Does Neil Young owe you his hits? No, he doesn’t.
A Day On The Green, Hunter Valley, AUS - Mar 9, 2013
Photo Gallery by Miron "Stub King" M. - Picasa Web Albums
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Long time readers of TW know for some time now we've been challenging the "Neil Doubters". Oddly, on the just completed leg of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Australia & New Zealand Alchemy Tour, the essence of "The Doubters" was revealed in all of its inherent contradictions.
Which brings us to this blog post which picks up on the "The Doubters" phenomenon and offers some advice. From Does Neil Young owe you his hits? No, he doesn’t. | Meadowlake Street by Nick Milligan:
[This negative reaction] brings up the debate on what an artist owes the audience for the price of their admission.Thanks Nick! Nailed it.
Isn’t buying a ticket to see an artist perform… just that? As long as they perform with conviction, haven’t they done their job? Seeing an artist like Neil Young – who is a legend in his own lifetime and continues to write fresh, influential and vital rock recordings – is, as I mentioned, a privilege. Does an artist owe the audience their most popular songs? The short answer is “no”. The slightly longer answer is “of course they fucking don’t”. For personal reasons, it’s momentous to see and hear an artist perform a song that you have some emotional connection with. But those moments are special and rare. Your admission fee does not guarantee them. You have no right to demand them.
To all the people that thought Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s show was “self-indulgent”, I’ll let you in on a little secret. All creativity is, by nature and definition, self-indulgent. Every live act you’ve ever seen is self-indulgent. The whole process of writing, recording and performing music is about self-indulgence. Every touring act is self-indulgent. Fair-weather fans, who buy tickets to see artists with the expectation they’ll hear all their favourite songs and have a nice little sing-along, need to pull their heads out of their arses. They need to get a grip on reality. They need to take a long walk through the hall of mirrors.
More from Does Neil Young owe you his hits? No, he doesn’t. | Meadowlake Street by Nick Milligan and the story of Neil's guitar "decoration"*.
Also, see more on obligations to audiences on Artistic Freedom and Commerce.
Labels: neil young