the tracks is like going in a time machine, according to Crosby. "Sometimes you get an almost gestalt kind of picture of you sitting there," he says. "You can almost smell the smells and taste the tastes, one of those really strong impressions of the moment will happen when you hear it." Two tracks in particular really stand out to him. "'I Almost Cut My Hair' was a very strong memory -- it was a ballad when I wrote it," he says. "'Music is Love' is kind of an improvisation. It was Neil Young, Nash and I goofing off in the studio, just screwing around, and this thing kind of accidentally happened. It was a very delicious moment."
Another track, 'Long Time Gone,' was recorded weeks before Crosby and Stephen Stills met Nash. "Cass Elliott was a dear friend of both of ours, and she brought him by my house," Crosby recalls of their first meeting. "We smoked one and sat around and talked and I loved the guy. He was just really a wonderful, funny, fascinating Brit and I liked him tremendously from the get-go. As soon as the three of us heard us sing together, we all went 'Oh, I know what we're going to be doing.'"
The decision to add Neil Young wasn't as easy as the formation of CSN. "I didn't want to bring him in," Crosby says. "I liked him and everything but I didn't see why we needed him. We had the biggest album in the country right then with just the three of us." However, a chance meeting between Young and Crosby changed everything. "I was in Laurel Canyon, waiting for somebody in a driveway, and Neil drove by and saw me. He pulls in, sits down on the trunk lid of the car and sings me about four songs in a row, starting with 'Helpless.' I said 'Jesus, I want this guy to be in this band. This guy is one of the best writers in the world. He just completely made my brains dribble out of my head. We should do this. There's no question. If he's going to write songs that good, this will be terrific,' and of course, it was."
For this project, Crosby says choosing these 12 songs to include was easy, because "they were good." Diehard fans will be happy to hear that there's more where this came from. "We have millions of them," he says. "We probably have three more albums' worth, if people like these." 'Demos' is available now.