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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pegi Young And The Survivors: "Flatline Mama" on Conan

Pegi Young And The Survivors Perform "Flatline Mama" on Conan O'Brien.

Lots of familiar faces in The Survivors band ... Spooner, Larry & Rick.

Anyone know who the backup singers are?

From earlier news, here's an interview with Pegi Young | by Maria Younghans:
There's nothing tentative about the way the album kicks off: the opening track, “Flatline Mama,” is a sassy, funny, rollicking song about a man who wants his woman sedate: “No booze, no pills, no THC/ ‘Cause he wants peace and serenity/ She's a flatline mama,” Young sings in a tune that combines country swing and '60s girl group backing vocals. She moves smoothly into rootsy r&b mode on “Trouble in a Bottle,” and has no trouble slipping into a more meditative space for “No Heart Beat Sounds.” Young does a lovely country-ish version of “I Don't Want to Talk About It,” written by the late Danny Whitten, Neil's bandmate from Crazy Horse. She shows off her confidence on “Gonna Walk Away,” a song about boldly setting off on her own.

Young has a stated attraction for darker material, and that is emphatic on “Bracing for Impact.” But she knows how to lighten the mood: “Daddy Married Satan” might be about severe family strife, but the beat bounces along, and Young sings in a feathery tone.

• • • •

Growing up in San Mateo, Calif., Young was magnetically drawn to what was happening a few miles up the peninsula. “I made my way to San Francisco as soon as possible, in 1968, just after the Summer of Love,” Young, who turns 59 on Dec. 1. She didn't want to simply see Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service perform — though she does recall that, at the Avalon Ballroom, you could wait till 1 a.m., then pay a dollar and still catch the headline act — she wanted to add her own music to the scene.

“I did some street busking, sang with friends in the living room — that's that time,” she said. “People just did that, and I wanted to be in that scene.”

Young never got far as a performer, but she kept writing — lyrics that she often set to music, even if she had no outlet for performing them. “It was just the immediate moment of writing, expressing myself. That's what I had always done,” she said.

In the '70s, while working as a bartender, Pegi met Neil Young, and the two married. (On Dec. 2, they intend to celebrate a momentous anniversary — 33 and a third years together.) In 1978, the couple had a son, Ben, who was diagnosed early with a severe case of cerebral palsy. Any dreams Pegi had of becoming a performing musician were put on hold, as she devoted herself to motherhood and, in 1986, establishing the Bridge School, which is funded in part by an annual concert, headlined by Neil, that has also featured the Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder and Nine Inch Nails. (Pegi did, however, have a hand in music history, serving as the inspiration for songs on her husband's great 1992 album “Harvest Moon.” The opening track, “Unknown Legend,” is a straightforward tribute: “She used to work in a diner/ Never saw woman look finer/ I used to order just to watch her float across the floor.”)

After the 1994 appearance at the Academy Awards, Pegi joined up with a group of women in her neighborhood to start a singing group. “I had a teepee set up in the backyard, and we'd really practice singing,” she said. “Nancy Hall would bring in music; we'd work out parts — it wasn't just an excuse for the girls to get together.” The group, which numbered around eight, would sing the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, the Mamas & the Papas — “anything with beautiful harmonies,” Young said.

The group, dubbed the Mountainettes, played a few local gigs, once opening for Buck Owens. The group — or at least, four of the singers, Pegi included — were good enough to get hired to be backing singers for a major artist: Neil Young used the Mountainettes on his 2003 “rock novel” “Greendale.” The Mountainettes were also featured on the “Greendale” tour, which made a stop at the 2003 Jazz Aspen Labor Day Festival in Snowmass Village. Pegi has since become a regular on her husband's albums, appearing on 2009's “Fork in the Road,” 2007's “Chrome Dreams II” and 2005's “Prairie Wind.”

Neil has returned the favor, playing some harmonica and guitar, and adding vocals, to “Bracing for Impact.” But Pegi tends to keep Neil at something of a distance from her own songwriting.

“He hears what I'm playing and I hear what he's playing,” she said. “But we write really differently. We write what comes from our own inner selves.”

Pegi is, though, a fan of Neil's, and finds his singular approach to music and career inspirational.

“His ability, his drive almost, to keep changing and let whatever can come in come in, has been a huge influence on me. I don't know what it is about him — he's on the cutting edge of things; he's prescient,” she said. “It's about just making music that's fulfilling for yourself, for you to feel good about, that's true to you, honest — that's all you can do. That's the best lesson I've gotten from all these years, as he goes through different things.”


At 11/19/2011 01:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil joined Pegi and her band for her encore of "Doghouse" last night in San Francisco at the Regency Ballrom

At 11/20/2011 12:40:00 PM, Blogger BecauseSoundMatters said...

According to Sugarmtn Neil joined Pegi again on 2011-11-19 at The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, California, USA.

At 11/20/2011 01:10:00 PM, Blogger BecauseSoundMatters said...

Nice video! Spooner looks pretty good. He's the only person not wearing black. Is Larry also on tour with The Survivors?

For music lovers: Ace Records just released a triple cd package: The Fame Studio Story 1961-1973.
Lot's of Spooner Oldham as writer and musician on this fantastic set. There's even some really obscure stuff from "Spooner & The Spoons" and "Spooner's Crowd".

At 11/20/2011 03:53:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks BSM! We'll check it out.

At 1/15/2013 04:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Backup singers are The Watson Twins


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