"Gang of 400" - Thrasher's Wheat's Cabal?
Some recent letters and comments here intimate that Thrasher's Wheat is the epicenter of the infamous "Gang of 400" that Neil Young discussed on The Daily Show last week.
"This film has totally turned about 400 folks in the United States against me."
Neil Young and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show - March 9, 2006
Thrasher presumes much of this stems from suggesting a career peak and Jimmy McDonough's letter stating: "Thanks for being one of the few people to tell the truth!". Clearly, Jimmy McDonough is part of the "Gang of 400", but is that really such a terrible thing?
Afterall, McDonough is after "the truth" -- whatever that might be.
Listen, Jimmy, "Heart of Gold" is virtually unparalled in its beauty of capturing an artist's soul. What more could any fan ask of an artist?
The era of David Briggs and Crazy Horse is over and is not coming back.
Critical? Guilty. Sycophant, as townsend22 comments and harshes my mellow? Not guilty.
Lord knows, say what you will about Heart of Gold's core Prairie Wind material, the film is a vast improvement over some of Bernard Shakey's previous efforts, which, when asked what would he want people to know before seeing his film, said in such a oh so Neil sorta way:
"Jeez, I dunno. Just how to get to the theater, I guess."
History would say we're about ready to swerve towards the ditch.
- " ["Heart of Gold"] put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I met more interesting people there." -- Neil on Decade notes
Much as fans revolted over 1973's troubled Time Fades Away into the ditch tour and lashed out angrily during 2003's Greendale tour, this too shall pass.
Is the dreamy, emotionally hypnotic and nearly hallucinatory "Heart of Gold" film as cataclysmic as Time Fades Away or Greendale? No. And -- surprisingly -- yes.
Prairie Wind most likely will long be remembered by one song -- "When God Made Me" and lyrics like "Did he give me the gift of voice, so some could silence me?".
The rhetorical answer? We think God did not intend silence. But, I've been wrong before and I'll be there again.
While marveling in astonishment at the audaciousness of the Greendale tour, I was struck by the similarities to what Bob Dylan endured in '66 after going electric and hearing cries of "Judas!" as captured on the legendary Royal Albert Hall performance.
This is an artist who names names and sings it likes he sees it -- whether in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, and the 2000's.
Be wary of the rust and corrosion of conformity, the tyranny of groupthink, and revel in excursions into alien territories.
Regardless, think for yourself and question authority.
I'll never forget catching up with a Jimi Hendrix fan after a concert. Here I was bemoaning the fact that some Neil concert wasn't taped. He lashed back in despair that his entire Hendrix bootleg collection would fit in a shoebox while Neil Young fans are literally drowning in 1,000's of bootlegs. This is a good problem to have, my friends.
So, Jimmy & townsend22 -- you may cry "Judas!" today, but history shows that those who have cried out in the past were not true believers and on the wrong side of history.
So let's just celebrate an artist's right to have freedom of creativity.
Please take my advice -- don't listen to me and open up the tired eyes,
A Reluctant, Recalcitrant, & Accused Member of the Mythical "Gang of 400" Interestin' People in a Ditch