Chris Stills has led a curious musical life.
Entering the industry as a roadie for his father - renowned songwriter Stephen Stills - he then broke away, building a catalogue that stands completely on its own.
Matching fragrant Americana to moments of introspection, his literate lyrical touch is matched to a keen ability to challenge himself at every turn.
Also dipping his toes into the acting world - he's a bona fide celebrity in France after his role in 2009's Cleopatre - La Derniere Reine d'Egypte - Chris returned to music last year, sketching out plans for another solo album.
Out now, 'Don't Be Afraid' is a warm, tender, open record, one dominated by Chris Stills' honeyed voice, and his perceptive songwriting gaze.
Clash caught up with Chris Stills to chat about his extra-curricular activities for Culture Clash...
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Perfume, The Story Of A Murder by Patrick Suskin. I’m into period pieces… Candide by Voltaire… great peering into another world with different rules and mindset… amazing character etc… But Perfume is such a sordid story and the main character is, unlike Candide, the ugliest guy on the planet. We learn this from the top of the book and you are left wondering how this character is going to carry the length of it.
Suskin’s writing and imagination are so good that before you know it the sun is coming up and you’ve read the whole thing in one night. I literally gasped when it ended.
Shawshank Redemption. Tim Robbins in his peak. Morgan Freeman... love. All the characters. Great story about a prisoner’s will to maintain his dignity and humanity despite the absolutely putrid behaviour of the most despicable warden’s efforts to break it. Sound familiar? (Think little orange hands...)
Hard to play favourites. In fact, for me, impossible. But there’s a few that have absolutely no bad time ever to be put on: Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin (rest in peace), Chopin, Nina Simone, Bill Withers, Frank Sinatra, Nick Drake... you see? Impossible.
OK. There’s one that I ate up. One word. Granny. I literally went online and found her best one-liners. Maggie Smith. Love her. Downton Abbey. Fantastic.
Honesty. Integrity. Compassion. Empathy. Helpfulness. Keeping an open mind. Holding two opposing ideas in the brain at the same time. These are gadgets that I use daily. Amazing things really. Never failed me.
Waiting for somebody to finally invent one with a name that reflects what you get out of it: Rubbish. Video games are literally the ‘crack cocaine’ of tech. Dims the brain.
Go outside. Make plans with friends. Cook a meal. Listen to music. Shit, try and write one. Call your parents and tell them you love them. And read that book I mentioned above. Those are games worth the time you spend playing them. Win or lose, you’re winning.
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Chris Stills new album 'Don't Be Afraid' is out now.
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