October Update – Behind the Scenes, Interviewing Graham Nash!

by | Nov 10, 2023

By Brendan Hedges, Michael’s brother

"Oracle" Co-Director Mischa Hedges. Photo credit: Julia Camp.
Michael Manring during his interview.

For our next-to-last interview of the year, we returned to New York City – on a spectacular autumn day in the heart of Soho, above the cobblestones that line Greene Street, for a memorable session with:

– the great Graham Nash.

Graham Nash, looking over Michael’s notebook with the original, handwritten lyrics for ‘Spring Buds’.

Having recently returned from Europe for part of his current solo tour, Graham sat down with us to reminisce about the day David Crosby picked him up and began playing Michael’s music on his car radio. 

“Hmm! That’s a nice band,” he remembers saying.

Later that night, at the Universal Amphitheater, he’d see for himself that it was just one man, who would become a good friend and creative collaborator. 

We heard some terrific stories – of Graham inviting Michael to perform at his kids’ school (and Michael arriving in pink tights!), his time as a regular opening act for CSN and winning over audiences. By the end of our session, we learned how Graham came to name the poignant, beautiful song he wrote after Michael’s death:

  ‘Michael Hedges (Here).’  

Graham Nash during his interview.

Graham’s thoughtful, passionate interview is going to be a truly meaningful addition to the film, and we were thrilled to return to New York to sit down with him, at last.

While we were in town, we made sure to make good use of our Soho studio space for the day, and included two additional supporting interviews, staring with:

Karen Haskell.

Mischa Hedges, Karen Haskell, Brendan Hedges

Karen was a Hedges superfan who had seen Michael perform almost 100 times when, after a recommendation from journalist Matt Guthrie, was invited by Michael’s manager, Hilleary Burgess, to join the road crew for Michael’s final tour. Karen was able to provide a personal, rare perspective of life on the road as she drove the van, sold merchandise, helped the stage crew – and, in moments when Michael needed one, was a true and trusted friend.

When you see it, many of you will recognize a photograph that Karen took on that tour – of Michael surrounded by fans. For us, that captured moment resonates even more after our long overdue conversation with Karen.

For our third spot, we finally got to meet the founder/owner of one of the beloved, smaller venues Michael would return to, again and again: 

Jordi Herold, of the iconic Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts. 

As a member of Michael’s family, I would always get a tour itinerary mailed to me, and – along with venues like the Boulder Theater in Colorado, the Bottom Line in New York and The Palms in California, I could always count on seeing The Iron Horse on the list of places that Michael was loyally heading to for yet another return engagement. And having met Jordi, we have a good idea why. 

Brash, funny, brutally honest (and from Brooklyn!), Jordi’s interview, like Karen’s, gave us an invaluable, unique vantage point of what Michael’s life was like on the road. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Jordi Harold, Mischa Hedges

We were lucky to have our fantastic DP from last year’s trip to New York, Ling Mai, on hand to capture the interviews, and Nestor Bongabong as our critical (and flawless) sound engineer. The (very-experienced, talented) Karle Manocha was our all-important hair and makeup person for the day.

Ling Mai
Sound Engineer Nestor Bongabong
Karle Manocha, Nestor Bombabong, Ling Mai

Packing up after the shoot, we said our farewells in the dark, on the cobblestone – decamped to our hotel, then ventured out into a vibrant, New York night: clear skies, fabulous fashion startup storefronts lit up and aglow, perfect pizza slices on the corners, and literati-like cafes steeping the sidewalks of the greatest city in the world. Further proof, that evening – only a mile or so away, the Rolling Stones performed a secret set at a club in the Village; Lady Gaga was there. As if anything were possible, at every turn.

But we had a plane to catch. Colossal editing work and pressing grant writing were waiting for us to jump right back into, so the next morning we caught our version of the ‘Marrakech Express’  – and flew home to California.

Co-Director Brendan Hedges with Michael Manring.

Next up: our final interview of the year, on the Imaginary Road.


Become a Sponsor

This film will be funded in part by Michael’s fans, angel donors, business sponsors and grant funding.

Sponsorship packages range from $1,000-$75,000 and include various benefits. They are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, the Stropes Foundation.

Review our available sponsorship packages and let us know if you’re interested in becoming a sponsor of the film.

Or by check

Write a check to “Stropes Foundation, Inc” with “Oracle Documentary” in the memo and mail to: 

Stropes Foundation, Inc.
1132 Lake Avenue
Racine, WI 53403


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