Taylor begrudgingly said yes – but Wachtel had to physically pry one out of Taylor's mouth when his boss wouldn't give it up.Then, one day when he was riding in the back seat of a car with Taylor, Wachtel watched as a female tollbooth clerk asked Taylor for an autograph.The records they helped craft may have been laid-back, but the scene backstage was often another matter."When I think about the drunkenness and driving home from studios in the middle of the night, it's miraculous that we're here," says Wachtel."It was so intimidating to play those songs because those tracks are incredible.It's a testament to what great players they are."To critics, Taylor, Browne, and Crosby, Stills and Nash personified everything tame about Seventies rock, and the musicians who accompanied them were inevitably guilty by association.
To Crosby, who worked with the previous generation of studio players in L.Toasting the musicians and the tour at a local bar in Texas, Taylor downed two martinis in one gulp each. '" recalls Wachtel, chilling in his home studio in the San Fernando Valley.At 65, he looks very much as he did in the 1970s: like a hippie librarian, with his round glasses and slight frame.But he wasn't quite prepared for the strange, vexing behavior of James Taylor.If anyone embodied the peaceful easy feeling of the decade, it was Taylor, whose inward-looking ballads and self-effacing stage presence hit the Seventies in its sweet spot.
Taylor had battled addiction before, and it was surfacing once again.