Veteran rocker Neil Young doesn’t do many interviews, so when he consents it’s a big deal, especially when the interviewer is Patti Smith. That rarity was the highlight of Wednesday’s BEA events, which was all the more wonderful because it wasn’t a ticketed event. Anyone could stroll in, grab a chair, and dig Neil and Patti chatting‚ mind bogglingly cool and probably a once-in-a-lifetime event. They both looked like they were having as much of a blast as the audience.
After many years of sex, drugs, and rock ‚Äòn’ roll you never know how coherent these old rockers are, but although he sometimes seemed like he was on ten-second delay, Neil proved a good interview, providing background on his songs (for Ohio he said that after seeing John Filo’s famous picture on Newsweek‘s the cover he wrote the song very quickly and made about 100 copies to send to radio stations) and decrying the current sad state of many aspects of the music industry, including the decline in resolution in digital playback and that so many people listening to music on computer. I listened to an MP3 on a MAC‚Ä¶we used to struggle so people could hear details‚Ä¶there’s no comparison listening to MP3 vs disc or vinyl, he said, adding, it’s like reducing Picasso to wallpaper. The technology we’ve been provided [is terrible] and neglectful of the muse.
Young also talked about creating on stage, changing on stage. I used to play new songs on stage in front of people‚Ä¶.now it’s on Youtube‚Ä¶If you do that now (change on stage/riff), people say ‚Äòoh he doesn’t even remember his own song.’
Best of luck with your book Waging Heavy Peace and new album, Neil. Here are a bunch of my pix for those who missed it.