Graham Nash discussed Neil Young no showing major performances in a new BBC Radio interview.
Nash was asked if Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun suggested that Neil joins Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
“Yes, it was Ahmet’s idea. Of course, that shocked the hell out of Stephen [Stills] because he’d just been through two years of madness with Neil not showing up for shows, not showing up for television shows that were important at the time. And he said, ‘Ahmet, do you want me to go through this madness again?’ He said, ‘Yes, I think he’s the man.’ And so David [Crosby] and Stephen wanted Neil in the band, so then they told me.
And I said, ‘Wait a second. I know that Neil’s a great writer and a great singer but I never met him. Can I invite someone into this three-part harmony that we had just discovered? I have to meet him, I have to talk to him. I don’t know whether I could be his friend, or I could tell him a secret.’ So I went to breakfast with Neil Young on Bleecker Street here in New York, and after this, I would have made him king of the world – he was very funny, he was self-deprecating…
At the end of the breakfast, I looked him in the eyes and I said, ‘OK, why the hell should we invite you into this band, Neil?’ And he paused for a moment, he looked me in the eyes and he said, ‘You ever heard me and Stills play guitar together?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I have, in Springfield.’ He said, ‘That’s why you need me.’ And he was right. Neil brought a darker edge to our music – not darker in the negative sense, but you know what I mean, it’s Neil Young, everything is a little darker than normal sunshine.”