Sunday, May 09, 2010

Comment of the Moment: "Chaos Is Good" says Neil Young


The Comment of the Moment is from the post "Chaos Is Good" says Neil Young by a commenter who goes by the delightful handle ShittyHorse:
Neil has spent a life in pursuit of the muse.

Neil has burned the candle at both ends and stepped through the fire destroyed friendships,turning on his audience and even being sued, all because of the muse. To be close to it and attempt to keep it there.

I’ve seen Neil some nights and it’s like he’s risking life and limb to put out for the audience. I believe Neil is an Artistic medium and the "Great Spirit" or whatever you wish to call it, transmits to him by way of songs- not just writing them but performing them as well.

We are all capable this way if we are open to it, but Neil knows better than anyone how to receive and bring it forth, to interpret, if you will, this signal in song. Others may do it by painting, writing, but also- any creation, any profession can have some form of this. Something’s work and others don’t. Are you inspired? Ever?

The best things just happen, with not much thought. I believe being inspired doing an art, to have the muse with you is the difficult inspiration to find and deal with. Neil Young has spent his life in pursuit of ‘IT’, (we’ll call it) and sometimes it's there and others it’s not. Neil is good at telling when it's there- when the muse is with him, when its strong but one cannot know all the time, but you just gotta try otherwise it'll never happen. I'm sure that when Neil really has to think about what he's doing, he knows it's not happening. “The more you think, the more you stink”

Creativity, in any form is difficult. Creativity by its very nature is energy. Rock n’ Roll is a young man’s game, as is writing- the real fast, crazy, inspiring writing is usually done by a young person. Same with rock n roll. We can all run down a list of rockers who were great in the day or are now terrible or dead. It’s a small list of aging rockers who are just as good, or better as when they first made it. Older people can obviously have it as well but the young receive it better and have the energy to transmit.

Neil, I think, knows this and takes steps trying to harness it, staying real, keeping it fresh by any means necessary. Looking at his career, his words and his life it’s obvious that that there is some other forces at work. It's not just talent, although to do what Neil does requires it. In Neil's case, the talent to sing, to play guitar but also to be able to receive and transmit the muse, the way Neil does, is also a talent.

Neil searches for the right circumstances; full moon, the right players, the right songs. He knows what it takes to open up and many ways are often not good for your health, physically, mentally or emotionally. Neil knows, just like Dylan, that heartbreak brings out the best songs. Intoxication opens you up, frees your mind if you will, you can open up and songs come, but too much this will also chase away the muse. Some stop doing this altogether and the muse is just gone and it's never the same (Aerosmith).

I also think sometimes just playing music will bring it on... getting in the zone, which, in Neil’s case, seems to be done best with Crazy Horse. This is a young man’s game. Too much will hurt you. Chaos is a huge factor in being creative. Many artists keep chaos around them at all times, and it usually kills them. Kerouac and Cassidy went looking for “IT”. I believe they found it, but in the end the chaos it took, killed them. Neil, on the other hand has been able to find it, harness it as best as he can, in a healthy way- by staying creative and always moving- a little stimulation here and there doesn’t hurt either.

I’m sorry but listen to Neil songs, his voice, and his guitar. There is something there that borders on magic. On a good night, even now, under the spotlights in any theater, if the crowd really wants it, you can be a witness to IT- When Neil is completely on, in tune with himself and the energy in the air. He feeds off it and puts it back out there to you, if you’re willing to accept it. It’s a scientific fact that energy never dies, it just changes form.

Neil Young is like a sorcerer of energy.

Thanks ShittyHorse!

More on why "Chaos Is Good" says Neil Young and Following The Muse: A Good Idea?.


  1. Great comment shitty. I would of commented in the original post, supporting you..but was a bit scared I'd cause too much chaos!

    99,where's chief when ya want him?


  2. Can't improve on, or add much more to this. I think muse is always there, like a radio wave, but that only certain individuals are able to tune it in. Still fewer have the sensitivity to respect the ability and put everything else on hold to facilitate it when it happens. This is where Neil really excels.

    That's a great observation about there being some kind of magic at play. I've seen and felt that many times with Neil's music. He knows how to receive and put it back out through his own unique filters, and what you get is something unrepeatable. Somewhere else there was a comment about how difficult it is to cover a Neil Young song, it just doesn't seem to come out right. Like you say, the voice, the guitar, the vibe, they just aren't there unless its Neil himself.

    One other thing at play I think is Neil's willingness to work without a net, to expose himself to whatever, different musicians, different genres, different forms, and things like chaos or inter-band frictions. He has the ability to find the eye in the hurricane, even when he's "getting blown away." It probably is a young man's game, and he probably doesn't do it as much anymore. But you know, he's still playing, still producing, still not caring or playing it safe. The muse put down FITR, and he put it out. I also think he willingly immersed himself in the the chaos of seeing his family through some trying times, a brush with death, the onslaught of criticism he took for his anti-war stance, the tediousness of the Linc Volt project, and the loss of personal friends, etc. I don't think the muse is done with him, or his willingness to be receptive to it, even in the midst of chaos. Personally, I won't be surprised by anything that comes now.

    Greg M (A Friend Of Yours)

  3. Greg M, Shitty,

    There are two words that immediately come to mind when I think of Neil and the "chaos" he loves to bathe in...and that's spontaneity and impulsiveness...

    Neil is at his best when in that frame of reflects in his live shows and governs his 'muse'

    That's the beauty of the man...Unpredictible, dogmatic... yes, but always passionate.

    Lets hope this magical'potion' that Neil conjures, continues and the 'spell' he has upon us is never lifted.


  4. What a Shitty comment! - full of good insights and deep felt expression.

    Whatever you do, stay true to YOUR muse, and well, keep on being Shitty.

  5. Well jim, that IS good advice..

    Staying true to your own'muse'that is.
    Whatever one's will be...

    coz as I've said on countless times before, diverse personalities and attitudes are what makes the world go round...boring, anal 'unchaotic' comments are just that..and fortunately, wheaties here on this site, have their own personalities and opinions..and when expressed freely are enjoyable to read.

    Like Mother Earth, toleration and respect is the name of the game.

    We are all mere cogs in the Wheel of life..let it revolve and roll us to our next "fork in the road"..

    Whatever that may be!

    Amen, doc

  6. Thanks Thrasher and thanks for the nice remarks guys.
    This post was longer, but I had to edit down for space. While my original post may have had a better flow, it also may have a been a bit more rambling (which I tend to do). But I think the fact that Neil believes the songs come from somewhere "else" doesn't get enough attention. I love this about him and the fact that Neil waits for the full moon to record, and how he tries to be in-tune with nature.
    I don't consider myself a mystic, nor a particularly religious man (though I find it all interesting) but I think we all know, either somewhere inside ourselves or right on the surface with our beliefs, that there are forces at work all the time, that are beyond us. It seems the longer you live the more recognizable it is.

    All I know is I cant wait for Sunday May 23rd (show #16 for me). I hope all the stars are aligned above the Oakdale that night and Neil plays 'Mideast Vacation' for Shitty. :)


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