9 Questions With Brit Rock Legend Graham Nash

Graham Nash
Graham Nash. Photo by Amy Grantham

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Graham Nash, the British folk rocker known for his time with The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, is bringing his tour to Long Island. While touring to promote, “This Path Tonight,” his first album after a 14-year hiatus of creating his own music, Nash will play The Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington on July 22. In advance of that concert, Nash spoke with the Press about love, life and the inspiration for is new album.

Long Island Press: Do you have any notable memories from your previous performances on Long Island?

Graham Nash: It seems that New Yorkers are very serious about their music. They’re very serious, they want it as real as possible. And that’s one of the things that I am doing on this tour, I’m making all that music that I made in the last 50 years as simple as possible. I’m taking every song down to the very essence of how I wrote it, and with my friend Shane Fontayne, who is an incredible guitar player will be playing with me on Long Island. We’re will be such a good time communicating with people in a very simple way.

LIP: What is you first musical memory?

GN: My first musical memory of any kind was my cousin Raymond playing me the Overture from Samson and Delilah opera on a really cool record player that you had to wind up. The first memory that made me want to become a serious musician was “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers.

LIP: How does it feel to still be creating and playing music after 50 years of your career?

GN: Stunning, actually. You know, wasn’t it Mick Jagger that said don’t trust anyone over 30? Well, that was 45 years ago. I feel great, I feel incredibly lucky. I do feel blessed. I’m not a religious guy in terms of mass religion. I do understand the importance of it in people’s lives but I worship the actual universe itself and I’m a lucky man. I mean, look at what I get to do with my life, even all this time later. And it’s not showing any sign of getting old or weird—well, that’s not true, it’s always been weird.

LIP: What is your biggest inspiration?

GN: I think my appreciation for life itself. It’s such an incredibly mathematical impossibility to be pregnant. That’s a miracle in itself. When you start there, what an incredibly lucky life.

LIP: What was the process of creating “This Path Tonight”?

GN: Falling out of love and falling in love. That’s what happened to me. I was married for 38 years, I was not in love the last decade or so of that marriage, and realized at 75 I need to be as happy as can be for what is the rest of my life. And the universe continues to smile on me, and when my marriage broke up, I fell in love with this beautiful, talented, spiritually, wonderfully educated bright woman here in New York City. Her name is Amy Grantham, she’s a fabulous artist.

LIP: I see that she shot the cover for your new album.

GN: That was the first shot she ever took of me, that’s how good she is.

LIP: What can fans expect to see and hear on this tour?

GN: A couple of things. I think they can expect someone that wants to be there. I’m tired of seeing people where it’s obvious they don’t want to be there. I saw The Police on their last big tour, about five years ago, and it was obvious that they didn’t even like each other. And you can’t fool an audience, they’ll pick up on that immediately. So first of all, my audience needs to know I want to be there, and secondly, I want them to be smiling as they leave the concert. Because that’s when I know that I love my job. My job is to tell the truth as much as I can, and to talk about the times in which I’m living.

LIP: Can fans expect a mixture of new and old songs?

GN: I started the last tour a couple of months ago with “Bus Stop.” And that’s almost a 50-year-old song that The Hollies did. So anywhere from there all the way to maybe a song that I was writing that morning. That’s happened occasionally. I want my audience to get value for their money, because it’s hard to earn a dollar lately.

LIP: What would you be doing if you didn’t become a musician?

GN: Teaching. I’d be teaching somebody. I have a lot of experience in my life on how to handle a lot of situations that I’ve been in myself, personally. And I would love to spread that knowledge to people that might be heading down the wrong path.

LIP: There has been so many discussions of a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion, and recently, you have sort of left the door open to it. Where does this currently stand?

GN: I stand the same way I did when I said what I said. I think that the troubles that are besetting this country right now are much more important to talk about than the silly squabbles that bring us apart. We should be adults and get on with it.

LIP: Are there any misconceptions about you or your work that you’d like to clear up?

GN: No, I’ve been treated very well by my critics. I understand that I’m not a guitarist that Stephen Stills is or Neil Young is or Crosby is. But I understand what it is that I do that brings the whole of what we do together. I want to get the job done, if we want to do this let’s do it the best way we can. If we want to make an album, let’s go, put it out there with passion. That’s what I want, always.

Graham Nash will perform at The Landmark on Main Street at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 22. The venue is located at 232 Main Street in Port Washington. The show is sold out, but fans can call 516-767-1384 for the wait list. For more information, visit landmarkonmainstreet.org

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