Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Monday, October 21, 2019

Tell Me Why: A Conversation with Neil Young (1997)


Neil Young
Slamdance 2012
(Click photo to enlarge)

Editor: We are updating this post upon learning of the publication of the book "I NEED TO KNOW: The Lost Music Interviews" by Bill DeYoung. The book contains two vintage Neil Young interviews included in the new anthology. The first one (Sept. 16, 1985) was only recently fully transcribed from the original cassette. Neil talks passionately about Farm Aid (the first concert was six days away), and why he was so into country music ("Old Ways" had just come out), why it resonated with him as a family man, and why rock 'n' roll just wasn't doing it for him any more. He then reads the entire "Open Letter to President Reagan" he'd just finished writing, and would send to USA Today the next morning.

The second interview is from H.O.R.D.E. in '97, explaining (among other things) why he skipped Buffalo Springfield's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that year, which is partially excerpted below. (More book details below)

A little blast from the past, an interview with Neil Young before the 1997 H.O.R.D.E. tour, TELL ME WHY: A conversation with Neil Young by Bill DeYoung.

Funny how some things never really change...

Goldmine: Six of your catalog albums remain unavailable on compact disc [For the record, the missing titles are Journey Through the Past, Time Fades Away, On the Beach, American Stars 'n' Bars, Hawks & Doves and Re*Ac*Tor.] Recently, you told an interviewer you would burn the tapes before you let them come out on CD. Why?

Neil Young: Until we get the technology. I'm pushing for better technology. And CDs don't cut it, to me. HDCD is a real great improvement on digital sound, no matter what the format of the sound is. That's a process you can make CDs through, and it makes them sound more detailed. If you have an HDCD playback system, it sounds incredibly more detailed.

Goldmine:Is that one of those technologies that we'll 'see by the year 2000'?

Neil Young: It's out there now. There's about 40 different companies, small audiophile companies that make stereo equipment that carries the HDCD chip.

Goldmine:There are something like 15 of your albums out on CD on Reprise. How come they're out, and these six aren't?

Neil Young: Those were made during the beginning of CDs. When it hadn't really dawned on everybody how inferior the CD was. But during the mastering of all of those, and listening to what we ended up with compared to what we started with, everyone became aware of the problems. And that was maybe more than 15 years ago. And there's been no improvement, in 15 years, from a bad standard.

Meanwhile, we got 64-bit video games, and 32-bit this, and 16-bit sound. Running at a slow speed. So we really need to get a standard together for recorded sound that doesn't destroy it.

Goldmine:But Reprise is still making those discs.

Neil Young: Oh yeah, that's right, you can't stop that. But I'm not gonna do any new ones until there's a standard.

Goldmine:Let me play devil's advocate. Since you're committed to this, can't you just put a stop to those that are still in print? Can't you tell the label 'They sound like shit; let's take 'em out'?

Neil Young: You can do that with the new ones. When you put out a master, you put it out , OK, it's out. Until then, you have it.

Goldmine:You know, those six albums aren't available on vinyl or cassettes, either. They've all been deleted.

Neil Young: I 'm trying to use that leverage to get some tonal quality on the recordings.

Goldmine:Well, what can I do? I'll make a call. As a fan, it bugs me that I can't put, say, American Stars 'n' Bars on the CD player.

Neil Young: It's tough for me, too, but I'm not gonna put out 'Hurricane' sounding like a piece of shit. That's the way it is. There's the ability to have it better, and I can make a statement. I'm not gonna let it keep happening.

Goldmine:Hawks and Doves, a great record. Can't hear it. That makes me a little sad.

Neil Young: Right, me too! I feel the same way. When it comes out, it'll sound great.

Goldmine:What about your long-rumored multi-disc Archives project?

Neil Young: It's the same thing there. We're close enough to the new standard. There's all kinds of people throwing ideas for the new standard around. The latest new standard that came out for sound is worse than the CD. That's the DVD. That is totally a piece of crap. A thousand times more distortion, and I'm not exaggerating. That is a clinical number.

It's a terrible thing, and they say that you can play CDs on it. You can play 'em, but they have to be interpolated and translated and everything before your ear hears 'em; by then, they're so distorted, they're just not there any more.

So what they've done is, they're killing an art form through greed, and not being able to focus on using a decent standard. They're more interested, it seems, in putting out more product, and more real time information on a disc, than they are in putting out more quality on a disc. And one plays against the other.

So a lot of things have to be worked out before the new standard is set, but the wheels are turning right now, it's happening.

Goldmine:Do you have a time frame, i.e. 'They'll be out in four years' or something?

Neil Young: They may never be out on the market if the standard's not right.

Goldmine: You're 51 now. What does life look like to you?

Neil Young: Well, I love playing. I love playing music, and I love being around lots of other people who play music. That's why the H.O.R.D.E. tour is so much fun.

It absolutely feels just as good.

More on TELL ME WHY: A conversation with Neil Young and the book "I NEED TO KNOW: The Lost Music Interviews" by Bill DeYoung. (Thanks Howell!)

I Need to Know includes 23 revealing conversations with seminal music artists including Tom Petty (four lengthy interviews conducted between 1985 and 1993), Beatles producer Sir George Martin, Neil Young, Merle Haggard, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Bo Diddley and others.

The majority of the in-depth interviews have never been published in their entirety. They were conducted for various newspaper stories – which utilized a few quotes here and there – or for the international music magazine Goldmine.

“These lost-and-found interviews don’t just form an important historical document; they’re also a trove of musical and personal insights into important artists of our time,” said John Capouya, author of the acclaimed Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band. “DeYoung’s subjects – partners, really – clearly know and trust him, so they offer deeper and less guarded responses then we’re used to seeing in music journalism. Highly recommended.’’

In I Need to Know, Petty talks in detail about the formation of the Traveling Wilburys, what he learned from Bob Dylan and the creation of the albums Southern Accents, Let Me Up I’ve Had Enough and Full Moon Fever; Martin reveals which songs he would have preferred the Beatles left off the White Album; Young explains his passion for Farm Aid, and his reasons for skipping Buffalo Springfield’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Haggard explains what led him to pen the controversial “Okie from Muskogee.”

Ronstadt confesses her disdain for many of her biggest hits. “Sometimes,” she says, “they just flat out bored me until I was cross-eyed.”

As a bonus, the book includes never-before-published conversations with acting legends Gregory Peck and Robert Duvall.

A native of St. Petersburg, Bill DeYoung was Arts and Entertainment Editor of the Gainesville Sun for 20 years, before moving on to publications in South Florida and Savannah, Georgia. The author of the Florida-centric books Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down and Phil Gernhard Record Man, he currently writes and edits the Culture section of the St. Pete Catalyst. DeYoung is one of the interview subjects in the forthcoming documentary film The Skyway Bridge Disaster.

I Need to Know includes conversations with:

Tom Petty, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Seals & Crofts, George Martin, Mary Hopkin, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Dave Mason, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Linda Ronstadt, the Bangles, Guy & Susanna Clark, Bo Diddley, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and Martin Barre, Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck.

Also, express your feelings on Release "Time Fades Away" Petition!

Labels: , , , ,


At 7/08/2012 06:14:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature said...

I did see remastered CDs of all those Lps (except TFA) in Neil!s slot at the bookstore last year.

At 7/09/2012 12:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Mother Nature

Pretty sure they are all in HDCD, as are the new reissues of the first four albums.

At 7/09/2012 02:00:00 AM, Blogger La Johnson said...

The first 4 records were released in HDCD in 2009 just after the archives, they've just been re-released for under £12 in one box without any liner notes or lyrics (shocking). Americana was released a few weeks ago yet the Blue Ray version is due shortly with bonus videos and of course a better sound. If Neil only wants to release his stuff with the best sound all of this is odd. Anyway who really cares about the 'ultimate' sound we've listened to most of his records on scratched warped vinyl for years.

At 7/09/2012 07:59:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

That vinyl haa to be in pretty bad shape to lose the sound quality when taken for a spin. Mine are not warped or scratched. Unless somebody fell into the turntable or the vinyl was exposed to heat or something, most vinyls should sound pretty decent. I matters what kind of sound system set up you have...

At 7/09/2012 05:36:00 PM, Blogger La Johnson said...

Vinyl always had alot of surface noises and wear & tear, fortunately my TFA sounds pretty good.

At 9/09/2018 01:47:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Hello - we just realized we re-posted this to the top of blog. But we're going to keep it up here for now.

At 9/10/2018 06:15:00 AM, Blogger Joel_Grant said...

The link in this article does not work. Try this:

At 9/10/2018 08:47:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Joel - thanks, link should be working now.

At 9/10/2018 06:02:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I think Neil was referring to hybrid SACD as they require a special player but HDCD will play in any CD player. I also think SACD’s will play in PlayStations as well.

At 9/10/2018 09:13:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This interview is pretty old and a lot has changed since then.

I also have original pressings and most of them have no surface noise and none of them are warped, but I’ve always been a real stickler about vinyl care. Of course most of the new pressing are just breathtaking.

At 10/21/2019 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Don't Forget to always clean your new records before you play them. The pressing plant leaves oils and debris after pressing.



Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat