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Sunday, August 02, 2009

David Byrne Dreams of Neil Young


Talking Head's David Byrne is just a dreamin' man.

From David Byrne Journal: 07.26.09: Cagliari — A Dream on dreaming of Neil Young:
I am in an African village, staying with a local family. It is a Sunday (or similar day off) and family, relatives and friends have all assembled for a backyard get together. There is a large table with food, and people are in attractive local dress (instead of the Western stuff worn during the regular week).

After some festivities, I notice a high, mournful voice singing – not too far away. I follow the source of the singing, and just beyond the gathering I come upon a young African man, maybe 20 years old, at a keyboard singing Neil Young songs. He’s got the high, whiney voice down perfectly, and for a moment I am simply stunned. He sings one song, then goes on to the next one in the Neil Young songbook. I think to myself, “Some Peace Corps person must have left a Neil Young cassette behind, and this kid has taken it upon himself to learn all the songs.”

My hosts and some others appear and ask me if I am impressed with the young man’s talent. “Is he not great?” I tell them yes, I am impressed, he’s amazing, but I politely omit the fact that his talent is, to me, completely useless. My hosts press on, “Since you recognize this man’s talent and skills, don’t you think he could surely be a success in your country?” I am flummoxed, and try to explain nicely that his talent is astounding and surprising — if you close your eyes it really could be Neil Young — but to me, it is of no interest past the moment of initial shock. My hosts aren’t having it. They KNOW this man is talented — and they’re right — and are therefore absolutely certain that he could be huge outside of their village and surrounds. I again try to explain that in my country, a Neil Young already exists, and an African copy, however faithful, is simply unnecessary.

The discussion peters out in mutual misunderstanding and incomprehension.

Thanks KP!

More on David Byrne and Neil Young and other musicians dreaming about Neil Young.


At 8/02/2009 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous TM said...

Well, the interpretation of that is obvious. David Byrne would like to be the tropical exotic tapped into the fundamental musical source of the universe. But he is not African, he is not young(anymore) and he is not Neil Young.

At 8/02/2009 10:58:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

"You may ask I really dreaming?"
Same as it ever was!

David, your on the road to nowhere!!Start making sense!

At 8/02/2009 11:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad there would be nowhere for this kid to go, but Vegas. Doesn't sound like he writes his own songs.......Sounds like D Byrne is a little jealous!

Burning down the house...

At 8/02/2009 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


In the morning when I wake up and listen to the sound
Of the birds outside on the roof
I try to ignore what the paper says
And I try not to read all the news
And I'll hold you if you had a bad dream
And I hope it never comes true
'Cause you and I been through so many things together
And the sun starts climbing the roof

It's a dream
Only a dream
And it's fading now
Fading away
It's only a dream
Just a memory without anywhere to stay

The Red River stills flows through my home town
Rollin' and tumblin' on its way
Swirling around the old bridge pylons
Where a boy fishes the morning away
His bicycle leans on an oak tree
While the cars rumble over his head
An aeroplane leaves a trail in an empty blue sky
And the young birds call out to be fed

It's a dream
Only a dream
And it's fading now
Fading away
It's only a dream
Just a memory without anywhere to stay

An old man walks along on the sidewalk
Sunglasses and an old Stetson hat
The four winds blow the back of his overcoat away
As he stops with the policeman to chat
And a train rolls out of the station
That was really somethin' in its day
Picking up speed on the straight prairie rails
As it carries the passengers away

It's gone
Only a dream
And it's fading now
Fading away
Only a dream
Just a memory without anywhere to stay

It's a dream
Only a dream
And it's fading now
Fading away
It's only a dream
Just a memory without anywhere to stay

It's a dream
Only a dream
And it's fading now
Fading away

At 8/02/2009 12:13:00 PM, Blogger CCTB said...

Why the bad press, this man has given us excellent music. My definition of his words are " theres only one Neil Young" ..but if you write your OWN songs.....

At 8/02/2009 12:14:00 PM, Anonymous Dreamin' Woman said...

It's just a hippie dream if you ask me.

At 8/02/2009 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why the vitriolic comments are necessary. Byrne was very successful back in his days with the Talking Heads and I enjoy his music. He's one of my favorite artists, right behind Neil Young.

He makes perfect sense with his comments. Do you thing an african-born Neil Young cover artist would make it in the USA? Why would the average person listen to him, when they could buy the real thing?

Also, I think it's become pretty evident with the way music is right now, is that it doesn't matter how much talent one has. A person either has to catch a lucky break or know somebody inside the business to help them along. I doubt he'd get that.

Great for the kid, I'm glad he found a cool passion, but let's not kid ourselves.

~ Steel Madsen

At 8/02/2009 01:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i luv neil dreams

Did she wake you up to tell you that
It was only a change of plan?
Dream up, dream up, let me fill your cup
With the promise of a man.

At 8/02/2009 03:15:00 PM, Blogger karen said...

Wait. Are we supposed to be posting our Neil Young dreams? I better get busy. Get in line, David Byrne.

At 8/02/2009 06:17:00 PM, Blogger astrololee said...

Hey I applaud the kid for having a go. Most successful bands, before they become a success, cover other bands or artists work.
Then if they have real talent, they can put that to use in writing and creatiing their own style and genre.
The world, IMOA will never have another Neil Young but new talent can always be appreciated, if grabs you, and its from the heart, and its their own work.

At 8/03/2009 01:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Byrne once said in an interview that his song 'Heaven' from the Fear Of Music album was his attempt at writing a Neil Young song. Not a bad effort at all. He's also covered Rockin' In The Free World live a few times too...

At 8/03/2009 01:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

leave David alone!!He is only 'voicing' an opinion of a dream for gods sake. Saw him recently in liverpool and believe me, he still rocks just as much as neil and he is in better 'shape', physically

At 8/04/2009 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Worthless Recluse said...

Very amusing story. A bit sad though that some people are taking it as an attack on Neil. Grow up folks.

At 8/04/2009 10:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have to go to the USA to be successful as an artist however if you are interested in becoming a commercial success (bucks in me pocket) its a good place to try.

At 8/04/2009 12:44:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Yeah, I'm not sure what's up with some of the comments Worthless Recluse .

Maybe folks missed that this was totally a dream. maybe they thought Byrne actually experienced this?

At 8/04/2009 03:12:00 PM, Blogger RSS said...

Hey, I am a huge neil fan here........HUGE. Also a big David fan. It was a dreaqm posting on a blog. Chill.

They are misicians and their music makes us feel better. End!

The Talking Heads Rocked in their own way....back in the day.

Neil Killed in his day (which is still going on!)

I saw NY 6 times in 2008/2009 and he killed every show.

I saw David Byrne in Paris late last year and in such a small venue (1500 or so) he completely blew me away in another fashion.

Here are a few 2009 clips of how he was on tour.....everyone i9n white very theatrical and all. They are from performances on a US TV show.

March Clip

June Clip



At 8/05/2009 10:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the music of David Byrne too (even "Take Me to the River" as sung by the Big Mouth Billy Bass battery-operated fish!), but MY dreams of Neil are much more inneresting and exciting than Byrne's! Carol in Michigan

At 8/07/2009 09:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Carol in Michigan, my Neil dreams are way more exciting than David`s!
Surely what David`s dream is saying that there is and only ever will be one Neil Young, no matter how well people can try to imitate him. He is unique.

Jill from Rustington


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