Category Archives: Creativity

“I see country music, I see people who take care of their own…”

I see country music, I see people who take care of their own. You got 75 year-old guys on the road. That’s what I was put here to do, y’know, so I wanna make sure I surround myself with people who are gonna take care of me. ‘Cause I’m in it for the long run. Willie Nelson’s 54 years-old* and he’s a happy man, doing what he loves to do. I can’t think of one rock and roller like that. So what am I gonna do?

Neil Young in “Legend of a Loner”, an interview with Adam Swetting in Melody Maker; 7th September 1985 [source]

* this age was true in 1985. Willie Nelson’s date of birth is 29th April 1933 – so get that calculator out!

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“In some ways, rock and roll has let me down…”

I think in some ways – only in some ways – but in some ways, rock and roll has let me down. It really doesn’t leave you a way to grow old gracefully and continue to work. If you’re gonna rock you better burn out, ‘cos that’s the way they wanna see you. They wanna see you right on the edge where you’re glowing, right on the living edge, which is where young people are. They’re discovering themselves, and rock and roll is young people’s music. I think that’s a reality, and I still love rock and roll and I love to play the songs in my set that are sort of rock and roll, but I don’t see a future for me there.

– Neil Young in “Legend of a Loner”, an interview with Adam Swetting in Melody Maker; 7th September 1985 [source]

“Earth is a flower and it’s pollinating.”

I even go as far as to think that in the plan of things, the natural plan of things, that the rockets and the satellites, spaceships, that we’re creating now are really… we’re pollinating, as a universe, and it’s part of the universe. Earth is a flower and it’s pollinating.

– Neil Young in “Legend of a Loner”, an interview with Adam Swetting in Melody Maker; 7th September 1985 [source]

“I think I was a little like Mr. Blue…”

Another song I used to listen to was Mr. Blue by the Fleetwoods. I related to the story. That feeling – if Mr. Blue was more aggressive, he probably wouldn’t be Mr. Blue. He probably would’ve found out either yes or no and would’ve been able to move on – but he wasn’t. […] I think I was a little like Mr. Blue. And maybe I hadn’t gotten to the point in my life where I realised that Mr. Blue could be squelched any time by… Mr. Red. Heh heh heh. And that Mr. Blue was just running the show for entertainment and Mr. Red was calling the shots… y’know?

Neil Young in an interview with Jimmy McDonough; specific date unknown

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Mr. Blue and Mr. Red”, p.53.

“The Wayward Wind by Gogi Grant…”

The Wayward Wind by Gogi Grant. Way out there. It’s just real simple. Straight ahead. I just have this one image that keeps coming to mind with that song – where I used to live in Pickering, there’s the Brock Road Public School. Just a two-room school and it’s still there. I’d walk there every day from our house, and that song was on the radio at that time. […] I always remember that same stretch of road, the railroad tracks, the whole thing – every time I hear that song, it comes right back. That feeling when you’re young and open, you have all these ideas. Real wide view.

Neil Young in an interview with Jimmy McDonough; specific date unknown

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Mr. Blue and Mr. Red”, p.52.

“I really don’t have a yearning to return to Canada…”

It’s my roots [but] I really don’t have a yearning to return to Canada – although I might someday. To me, Canada is my family, where I grew up, memories of bein’ young and bein’ open to ideas. And then tryin’ to get outta Canada because it was limiting. […] Once you get [to the United States] you find out how beautiful Canada is and what it has to offer – natural resources that are awe-inspiring. So I’m proud to be Canadian – but I don’t let it hold me back. Part of the planet, not part of the nation.

Neil Young in an interview with Jimmy McDonough; specific date unknown

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Mr. Blue and Mr. Red”, p.37-38.

See also: “Omemee’s a nice little town…” ; “I feel a kind of pulling from the area where I remember things as a kid…”

“I guess I’m an extremist.”

I get into each thing I do – to the point where nothing else matters. I guess I’m an extremist.

Neil Young in an Amsterdam press conference, 12’th October 1989

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Innaresting characters”, p. 13

See also: “The stuff I did, I’d get so into it…” ; “You have to be ready to give everything you have…”