God Save The Neil Young Fans (& Thrasher's Wheat)
Art by Gary Burden and Jenice Heo
As we have observed before, after running Thrasher's Wheat for over 15 years and almost a lifetime of listening to Neil Young's music, there are two things which we have found to be nearly universally constant:
1) Neil Young never ceases to surprise, amaze, and confound us, and
2) Neil Young fans never cease to surprise, amaze, and confound us.
Just weeks ago -- before anyone had heard even a single note -- folks were taking shots at "Americana" for all sorts of reasons which led us to post The Judgement Not To Pre-Judge "Americana". (And once again, pre-judging the upcoming book "Waging Heavy Peace", as well.)
And so what do Neil fans make of the most recent release of "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse? Well, judging from the comments, it's great or sucks and everything in between.
So what to make of all this? We turn to this comment by Greg M. on fans' reaction to "God Save The Queen":
"How could people get so unkind?"
Boy, am I ever glad Neil never listened to his detractors -- or his admirers -- when putting out his music over all these years. Perish the thought of his own musings.
We never would have gotten the brilliance of his artistic vision, or the glimpses of the world as seen through his eyes he has so often shared with us. Thrasher's Wheat has never, ever, been a place where people have not been allowed to voice their opinions one way or the other, but it has also always been, first and foremost, and unapologetically, a Neil Young appreciation site. And yet, the people who come here to appreciate and acknowledge Neil’s output, in all its variations, are too often put into the position of defending what doesn't need defending- Neil’s decisions to do whatever the hell he wants, in whatever the hell way he wants, for his own reasons.
We “get it”, and lament the fact that so many don’t.
And for all his efforts, Thrasher is too often put into the unfair position of refereeing bouts of snarkiness from people who seem to derive some sort of weird pleasure out of coming to a Neil Young appreciation site to trash Neil Young. People who in their wildest dreams could never approach the passion and commitment underlying A Fork In The Road, the poignancy of a Prairie Wind after a brush with death, the experimentation and righteous indignation of the Geffen years, or any other in their eyes ill-conceived effort on Neil’s part. And then those of us who do appreciate these things are denigrated as mindless worshipers, who have cravenly elevated Neil to God status, or who don’t respect the fact that this or that thing is simply not any given Neil fans cup of tea.
We sometimes go a little overboard ourselves in trying to make sense of all the negativity. We have to sit idly by while people casually beat the drum of repeating for the umpteenth time the shallowness of the idiot reviewers who seem unable to survey Neil’s career without the obligatory mention of his “career turns”, as if Neil plots these out of a sense of perversity, rather than as fidelity to muse and unvarnished honesty. We have to listen to the drone of disrespect for Are You Passionate, Trans, and now Americana, etc. ad nauseum, because they don’t “sound” the way the arbiters of how Neil should sound think they should. The golfer, Jack Nicklaus, said it all- “It’s amazing what people think you “should” do.” No, Neil must conform to his critics views, otherwise he is diminishing his talents, and depriving the world of another On The Beach or Zuma.
I tried mightily to keep my mouth shut here, and probably should have, but I guess I’m just as flawed as anyone else, and unable to rest in some of the most sublime words Neil ever uttered: “So all you critics sit alone, you’re no better than me for what you’ve shown. With your stomach pump, and your hook and ladder dreams. We could get together for some scenes.”
Oh, and “Walk On”.
A Friend Of Yours
Thanks Greg. That really helps put all of this in context. So who would've ever thought running a Neil blog would be such a challenge???
We await the release of the remaining "Americana" tracks with bated breath...
More reaction discussion on VIDEO DEBUT: "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.