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Friday, December 03, 2010

This Neil’s on Fire: A Classic Cut Reborn

Neil Young, Garth Hudson and The Sadies
Photo by Kevin James

Since last month's release of Canadian Celebration of the Band, there's been a lot of buzz around the cover track "This Wheel's on Fire" with Neil Young and The Sadies. (Listen to sample tracks on

From The Star | This Neil’s on Fire: A classic cut reborn by Greg Quill:
“They had intended to record it with acoustic instruments,” Producer Peter J. Moore says. “And Neil was supposed to record his bit four months earlier, but performance schedules and a sore throat kept pushing it back.”

“There’s a knock at the door, and Larry Cragg, Neil’s guitar technician, is standing there, asking how he can get ‘the rig’ into the studio,” Moore says.

Young’s guitar rig — a famously mystical contraption made up of a battered, modified vintage Fender amplifier boosted by several custom-made sound-processing devices, distortion effects and a number of reverb plates, linked together and gaffer-taped to an assembly that rests in a huge black box — can’t be turned sideways, for fear of displacing loose but vital objects, Moore was told.

“So we had about six guys lift it over the driveway fence and into the backyard, where it was unpacked, and the rig was rolled into the studio’s piano room through patio doors that had to be removed.”

“Then Neil left, and went back into the piano room where his amp was, and closed the door. I could hear him practicing scales in there with the piano, warming up his voice . . . then things got very quiet.”

“Suddenly, the piano room door flew open, and without a word, Neil rushed into the studio, picked up his guitar and whacked out this enormous chord. He was going for it.”

“That was a killer take. Luckily the recorder was still running.”

Part fury, part ecstasy, “This Wheel’s On Fire” by The Sadies, Hudson and Young is a defining event on A Canadian Celebration of The Band, a three-minute explosion that captures all six musicians at their best, and delivers a heart-stopping wallop. It sounds extemporaneous, immediate, too big for the room – it’s as good as rock ‘n’ roll gets.

For more on sessions, see The Star | This Neil’s on Fire: A classic cut reborn.

Canadian Celebration of the Band
(Click to Zoom Cover)

Also, for complete track listing, sample tracks, and more, see Canadian Celebration of the Band.

(fyi - orders will Help Support Thrasher's Wheat. Thanks!)


At 12/03/2010 09:17:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

This sounds amazing!!!! I can't wait to hear the full track...I'm pumped now after reading this! Thanks!!!!!!!!

At 12/03/2010 09:20:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Unfortunately, there are no previews for any tracks on :/

At 12/05/2010 11:34:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Sorry on that.

Could've sworn links were there during pre-order last month?

At 12/06/2010 03:07:00 PM, Blogger Jill said...

This I`ve just got to hear! Thanks Thrasher for bringing this to us, what a fascinating insight into how Neil works.

You just have to feel sorry for Larry though, battling with that rig year in, year out. I wonder if he ever regrets not taking that job with Bruce back in the Bluenotes era?

Guess if there`s no previews I`ll just have to buy it then......

At 12/08/2010 01:32:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

hmm... no love for producer Peter J. Moore in the photo credit?


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