Life lessons from Graham Nash, co-founder of The Hollies and supergroup Crosby, Stills And Nash.
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SHOW THAT YOU MEAN IT
I wanted to be a musician since I was 13-years-old. I had friends whose mother and father would slap them upside the head and go, ‘Get a real job. This music shit’s not going to last…’ I have to be incredibly grateful to my mother and father for encouraging my passion rather than squashing it. They always had belief in me because I had belief in me. I knew what I wanted to do: I knew that I wanted to make music that affected people.
GET ON WITH IT!
When you overcome incredible hardships like World War II and you’re alive after that, then problems aren’t problems. ‘We just made it through a fucking world war, what do you mean your coffee’s cold? Come on!’ It’s that kind of attitude that has stayed with me all my life. People always say, ‘You’re the glue in the band…’ Fuck that. I want the job done! If we’re going to make a record or we’re going to write songs or we’re going to sing together, let’s do it the best way we can with the most fun, and let’s move onto the next thing.
FOLLOW THE MUSIC
That’s all I’ve ever done, really. That’s why I left The Hollies, because I’d heard me and David [Crosby] and Stephen [Stills] sing together, and it was obvious what I had to do with my life: I realised that I’d have to go back to England and undo my entire life. When me and David and Stephen sang together, it was completely like nothing we had ever heard before, and it was a powerful moment.
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CHANGE CAN BE GOOD
I think you need to hear what that change would be, and if that change thrilled you, go for it. If the changes that are happening don’t please you, don’t do it. Follow your heart. Everyone knows what’s good, everyone knows what’s bad, and you have a choice: you can go this way, or that way. I’ve always chosen what I’ve considered the best way for my life.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
Drugs become a problem when you start arguing about shit - when you start arguing about silly things because you’re too wired. I think everything in moderation. I never took heroin - I never ever was interested in a drug that might kill you the first time you use it. I used marijuana to expand my consciousness and to think about different things. I think people should take care of their own lives.
LET THE SONGS LIVE
I have to get these songs out; they drive me crazy being inside. You have to get them out there in front of the public. A lot of people say, ‘Aren’t you fed up with all this touring and stuff?’ No. I’m a musician, and the first thing I want to do, if a song makes it past me and my own filters, is to play it for everybody, because I think I have something to say that maybe you should listen to. You don’t have to agree, but at least listen.
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The new album ‘This Path Tonight’ is out now on Blue Castle Records.
Words: Simon Harper
Photography: Amy Grantham