Why CSNY needed girls and drugs on the road

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Graham Nash believes the fabled Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young "doom tour" of 1974 couldn't have gone ahead without the incredible amount of drugs the band took on the road.

The music they made is about to be released as a box set – but Nash insists there was a meaning to their debauched behaviour.

He tells Rolling Stone: “We were rock’n’roll stars at the height of our power, the height of our commerciality, and the height of our ability to put asses on seats. We had it all. And sometimes you need to break that tension – drugs and women were a part of that entire process.

“We actually had a guy that was employed just to provide us with cocaine. We needed an incredible amount of energy to pull off that tour, and I’m sure it helped in a way; but it is a very subtly destructive drug and there was a lot of it around.”

Road manager Chris O’Dell recalls: “When I got to San Francisco before the tour, a bunch of people were sitting around a table. They were opening Marlboro packs, taking out all the tobacco, filling them up with pot and putting them back into the packets.

“We’re talking about very detailed work because we had to get them through customs and have them look like they were never opened.

“Then they took Vitamin C capsules, filled them up with cocaine and we put them in a bottle. We carried around these things in a trunk and the band took stuff whenever they needed it. It was just a really druggy tour.”

David Crosby believes the cocaine affected their creativity, however. He says: “The people who first gave it to us said it wasn’t addictive. We were idiots; we didn’t have a clue.

“Music is an elevating force. Cocaine and other hard drugs take everything down – the level of consciousness, the level of conception, the level of performance, the level of humanity, your ability to be empathetic, your energy, your spirit. All that shit gets dragged down.

“It’s a horrible drug and it has a terrible effect on your psyche and your work. The more we did it, the worse things got. I hate the stuff. I hate the years I wasted doing it.”

CSNY 1974 is released on July 8.

CSNY 1974 trailer