Dear Neil, I hope it’s okay if I use you
Status: 1:37 p.m.
Anyone who has never heard Neil Young’s live album “Weld” has never climbed one of the rare eight-thousanders in rock music. After 30 years there is an equal counterpart: “Way Down in the Rust Bucket”, a sensational concert that is one step ahead of “Weld” in particular.
Dear Neil Young,
sometimes I imagine you in the role of JF Sebastian, the doll maker from “Blade Runner”. He lives all alone in a huge house that, like the doll maker, is more at home in the past than in the present. He is also in love with Daryl Hannah. Just like you (you’re even married to her now). And he’s interested in technology. Just like you too.
You have already designed lossless audio players and hydrogen cars, of course, as befits a crazy genius: totally unsuccessful. You chose a 1959 Lincoln Continental for the body of the car. That couldn’t be anything. But just like JF Sebastian, you’re a hopeless romantic. I think you account for every failure as a victory. And you are right, because you have enough money and success anyway. You just want to hand out a lesson every now and then.
Unfortunately also to the streaming service Tidal. I’m a subscriber there and I’m sad every time I want to hear “Down By the River” or “Cowgirl in the Sand”, but have to find out that you’ve had your entire music catalog removed again because something doesn’t suit you. Sometimes it’s the quality of the music, sometimes something with the licenses. This has happened before, the last time a few weeks ago. Why this time, I don’t know, I haven’t looked for a long time, but accept it the way your music often sounds, like a thunderstorm that you suddenly find yourself in. Once you are soaking wet, you can even suddenly enjoy how it thunders and the lightning flashes in the sky. So at the moment I’m reliant on my old records again. In fact, it’s always fun to take them out of their case and put them on. Then I always think: a small, successful memorandum of thought.
By the way, I hope it’s okay if I use you. First of all, this is so common among old hippies – I’m not one, but you are, you are a resident of the hippie Olympus, one of the last great survivors of the Rock’n’Roll generation. At this point, a dinosaur metaphor comes to mind: If the Rolling Stones are still mischievous, perky velociraptors at 80 and Bob Dylan is a grouchy Tyrannosaurus Rex, then you are the eternal Brontosaurus, huge and powerful in the distance, pensive chewing on a tree and just doing his own thing.
Second, I just can’t see you because I’ve known and adored you for so long that you somehow belong to the family. When I think about it, I’ve known you pretty much as long as that one, very special concert was that you’ve just released, as a double CD or quadruple LP: a two and a half hour live performance in Santa Cruz, California on May 13th. November 1990 in a bar called “The Catalyst”. I was ten years old at the time and I didn’t have a Harvest Moon poster hanging over my bed; the accompanying album would not be released until two years later. But I had long since discovered “Decade” in my father’s record collection and above all “Rust Never Sleeps”, your masterpiece from 1979. I had listened to it up and down my whole childhood. In the meantime, the eighties were running out and with them your preference for such strange music that it hasn’t made many friends to this day. Anyway, that was the eighties. Some got along with them better than others.
But then: “Freedom”, 1989. And shortly afterwards “Ragged Glory”, 1990, a kind of late punk and your ticket to the era of grunge, whose main representatives Pearl Jam and Nirvana should choose you as their godfather, their godfather. The electrical storm never thundered more violently than in the early 1990s. You can listen to it on the double album “Weld”, a recording of the tour with your band Crazy Horse. If you don’t know it, you haven’t climbed one of the rare eight-thousanders in rock music.
Thanks anyway for “Way Down in the Rust Bucket”, that’s the name of the new old album. It’s the long-missing extension of “Weld”, the only flaw of which was that it was pieced together from many different appearances. “Way Down” records a single evening, plus the first time that you have played “Danger Bird” live. I’ve heard it live ten times since then, in Salzburg, Frankfurt, New York or Berlin. “Danger bird, he flies alone / And he rides the wind back to his home.” Thanks for everything, Neil.
Dein jan küveler