Category Archives: Growing up

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Everybody seems to wonder what it’s like down here. [But] I gotta get away from this day-to-day running around – everybody knows this is nowhere.

“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 was always about two or three years behind everybody…”

I was always about two or three years behind everybody. There was nothin’ new about white bucks by the time I started wearing white bucks. They were like, out. No one was wearing them. That’s when I got mine. They were enough of a statement to piss people off. They set me apart.

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.62.

“Revenge of the Nerd? Great…”

Revenge of the Nerd? Great. […] Because to achieve nerd status with only homegrown knowledge of nerddom is a fuckin’ great accomplishment – and I’m proud.

Neil Young in an interview with Jimmy McDonough, in response to McDonough’s statement that many see Neil’s childhood as a classic case of “Revenge of the Nerd”; specific date unknown

Reference: McDonough, J. (2002). Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography. UK: Vintage Press. “Mr. Blue and Mr. Red”, p.62.

“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.

“Omemee’s a nice little town…”

Omemee’s a nice little town. Sleepy little place. I remember this one guy, Reel. Skinny Reel used to have this great little shop – it’s still there – and there used to be all these pansies out in these wooden boxes. The sidewalk was pretty wide and you’d go walkin’ along and there’d be all these boxes of pansies, the colors were so great… walkin’ through, y’know, and it’s all happening. Life was real basic and simple in that town. Walk to school, walk back. Everybody knew who you were. Everybody knew everybody.

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.42.

See also: “I really don’t have a yearning to return to Canada…” ; “I feel a kind of pulling from the area where I remember things as a kid…”