Stephen Stills On The Early-’70s: ‘They Were The Salad Years’

Stephen Stills has been receiving raves for his latest archival set, Stephen Stills Live At Berkeley 1971. When talking about his legendary first solo tour in support of his second album, Stephen Stills 2, he recalled to Uncut, “They were the salad years, never shall they be replicated. I'm very proud of the work I did there. I just couldn't stop, could I? It was completely compulsive. There was a freedom to it. . . It was a great adventure.”

Stills went on to shine a light on his and his backing band's life at the time: “We were young and enthusiastic and in love with what we were doing. I weighed 130 pounds and nothing hurt, ever. We had formed this band and busted our chops to get the horn charts together. We went out there and blazed. But, yeah, every time there was a full house, I was so relieved.”

Regarding the two-song cameo his late-partner David Crosby plays on the new live set, Stills remembered, “David turned up the dressing room before the show. We decided to do those two songs ('You Don't Have To Cry' and 'The Lee Shore.') It was totally off the cuff, as you could probably tell by the quality of the singing. We went out and winged it. We had the confidence of twenty somethings.”

We asked Stephen Stills if over the years, he ever felt pressure to make his material fit in with his bandmates' respective works: “Kinda — And the other thing was, I had other people involved, y'know, 'we want this one, we want this one' and it was fitting them in with the cohesiveness of what was going on and making room for other people's songs, y'know? I mean, I could barely keep up. But, y'know, when you're that age, they just come roaring out.”