Jim Jarmusch & Neil Young
After the comment reaction earlier to the post on the trailer for the film "Year of The Horse", we thought we'd look a little closer at the creative relationship between filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and Neil Young.
Director Jim Jarmusch's film Dead Man -- with a Neil Young soundtrack -- was considered by critic Greil Marcus in Salon Magazine to be "the best movie of the end of the 20th century." Among reasons that Marcus cites are: "For a film set more than a century ago, an electric guitar, playing a modal melody, surrounded by nothing, sounds older than anything you see on the screen."
In an interview, Jim Jarmusch said of Neil's efforts:
- "What he brought to the film lifts it to another level, intertwining the soul of the story with Neil's musically emotional reaction to it - the guy reached down to some deep place inside himself to create such strong music for our film."
Dead Man film clip
Jarmusch's concert film of Neil Young and Crazy Horse from the the 1996 tour has been called: "A concert film-group portrait that captures as well as any other music movie the natural, untethered essence of live rock." (John Anderson, in the LOS ANGELES TIMES).
Yet, the album Year Of The Horse, contains none of the performances that are in the film. Go figure.
From Australia's The Age Newspaper interview with Jim Jarmusch by writer Stephanie Bunbury:
- "For "Year of the Horse", his documentary about a Neil Young concert tour, Young himself suggested the project after he had written the music for Dead Man and they had made a video clip for his song Big Time.
"Young said: 'Look, I'll pay for it. Just shoot some stuff and see if you like it, and we'll continue if you do, and if you don't, I'll just put it on a shelf somewhere.'
How could I refuse that? And it was a really great experience, because there was no road map at all."
With the discussion of Neil having a new tone on the 2010 Le Noise tour and the followup on some of the technical details on his signature style made us consider one his most distinctive and evocative sonic creations for the 1995 film Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch.
From Now Magazine interview with Jim Jarmusch By INGRID RANDOJA (DECEMBER 18-24, 1997) on Year Of The Horse:
"Neil's incredible," recalls Jarmusch.
We showed him the Like A Hurricane number, which right in the middle of the song cuts from him now to him 20 years ago.
"Neil jumps out of his seat. I thought, 'He's going to say something about how different he looks.' Instead, he says, 'Look at Old Black!' which is the name of his guitar. 'She looks so new and shiny! She was so young back then.'
"We were laughing so hard, but he was deadly serious. He wasn't self-conscious about his own image changing, just 'Look at Old Black. I haven't taken good care of her.'"
But Jarmusch gets serious when he says, "If Neil were a native American he would be a 'contrary' -- a medicine man. He'd have to walk backwards, because everything Neil does is contrary to what is natural.
"Neil is a perfectionist who embraces imperfection. Everything he does is like that, and the more you get to know him, the more you see it in him.
"Jesus, he doesn't even dress like a rock star. He dresses like a garbage man. He doesn't care."
Jim Jarmusch interview on Dead Man soundtrack
An interview with Jim Jarmusch and Neil's Producer L.A. Johnson in Austin Chronicle . 11-10-97 By Marjorie Baumgarten:
Austin Chronicle: : What did you see as your greatest challenge in making this movie?
Jim Jarmusch : No, ah, there wasn't a challenge. You know it was really fun and Larry (L.A. Johnson) was so amazingly organized. I wish my feature films could have the same kind of organization because Neil's people, his road people, man we should make a movie just about them.
Cause his road crew are like pirates, or a biker gang, or something. Very organized.
And they were great. And then Larry, whatever we needed was suddenly there.
Like Neil asked us to go on the road and in three days -- I was in New York, Larry lives in L.A. -- he had all the equipment together, all the film material, everything was on the way. It was amazing. I guess the challenge to it came after collecting the material and sitting down and being open enough so that the material told us -- me and Jay Rabinowitz, the editor -- what the film wanted to be. You know, to just not try to bludgeon it into any form at all, just sort of in a Zen-like way say, "Okay, what do you want us to do with you now?"
That was like the most challenging thing. It was a fun film to make.