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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Neil Young Concert Helps Benefit Canada School Music Program

Neil Young's hometown concert last month has benefited the local Omemee school music program to expand by raising over $15,000.

The Scott Young Public School is currently pricing a variety of non-traditional instruments courtesy of the Dec. 1 concert. From Neil Young concert helps Omemee school expand music program | MyKawartha by Catherine Whitnall:
Scott Young Public School has received a significant boost to its music program budget, but it’s come from an unusual source.

Last fall, principal Carrie Pilgrim was contacted by members of Neil Young’s management regarding the Canadian music icon’s Somewhere in Canada concert. The school is named after Young's father.

“We talked about the concert and how Neil wanted the proceeds of ticket and t-shirt sales to go to our music program,” said Pilgrim of the concert held Dec. 1 at Coronation Hall that ‘raised’ $15,221.

“Band instruments aren’t for everybody. Some students don’t have the size or strength, and most instruments tend to be right-handed.” - Scott Young Public School music teacher Michelle Buckingham

As an added bonus to the musical windfall, students had the opportunity to meet Young’s partner, actress Daryl Hanna, when she stopped by the school prior to the concert.

“She was so gracious. She posed for photos with the students and really enjoyed it when they played Jingle Bells for her,” said Pilgrim.
Scott Young Public School students

See full article at Neil Young concert helps Omemee school expand music program | MyKawartha by Catherine Whitnall.

More on Neil Young's "Somewhere In Canada" Concert.

Also, see Neil Young: Humanitarian Rebel With Causes.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Making of The Neil Young Archives Volume #1


Back in 2009, Thrasher's Wheat posted a major examination of the "The Making of The Neil Young Archives Volume #1". Those were exciting times for both The Neil Young Archives Team at Shakey Pictures, as well as, us here at TW for our small role in the product rollout. So here's a journey through the past as we look forward to the next chapter in the long twisting road of the NYA saga.

This post's for you Archives Guy! Enjoy!

Needless to say, the making of The Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972 was -- unquestionably -- a quixotic quest unprecedented in the entire history of commercial musical releases.

We've given you our thoughts on what the Archives really represents critically speaking. But there were a number of key players behind the scenes over the past twenty years developing the revolutionary "Shakey Platform" - the technology driving The Archives.

Now -- at last it can finally be told -- here's the story behind the music: the making of The Neil Young Archives (NYA).

The Archives Vault
An Undisclosed Bunker Location

Over 20 years in the making, The Archives have been discussed, debated and eagerly awaited by fans ever since Decade -- the 3 LP career retrospective released in 1977. The next chapter was to be Decade II covering the next 10 years up to the late 1980's. From the Village Voice in 1989:
"Young feels he will be vindicated by this seven-CD anthology he's preparing for next year, his 25th anniversary in the music business. A compilation of approximately 100 songs - nearly half unreleased material - Decade II will encompass the original Decade, deleting some songs and adding some new ones, and then take on Young's work in the '80s.

'It's a big task, it wears me out just thinking about it,' says Young. 'I'd rather be making new music. But I want to set the record straight as much as I can. Through outtakes and chosen cuts I'm going to try to bring out more of the feeling that's hidden in those records. I think I can enhance the experience by putting them all in a long line, shortening them, and changing them.'"

Year after year, rumors came and went of the project being on or off or on hold. As time marched on, The Archives seemed to grow in scope and complexity. Finally, it had become somewhat of a morbid joke amongst fans with the Archives being referred to -- as Neil himself put it -- "The Bus Crash Tapes".

But then things looked as if The Archives might actually be released. From interview in Los Angeles Times by Randy Lewis:
"It's like a little tickle of some kind -- I don't know what it is -- to be able to find all these things you never knew about. They exist," he said, "so to be able to get through that in a way that enables you to enjoy it, and turns it into some experience that's not like going through a database -- that was the challenge of the boxed set. To make it like people actually had an album, an old vinyl album with a lot of liner notes."

Joel Bernstein, NYA Archivist

Neil's long time archivist Joel Bernstein has stated that the original analog tapes were transferred to digital at least four times -- and that was from a report in the '90's.

The analog restoration and analog to digital transfers were handled by John Nowland at His Master’s Wheels in Woodside, CA and digital editing and mastering by Tim Mulligan at Redwood Digital, also in Woodside, CA. The sonics of the 24-bit, 96kHz digital audio resolution is considered to be an unsurpassed achievement in sound quality or as TONEAudio MAGAZINE's Bob Gendron succinctly puts it: Digital has never been better."

John Nowland tells Universal Audio Webzine:
"Neil called me back in 1990 and asked me to do some transfers for him, from analog to digital. He thought that was going to be a two- or three-week job; somebody else thought it was going to be a two- or three-month job. And I've been here ever since."

John Nowland (left) w/ Will Shanks and the Green Board

Over time, the project eventually moved towards being released on the DVD format. Apparently, a release date was set but then the Bluray technology became available and the project was delayed once again. The original DVD author, Rich Winter (with Blackbird Digital) worked with MX Productions (who mastered the Bluray discs) to realize Neil's original vision of navigating while listening.

Ben Johnson sets up a scene

Shakey Pictures and Total Media Group worked over four years sorting through the massive amount of archive material used to create the menu design and page structure under the guidance of Neil Young and his executive producer, L.A. Johnson. The team first revealed a preview of the project at the Sun Microsystems JavaOne Conference in May 2008. Sun Microsystems develops Java, Blu-ray’s programming language.


Total Media Group's Toshi Onuki, Creative Director, recently said:
"People have spoken about the scope of this Archives as literally putting Neil Young's life in a box. But, in truth, we bring Neil's life out of the box, and allow the listener to explore and experience it. We pushed the creative boundaries in hardware and software in new ways to capture the essence and detail of the expansive universe of Neil's life and work."

With 128 tracks, over 13 hours of video content, more than 3,000 menus and 10's of thousands of navigation path codes, NYA represents a fundamental shift in how fans interact and immerse themselves in a musical experience.

Toshi Onuki blogs:

"The idea for the main program was developed with Neil when we worked on Greatest Hits album CD/DVD in 2004. We came up with the idea of video as “furniture” because visual footage for the recording did not exist. I thought of each scene as a diorama like you would see in a science museum.

We set up the original player for when the song was recorded - reel-to-reel, vinyl, cassette, and set up surrounding memorabilia and photos that were carefully picked by Neil. We taped the diorama in HD here at Total Media Group. I believe each visual scene has significance to Neil Young specific to each song.

I think the video of moving turntable is really seductive and it feels like looking at fireplace to me. The quality of the Blue-ray disc is phenomenal. I can see Neil’s fingerprints and dust flying around in the space. Neil Young’s studio also made a replica of the original tape, re-spliced and put on the original reel. That’s why you can see VU meter moving in sync with Music.

I think part of my inspiration came when I was first introduced to the project. There was a sense of obsession.

Toshi Onuki continues:
In 2004, I had a meeting with producer L.A. Johnson and archivist / photographer, Joel Bernstein (who has managed Neil Young’s archives for decades). Joel handed me a binder as thick as a yellow phone book labeled “NYA Vol. 1 Disc 1” and explained about the project and his existing database. The conversation and descriptions went on and on for few hours I remember. It was just exhausting and overwhelming.

If the Blu-ray viewer can get the similar sensation like I had on that day, I think the Neil Young Archives are working the way they should be. Interactivity was the most important aspect in the design because we want the viewers to explore, learn and investigate without getting lost. I also wanted this to be as organic and realistic as possible. From the beginning, I was opposed to graphic treatments because I wanted to create a photo realistic environment with a sense of space so that you will feel the archives as they exist in front of you.

I really like the idea of the file cabinet with the exaggerated cabinet drawer (it opens about 5 feet out) because we can throw anything inside and maintain the integrity of the purpose of the file cabinet: organization.

To me, the Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 exists in a black box and we are opening only a portion of an endless expanding drawer. I like the humor and the idea of turning an ordinary object to an extreme object. I did not want to create anything new, I wanted to preserve the way things are.

That was my basic design concept.

I visited many museums to learn how documents and artifact are shown there. For the assets gallery pages, I used similar black fabric and placed the items on top because that’s what the museums use to display precious objects.

The song selection menu is an opened drawer with bunch of folders. On the tabs, you can find the collections of song titles, with Neil’s handwriting, taken from original manuscripts.

This is my tribute to Joel’s collections.


From Guitar Player, Shakey Pictures Larry "L.A." Johnson:
It’s ironic that recording technology has gotten to the point where it can finally offer such realism, and yet the popular delivery medium is designed for a data-compressed mp3.

“We had cameras around all the time, because Neil has always been interested in film,” said Johnson. “And we’ve been assembling all this stuff for decades, but we waited until technology caught up with what Neil envisioned for the Archives. He didn’t want this material released on videotape, and he wasn’t all that happy with DVD. It wasn’t until Blu-ray where we thought the media would do the material full justice, visually and sonically.

There are many fascinating insights in the technical production such as this on Riverboat Recordings by Archives Guy:
The Riverboat disc needed a lot of work to correct speed and pitch issues.

Here are some details on that process:

This Archives Blu-ray/DVD disc has been compiled from the original 2 track, ¼” analog Riverboat master tape reels, which were recorded at 15ips.

The HDCD® 24-bit 192kHz digital transfers were edited into an assembled program and then sample rate converted to 24-bit 96kHz for audio restoration after it was discovered that the original recordings had varying and uneven speeds.

Through the series of performances, tape speed was found to vary 4% overall and at times as much as 2% during the course of a single song. Audio restoration techniques solved these inconsistencies and brought the program to correct pitch.

After the speed correction process was completed, the audio program was then edited and mastered at 24-bit 96kHz, becoming the DVD master.

In the case of Blu-ray, the audio program went through a final upsampling after the 24-bit 96kHz mastering. This final stage, utilizing a Pacific Microsonics HDCD® Model 2 processor, resulted in the 24-bit 192kHz Blu-ray master.
Or this comment by Archives Guy on Thrasher's Wheat:
Harvest Barn interview-

The Harvest DVD-A version is in stereo and 5.1.

The NYA version is just the stereo and is a few dB quieter to match other video content levels.

-Archives Guy
Archives Storyboard

And here's some more NYA trivia on the "Behind The Barn" interview:
When the surround mix was created for the interview, we located the spot behind the barn where Neil had been lying and set up 5 Neumann mics in a surround array. Then we placed two big PA speakers where the original truck had been and played Words thru them at full stun.

This created a natural surround recording, bouncing off the hills just like in the original moment. The new recording was mixed with the original interview to create the same experience for the listener that Neil had.


More NYA production trivia from Archives Guy:

Each of these tape reels are the actual, original tape reels, not fakes used for video purposes.

John Nowland at Redwood Digital made exact copies of each original tape including splices, leaders etc so what you are watching looking just like the master and is spinning on the original reel.

You will also notice the meters moving on the tape decks. This is because we were really playing the tapes during the video shoot.


Also, see:

- Thrasher's Wheat's Review: of The Neil Young Archives Vol 1 (1963-1972)
- Archives Opinions and Commentary Open Thread
- Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know about The Archives But Were Afraid To Ask.


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Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Rust Subscription TBA": Possibilities For Neil Young's Online Archives

"Rust Subscription TBA"
Neil Young's Online Archives

Last week, we posted Roxy Live: Next Release From Neil Young's Online Archives?, about an album tentatively titled "CRAZY HOSS ROXY LIVE" that is in "production". "Roxy Live" will supposedly be live recordings of six shows from The Roxy, Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA when Neil Young played with the "Santa Monica Flyers" (CRAZY HOSS) from 20 to 22 September 1973.

In addition to this "Roxy Live" announcement, a post-it note on the Filing Cabinet on Neil Young's Online Archives is labeled "Rust Subscription TBA". This has already generated a fair amount of speculation on what this "Rust Subscription TBA" might be all about.

From a comment on Neil Young's Online Archives, Lone Red Rider posted:
Whatever Rust Subscription is, I'm in for a month to check it out. There are a couple of possibilities:

1)A means to fund the licensing of the Geffen, Atlantic, Rhino and other released materials for which Neil hasn't negotiated a streaming license yet. So maybe only the Rust Subscribers can play this content in a beta version of the website before it fully opens up in July.

2)A way to start monetizing the website by making limited new Reprise archival releases available to a paying public, before June 2nd and before probably CD releases of such material. Note that Neil is teasing Roxy and the Rust subscription at the same time. I'd like to think that EVERYONE would get ROXY as a taste of how NYA would grow (since it was teased to everyone), but only the Rust Subscribers would get other serious upgrades before July.

It seems to essentially be a financial bridge between now and July when I'd expect the Rust Subscription would transfer to a regular subscription and the whole site becomes a pay site. If it gets me into new material before July, I'm in!

I'm sure all of the "unreleased albums" on the NYA site will make their way onto CD eventually. Hopefully sooner rather than later. But there will still be many odd tracks, videos, films, photos, etc that will ONLY be accessible on the site. I believe the idea is that the website replaces any future Blu-Ray and DVD versions of albums that used to be released over the last 15 years to sell the high res copies.

CD and itunes will still be the main way any of Neil's music reaches the public.

Maybe "rust subscription" grants you some earlier access.

@ Lone Red Rider - thanks for thoughts here.

Well, it sure would be nice for the RUST community to have the opp to get in on the ground floor. Either @ discount or in advance.

It would be nice as well if the community could provide input on release prefs.

That made the NYA run-up pretty exciting when Archives Guy was participating in the community prior to release.

But we sure would be dismayed if this had a financial angle as you suggest. Really can't see enough nickels to make it worth the effort.

Now if the subscriptions accepted BitCoin, now that would be interesting.... ;)

Also, see:


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

MUSIC VIDEO: "Cry, Cry, Cry" by Neil Young & Shocking Pinks, Directed by Tim Pope

Tim Pope is the director of numerous highly acclaimed 1980's Neil Young music videos such as "Wonderin'", "Touch the Night", and "Weight Of The World". (Recently, we posted MUSIC VIDEO: "Weight Of The World" by Neil Young, Directed by Tim Pope).

Tim Pope was also the director of the "Cry, Cry, Cry" music video from Everybody's Rockin' -- the 1983 album by Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks.

Neil Young
Frame from ""Cry, Cry, Cry" Music Video Directed by Tim Pope

From YouTube posting:
Everybody's Rockin' is a 1983 album by Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks. The album was recorded with the Shocking Pinks (a band made up just for the occasion), and features a selection of rockabilly songs (both covers and original material). Running less than a half of an hour, the music is unlike anything else in Young's career. However, Everybody's Rockin' is typical of his 1980s period in that it bears little, or no resemblance to the album released before it (Trans (1982), a synth-heavy, electro-rock album), nor the one released after it (Old Ways (1985), which is pure country.)

Everybody's Rockin' is Neil Young's shortest album, clocking in at less than 25 minutes. In a 1995 interview with MOJO, Young said that the album was supposed to have included the songs "Get Gone" and "Don't Take Your Love Away From Me" (which later appeared on Lucky Thirteen), but that Geffen, his record company, cancelled the recording sessions. The album was also notable as the first for which Young made commercial music videos - Tim Pope directed the videos for "Wonderin'" and "Cry, Cry, Cry".

The following year, Geffen sued Young for making "uncharacteristic, uncommercial records", because of this record and its predecessor. As a part of the suit, Geffen demanded that Neil repay the $3 million dollars (US) he had received for Trans and Everybody's Rockin'. Neil responded by countersuing Geffen for $21 million dollars (US), charging breach of contract and fraud. Both suits were dropped in 1985. In the Mojo interview Young says "R.E.M. were going to go with Geffen, then they heard I was being sued and everything, they just dropped all contact with Geffen and signed with Warner Bros. instead. Geffen actually lost R.E.M. simply for suing me over Everybody's Rockin'!" Ironically, Geffen was at the time distributed by WBR. [ed: See Reassessing Neil Young's Life on Geffen Records]

Everybody's Rockin was panned by critics and fans at the time of its release.

Neil Young
Frame from ""Cry, Cry, Cry" Music Video Directed by Tim Pope

Frames from Neil Young music video "Wonderin'", 1983
Director Tim Pope

More on Tim Pope: Making "Wonderin'" Video with Neil Young.

Frames from "Touch the Night" -
Neil Young Music Video directed by Tim Pope

Also, see Making of "Touch the Night" Music Video by Tim Pope.

Also, see Tim Pope: Neil Young Music Video Director | PODCAST by Adam Buxton.

Neil Young
Frame from "Weight Of The World" Music Video

Also, see MUSIC VIDEO: "Weight Of The World" by Neil Young, Directed by Tim Pope.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jason Isbell: My Musical Life in Five Riffs (#2 - Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer”)

Jason Isbell’s top influences are Jackson Browne and David Linley’s “Running on Empty,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “I Know A Little” and Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer”, from the album ZUMA (which has been in the space news of late as a mysterious, highly classified, beyond Top Secret MIC satellite payload, interestingly enough).

From Jason Isbell: My Musical Life in Five Riffs | Guitar Player

“When I started coming up with melodies and chord changes on my own, this song kept coming back to me, because of the tension and release created when you hold that D note from one chord to the next. It creates this kind of cool suspension.”
And here is Jason Isbell covering Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” with Dawes on Cayamo 2013 cruise. (Thanks Jim! excellent.)

Also, see Jason Isbell covers Neil Young on Fresh Air.

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Roxy Live: Next Release From Neil Young's Online Archives?

Unreleased Album
Image via Rusted Moon
(Click photo to enlarge)

As you may recall, last month we speculated on what might be coming next from Neil Young's Online Archives.

Now we have learned via Rusted Moon that an album "CRAZY HOSS ROXY LIVE" is in "production". "Roxy Live" will be live recordings of six shows from The Roxy, Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA when Neil Young played with the "Santa Monica Flyers" (CRAZY HOSS) from 20 to 22 September 1973. See Sugar Mountain | Neil Young Setlists for details.

Typical setlists during the run: Tonight's The Night / Mellow My Mind / World On A String / Speakin' Out / Albuquerque / New Mama / Roll Another Number / Tired Eyes / Tonight's The Night // Cowgirl In The Sand

So, it turns out that what we once thought was "fake news" now may turn it not to have been as far off the mark as we feared. Stan, will you accept our apologies? BTW, we never did hear back from you on the source of the "fake album image". Please get in touch Stan.

Timeline - Neil Young Archives

Also, see:


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Neil Young FAQ:
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"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
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"The revolution will not be televised"
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Turn Off Your TV

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
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Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
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neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment
I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel


Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Occupy the Music

Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?




(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul