Jammin' with Neil Young
Influences and Musical Collaborations
Neil Young News
Release "Time Fades Away"
Here are some more musical collaborations Neil Young has struck up over the years.
See the Jammin with Neil page for his well known collaborations and influences with Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and Lynyrd Skynyrd and others.
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young photo from The Last Waltz
Photo from Thrasher Archives
From Joni Mitchell's introduction to the song "Circle Game" on the album "You Can Close Your Eyes":
He had just newly turned 21, and that meant in Winnipeg he was no longer allowed into his favorite hangout which is kind of a teeny-bopper club and once you're over 21 you couldn't get in there anymore, so he was really feeling terrible because his girlfriends and everybody that he wanted to hang out with, his band could still go there, you know, but it's one of the things that drove him to become a folk singer was that he couldn't play in this club anymore. But he was over the hill.
So he wrote this song that was called "Oh to live on sugar mountain" which was a lament for his lost youth. And it went like this... [sings a few verses].
And I thought, God, you know, if we get to 21 and there's nothing after that, that's a pretty bleak future, so I wrote a song for him, and for myself just to give me some hope. It's called The Circle Game."
Also, see more on Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Paul McCartney & Neil Young photo from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Photo from Thrasher Archives
In March 1999, Neil Young inducted former Beatle Paul McCartney into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. During Neil's induction speech he said:
After Neil handed Paul the Hall of Fame statue, Paul commented: "Thank you all. I love Neil!"
Keith Richards & Neil Young at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, January 15, 1992
Photo from Thrasher Archives
Young: 'What I really liked about the Rolling Stones, was Brian Jones and Keith Richards playin' together. Even though Brian Jones was just kind of a bratty, sub-blues kind of guy. He still had the exuberance ...
'Satisfaction' was a great record. 'Get Off My Cloud,' even better record. Looser, less of a hit. More of a reckless abandon. 'Get Off My Cloud' - I know it's not as good of a song, and I know the performance is probably not as good as the 'Satisfaction' performance, maybe it is - but the thing about it is it's obviously just such a throw-together song that they came up with on the way to the studio or the night before, y'know? That's what I liked about it. It really sounded like the Rolling Stones.' "
On the song 'Borrowed Tune' from the 1973 album Tonight's The Night, Young sang: "I'm singing this borrowed tune/ I took from the Rolling Stones" to the tune of 'Lady Jane'.
Bruce Springsteen & Neil Young photo in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 1985
Photo from Thrasher Archives
Article moved to: Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young: The Difference in Greatness
Led Zeppelin & Neil Young at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 1995
Photo from Thrasher Archives
A bit of history was made on the evening that Neil Young was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on January 13, 1995. After the induction ceremony, Young joined Led Zeppelin onstage for an all out guitar duel with Jimmy Page. Performing a 10 minute "When The Levee's Gonna Break", Page and Young traded licks in what turned out to be a remarkable moment in TV rock.
Plant segues into the Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth" at one point. Not to be outdone, Robert Plant picked up a guitar and began to jam with the guitar greats and seemed to be having the time of his life hopping and twirling about.
During 1978's Rust Never Sleeps tour, Neil wore a Jimi Hendrix button prominently on his peace sign guitar strap as a homage to the guitar genius' influence on rock.
From a radio interview program "On The Record" by Mary Turner in 1979, Neil was asked about what he remembered about Woodstock.
So we're standing at the airport with Melvin Belli [an attorney] trying to figure out what to do. And Melvin Belli steals this pickup truck parked at the airport.
So it's the three of us in this stolen pickup truck trying to get to the Woodstock concert to play -- Jimi, Melvin & me.
That's what I really remember about Woodstock."
On January 15, 1992, Neil Young inducted Jimi Hendrix into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In his induction speech for Jimi, Neil said:
Hendrix threw a Molotov cocktail onto rock & roll."
Later that night, Young would pay tribute to Hendrix's guitar legacy by performing "Purple Haze" with Keith Richards.
On the album Harvest Moon, Neil paid homage to the Hendrix legacy in the song "From Hank to Hendrix". The lyrics of the song site the influence of the musical guitar giants Hank Marvin from the Shadows (not Hank Williams, as often cited) and Jimi Hendrix.
In Jimmy McDonough's biography Shakey, Neil said of Hendrix's work: "he was the greatest electric-guitar player who ever lived."
From the Who Tabs page on Pete Townshend's guitar equipment. The story is that Joe Walsh gave Townshend the guitar that made Pete’s defining electric sound on record -- a 1959 Gretsch 6120 ‘Chet Atkins’ Hollow Body -- which is similar to the guitar Neil Young began using with the Buffalo Springfield.
Combined with an Edwards pedal steel volume pedal, a Whirlwind cable and a ’59 Fender 3x10 Bandmaster amplifier, all a gift from Joe Walsh in 1970, Pete created the feedback-laden sound heard on most all post-Tommy Who and solo recordings, most significantly, Who’s Next (1971) and Quadrophenia (1973).
In a September 1993 Guitar Player interview with Pete Townshend he was asked about the Gretsch guitar and his equipment's sound:
I remember when I gave Joe Walsh an ARP 2600. He went, [mimics Joe Walsh] “Pete. I don’t know what to get you in return so I bought you a Gretsch Country Gentleman, like Neil Young uses. I know you don’t really get into them, but you should try this. And I bought you a Fender Bandmaster amplifier with three 10s so the ohmage is crazy, and an Edwards pedal steel volume pedal.” I linked it all up, went “Ya-a-ang” and it was there. When I get those three things out and put them in a chain, it’s a sound from paradise. If I try to fuck with it and say, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if I took the Gretsch and put it through a Zoom pedal,” it doesn’t work. It’s got to be just that combination of stuff.
Guitar Player: You recorded some incredible music with that Gretsch.
Pete: I’ve still got it. It got broken by accident. I trod on it. It still sounds wonderful. I’ve still got the amp and I often use it. I used it on the album. It’s the same chain, even the same guitar cable — an old Whirlwind.
From The Australian on Bonnie Raitt's upcoming tour of Australia in an interview with Mike Safe:
Raitt talks about Neil Young - another survivor, often against the odds and, like her, on his terms.
Warren Zevon and Neil Young photo from Winter Park, Colorado, 1992
Photo by Richard Creamer
From Sugar Mountain Set Lists, Warren Zevon and Neil Young performed together on 07-11-1992 in Winter Park, Colorado Guests on two songs: "Splendid Isolation" and "Comes A Time".
Also, on 11-06-1993 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California for the Bridge School Benefit Concert, they performed "Splendid Isolation" again.
In an article on David Bowie in The Kansas City Star By TIMOTHY FINN (May. 09, 2004) on artistic relevance, musical innovation why he is still a rebel:
From Powell's Books , David Bowie on Neil Young:
On the 2002 album Heathen Bowie covers Young's song "I've Been Waiting For You". Incidentally, the riotous guitar treatment is by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and former Nirvana drummer.
In an interview in the Boston Globe in 1990, when asked about being practically the only old-guard rocker to get the punk movement, Young said:
"What was happening is that we started making these layered, . . . produced-sounding records, which are the foundation of schlock- rock that we have today. And we were starting to do that in the late '70s heavily. So when the punk thing came along and I heard my friends saying, 'Oh, I hate these . . . people with the . . . pins in their ears, these people are disgusting,' I said, 'Thank God, something got their attention. These people obviously are doing something right because they're waking up these other people who are sleeping who shouldn't be sleeping.' "
From interview in French magazine Guitare & Claviers, April 1992 with the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten on Neil Young:
JR: I was scared to death, I didn't have the slightest idea I was that important! Besides, it's not that clear (smile). It's like left and right - - it's all open to interpretation. When I went to see him live he played that song and had the whole audience chanting "THis is the story of Johnny Rotten!" (Laugh) How embarrassing! But also what a compliment! He noticed me.
Q: At the time you were a fan of his stuff?
JR: Yeah, I've always loved his music. He's great, he takes risks all the time. You can't label him. He can do everything. He's totally free.
In an interview with Elliot Roberts, Neil's manager, Roberts was asked about a comment Nils Lofgren made about Young inventing punk rock:
From Shine Silently , Marshall Terrill's interview with Nils Lofgren on Neil Young:
Q: You made "After The Gold Rush" with Neil Young, which was made in 1969 and released in 1970. How was that experience?
NL: It was through David Briggs, who was still helping Grin trying to make it big, and our album came out around the same time as "After The Gold Rush" came out. We made that record at his house in 1969 with a mobile truck, which was an amazing experience. Neil pushed me on the piano, not because I could play but because of my accordion experience. I was able to do very simple, basic rhythmic things. It was just a classic record.
Q: In a paragraph or less, what is Neil Young’s particular brilliance?
NL: In a paragraph or less, it would have to be that he is as great a songwriter as there will ever be. Everything else is a distant second. Neil’s a great musician, he’s very eccentric, eclectic and has a beautiful, haunting voice. But you know what? All of those things are a distant second to being an amazing, amazing songwriter. The same thing could be said about Bruce Springsteen. When you combine the words with the melody and the music, it’s a power that everything emanates from. They happen to be amazing singers and musicians, but if they weren’t, they couldn’t ruin those songs. They would be still be part of our emotional landscape and be just as powerful. You can’t hurt songs that good."
Nils has also covered Young's songs including "Long May You Run" at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA on January 30, 2004 .
From Blogcritics.org StarPolish interview with Emmylou Harris on Neil Young:
Everything goes into the music. And he gets an idea and he trusts that idea and he follows it. And he has had the success and made the money to be able to do it, but everything has gone back into the well."
More on Emmylou Harris and Neil on the "Wrecking Ball" album.
An interview long ago with Lou “I Heard Her Call My Name” Reed, back when this opinion wasn’t very fashionable, and Lou got all secretive and told the interviewer “you want to hear who I think is a great guitar player?” as if Lou was embarrassed to admit it, then put “Danger Bird” on the stereo.
From Powell's Books , Randy Newman on Neil Young:
Commenting on his album Roman Holiday, Randy Newman blogs:
From Vanity Fair magazine (November 2005):
From Rockline Interview by Bob Cockburn (Feb 8, 1993 - Transcript: http://www.rogerwaters.org/rocklineint.html)
RW: I just a... you know, if I move people and they listen to something and they get a shiver down their spines then I've fulfilled my function. If I make them think about something, above their own lives, and about the way they relate to other human beings, than that's an added bonus. I've been listening to Neil Young's new album recently. When we cook dinner in the evenings we put it on and listen to it, you know? "I'm a Dreaming Man" (sings the title verse) maybe that's my problem. I can relate to that.
From Q special edition October 2004 on Pink Floyd:
RW) Do you know, I`ve never been very interested in modern music. I might find some of it enjoyable, but it`s never really been interesting.
I never really heard the Clash, and certainly not the Sex Pistols, so I can`t really answer that question.
As I still am now, I was listening to Neil Young when all that happened. It passed me by.
I`ll always listen to a new Dylan album.
But it takes an awful lot of something for anyone else to break in to what I listen to.
From October 2005 interview on http://www.brain-damage.co.uk/
Roger Waters: I always enjoy working with Eric [Clapton] who was in my band in 1985. I also worked with Don Henley, but these are friends of mine, and I'm trying to think of somebody. I'm a big fan of singer songwriters like Neil Young who are loners and sometimes hard to imagine working with. I find it hard to answer that question, I don't really jam with people so it doesn't enter my mind when it comes to fun. Fishing, sex, but jamming, no.
"What modern-day music do you think might last the test of time?
Roger Waters: Do you know to be perfectly honest with you I don't really listen to very much music and certainly not much contemporary pop music anyway. It's not to say that I don't think it's any good. It's just my interest lies in other areas. I still listen to music and I listen to a lot of classical music and I have my few favourite sort of song writers who, when they produce new work, I'll sort of listen to it. So I always buy the new Dylan album and the new Neil Young album and the new John Prine album and I'll sniff around one or two other things if I catch something on the radio. But by in large I'm not really interested in it."
"I don't think in terms of owing the fans something, although you can't just act like what you've done in the past doesn't exist. I just try to find the songs that still mean something to me, that I can maintain a connection to. But most people seem pretty willing to go along with the new stuff."
Jay Farrar's 1994 album "Stone, Steel and Bright Lights" with backing band Canyon, features a cover of Neil Young’s “Like Hurricane” from The Blue Note in Columbia, MO.
In an interview, Farrar commented that Young's 'Like a Hurricane,' served as a common-interest song between him and Canyon.
From MTV.com News on 02.24.1999 on Rock The Vote's Sixth Annual Patrick Lippert Awards which were held at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles. Beck presented an award to Neil Young and his wife Pegi for their work with Farm Aid and The Bridge School Benefit concerts , as well as their community activism.
Upon accepting the award, Young thanked the artists that had played at his past Bridge school benefits, but reserved a special thank-you to Pegi, his wife of more than 20 years.
'I'm proud of Farm Aid,' Young said, 'but I'm especially proud to be part of the Bridge School, which my wife Pegi thought up. She said, 'Well, y'know, why don't we have a concert, and then we'll get a bunch of money, and then we'll start a school for kids like our [son] Ben and other kids that need computers to communicate.' So, without [Pegi], it never would've happened.'"
In a RollingStone.com article "The Immortals: 50 Greatest Artists of All Time", Neil Young comes in at #34. The writeup is provided by the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea:
From Paul Simon interview in MOJO UK music magazine (January 1998):
[Simon first mentions Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison and then concludes response as follows.]
PAUL SIMON: "Neil Young. Had a big burst a couple of years ago with that beautiful album he made that was a giant hit, Harvest Moon - incredible piece of work! Those guys aren't getting any worse. They're good. It's that expectation: "Why don't you go away?" the culture says to everybody. We have plenty of other choices, so you go away. Look at the late acknowledgement for the jazz masters, these guys in their seventies. And they're still working. That batch of guys out of my generation have another 10 years in them, I think."
According to film director Jonathan Demme in Philadelphia Inquirer on making the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense: "Rust Never Sleeps (1979), directed by Neil Young, was an endless reference point for David Byrne and I when we were making Stop Making Sense. David would say: 'We've got to try to be as good as Rust Never Sleeps. That was the gold standard."
The Cowboy Junkies and Neil Young
From The Nadine Interview with Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins, by Jon Zerolnick (December 1997) on :
Margo Timmins: "We have done "Tired Eyes" as well. You know, I guess the real reason we chose it was it's just such a pretty song, and the words are so powerful and the story line is so powerful. And we just felt that the way that Neil Young did it, which is brilliant, obviously, but it was really guitar: it was mainly the guitar speaking to you before the words, and we just wanted to do a version where the words spoke first and the music came second, to sort of just bring out the story of "Powderfinger." Because I think when you're listening to Neil Young do it, you're just getting off on the music of it and sometimes forget... You know, people didn't really realize what a great story it was. So we just wanted to put another twist on it to bring out the words, and that was our aim in doing it."
Phish and Neil Young photo at Farm Aid 1998
Photo by Barry Brechsian
Phish have covered a number of Neil Young's songs including "Albuquerque", "Cinnamon Girl", and "Cortez the Killer" according to the Covers Project.
Phish has performed with Neil at the Farm Aid Benefit and the Bridge School Benefit Concert.
More details on Phish and Neil Young.
The Dave Matthews Band and Neil Young have performed together a number of times together over the years. Matthews is a fellow Farm Aid concert organizer along with Neil, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp.
From BostonHerald.com article (a little old but still good) by Larry Katz:
But, mostly, My Morning Jacket, with its deliberate tempos, emotionally direct guitars, and especially James' yearning high voice, gets compared to the eternally cool Neil Young. Not that that pleases James.
More on My Morning Jacket and Jim James.
Also, see more on My Morning Jacket's music [search]
From The News & Observer article "Neil's Youngsters", April 16, 2004 by David Menconi:
As for some of the latest bands to bear Young's stamp:
- White Stripes. Of all the current hot-shot guitarists, Jack White is the one who comes closest to approximating Young's rampaging guitar maelstroms.
- My Morning Jacket. Where White has Young-the-guitarist down, My Morning Jacket's Jim James sings in a high, keening voice that sounds like Young heard from a great distance away on a very cold night.
- Ryan Adams. Like Young, Adams flits between styles quite a bit. Also like Young, Adams is capable of commanding a noisy crowd to pin-drop silence with nothing more than his voice and an acoustic guitar.
- Wilco. Jeff Tweedy seems just as hardheaded and unwilling to compromise as Young ever was.
- Driveby Truckers. Everybody cites Lynyrd Skynyrd as a key influence on the Truckers, but Young's protean squall and apocalyptic demeanor seem just as important to them.
Also see more on the Drive-by Truckers' homage "Southern Rock Opera" about Lynyrd Skynyrd and Young and the song "Ronnie and Neil".
A number of today's musician's were heavily influenced by the music of Neil Young. From punk to alt.country to grunge, artists and bands which cite Neil's influence include Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Son Volt, Jayhawks, and Lucinda Williams. For more on Artists That Were Influenced and Inspired By Neil Young see Thrasher's Blog.
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