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Sunday, March 18, 2012

"I Am Not Neil Young": The Musical

Well, another entry in the "Neil is everywhere" department.

Seems that there is a musical play titled "I Am Not Neil Young".

It's based on the true story of Frank Wilks’ amazing recovery from the highs and lows of rock and roll playing with/as Neil Young. Frank Wilks -- who led and played in the band "Buffalo Springfield Revisited" (which featured the late Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin) -- performs as Neil Young.

Performing as Neil Young at Massey Hall, the work examines battles with fame and the more personal, ubiquitous problems many face with drugs and alcohol. The musical contains three motifs: first, the serendipity and insanity of becoming a rock star, second, the related descent into drugs and alcohol, heaven and hell with the climb back to redemption and third, living for a while under the shadow of a superstar like Neil Young and then moving on as Frank evolves into an artist and songwriter in his own right.

From I Am Not Neil Young-The Musical | Cashbox Magazine Canada by Lenny Stoute:
At the beginning, Frank and co-founder of ‘Buffalo Springfield Revisited’, Hall Of fame bassist Bruce Palmer are straight and sober. Frank delivers ‘The Needle and the Damage done’ as a cautionary tale of which he and Palmer take serious note.

Five years later, the walls came crumbling down and Steven Stills ‘4x20’ is used as mirror for Frank’s situations. Round about here is where the play shows its teeth, and Frank Wilks finds himself in a life or death struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. To his credit, while Wilks doesn’t shrink from laying out the gruesome details, this is no misery fest as the dude is now six years sober.

Instead, by the time he gets to the humorous and touching ‘No Drinking in NFLD’, the thing has become a sweet testament to one man’s triumph over the dark side. The whole thing is saved from going all preachy by the music and its place in the soundtrack of our lives. That, and the fact that Wilks never loses his innate likeability even when he’s talking about days into weeks in a crack house.

And that's a core part of the play’s appeal; that it goes from top to bottom in the key of bittersweet.

There were no firm tour dates but plans are afoot to put the show on the road this summer.

More on I Am Not Neil Young - Frank Wilks - The man, the band, the music.

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At 3/18/2012 09:24:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

Raise my spirit away. Love this one! Pure Neilness. Excellent delivery.

At 3/18/2012 09:25:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/18/2012 11:33:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

I purchased the DVD 'Buffalo Springfield Revisited' In Concert from a discount bin in a local big name appliance store mostly out of curiosity since it did include original Springfield members Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin who obviously were still alive at that time. Aside from the cheap price, I recognized even then that someday this performance would have some significant historical value since it wasn't merely a cover band, but rather an attempt by Dewey and Bruce to continue delivering the bands music to the masses in spite of the lack of interest in participation from the other three members, who's absence is hardly even missed due to the passion and enthusiasm that comes across in this performance. Due to the fact that this DVD and subsequent tour wasn't produced or promoted by a major label, I'm sure that would explain the minimalistic approach in the packaging. By minimal, I'm saying that there wasn't even a mere mention of the players aside from Dewey Martin, with his ever present smile, and Bruce Palmer playing with as much if not even more intensity as when the band was in it's infancy. What I found the most ironic was not even a mere mention of Frank Wilk's. As the lead singer and front man, he was the 'driving force' leading the band through all of the familiar and classic B.S. tunes. While not attempting to emulate or mimic the voices of the original singers, his method of delivery presented the songs as immediately recognizable. To be 'Frank', his Still's during 'Bluebird' and 'Rock-N-Roll Woman' sounded more like the Still's of old than the 'Still's of today'. This concert tour coincided with the C.S.N.& Y. 'Y2K' Tour of 2000. It was a testament to the fact that while Still's and Young were enjoying a successful and lucrative tour with C & N, Palmer and Martin weren't just waiting around for that letter that Neil planned on sending his friends 'One Of These Days'. While much was made out of last years failed attempt to get a full B.S. reunion tour off the ground, Palmer and Martin had just as much of a right to tour under the B.S. namesake as their more famous and commercially successful former bandmates. The only difference is that they did it and they did it extremely well. If your disappointed because you missed the Buffalo Springfield reunion due to fragile ego's, muse direction changes, and failed financial negotiations, chances are your probably not even aware of the reunion that came and went in 2000 where nobody's ego's were stoked, nobody got rich, but it was successful just the same because once again they played the music they loved in front of an audience that loved the music for what it was instead of wondering if Neil would wear his fringed jacket or not. If you truly are in it for the love of the music, Frank Wilk's became Neil, Stephen, and Richie rolled into one, while Bruce and Dewey performed with the same passion and intensity as the first time they took the stage at the Troubadour on the Sunset Strip in April of 1966. It may not have gotten the attention and 'hoopalla' as 2012, but at least it happened!

At 3/18/2012 11:34:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/18/2012 11:53:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Thrasher, I didn't mean to deviate from the original thread, however, the basic context of my post was meant to further illuminate and draw attention to the integrity and talent of the artist of the moment, Mr Frank Wilk's. His current Musical 'I Am Not Neil Young' is an extension of an already lengthy resume of a career he built around emulating Neil Young for those unfamiliar.

At 3/19/2012 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

No problem Bigchief. Great comment and very appropriate.

Never did catch the BS Revisited so this was very interesting. thanks.

At 3/19/2012 05:55:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Thank You, Mr Thrasher! The 'Buffalo Springfield Revisited' DVD was released in 2000 by Woodhaven Entertainment Video Products. (800) 356-0944. If it's still available, It's a more then worthwhile addition for anybody's collection. My point was that with all of the attention placed on the 'Big Three', Bruce and Dewey put a band together and performed some powerful renditions of all of the B.S. Classics with even a stellar version of 'Let It Shine'! They didn't wait on Neil, Stephen, and Richie ... They just went out got it done with the help of Frank Wilk's to hardly any critical acclaim and went virtually unacknowledged in the music world.


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