Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pearl Jam Covers "Fuckin' Up" in DC


Last night at Pearl Jam's Washington, DC concert tour stop, the band covered Neil Young's 'Fuckin' Up'. The song was dedicated to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

Vedder introduced the song by saying he received a call from VP Cheney while in DC. When Eddie asked Dick how he got his phone number, Dick said that 'he had sources at the NSA' -- a reference to the recent wiretapping scandal at the spy agency.

More photos and a review of Pearl Jam and My Morning Jacket in Washington, DC, May 30.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Video: Making of "Living With War".


Video is now streaming on Neil's Garage of the making of the album "Living With War".

Neil comments that seeing a dead rat was a sign giving him impetus to proceed.

By the looks of the featured clip, there will be a lot more video to come in the weeks ahead.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Neil Spoof on Saturday Night Live


Last week on Saturday Night Live, there was a skit with a takeoff on Neil Young's latest album "Living With War". The video is up on YouTube.

(Click icon arrow in center to PLAY directly)

Kevin Spacey plays Neil Young complete with sideburn makeup and harmonica rack. Also, Dixie Chicks and Conor Oberst knockoffs.

Very funny stuff, especially the song titles.

Thanks to the Painter on Rust for the link.

Also, see more on previous appearances of the actual Neil Young performing on Saturday Night Live.

Give To The Wind Artwork

Over on rust, Joost "I Am A Child" posted a survey of the Comes A Time/Give To The Wind chronology and a request for artwork.

Joost, this link's for you -- "Give To The Wind" Artwork!

Spin & Counter-Spin on LWW

There's been a lot of spin over the album LIVING WITH WAR. Some on the right have argued that the album "failed" because it only reached #15 on the charts. Others argue for success -- both in terms of sales and message.

"Overseas, they seem to like LIVING WITH WAR too. While the U.S. week #1 was 60,000, outside of the U.S., the # was over 160,000. It entered the Canadian sales chart at #7 and came in #11 in Germany (Europe's biggest market) and #14 in the U.K. It was #4 in Norway and #11 in Sweden."

From Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer - Can music help to end a war? by Keith C. Burris:
"'Living with War,' ... is clearly 'of the moment' [b]ut is no less significant. In fact, it could help to end the U.S. war on Iraq. It could light a fire under people who already oppose the war and get them voting and organizing. It might change the minds of others."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

100 Most Important Living Songwriters: Paste Magazine Poll Results


The results are in from Paste Magazine's poll of the 100 most important living songwriters. Here are the Top 10:

1. bob dylan
2. neil young
3. bruce springsteen
4. tom waits and kathleen brennan
5. paul mccartney
6. leonard cohen
7. brian wilson
8. elvis costello
9. joni mitchell
10. prince

(Full results not available online as of yet, only in print magazine.)


So exactly why is Neil #2 and Bob #1? Well, we've been through that a thousand times before. Go here, if you fail to see the humor in all of this. And, if you still think this whole Bob vs Neil is just some website trying to stir things up, well then....


Or how about why Bruce is #3? Is the difference between Bruce and Neil merely the semantics of the degree of greatness?

paul mccartney neil

And why is Paul only #5? There was a reason that Paul asked Neil to induct him into the Hall of Fame, right?

neil & joni

Or why Joni is #9? Afterall, Joni knows why you can't be 20 on Sugar Mountain.

And a few more reasons that Neil Young is #2 on the list.

Thanks to Paramour for news!

UPDATE 5/26: Full list of 100 at thus spake drake: Bob, Neil and Bruce.

Technorati Blog Tag:

"I would rather die than go to a Neil Young concert"

Here's some ironic amusement that is not as bad as the title would indicate -- at first glance...

From My Amusement Park: Music makes the people come together/Music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebels:
"I would rather die than go to a Neil Young concert, just because it would mean being surrounded by tie-dye and flannel and self-satisfied smirking over organic coffee, or beer, or weed, or whatever. That doesn't change the quality of Neil Young's music, and why let a bunch of pensioners get in the way of my enjoyment? "

But many folks -- in fact -- seem to enjoy Neil Young concerts -- especially the tie-dye, flannel, organic coffee, beer, or weed portions.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

"The most beautiful and rewarding dubbing session"

shakeys-garage-war.jpg sxsw-2006-jim-plunkett.jpg

UPDATE: 5/22 - "Most remarkable reaction to any of my albums ever" - from a new Neil message scrolling at bottom of Neil's Garage.

Over on Neil's Garage, Shakey's official website, Neil has put together a timeline for recording "Living With War". He writes of the 12-hour recording session with the 100 voice choir:
"This is truly a day to remember. It is the most beautiful and rewarding dubbing session I have ever taken part in. Those singers are awe-inspiring."

On Rock Daily, a nice recap of all that has taken place over the past several weeks including the CNN interview where he was asked if he was concerned about being considered unpatriotic by people who might disagree with the album's sentiments.
"I'm not concerned about that in the least," Young replied. "I feel like I'm exercising my right of free speech, which is what our boys are fighting for the Iraqi people to have."

Also, news about the upcoming Freedom of Speech: CSNY 2006 Concert Tour. Graham Nash recently gave Rolling Stone a preview of what concertgoers can expect.
"There will be screens on either side of the stage with the lyrics playing," he revealed. "Neil wants people to be able to see the lyrics, to feel free to join in, so that our voices rise together."

And, likewise, Young says he's hoping that Living With War will inspire people to join together in expressing their opinions, regardless of their political differences.

Regarding the critical reaction from the left and right, Young responds to The Los Angeles Times in an on-line interview on his reason for laying bare the jabs as well as the plaudits his latest work has inspired:
"I found what people said about this music to be the real story, both pro and con.

I was surprised by the amount of positive reviews," Young wrote, "and the intensity of both the pros and cons."

Randomly Blogged - Pearl Jam Video - "Rockin' in The Free World"


Pearl Jam & Neil Young Video - "Rockin' in The Free World" at MTV's 1993 Music Awards

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Albums in Order Review: Living With War

living with war cover art

Longtime Rustie Mike "Expecting To Fly" Cordova has added another chapter to the Neil Young Album Reviews In Order Series with his thoughts on Living With War.

"I remember back in the 70s, being shocked when the amazing Zuma came out so soon after Tonight's The Night. Even though TTN was comprised of songs that had been shelved for two years or more, it was still amazing to get the gem of Zuma so soon after the genius of TTN.

I can say Neil has done it again. In early April 2006 when news started leaking on internet blogs that Neil Young had already completed a new album of protest songs, I was admittedly, a bit skeptical. After all, his previous work Prairie Wind was a solid effort and had only been released some seven months previously and its accompanying film Heart Of Gold had not even been released on DVD. But as the evidence mounted, the amazing blog entries were revealed to be factual and that indeed Neil Young wanted to release this as quickly as possible. Via his web site,
initially there came a first-person announcement by Neil Young himself, followed by the lyrics to the songs and a timeline, and then a stream of the album itself, which is how I first heard this record."

Continue reading "Expecting To Fly"'s review of Living With War. Also, check out e2f's other 45 reviews in the essential Neil Young Albums In Order Review Series.

Technorati Blog Tag:

Neil Zeitgeist - Top Neil Young Searches

Here are some of Thrasher's Wheat Top Neil Young Searches (sorted chronologically*):

  • Chrome Dreams II
  • Living With War
  • Heart of Gold
  • Prairie Wind
  • The Archives
  • Bridge School Concerts
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd "Sweet Home Alabama"
  • Kurt Cobain and Sleeps With Angels
  • Bob Dylan and Neil Young
  • "Rockin in the Free World" lyrics
  • John Lennon Imagine
  • Pearl Jam and Neil Young
  • Four Dead in Ohio
  • Neil Young at Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert
  • Neil Young at Live 8 Concert
  • Neil Young's Health
  • Meaning of After The Goldrush
  • Neil Young's Guitars
  • Farm Aid
  • Carrie Snodgress
  • Greendale
  • Ordinary People lyrics
  • Why Cortez Song Banned
  • Honey Slides
  • Neil Young's Trains

    * Searches at top are the most recent top queries.

    Also, see most commented Neil Young posts.

  • Monday, May 15, 2006

    Neil Young on Sopranos ... Namecheck Only

    Mikey posted the following blog comment on The Sopranos TV episode on Sunday (May 15) ...

    Hey Thrasher: There was a reference to Neil on the Sopranos last night! Tony was making fun of his sister Jancie's husband who is a model train enthusiast for playing with trains as an adult. Janice said "what about Neil Young?" and Tony sharply replied "He owns Lionel!" A fantastic reference to Shakey on the best television show ever.

    More on Lionel Trains and Neil Young from Classic Toy Trains - March 1993


    Technorati Blog Tag:

    Randomly Blogged - Pearl Jam, Alejandro Escovedo, Dixie Chicks, Stephen Smith

    Pearl Jam Video - "Life Wasted"

    Stephen Smith - Hey, Neil Young: We young singers are hog-tied, too

    Video: Dixie Chicks "The Long Way Around"

    Alejandro Escovedo's Boxing Mirror

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    TV Spot for Living With War


    News of a TV spot for the album "Living With War" is up on Neil's blog.

    Called "YOU BE THE DECIDER", the video can downloaded HERE. 'Right click' and choose "Save link as" to download the clip.

    Also, see reviews of "Living with War".

    Hey, Neil Young: We young singers are hog-tied, too

    A very interesting open letter to Neil Young in the San Francisco Chronicle titled Hey, Neil Young: We young singers are hog-tied, too by Stephan Smith.
    Dear Neil,

    You recently said that you felt compelled to write your new album "Living With War" because you got tired of waiting for young protest singers to pick up the torch. I'm compelled to tell you that young protest singers are here, and we're holding the flame. I'm one of them.

    The trouble is, you can't hear us on major radio stations for the same reasons you noted last year when you poignantly stated, "I can't do anything in the record industry, or especially radio, because it's so controlled by corporations."

    While established artists like yourself may have felt your hands tied, the truth is far worse for upcoming artists: Even booking agents and managers won't touch us for fear that we will offend their audiences in a country where consumerism and patriotism stand united, as your song "Restless Consumer" makes clear.

    Bono was right when, at U2's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, he said, "There is very little chance for there to be another U2 the way the business is constructed right now." Describing corporate dependency on the toothless hit single, he said, "You have to have the hit single immediately. Bruce Springsteen didn't have a single for 10 years. Neil Young, I'm not sure, he ever had a single."

    If radio won't play an artist whose singles touch on politics, the only hope is to get a break opening for established acts. But, I don't know of a single mainstream artist whose agent will allow an unestablished political artist to open for them. Would you?

    Your good friend and former record company president Howie Klein, who wrote the first review of "Living With War," put it eloquently when he told me he thinks it's depressing that in a world of unprecedented global economic inequality, environmental degradation and increasing frustration causing terrorism, today's Bob Dylans and Neil Youngs are not getting a chance to be heard.

    Some see positive developments, though. Industry legend and activist Danny Goldberg, now Vice Chairman of Air America, says, "The Internet provides opportunities for new artists to find a fan base that was not available in years past." But still, the Internet has its limits.

    I should know. As then-president of Artemis Records, the nation's largest independent label, Danny signed me in 2003 after my song "The Bell," with Pete Seeger and Dean Ween, which was released on the internet on Sept. 11, 2002, burst into mainstream press as "the anti-war anthem for this generation."

    But, even though "The Bell" was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, printed over 250,000 times on various compilations, and was covered by artists from Dave Matthews to DJ Spooky, booking agents and managers remained too fearful to take it on. Why? Because most industry professionals, even those who pride themselves on their left leanings, believe they have to protect their audiences from politics.

    As Geoff Edgers reported in the Boston Globe, when discussing the Dixie Chicks and Pink, whose songs "Not Ready to Make Nice" and "Dear Mr. President" address President Bush, John Hart, president of Bullseye Marketing Research in Nashville, said, "I don't think they're bad people. I just think they're expressing an opinion.

    "Unfortunately, they think most of their listeners or fans feel that way, and they're wrong. All the fans want is to hear their music."

    But this is not true. As Howie revealed to me, contrary to widespread belief of a detrimental backlash to the Dixie Chicks' anti-Bush comments, radio response to their new album was 90 percent positive. It was only 10 percent of the listeners who objected.

    Already, during the initial invasion of Iraq, the industry knew there was a market for dissent. When I took part in the launch of in March 2003, a Web site of free protest MP3s started by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, replete with unknown artists, the Web site was hit over 1 million times in the first six days. Still, the industry failed to respond while soldiers and civilians continued to die.

    Many say that Green Day and Steve Earle received Grammys for their largely topical albums, and Kanye West, Bright Eyes and Anti-Flag have all profited from dissent in the past 2 years, but this is misleading: These are all artists who were established before they questioned the war in Iraq. For now, questioning authority in the mainstream industry remains reserved for celebrities.

    When I called Seeger recently to tell him about your great new album and your thought-provoking comment, Pete said, "Protest singers have never been played on the radio. In the 1930s, at the depths of the Depression, no radio station played the songs of the miners organizing for their rights in West Virginia, like 'Which Side Are You On.' "

    In the 1960s, artists like yourself, Dylan, Phil Ochs and Joan Baez could rise to the fore because visionaries like Pete and Woody Guthrie built a community independent of the industry, and shared it with the youth.

    Neil, will you, or Springsteen with his "We Shall Overcome," follow in their footsteps?


    Stephan Smith

    Stephan Smith is an Iraqi American songwriter who grew up in Appalachia. His newest single, "Another World Is Possible," will begin streaming exclusively at his Web site today. His father's family lives under the daily threat of bombing in Baghdad and Mosul.

    Neil, your move?

    Sunday Funny's: Neil Cartoon


    Cartoon from FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Michael Ramirez on Neil Young.

    New Anti-Neil Song: "Neil Young (Have You Forgotten)"

    Sometime folks ask why Thrasher's Wheat posts anti-Neil news. Well, for one thing - most of it comes across as totally ridiculous and tends to have the opposite impact, i.e. it only strengthens Neil's credentials in the end.

    Here's another example. An MP3 from stereogum: Them's Fighting Words, Doc.

    The MP3 is by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen "Neil Young (Have You Forgotten)" (MP3) (Play directly by clicking icon).

    Dr. BLT on stereogum: comments:
    "I just so happen to believe that Neil's latest effort is an attempt to distance himself from another song, Let's Roll, which drew him sharp criticism from the left."

    It's kinda of a hoot. Thanks Dr. BLT. No, Neil hasn't forgotten. Oh, yeah. He's Canadian. That always hurts.

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Video - Red State Update: WAR! On Neil Young

    Well, we thought we had seen everything. But now there's a war on Neil Young brought to you by Jackie and Dunlap.

    By we're not too afraid. Jest yet...

    Over on YouTube, "Red State Update: WAR! On Neil Young":

    "Neil Young's new CD, 'Living With War', features songs such as 'Impeach The President' and 'Bush Is Dumb' and 'I Love Osama Bin Laden'. First 'Southern Man', now this. Young's songs are against everything Jackie and Dunlap stand for, plus it sounds like a girl singing.

    (To play directly, click PLAY icon in center.)

    Jackie and Dunlap have declared War! On Neil Young! What can you do to help with the war effort? Buy every Neil Young CD you can find, just load up on 'em, even Arc, and send them to:

    Red State Update
    PO Box 12181
    Murfreesboro, TN 37129
    When they get a mailbox full, Jackie and Dunlap will burn 'em up, tape it, and put it on the internet for you to enjoy."

    Apparently, they really want to burn that commie-lovin', hippie-hatin' Greendale CD. Will wonders never cease?!

    More on Red State Update with Jackie Broyles and Dunlap including:

    - 4/24/2006: WAR! On Neil Young Part II: Beer'll Kill A Dog
    - 4/25/2006: WAR! On Neil Young Part III: Neil Young The Liberal Dummy/Greendale
    - 4/26/2006: WAR! On Neil Young Part IV: The Last Waltz

    Freedom of Speech: CSNY 2006 Concert Tour


    Tour Updates, Setlists, Concert Photos Links

    Crosby, Still, Nash & Young Freedom of Speech Concert Tour Dates

    Thu 07/06/06 Camden, NJ Tweeter Center At The Waterfront
    Sat 07/08/06 Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
    Mon 07/10/06 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
    Tue 07/11/06 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
    Fri 07/14/06 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
    Sat 07/15/06 Saint Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
    Mon 07/17/06 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
    Thu 07/20/06 Phoenix, AZ Cricket Pavilion
    Sun 07/23/06 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center
    Tue 07/25/06 Concord, CA Sleep Train Pavilion @ Concord
    Thu 07/27/06 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheatre
    Fri 07/28/06 Ridgefield, WA Amphitheater At Clark County
    Sun 07/30/06 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
    Mon 07/31/06 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
    Tue 08/08/06 West Palm Beach, FL Sound Advice Amphitheatre
    Thu 08/10/06 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
    Sat 08/12/06 Bristow, VA Nissan Pavilion
    Tue 08/15/06 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino
    Wed 08/16/06 Mansfield, MA Tweeter Center
    Sat 08/19/06 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
    Sun 08/20/06 Holmdel, NJ P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
    Tue 08/22/06 Wantagh, NY Nikon @ Jones Beach Theatre.
    Wed 08/23/06 Wantagh, NY Nikon @ Jones Beach Theatre.
    Fri 08/25/06 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
    Tue 08/29/06 Columbus, OH Germain Amphitheater
    Thu 08/31/06 Auburn Hills, MI Palace Of Auburn Hills
    Sat 09/02/06 Noblesville, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center
    Sun 09/03/06 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
    Wed 09/06/06 Milwaukee, WI Marcus Amphitheatre
    Thu 09/07/06 Maryland Heights, MO UMB Bank Pavilion
    Sun 09/10/06 Burgettstown, PA Post-Gazette Pavilion @Star Lake


    Also, see more tour comments and reviews.

    Is LWW Being Blacklisted?

    So is Neil Young's newest album LIVING WITH WAR being blacklisted at some retail stores?

    It would seem that we're seeing artistic censorship judging from recent letters published on MSNBC's Altercation. Here are a few letters:

    Name: Withheld
    Hometown: Albuquerque NM

    Just thought you'd like to know that Neil Young's album is not available at the local exchange (military BX) here. I had to buy it at the local CD store. I asked the manager and was told that the album wouldn't be carried. Apparently someone is afraid that we will get to hear what free speech is, even though they protect it. (I am an active duty AF officer and would prefer not to have my name used. Thanks)

    Name: Marty
    Hometown: Boulder

    Eric, I went out this afternoon to buy the new Neil Young album, LIVING WITH WAR. I thought you might be interested to know that the first two stores I visited, Target and Circuit City, did not have the album. Thinking that both stores might have been sold out of the copies they received yesterday, I asked at both stores if they had any left in stock. I was told at both stores that they did not receive the album.

    Furthermore, workers at both stores told me that they do not expect to receive the album, as it is not on the release sheet listing new material being sent to the store. At first, I wondered if something delayed the album's release. After all, it is not uncommon for the release date of an album to be pushed back at the last minute. However, when I finally found (and bought) LIVING WITH WAR at Barnes & Nobles, I realized that the album had indeed, been released on schedule. I can't help but wonder if both Target and Circuit City have refused to stock LIVING WITH WAR due to the album's anti-war and anti-Bush message. I wonder if other people had trouble finding LIVING WITH WAR. If that is indeed the case, this is an outrageous example of corporate censorship!

    Name: Lynn F
    Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
    After reading your two letters today about the unavailability of Living with War, I searched the Internets to see of Circuit City or Best Buy carried the CD online. While Circuit City does sell it, I could not find the CD at I thought only the service in their stores was terrible, but now I have to add their censorship policies to the list of poor business practices.

    Drop a comment below if you have had a similar experience (or not).

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Video: Prairie Town - Randy Bachman & Neil Young


    Before there was Prairie Wind there was Prairie Town. Or vice versa. Or something like that.

    Wonderful video of Randy Bachman & Neil Young on
    YouTube from 1993.

    Click arrow icon in center to play video directly.

    Backup vocals by the Cowboy Junkies Margo Timmins. Video also includes documentary footage of Winnipeg winters and spring floods. A video treasure.

    Thanks to Heath "cool at the pool hall" on rust@yahoo! for the link!

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    The Great Debate: Red and Blue Is Black and White?

    Over on Neil's "Living With War" blog, he's started collecting what he calls The Great Debate.

    Reviews that are pro and con are lined up side by side.

    So is Red and Blue really Black and White?

    Not All Rock Stars Are Like Neil Young. Take Godsmack for Example.

    godsmack living with war cover art
    This is a very interesting story about a band named Godsmack. Can't say I'm too familiar with them but they do have an important back story as the soundtrack for military recruiting videos.

    The article is by Howie Klein, former president of Reprise Records, who we have quoted extensively recently regarding Neil's new album.

    From the article on Godsmack's #1 album:
    "I mean only one record per week goes to #1. I would have been so happy for [...] Godsmack if I knew. But I didn't. I was too busy listening to LIVING WITH WAR by Neil Young streaming for free on the Internet all week to have noticed Godsmack's album IV. But if I would have heard about it, I would have been happy... or happyish I guess."

    Read this important story. And then try and post an important comment about freedom of expression.

    Apparently, Thrasher's Wheat has some dedicated readers who might be fans of both Godsmack and Neil Young. Not sure. Check out some MP3 samples of Godsmack.

    Because Thrasher's Wheat reports. You decide.

    Enjoy this wonderful photo of Neil

    Half Moon Bay Memories & El Granada Observer » Enjoy This Wonderful Photo Of Rock Star Neil Young: "Enjoy this wonderful photo of him fooling around with local carpenters and craftsmen, shot some 30 years ago."

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    It's Letters Like These....

    ... that keep Thrasher's Wheat going. Or, I was down on a frown when a messenger brought me a letter.
    Dear Thrasher,

    I just want to tell you that your website is great and I have been reading it ever since getting my first computer in 1997. I am a huge fan of Neil Young and I eagerly await my "Living With War" CD from Amazon this week.

    Now I'll get to the jest of my letter to you. I can't believe you're getting so much hate mail because of "Living With War". This is a free country and there is something called feedom of speech. I have always been conservative and a Neil Young fan and there is room for both. Neil Young has always spoken to me in an apolitical way even when he sings political songs (ie Southern Man - I'm from Louisiana). At this point in time I'm very proud to be a Neil Young fan. Even though I voted for Bush not once but twice, my wife, son and I are disgusted with our President. His wrong decisions on many topics such as in education (I'm a
    teacher), war in Iraq , and the ship port incident are making us feel like we made a terrible decision in voting for Bush.

    I'll say it again, I'm proud to be a Neil Young fan and an American with many freedoms. Because Neil Young, Thrashers Wheat and my family think that our President is doing something terribly wrong does not make us Un-American. In fact, we're very much American.

    Thanks again for all the hard work and don't get discouraged.

    Tim in Louisiana

    Thanks Tim! And thanks to everyone else who has written letters of support. These are most precious and appreciated. Without the stunning and overwhelming reader support, this site would have folded over these past few weeks. Thank you, my friends.

    Readers Challenge Washington Post Review

    Letters to the Editor in this weekend's Washington Post were headlined as "Off The Mark" in response to the review Neil Young's Antiwar Howl by J. Freedom du Lac.

    Here's a sampling of published Letters to the Editor:

    J. Freedom du Lac questions the timeliness of Neil Young's new album, calling it "somewhat strange, given that the album doesn't appear to be inspired by any recent events" ["Neil Young's Antiwar Howl," Style, May 3]. Du Lac criticizes Young, asking, "Did he only recently realize his contempt for Bush and his outrage over the war in Iraq? Where ya been, Neil?"

    The answer is that Young has been recovering from a well-publicized brain aneurysm, which seems not to have affected his social consciousness.

    Neil Young fans have grown to expect such topical albums.

    -- Michael Arnone, Chantilly

    I'm puzzled by J. Freedom du Lac's criticism of Neil Young's new album, "Living With War."

    Du Lac says Young's collection is "a couple of years behind the curve" and asks, "Did he only recently realize his contempt for Bush and his outrage over the war in Iraq?"

    Last time I checked, there was a big congressional election coming up in November. There are still close to three years left in this dangerously incompetent administration -- and no end in sight to a war it chose to start and was unprepared to win.

    Also, a quick Google search would have told du Lac that Young took part in Vote for Change concerts held in the Midwest in 2004.

    I'd suggest that du Lac is the one behind the curve -- and struggling for something to say.

    -- Max Golkin, Arlington

    The review of Neil Young's "Living With War" is as wrong as it is wrongheaded. It falsely asserts that the singer belatedly opposes Bush and his war. The review also devalues Young's outrage since he is not a U.S. citizen, although he moved here 40 years ago.

    More significantly, the review overlooks the musician's role as a catalyst for change. Phil Ochs's "All the News That's Fit to Sing" and Public Enemy's description of their music as "the black CNN" were determined to spark emotions and action. So, too, is "Living With War." It is an angry cry about the lies that led us to Iraq and the war's terrible toll. The intentionally ragged music reinforces the anguished, passionate vocals that are real as the day is long.

    "Living With War" is Young's bulletin from the front, designed to disturb, outrage and spur change. Unfortunately, the reviewer misses this by questioning the singer's motives. I hope other listeners will not make the same mistake.

    -- Daniel J. Weiss, Washington

    More reviews of "Living with War" that you may -- or may not -- disagree with.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Reviews of "Living with War"

    living with war cover art
    Loudersoft - You’ve got me talk, talk, talkin’ out loud… » Neil Young’s “Living With War” Comes Marching In:
    “Simply put, Neil Young rocks the house like a mother f**ker on a mission from God. Neil is focused, angry and on target.”

    Los Angeles CityBeat - Redemption Songs: Springsteen’s Seeger tribute fiddles, while Young’s war protest burns by Chris Morris:
    "Living With War is the best and most powerful album of 2006."

    Rolling Stone by David Fricke:
    "In a time of crisis, subtlety is not an option, and speed is essential. Neil Young recorded the nine original songs on this album in six days, just a month ago. He wrote four of those songs on the day he cut them. And in all nine, Young charges the current president and his administration with, among other things, lying, spying, waging war with no right or reason and dereliction of duty to the nation’s founding ideals. He then calls for the most extreme judgment available to the American people in “Let’s Impeach the President,” with rusty-fuzz guitar, the righteous muscle of a hundred-strong choir, a trumpet playing “Taps” and the self-incriminating voice of Bush himself.

    Living With War is one man’s opinion: Young reports, you decide. "

    `War' a howl of dissent from rocker Neil Young | Chicago Tribune By Greg Kot:
    "The mix places the singer's guitar and voice on the same plain as Chad Cromwell's drums and Rick Rosas' bass. On about half the songs, Young has to fight to be heard above the instruments, and his voice quivers with conviction. The production befits a garage-rock band lacking both rehearsal time and a recording budget; the trio roars to life as if responding to a starter's pistol, latches on to a sliver of a melody, and then rides it without letup. Several of the songs were written and recorded in a single day, and they sound like it; the unvarnished immediacy is jarring -- and thrilling.

    There is little of the epic ebb and flow that Young conjures from Crazy Horse, the band with whom he records most of his electric rock albums. Even Young's craggy guitar solos aren't much in evidence. In their stead is a furious forward momentum, punctuated by a choir that lends an almost celebratory air to the outraged 'Let's Impeach the President.' Even those who disagree with Young's views ('Let's impeach the president for lying/And leading our country into war/Abusing all the power that we gave him/And shipping all our money out the door') may not be able to deny a performance that rolls like a tidal wave: Call it a punk-gospel anthem."

    Neil Young to Tour for 'Freedom of Speech,' As He Expresses It with New CD:
    "Asked this week if he was afraid about a backlash to his CD, Young said, 'I'm not in the least bit concerned. I expect it. I respect other people's opinions. That`s part of what makes the United States and Canada and all free countries great, is the fact that you can differ with your friend and you can still sit down at the same table and break bread with your friend.'"

    NPR : Protest That Sings: Neil Young's 'Living with War'. Audio review by Tom Moon of the "purposeful" album tracks. "Neil Young awaited a younger singer to step up but could wait no longer."

    NPR's Fresh Air: Neil Young's Political Statement by Ken Tucker calls Young "a partisan contrarian".

    False 45th: Montpelier, Vermont Music Store Buch Spieler Opening at Midnight for Neil Young Release - Neil Young's Antiwar Howl By J. Freedom du Lac:
    "This album is all about venting, and it's accordingly noisy and discordant. It also sounds unfinished, as Young opted to work in the moment and plow through the writing and recording process rather than refining the material. Thus, it has the rough-draft feel of 'Mirror Ball,' Young's hastily recorded 1995 collaboration with Pearl Jam."

    Guardian Unlimited Arts | | Neil Young, Living With War by Alexis Petridis:
    "In the aftermath of 9/11 Young was initially hawkish, writing the Give-War-a-Chance anthem Let's Roll and supporting the Patriot Act, but the war in Iraq prompted another volte-face. Last month, he wrote and recorded an entire album in nine days, protesting both the war and Bush Jr's presidency.

    However, the most pressing question Living With War raises for long-term Young fans is less political than musical. Young is the kind of venerable artist whose classic work is so important and influential that it casts a rosy glow over his more recent output. Everything he releases is greeted as a startling return to form, but the truth is that he hasn't made a great album since 1995's Sleeps With Angels. For 10 years now, he has seemed to be a man coasting towards retirement. It would be nice if Living With War's speedy, reactive gestation indicates Young rousing himself from a decade of cosy torpor." Neil Young By Randy Lewis:
    "Young will be accused of a lot of things — of being a traitor and/or terrorist sympathizer — but mincing words won't be among them. The sheer brazenness of this collection is refreshing after years of timidity in the upper echelons of the pop world forged in a debate-stifling environment in which 'if you're not with us, you're with Al Qaeda.'

    The legacy of Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra right up to Operation Iraqi Freedom provides the subtext of Young's tack here. He draws a line between vehemently disagreeing with the decisions (and ethics) of government leaders and supporting the grunts who are putting their lives on the line because of those decisions.

    'Families' captures the dilemma of those who take pride in the commitment of their fathers, mothers and siblings in the military while worrying about their well-being. 'Looking for a Leader,' snarling like most of the tracks with distortion-drenched electric guitar work over thundering rock rhythms, yearns for someone of peaceful vision to rise up from the ranks and guide the country in a new direction. The album concludes on an introspective note with 'Roger and Out,' about a longtime friend who apparently has passed, leading into an a cappella choral reading of 'America the Beautiful.'"

    On His New Album, Neil Young Calls for Bush's Impeachment - New York Times By JEFF LEEDS:
    "[Manager Elliot] Roberts said that he did not know exactly what had inspired Mr. Young to record the new songs, which were written and recorded in a span of roughly two weeks, but that 'I know he watches the news.' He added that he believed the album's sentiments would resonate broadly, adding that 'it's not a political, Democratic versus Republican feel.'"

    Singles Scene: Neil Young - Living With War: Review:
    "The plan was to song by song review this, but I'm having a hard time saying much except, sounds like the last song. Thus, I'm going to stop here and give more general impressions. Every song reminds me of an older Neil Young song but I can't quite place it. It's in the dirty guitar sound and tempo, which is the same for each song.

    It ends, however, with a nice, acappella, gospel version of America The Beautiful. Unfortunately it is song ten before a gear change happens, too late to salvage the work as a whole."

    haahnster's hallucinations: LIVING WITH WAR - Initial Impressions:
    "Bottom line: I think it works well at LOUD VOLUME (and what other way would you want it?), and I think it's going to resonate with a lot of people. I'm sure it will alienate a few, especially the Fox News watchers. Fuck 'em. PLAY IT LOUD!!!!!!!!!"

    The World Wide Glen: Welcome to My Thoughtmare:
    "Protest music is as richly American an artform as you'll find anywhere on the landscape of our country's history...from the protest songs born in the dust bowls and the union struggles, to the negro spirituals which arose from the cotton fields of the civil war era.

    I personally find it ironic that quite often the loudest voices at home in support of unpopular Vietnam in the sixties or Iraq in the present day...have also been among the quickest to want to supress the very voices of protest or dissent that the soldiers are supposed to be fighting for."

    On, Daniel Woolstencroft responds to above review by Glen:
    "Excellent review Glen - you've wisely reviewed the album itself rather than getting too heavily drawn into the political message. I'd agree with this review 100%.

    This also proves that streaming an entire album online before its release isn't a bad thing; I'd probably never have bought this had I not had the chance to hear it first."

    National Ledger - Neil Young and United 93: Are Either Exploiting 9/11 Attacks? by Christopher J. Stephens:
    "Thirty-six years later, Neil Young returns to protest form with the release of “Living With War.” This new release, which Young is now streaming on his website, was reportedly written and recorded in March. It’s a strong collection of electrified, fuzz-rock anthems with titles like “After The Garden,” “Living With War,” and “Shock and Awe.” For forty years, this is an artist who has rarely compromised when it comes to left-wing hippie ideologies, and if only for this he should be lionized. Grizzled and high-pitched and angry [especially in “The Restless Consumer,”] this is a collection deep from the heart.

    Early mixed media commentary on “Living With War” has been understandable. Like most rock stars of his vintage, Neil Young is a better performing musician than he is an interview subject. Nervous footage of his recent appearance on CNN will speak to that. “Let’s Impeach The President,” one of the more controversial songs in this collection, is an interesting yet poorly structured lyric saved only by clever audio of Bush and chants of “Flip/Flop” to underscore the point. “America The Beautiful,” ingrained in all of us, ends “Living With War.” this context is as heartbreaking as you might expect."

    Living In The Past » Neil Young , a has been and a fool.
    "Truth is painful. I think it's hard to live with truth everyday. Like I said the other day, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. But today, the truth hurts and it's easier to be numb, or to shut it out. In the record's mournful title song, 'Living With War,' Young sings: 'I'm living with war everyday, I'm living with war in my heart everyday, I'm living with war right now' but he also says 'I take a holy vow to never kill again' and 'try to remember peace.' As he sang those words I thought of what he did with John Lennon's 'Imagine' on the 9-11 memorial album. Remember? He changed the line, 'Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,' to 'I wonder if I can.'

    :|: Suburbia :|: :: Neil Young Will Be Streamed for Free by The Globe and Mail's Robert Everett-Green:
    "At bottom, this is a profoundly patriotic record. Its predominant theme is spoiled hopes, and the list is long, including hopes for a safe environment, for economic justice at home and abroad, for peace between nations. But a few songs make it clear that Young isn't finished with hoping. Looking for a Leader, which comes right after Let's Impeach the President, is an unvarnished call for a new authority figure who can right the wrong, clear out the corruption, and make the nation's symbols feel pure again. 'Some one walks among us, and I hope he hears the call,' Young sings, 'Maybe it's a woman, or a black man after all.'
    That was some truth."

    An in-depth review that brilliantly harks back to On The Beach for inpiration on Cole Slaw Blog: Neil Young starts all over again:
    "To find a little perspective on Neil Young's Living With War, consider that arguably the darkest album in the history of pop music is his 1974 release On the Beach." POP MUSIC - Neil Young's harsh words By Chris Lee:
    "'I was waiting for someone to come along, some young singer 18 to 22 years old, to write these songs and stand up,' Young said. 'I waited a long time. Then, I decided that maybe the generation that has to do this is still the '60s generation. We're still here.'

    "I'm eternally optimistic," he said. "Change doesn't have to happen tomorrow. Maybe the day after tomorrow. The endgame is, when people hear it, it's up to them to think whatever they want. And I can say whatever I want. We seem to be losing track of that."

    London Free Press - International News - Despite Neil Young's song, Obama's not 'lookin' to lead'
    "The 44-year-old Barack Obama said at a news conference before a fundraiser Saturday he has read the lyrics. But despite being name-checked by a rock 'n' roll hall-of-famer, Obama said he has no intention of running for president in two years.

    That doesn't mean Obama is dismissing Young completely: "I'm a big Neil Young fan," Obama said of the Canadian musician.

    He and Young met in Chicago at last year's Farm Aid concert. Obama said he sat in a trailer while Young rehearsed the song Southern Man.

    "The acoustics in a trailer are terrific. It was unbelievable. . . . It was one of the best times that we've had since I was a senator."

    The Social and Political Power of Music (The Mad Optimist):
    "Is there any question, judging from the above lyrics (from Young's latest release Living With War) that Neil, again, has something to say about the current state of affairs, particularly as they relate to the current President of the United States? I think not, and I am damn proud that we still have an old rocker like him to say what so many other artists seem so scared to."

    BlogWonks » How To Impeach Bush: A Friendly Suggestion for Neil Young and the Hollywood Left by Doug Powers:
    "Now, since Young says that the war has gone bad and Bush’s poll numbers are down, Young is anti-Bush. Honest coincidence, or is Neil Young simply riding on waves of public sentiment, no matter where they are or what they’re for or against? Duh! He’s an entertainer. It’s what they do.

    That said, the value of this activism in achieving whatever it is said celebrity is trying to accomplish is usually minimal at best, completely counterproductive at worse.

    How effective are celebrity protests and anti-war songs?
    The limo-liberal left should realize that, if they’re truly interested in getting us out of Iraq and avoiding confrontation with Iran, they should form a group called “Actors For A Radioactive Teheran.” The general public would turn pacifist virtually overnight. Nobody in their right mind would want to start a war if Mia Farrow and REM thought it was a good idea, right?"

    :: The Cleveland Free Times :: Cleveland's Premier Alternative News Arts & Entertainment Weekly - Ragged Glory: Neil Young Addresses Dubya and the Damage Done By Peter Relic:
    "While there's no way you can listen to the album and not feel both Young's anger towards the Bush administration and his empathy for the American people, the man well knows that kick-ass rock 'n' roll trumps plenipotentiary polemics every time, and delivers accordingly.

    Music may not be able to change politics, but it can transform society, and Living With War has the potential to do exactly that.

    uh, plenipotentiary polemics?!

    Hammer of Truth » Neil Young Jumps on the Impeachment Train comment by Paul:
    "Neil Young. What a pathetic excuse for a living bacteria. He has been a degenerate his whole life and continues to show his traitorous stupidity wherever and whenever he can. Hope he gets stuck in the mud in Alabama. I’m sure the “good ‘ole boys” will surely give him a hand."

    At Home in Hespeler: Neil Young - Living With War:
    "Like many who read here, I am fed up with celebrities shooting their mouth off about what's none of their business.

    Shut Up and Sing is my usual motto here. But in a case like this I take a different view. If an artist wants to put their views into their work, put their money where there mouth is, then that's fine."

    The Screaming Eagle Journal: My review of Neil Young's new album:
    "I am a Neil Young fan. That said, I just spent the last 40 minutes listening to something he should be totally ashamed of. The album is flat, totally unimaginative, and musically listless, not to mention all lies. Neil no matter how much fun it would be to go back in time, we can't. The 60's and 70's are gone forever. Let it go. "Living with war" is garbage."

    You Can Take The Boy Outta Brooklyn… » Review: Neil Young, "Living With War":
    "Living With War is a vital rock album, an energetic & heartfelt protest album, and a very loud reminder that Neil Young is not growing old quietly - definitely worth your time."
    The Common Ills: Kat's Korner: Neil Young's Living With War

    Third Estate Sunday Review: Music spotlight: Kat's Korner "Neil Young's Living With War -- key word 'Living'":
    Kat: Thank God for Neil Young. He's the first one to give us what we've all been wanting. The one that takes on the Bully Boy.

    You buy that crap in the previous paragraph? Sometimes rewritten history is enough to turn you off reality. For instance, revisionist history doesn't note that Neil Young was quite happy to support the Patriot Act at a time when artists like Rickie Lee Jones were raising their voices. Rickie Lee took on the Bully Boy. So did Green Day. So did Pearl Jam (in the past and on their new self-titled CD). And of course Bright Eyes, the Rolling Stones, Cowboy Junkies and many more. In terms of a sense of how America's has changed, you need only listen to Tori Amos' Scarlet's Walk to hear a journey across an America rotting from above. Those artists are far from the only ones who have spent time among the living in the last six years."

    Cahl's Juke Joint: A rock, blues and jazz blog: Neil Young: 'Living with War':
    "Moreover, “Living with War” rocks hard. In fact, the album reminds me of the music at a concert I saw Young give on his “Rust Never Sleeps” tour in 1979. That show ranks as one of my top rock ‘n’ roll memories because I’ve never seen anyone else, not even Bruce Springsteen, lose himself in the music like Young did that night.

    I haven’t lived with the new album long enough to know whether it will be a regular visitor to my CD player in a few years. But I do know that I’d love to see Young when he tours to support this album. You can bet it will be one of his best tours ever."

    The Washington Monthly: NO MORE LIES comment by Charlie P:
    "I agree with your Neil Young assessment. I think the reason that the combination works with him is that his songwriting is perfectly integrated with his personality. Combine that with the years of honing his skills, he has reached the mastery of his media so it responds to his needs rather than having to force it to fit. It helps that he is stubbornly individualistic. One additional aspect of his craft that helps (also with Ohio) is the rejection (for the most part) through the years of over-production. This enables him to quickly produce an album of this sort without the loss of quality. The excellent quality of this CD belies the short amount of time it took to produce."

    Stubborn Lion » Neil Young is my hero:
    "But I love art, music, writing, etc. that captures those moments and starts to answer some of those questions. Angels in America comes to mind as an example. And this new Neil Young album certainly does it as well. Buy it, download it, steal it, whatever. Just hear it."

    More comments on "Living with War" here, here, here, here and here.

    UPDATE 5/18: A fan's review of "Living With War" from the Neil Young Albums In Order review series.

    Open Letter to Cold Bowl of Chili

    Hello Cold Bowl of Chili,

    FYI, here's a letter I've sent to Yahoo! Have a nice day!
    Hello Yahoo Postmaster,

    I run the website at

    I have received hundreds of comments on my blog from the Yahoo account:

    These comments have reached spam levels over the past few days and I would like to request that a warning be issued for violation of Terms of Service.

    As you can see below, most posts are incoherent & illogical. Furthermore, they are rife with grammatical errors, typos, poor grammar and lack of proper punctuation.

    This user has been politely warned numerous times by other readers to stop, which this Yahoo subscriber has flagrantly ignored with apparent glee.

    Please review comments on this blog at for additional examples. See particularly,
    for examples of hate speech and threats.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Thrasher's Wheat

    Please post your suggestions for handling comment spam below. Thanks!

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    "I Sing This Song Because I Love The Man"

    "One of these days, I'm going to sit down and write a long letter to all of the good friends I've known."

    But -- like Neil -- I'm not even sure where to begin this letter.

    The past few weeks have been unlike anything ever experienced before here at Thrasher's Wheat. Thrasher has been totally blown away by the entire fallout from the "Living With War" release and it's aftermath.

    Many, many thanks to all of my good friends who have sent messages of support over the past few weeks which have gone unacknowledged. Your friendship has been so overwhelming and my family is most grateful for your love and caring. I'm OK and will be trying to respond in the coming weeks.

    Now I know what it feels to be hit by a virtual tsunami.

    Traffic volume to TW surged and doubled over the previous record spike during the Bob Dylan vs. Neil Young brouhaha. Comments on posts have been in excess of 200 entries. And the level of e-mail has far, far surpassed Thrasher's capacity to respond in anywhere near a timely fashion.

    The most disturbing part of this whole surreal affair has been the amount of hate mail and comments. Unbelievable levels of hate and rage over freedom of expression.

    At one point, TW was receiving close to 100 letters of hate a day. And that doesn't even include personal threats. Quite discouraging and frightening.

    While we are quite familiar with the rage and hate of ignorance from our investigations into Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" legends and myths, we were unprepared for the fundamentalist attack machine putting Thrasher's Wheat into their cross-hairs. If anyone ever encounters the group behind the crusading propaganda machine Cold Bowl of Chili-ites, please let them know that hate is not a family value.

    So how in did Thrasher's Wheat become the world's lightening rod for all those opposed to Neil's message on the "Living With War" album? Well, I might live a thousand years before I know what that means...

    And the supreme irony?

    Are we not "supposedly" fighting in Iraq so that Neil Young (a Canadian no less) can freely sing about whatever he wants to? So Cold Bowl of Chili and company, why do you hate freedom? Why do you not love democracy?

    One of the things Thrasher is most proud of is the coverage the site has received that notes our non-partisan and apolitical stance, as Daily Kos notes:
    "The definitive Neil Young site Thrasher's Wheat has done the hard work of assembling reaction from musical and political bloggers. Some of the reactions gathered on the normally apolitical Thrasher's Wheat show Bush's zombies in early meltdown."

    Just moments ago I finished listening to "Living With War" for the first time. My initial impression was not unlike former president of Reprise Records Howie Klein's who blogged:
    "First my biases: I'm prone to love everything Neil records. I feel he's one of the greatest songwriters and musicians of our time.

    If I listen to a song of his and I don't get it, I have long learned that that is because I haven't spent enough time with it and that when I do, I will eventually see what he was trying to do and appreciate it. A second bias, just as strong-- and one regular Down With Tyranny readers are already very aware of and probably in sync with-- is my abiding mistrust for the Bush Regime and the alarm with which I view what they have done, and continue to do, to the country I love so much. The nexus of these two biases lead to an incredible hour of listening."

    In the meantime, you know what needs to be done. Do something. Stand and be counted. Start a blog, start a revolution. Just don't sit there on the sidelines. We've got a job to do.

    Lastly, thanks to Expecting to Fly, Mansion on the Hill, Haahnster, Bill L. and so many of my other virtual and true friends. But most of all, thanks to Thrashette for believing in me. As Sid & Susie would say, you are truly my Cinnamon Girl.

    And I am very happy.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    "Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming"

    kent state president-nixon.jpg
    "Tin Soldiers" & President Nixon

    Thirty six years ago, on May 4, 1970, an anti-war student demonstration at Kent State University, Ohio left four students dead, one paralyzed, and eight others wounded.

    The demonstration ended when the National Guard fired into the crowd of students. The shootings ended the lives of four students Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer.

    Shortly thereafter, Neil Young wrote what would become an anthem of a generation -- the song "Ohio" in memory of the "Four dead in Ohio".

    Over the years, Thrasher's Wheat has received more mail and comments on this song than almost any other Young song. Comments like this from Jodi:
    "I just would like to say that I am a 23 old student and I am doing a speech on CSNY during the protest era, mainly the song 'Ohio'. I would have to say that this song has touched me and it has become one of my favorite songs. It is tragic what happened to the students, especially when I read two of those who died were just walking to their next class. This song puts me in a time I was never in and I apprecitate the music as well as the students."

    The song "Ohio" was an anthem to a generation in the 1970's. Here's how Neil remembers the song from liner notes of the Decade album:

    "It's still hard to believe I had to write this song. It's ironic that I capitalized on the death of these American students. Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning. David Crosby cried after this take."

    For more on the song, the historic aftermath of its impact, and photos of the day, see Lyrics Analysis of Neil Young's song "Ohio".

    Open Comment Thread Below includes letters to the editor.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Keep on Rockin' in the Free World


    Happy May Day!

    Commentary on Neil Young's new album Living With War on's Countdown with Keith Olbermann (see "Video: Artists hot for protest rock" clip). David Was of band Was Not Was is interviewed.

    Have a safe and peaceful May Day.

    More rockin' in the free world, some kids who rock in the free world and kids who can not rock in a free world.

    "You can make a difference if you really try." - Be The Rain

    ps - To all of my friends, thanks for all of your messages of support over the past few weeks. It has been totally overwhelming and my family is most grateful for the love and caring. I'm OK and will be trying to respond in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you know what needs to be done.

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