Category Archives: Music

“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]

“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.

“Rock and roll is just a name for the music of the young spirit…”

Rock and roll is just a name for the music of the young spirit – of what is happening right in front of us. Something you can’t plan for. Something that you didn’t expect.

Neil Young in a press conference in Italy; 1982

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Innaresting characters”, p. 11

“People keep telling me that my music has helped them…”

People keep telling me that my music has helped them through periods of their life, and I’ve never understood how that happens, but it must happen because of the way I do it. The way I do things is I give enough facts to make people get a feeling – and then they can associate their own lives with these images that make it seem to apply directly to them. Like the song was written for them. They can’t believe it’s so directly and obviously about their life. That’s because it’s not so specific that it eliminates them.

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

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Innaresting characters”, p. 11

“The pieces of shit should be there, too…”

I don’t mind the suggestions about what are good songs… But the pieces of shit should be there, too, […] so you know the difference. Some of it is good, some of it is crap that wasn’t released – there’s a reason… […] That’s what a fuckin’ archive is about, not “Here’s Neil Young in all his wonderfulness – the great, phenomenal fucking wonderfulness.” That’s not what I want. I want people to know how fuckin’ terrible I was. How scared I was and how great I was. The real picture – that’s what I’m looking for. Not a product. And I think that’s what the die-hard fans want – the whole fuckin’ thing.

[…]

Y’know, I don’t give a shit whether anybody BUYS it or not. I just wanna do it. And there may only be two hundred copies, signed by me. But it’s gonna fuckin’ exist. When it’s done, people can do whatever the fuck they want, make any fuckin’ order they want out of it. But they’re gonna have the whole fuckin’ thing to choose from. They’re not gonna get part of it. Everything – the good, the bad, the ugly.

Neil Young discussing his potential Archives in an interview with Jimmy McDonough; specific date unknown

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Innaresting characters”, p. 10

See also: “You have to be ready to give everything you have…”