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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Death Cab For Cutie and Neil Young

Death Cab For Cutie, Nick Harmer (far right)

From an interview with Death Cab For Cutie's bass player Nick Harmer on recent US tour with Neil Young by Marcus:
Q: I saw that you've been touring a bunch with Neil Young. He's here at the moment playing the Big Day Out shows. How was your experience with Neil?

A: We had a fantastic experience with him. It was really one of the highlights of our career as a band so far. It was just phenomenal.

Q: Is he a Prince kind've character where you can't look him in the eye, can't go into his dressing room?

A: No! He's such a down to earth humble guy. I was completely blown away by just how accessible he was and what a gentleman to hang around with and talk with. He's just a really kind soul and we had a wonderful time with him.

Q: There's a bit of consternation down here at the moment because he's playing the Big Day Out. Which is traditionally a "youth" festival and some people have been saying that because Neil's headlining that he's not really right for the festival. But from early reports he's already blowing away a lot of the other bands on the bill.

A: He's a force to be reckoned with for sure. Anyone who says he's not relevant or somehow too old to be sharing a stage with current bands have got it all wrong, and really underestimate the power of his music. And really, the spirit of his music. I mean, what's at the core of Neil Young is at the core of so many rock n roll bands and so much music that I don't think audiences can really make a difference. On stage he's incredible live. He sounds wonderful, his voice sounds great. He fuckin shreds guitar more than...I mean he's just a force to be reckoned with. There's no doubting the cultural icon that he is, once you see him do his thing. It's fantastic.

I guess maybe a younger generation don't realise that he's one of the guys who helped start that kind've music.

I don't even know if he started...I mean, I don't necessarily attribute him as a founding father, as just somebody who has done it right! And done it great. You know whatever he has done his whole career, he has nailed. And you can't take that away from him at all.

Q: Does that include his 80s electronic stuff as well?

A: Well you know, every artist has a chance to grow and try some things. I'm not gonna say that somebody who's been around as long as has, has consistently made music that's connected with me throughout his entire career. But I think a lot of people mistake the notion of being a fan. A fan is going to support everything he does. Do I like everything he does? Do I connect with everything he does? Not really. He makes so much music that some I connect with more than others. But the reality is I'm a fan of Neil Young and I recognise him as an artist. And I support him exploring whatever music territory he wants to explore. Because it's Neil Young. And it doesn't mean he hits a home run every time. But any band that's been around has their peaks and valleys. Any creative person has moments when some of what they do connects and some of what they do does not. And i think any artist would admit that.

More on Death Cab For Cutie and Neil Young and other artists influenced by Neil Young.


At 2/10/2009 07:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Somebody who doesn't buy into that badass mercenary image that many people have confused with their own star struck and bizarre accounts of meeting this man.

At 2/10/2009 10:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is everybody?

You know, I was just thinking about what Punkdaddy wrote on the other thread about the Grammy and how it all ties into one major misconception we have about rock-n-roll music and the people who create it.

Is it possible that the people we see on television, stage, and listen to on the radio are very different in real life?

Like the rest of you, I've been listening to Neil's music for a long, long time and what I have seen emerge over the years is a very humbled, shy, caring, frustrated, and erratic humanitarian.

After reading "Shakey," I felt more sympathy for the author's frustrating account of an elusive butterfly instead of capturing the development and survival of a musician artist who kept his head and vision rather than being consumed by a very, very bizarre & twisted industry that spits out garbage half the time.

So I appreciate when people like Nick get it right rather than being blinded by the same gold, stardust, and rust that we're fed through the media and critics.

And like when Annie Leibovitz captured the very soul and humanity of Neil Young in single photograph.

It restores my faith that rock-n-roll isn't about a single aim designed to "entertain" and that maybe there is a future for it.

And that maybe Neil Young has had a bigger influence on extending the life of rock-n-roll than most people give him credit for especially judging by the human compassion we are feeling in the music today from our youngest and brightest.

At 2/10/2009 06:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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